Rennes-le-Château Travel Guide

  • Rennes-le-Château
    by GentleSpirit
  • Local Customs
    by GentleSpirit
  • Things to Do
    by GentleSpirit

Rennes-le-Château Things to Do

  • Magdala Tower

    The Magdala Tower is one of the most easy to recognize sights in Rennes le Chateau. From its construction in 1906 it served as Fr Berenger Sauniere's study, housing a collection of old books.Of course by this time Fr Sauniere was under investigation and his bishop had assigned him to a different parish. Sauniere refused to go and insisted on...

  • Berenger Sauniere Center

    "Terribilist est locus iste," is in engraved in capital letters above the door of St. Mary Magdalene Church. ..."This place is terrifying." (Even my simpleton knowledge of language can translate that little bit of Latin.) A warning to all those who enter? Some scholars and conspiracy theorist have argued that's not right, not what it means, some...

  • Tour Magdala

    If you come to Rennes le Chateau in search of treasure, you should visit the Tour Magdala, since Abbe Sauniere had it built under strict guidelines. It most likely has something to do with the location of the treasure! Pay attention to the curious miniature tower on top of the tower. Does it have some deeper meaning?


Rennes-le-Château Restaurants

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo
    Bar Restaurant au Jardin (2011) 2 more images

    by Kaspian Updated Aug 2, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I don't know if it's the thin air up here from the high altitude, the generally bizarre atmosphere of Rennes-le-Chateau, or what, but after touring "Sauniere's Domain", I really need to sit down, have a drink, and maybe something to eat because I'm feeling a little bit faint. My travel companion, Lynn, and I decide on a patio place, "Bar Restaurant au Jardin", so we can relax outside and enjoy the weather on this perfect summer day. ...And so she can get some sun. (It's been a rainy year in England and I've learned that, like drug-addicted fiends, the British will seek and soak up solar rays at every possible opportunity.)
    The waiter hands me a menu and without really looking at it, I decide on the kitschy-tourist options--a bottle of "Abbaye" beer and the "Templar Platter". Lynn also orders herself a bottle of Abbaye.
    It doesn't take long for the food and drink to arrive and I'm thrilled with the platter--tomatoes with mozzarella, lots of bread, fresh salmon slices, beets, coleslaw, and a generous helping of couscous. "Wow, that looks nice doesn't it? Very healthy!," Lynn remarks. I set about making delicious mini sandwiches with all the ingredients.
    An elderly gentleman with snow white hair and matching beard calmly sits down at the table next to us, carefully removes a laptop computer from its case, adjusts his spectacles and green safari jacket, and is greeted warmly by the waiters. He's joined shortly by three well-dressed middle-aged people--two men and a woman, and they begin an animated conversation in French.
    "That," I whisper, pointing nonchalantly with my fork, "is Henry Lincoln." "Who?," Lynn asks. "You know, the author of the book 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' that you brought with you? ...He also wrote some 'Doctor Who' episodes." Lynn looks at me as though I've finally lost whatever marbles were left in my head. She glances at the man, then back at me, and repeats the motion several times over while I eat. "No way, you think?," she asks, "That would be a really weird coincidence!" "There's no such thing as coincidence in Rennes-le-Chateau," I say matter-of-factly, repeating a mantra I'd read many times.
    Having finished my massive Templar lunch and paid our bill, I walk over to the adjacent table. Although I feel bad about interrupting the conversation, I have to be sure about this so I ask the man in French, "Excuse me, you're not Henry Lincoln, are you?" His bright blue eyes gaze straight up at mine and he replies with bluster, "I'm not? That's interesting. Very well then, I am not Henry Lincoln!" At this point, a brief, unspoken eye-locked mental battle ensues. I know that I am defeated as far as intelligence and quick wit goes, but he realizes that I have the upperhand because I've correctly ID'ed him yet he doesn't know me from Adam. I'm also well aware that this guy loves attention. I decide on something diplomatic yet sly in response, "Very well then, you are Henry Lincoln! ...Or is this another one of your Rennes mysteries?" He shifts his gaze down toward the table top and hangs his head, "Guilty," he answers (in French). Overhearing this confirmation, Lynn comes bounding over to the table to introduce herself. The sight the tanned, young lady perks Henry right up--his posture becomes straight, a trace of a smile cracks his facade, and he lights a cigarette. Ah, cleavage always makes things easier. We ask if we can have our photo taken with him and he obliges, pretending all the while that it's an annoying hassle yet somehow unable to conceal pleasure with his own notoriety. Witnessing our photo session, other tourists begin to crowd around to shake Lincoln's hand and have photos taken with him and I begin to feel sort of bad for having exposed him in the first place. We say "thank you," and walk off toward the restaurant exit. Suddenly, I crack my head extremely hard on the concrete door frame. The world flashes in blue, green and yellow spots and I have to sit down on the curb. I touch a finger to a spot in my hair and it comes back covered with drops of blood. "You're shaking!," Lynn gasps, "Look at your hands!" My hands are indeed trembling uncontrollably. It takes a full five minutes to regain my composure, all the while I'm thinking, "This Rennes place is full of the Devil!"

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    • Historical Travel

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Rennes-le-Château Transportation

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    by GentleSpirit Updated Oct 5, 2013

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    I was staying in Quillan just down the road from Rennes so it was fairly easy. Take the TER bus that runs between Quillan and Carcassone. You will want to get off at Couiza. From there there is no more public transport, you will have to follow the well signposted way to Rennes on foot. Please be aware, its a somewhat steep hike but the beauty of the countryside will make it better.

