The Mystery of Rennes le Chateau

Rennes le Chateau is a tiny village in the south of France with an incredibly rich history.  Because of this, the remote hilltop, and the surrounding area, is full of fantastic tales of lost treasure, dangerous secrets, and hidden messages.  To what degree Truth rests in these accounts is not easily discerned.  For it seems there is a basis of fact that has cultivated into a garden of legitimate questions and mystery. The answers grown and picked from this colorful assortment leads a person on more entwining paths than he may have initially wanted.

In 2003, Dan Brown published the bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code, which plucked certain notions from this fertile soil and caused Rennes le Chateau to fully blossom.  Brown’s book highlighted one of the secrets which had already been proposed for the area; the suggestion that Jesus, not only married, but had children who located here. This Royal Blood was allegedly protected by a secret society called the Priory of Sion.  They guarded the ‘Holy Grail’ (the bloodline). His fictional story directed attention to many other previous known mysteries of the area and encouraged further exploration into some real-life accounts.

Noel Corbu- the business owner

It appears large awareness of a possible lost treasure in Rennes le Chateau was first promoted by Noel Corbu in the 1950’s.  After acquiring an estate once owned by the village priest Berenger Sauniere (1852-1917), and turning parts of the property into a hotel and restaurant in 1955, Corbu started sharing stories with his customers; stories of coded parchments, hidden gold, and lost secrets of the past.

These extraordinary tales were supported by a friendship he developed with Marie Denarnaud. Denarnaud had been Berenger Sauniere’s housekeeper and confidant. Mr. Corbu was promised by her that she would reveal to him a powerful secret learned by Sauniere before she died.  Unfortunately, she passed before she was ever able to share her knowledge with him and the treasure remained hidden.

Berenger Sauniere- the village priest

Delving into the life of Berenger Sauniere raises countless more questions. After becoming priest of Rennes le Chateau in 1885, reports he discovered an exceptional treasure of some kind while renovating his church surfaced.  These accounts were advanced by his lifelong activities, provoking ever deeper suspicion.  He is known to have spent unexplainable amounts of money, excavated parts of the graveyard, defaced tombstones, travelled extensively, and entertained prominent guests.

Addition to these unusual behaviors for a small village priest, Sauniere continued to renovate and create.  Up to the time of his death in 1917, he planned and changed the landscape of Rennes le Chateau.  What he left behind in these designs and constructs may hold clues to his presumed wealth and a valuable lost treasure.

Gerard de Sede-the author

As the saga of Rennes le Chateau developed over time, more details of incredible knowledge, supposed riches, secret societies, and more were exposed.   As an author, Gerard de Sede (1921-2004) was inspired to write a book on the mystery of Berenger Sauniere and Rennes le Chateau entitled L’or de Rennes.  This book, later translated into English from the original French by Bill Kersey, would bring into play the secret society of The Priory of Sion and Pierre Plantard.

Pierre Plantard-Grand Master

Many have contemplated whether Pierre Plantard (1920-2000) was actual Grand Master of a secret society called The Priory of Sion or the Grand Master of a complex scheme to claim personal connection to a royal bloodline with Merovingian Kings. Through documents, allegedly discovered by Berenger Sauniere, the assertion was fostered.

As more confounding documents appeared in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France the whole enigma surrounding Rennes le Chateau expanded.  Now, one may get lost in exploring all the different ideas, notions, and theories pertaining to a lost treasure located there.  The field of inquiry has overgrown with speculation, making the search more entangled, and yet, all the more irresistible.

The Holy Grail

Since history has been partially unearthed and proven to hold unexplained circumstances, it will not be silenced.  With real places, real people, real events involved, the truth of the matter patiently summons those who seek real answers.  The paths of discovery wait.  For those who are willing to dig deeper, journey further into history, the treasure may actually turn out to be The Holy Grail.


Please feel free to friend/follow me on facebook for continuing information on mysterious subjects.


Follow MW on Social Media:

You may also like...

