Rennes-le-Château is like an eagle's nest, an isolated village on a rocky spur towering above the Upper Aude Valley, 50km south of Carcassonne. The winding road leads to houses snuggled around a château and there it ends! This tiny village may only have a population of 72 but it's world famous. Let's dive into a village packed with stories and legends!

Stories, secrets and legends at Rennes-le-Château

A weird old past is what has given Rennes-le-Château the force of attraction that makes it so fascinating. There were some pretty strange things happening a hundred years ago in this village that the world forgot.

Le domaine de l'abbé Saunière à Rennes le Château © Raphaël Kann

It isn’t just Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (the book is full of allusions to Rennes-le-Château without ever actually mentioning its name) that brings thousands of people to Rennes-le-Château.

le diable dans l'église de Rennes le Château ©Sandra Fastre, ADT de l'Aude

See another side to it!

If you’re looking for a quirky dramatic guided tour or a treasure hunt then get in touch with Stéphanie at Légendes d’Oc’, a local tour guide and expert.

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The mystery of the abbot

Abbot Béranger Saunière took over the poor village’s alms purse in 1885 and in a church pillar he found a parchment which would have turned the world upside down if it were to become public knowledge. The Vatican threw money at the priest to silence him. Legend has it that he found treasure: Templar treasure, Cathar treasure or even the Ark of the Covenant from the Temple of Jerusalem. Some say he was an impostor who pocketed wads of cash that worshippers gave during collections at mass. But one thing’s for sure: the abbot had a huge amount of money and nobody knows where he got it from. He took his secret to the grave when he died in 1917.

Tour Magdalla dans le domaine de l'abbé Saunière à Rennes le Château © Raphaël Kann
L'église de Rennes le Château garde ses mystères © Raphael Kann

The mystery continues... 

Rennes le Château has been a favourite among mystery lovers ever since.
The village became famous in the early 50s when a businessman who owned a hotel and restaurant in the village started the rumour that the abbot’s hidden treasure was worth millions to attract customers. He said he’d seen chests filled with gold ingots in the village and a gold rush ensued.
The hunt for buried treasure may have calmed down but the flocks of visitors to Rennes-le-Château have kept coming… and the mystery continues!


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Chapelle privée de l'abbé Saunière à Rennes le Château © Raphaël Kann
Découverte du domaine de l'abbé Saunière à Rennes le Château © Raphaël Kann

An eerie estate...

The beautiful estate that the abbot had built is now open to visitors: Villa Bethania was a presbytery but is now a museum with grounds, the crenellated Magdala Tower housing a library, wall walk, orangery… And the strange church nearby.
It’s an unnerving place where a statue of the demon Asmodeus greets visitors!

The village is home to several bookshops and gift shops where you can pick up all kinds of books and items of varying esoteric interest.
The history of Rennes le Château began over a thousand years ago. But it’s far from over…

Getting here

By car

To get to Rennes le Chateau, drive south for 1 hour on the D118 from Carcassonne. On your way, Limoux, the capital of Blanquette

Get directions :

On site


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Sharing the road

Find out more about car-pool parking spaces here