    It is 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) up from Couiza. If you are on public transport try to come Monday to Friday when the bus service is more frequent.

    You might try hitching a ride if you are walking up the steep road. You can also hire a taxi from Couiza, which may end up being the better option and just hitch a ride back down or walk it

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    • Hiking and Walking
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Rennes-le-Château Local Customs

  • Mary Magdalene and the South of France

    The whole argument that somehow Mary Magdalene ended up in the south of France springs from a very old legend in the South of France. How much of it is fact is hard to fathom frankly.According to the legend three Marys were expelled from Jerusalem about AD 40. They were Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. The second was Mary, sister of Lazarus (the...

  • The Theories around Rennes le Chateau

    Reading about the theories behind the mysteries surrounding Rennes le Chateau sure makes for interesting reading. After all consider:Small town priest suddenly comes upon great wealth, some say from selling masses he never delivered. Others say his wealth came from discovering hidden treasures (Visogoths, Merovingians, Knights Templar) yet at the...

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Rennes-le-Château Warnings and Dangers

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo

    by Kaspian Updated Sep 7, 2012

    It's difficult to issue a warning to travellers when you don't know exactly what the danger is that you're warning about. However, I'll try and explain... It took a lot of contemplation and a very long time after my visit to attempt to put this into words, so please--bear with me?
    Growing up, I was always fascinated by stories of myths, monsters, ghosts, and aliens. Although I was always skeptical (except maybe in the case of aliens), these tales gave me a true sense of wonder and provided endless firewood for my roaring imagination.
    Now, about Rennes-le-Chateau... There's a Latin phrase (sometimes used in magic circles), "obscurum per obscurius, ignotum per ignotius". Translated it literally means, "obscure by the more obscure, the unknown by means of the more unknown". What that means is the explanation of something is even crazier than the crazy thing you're trying to learn about in the first place. Sort of like unwinding an infinite roll of string or trying to bail out the ocean. I think this is something that firmly applies to Rennes.
    I'm generally an unbeliever, but I had intense nightmares about Rennes the night before my visit. When I woke and started to shower, the power to my hotel room cut out for 5 minutes and I was left in pitch darkness in the windowless bathroom. I imagined the town was reaching evil, phantasmal, squid-like tendrils towards me, warning me of danger yet pulling me in at the same time. I didn't listen. We got lost driving on the highway for awhile, but within two hours we were ascending the mountain to Rennes-le-Chateau. Whether it was thin air due to altitude, too many beers drank the night before, or something supernatural I couldn't grasp, while at Rennes-le-Chateau I felt sickly most of the time, out-of sorts the rest, I smashed my head very hard on a concrete doorframe. That last thing drew blood. Bad! (My computer just crashed while writing this--I had to reboot. No, I'm not kidding.)
    Here's another thing: It changed me. Permanently. But I'm not sure how and wish I did. Occasionally I imagine an old Cathar or Visigoth spirit got into me when I wasn't looking and is still rattling around in there a full year later. Whenever I see photos of Rennes now or even read the town's name somewhere, my stomach flips and I swallow hard. They say Rennes is on a ley line--these are specific currents of energy that criss-cross the earth, joining together places of geographical, historical, and spiritual interest. It has something nutty to do with "scared geometry".
    Congratulations on reading this far, you're very patient, aren't you? One of my points is: once you've seen something, you can't un-see it. Once you've read something, you can't un-read it. Do I want to go back to Rennes? Hell, no! Would I go back to Rennes? Absolutely!
    I would really only recommend travelling to Rennes if you're a diehard on the mystery or if you're deeply interested in magic and the occult. Casual observers should just keep driving right on by this place. There's greater things to be seen not too far up the road. Best to stay away, right? Why risk it? After all, even if you don't believe in ouija boards, you wouldn't try and conjure a demon with one, would you? ...Just in case? You probably don't want a prince of hell actually showing up in your living room, growling, and demanding what you woke him up for. ...Besides, he'll burn your curtains!
    So, I think it only fair to write--you could get hurt spiritually here. You could get hurt psychologically. Physically, maybe even. ...Or you could be fine.

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Rennes-le-Château Off The Beaten Path

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    Chateau de Blanchefort

    by Stargher Written Jul 18, 2004

    " This 'château' - from the size of its ruins it was more probably just a watchtower or outpost - is linked with the mystery because of the frequent appearance of the name. The Hautpouls, for example, were granted the title of Marquis de Blanchefort.

    The origins and history of this 'chateau' are unknown. Many believe it was destroyed during the Albigensian (anti-Cathar) Crusade.

    There were once gold mines in that area - giving rise to legends of a fabulous treasure guarded by the devil - and Pierre Plantard bought land nearby." (text from

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Adventure Travel

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Rennes-le-Château Favorites

  • by ferhatkanarya Written May 19, 2008

    Favorite thing: The Holy Grail

    Fondest memory: Hello ,

    I solved Berenger Sauniere's secret. I explained my solution at my website

    Berenger Sauniere found the third scroll and kept it at the church of St. Madeleine.

    Berenger Sauniere knew where is hidden the Holy Grail. He learned this information by third scroll.


    Ferhat Kanarya
    Quest Finished. Where is the Holy Grail Hidden

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