24 Responses

  1. Nate Beck says:

    A perfect overview and summary in a grand article. By reading this one article, people can actually ignore most of the silly books that have been written on the subject lol.

    Great job J!

  2. Nate Beck says:

    My bibliopgraphy for Rennes-le-Chateau would include:

    ‘Holy Blood, Holy Grail’ by Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh

    ‘The Accursed Treasure’ by de Sede and Kersey

    ‘The Tomb of God’ by Andrews and Schellenberger

    ‘Web of Gold’ by Patton and Mackness

    ‘Maranatha Et In Arcadia Ego’ by Duncan Burden

    ‘Templar Gold’ by Patrick Byrne

    ‘City of Secrets’ and ‘The Portal’ by Patrice Chaplin

    and the DVD ‘Exploring the Da Vinci Code: Henry Lincoln’s Guide to Rennes-le-Chateau

    and that’s about it lol.

    • Jenny Kile says:

      I know I had mentioned about doing a post on Rennes le Chateau books, and I will have to do this. I would include many you have suggested Nate, and add:

      The Fool’s Coat by VI Marriott

      The Treasure of Rennes le Chateau: A Mystery Solved by Putnam and Wood

      I probably would also add Ben Hammott’s book Lost Tomb of the Knights Templar that I have on my Kindle for his account and images of the church.

  3. Nate Beck says:

    Oh! And the document ‘Le Serpent Rouge (The Red Serpent)’ in the original French and translated by Marcus Williamson and Corella Hughes. A guide to Saint Sulpice church would be needful with this as well.

  4. Nate Beck says:

    Thanks J.

    Yeah, I remember talking about me and you doing this awhile ago lol. It’s just that I never got around to it. I guess this will have to do for now lol.

    I have never heard of ‘The Fool’s Coat’, so will have to look into it.

    The book by Mr. Putnam and Mr. Wood is very good, even though I feel they both conveniently ignored alot of rather significant details, in my opinion. I was shocked that these two would even consider looking into ‘Le Serpent Rouge’ but am glad they did.

    And as for Ben Hammott (anagram The Tomb Man), though he is a proven scammer, his books are full of very nice photographs and illustrations that one finds hard to find in any other place, including photographs of artefacts, surrounding landscapes and especially the decor inside Sauniere’s church!

    I also find it interesting that, although Ben Hammott is an anagram for ‘The Tomb Man’, in Hebrew it also means ‘son of death’. Very interesting!

  5. onefeather says:

    Pierre Plantard said what he wrote was a hoax and they found a lot of faked papers in his house. Plantard admitted it under oath that he made it up.

  6. Nate Beck says:

    Hello onefeather,

    You’re absoluelty right, Pierre Planatrd and his Priory of Sion was/is a hoax. However, the mystery of Berenger Sauniere and Rennes-le-Chateau predate Plantard’s life and activities. Plantard and his friends simply took advantage of an already existing enigma and hijacked it for their own purposes just like Noel Corbu did.

    You have to take into consideration the following, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Platnard or the fake history of his secret society:

    1. The religion and secrets of the Cathars.

    2. The Kabbalah mystics of southern France and Spanish territories in the Pyrenees.

    3. The life and secrets of Nicolas Flamel.

    4. The rather easy to establish fact that Berenger Sauniere was either a Freemason, Rosicrucian or Martinist and the blatant Masonic and Rosicrucian symbolism that is rampant in his church.

    5. The amounts of money acquired and spent by Sauniere that the oft cited activity of his trafficking in masses simply does not explain.

    6. The interest of the Nazis and Otto Rahn had in the area.

    7. The bizarre activities of Sauniere given by eyewtinesses who lived at the time.

    8. The strange connections between Rennes-le-Chateau and Saint Sulpice in Paris.

    9. The macabre deaths of three authors of Le Serpent Rouge, Fr. Antoine Gelis and the bodies found in the grounds of Sauniere’s property.

    10. The strange letters and activities of Nicolas Poussin.

    11. The bizarre activities of king Louis XIV’s minister of finance, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, in the area.

    It would be rather easy to list even more things to take into consideration where this mystery is concerned, but these serve to establish the fact that there has always been legitimate mysteries about Rennes-le-Chateau without any help whatsoever from Pierre Plantard or his associates.

    Hope this helps to point you in other enlightening directions other than the infamous hoaxes perpetrated by Plantard and Company.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      I agree with your list, except for the deaths of the authors of the Serpent Rouge. The names could easily have been picked from the papers, and they may not have had anything at all to do with the publication.

  7. Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau
    When Berenger Sauniere discovered the Parchments in the Altar pillar he saw that the symbol at the bottom of P2 was the monogram of Nicolas Poussin … ‘N Povsin’. He further recognised that the symbol on P1 … the ‘triangle with tails’ could be drawn through the heads of the shepherds on Poussin’s painting of the Arcadian Shepherds. The heads were in fact hills. The second shepherd is pointing at the ‘R’ that is followed by the ‘C’ in the word ‘aRCadia’ … R–le-C. The first shepherd is Rennes-le-Chateau; the tall female with the white headband is Cardou with the chalky crest. Not only do the heads correspond to the hills on plan, they reflect the heights of the hills in elevation. The painting is a detailed map. The lower ‘tail’ of the symbol points directly to Rennes les Bains. Poussin’s symbol on P2 also doubles to name the place of the treasure … st NAZ … the Church of St Nazaire Et Celse. If one follows Sauniere’s Stations of the Cross they too will lead to the Church in Rennes les Bains.
    Geoffrey Morgan

  8. Nate Beck says:

    Now THAT is good detective work!

    Bravo Mr. Morgan!

  9. Nate Beck says:

    The only question I have for you is, do you have any inside information on this? It sure sounds like it.

    • Response to Nate … Sauniere knew the tomb in Poussin’s painting well and he recognised that the shadows in the painting were ‘impossible’. When one stands on the road bridge at Pontils and looks across at the old tomb site one is facing south – even in Poussin’s day shadows did not fall on the north face of the edifice. The emphasis of the shadows is on the heads of the shepherds – the hills, which pointed him to Rennes les Bains. This is confirmed in the Sauniere’s ‘Stations of the Cross’, which are easy to read if one follows the hills – they take one to the old Sacristy in St Nazaire Et Celse.

  10. Nate Beck says:

    Thanks Mr. Morgan,

    Very good point, and very thought provoking. Just a couple more questions, if you wouldn’t mind:

    1. What, in your opinion, is the nature of the treasure? Gold? Spiritual? etc.?

    2. What is special about the sacristy of St. Nazaire Et Celse? Why all the effort to point to this location do you think?

    Thank you so much for your time and courtesy. It is greatly appreciated.

    PS: Also, If you’d like to correspond via email, that would be most welcome by me!



    • Nate …
      Question 1
      The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau is actually King Dagobert 11’s treasure, which is part of the Visigoths hoard when they ransacked Rome. Its place of concealment was in a cave on the bank of the River Sals at Rennes les Bains. It was the Templar who built the Church of St Nazaire Et Celse over the cave. Amongst the treasure is the Menorah, seven stemmed candlestick that was taken from Herod’s Temple.
      In the sacristy was (is) a stone altar with the relief of a head on the side panel, that panel was (is) a small door which led to the vault (cave) beneath the church. On Sauniere’s original grave was a relief of a head. – You will appreciate I have not been in the Sacristy it is sealed, but I believe my assumptions are accurate.
      The Abbe Boudet who was priest of St Nazaire had found his way to the gold years before Sauniere guessed where it was.
      Question 2
      Henry Lincoln has decoded part of the Parchments Sauniere had found in his Altar Pillar … ‘This treasure belongs to Dagobert 11 King and to Sion and he is there dead’.
      Dagobert was murdered and his headless remains placed with his treasure. The head together with the crossed bones is a Templar symbol – the crossed bones are the lines through the hills – as in Poussin’s painting.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      Any person looking into the mystery of Rennes le Chateau should begin by answering those questions, simply so people can band together by affinity, if nothing else.

      My answers:
      1. I think the treasure is spiritual. Though I don’t entirely rule out the possibility that actual transmutation of mercury into gold is possible with methods available to the ancients, but I consider this low probability.
      2. I’ve been thinking about this question of sacred places. I think Jerusalem was definitely chosen for its latitude, and when Moses was looking for the Promised Land, he was after a specific latitude. Lately I’ve been thinking whether it’s possible that there are specific significant longitudes, that could have been identified by the ancients. This longitude might shift through the centuries, due to the precesion of the equinox. In that case, it’s conceivable that the Middle East was at the right longitude 3000 years ago, but it shifted to Southern France by the time of the Middle Ages. In that case, presumably it continued shifting, and maybe for a while it was in Great Britain, and by now it’s lost in the middle of the Atlantic, or perhaps now Iceland is the sacred place.

  11. Nate Beck says:

    Thanks so much Mr. Morgan.

    I agree that Dagobert II had something to do with the treasure, but I am of the opinion that the treasure is alchemical-Cabbalic, and is what is popularly known as the Philosopher’s Stone of Nicolas Flamel.

    I obviously do not know where you stand on this issue or this opinion, but are you at all familiar with the Maranatha Et In Arcadia Ego puzzle or the Time Monk article by Duncan Burden?

    Also, I wholeheartedly agree with your view that the clues for the treasure are centered in Rennes-le-Bains and not Rennes-le-Chateau!

    In fact, if one goes back to the original Priory of Sion documents, the P.O.S. author Philippe de Cherisey, and also Henri Boudet’s book ‘The True Celtic Language and the Cromlech of Rennes-le-Bains’, all highlight Rennes-le-Bains as being more significant than Rennes-le-Chateau.

    The main problem with the researchers of the mystery is that most of them are always focused on the wrong village!!!

    Bravo on emphasizing this too oft ignored fact!

    Anyone can feel free to contact me directly at my email address here posted as well.

  12. Nate Beck says:

    My next article will deal with one of the few established facts concerning strange activity by Berenger Sauniere.

    I thought I’d drop my fellow researchers a line here:

    Why was Sauniere trafficking in Masses???

    I believe this is directly linked to what the Maranatha puzzle authors found! A secret that will rock the core of Catholic doctrine..

    And a secret that caused an Anglican and Catholic priest to renounce their faith, according to Duncan Burden……

    • Maria Rigel says:

      With the stories of people renouncing their faith, plus the extraordinary claim made by an Anglican priest (according to the book “Holy Grail, Holy Blood”) that what Sauniere found was incontrovertible proof that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, the only easy explanation I can think of is that there is, actually, a Bible code. I don’t think that anything could be “incontrovertible proof” unless it was found on the Bible itself.

  13. Maria Rigel says:

    I’m pretty sure that the treasure that Sauniere found was the Holy Grail itself. Duncan said that the answer to Maranatha was the Holy Grail, and Maranatha had a number of connections to the mystery of Rennes le Chateau.

    There are a couple more indications: A Royal Arch Mason once showed up on the Maranatha forums and explained that the Royal Arch Mason ritual was actually bought from somebody. I think Sauniere was the seller. There is also a Victorian horror story, “The codex of Canon Alberic” that is reputed to be about Sauniere. In it a priest of a French village sells an ancient codex to the author of the story. I’m fairly sure that Sauniere sold the Holy Grail to the Grand Lodge of England.

  1. July 13, 2014

    […] previously wrote a brief summary on The Mystery of Rennes le Chateau, but for those interested in learning more about the twisted tangle with probable no end, I offer a […]

  2. February 19, 2015

    […] What I find most interesting about the Knight’s Tour, however, is its solution method and its involvement in the coded message of the Rennes le Chateau mystery. […]

  3. May 14, 2015

    […] The number 17 holds a curious spot to many mysteries.  As mentioned in the article entitled, The Mystifying and Recurrent Number of 17, the date of 17 appears numerous times in connection to the mystery of Rennes le Chateau. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *