A look again at the Early Researchers of Rennes-le-Chateau ​

There are two different strands of 'stories' that make up the modern 'mystery' about Rennes-le-Château. The first 'strand' began to be disseminated prior to the 1950's. The second strand was essentially developed later in the 1950's and 1960's. This led to the famous book, HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL, in which both strands were then entwined and brought to a much wider audience. By this time the story had taken on the proportions of a masterful conspiracy and not just an isolated village affair. 

Some researchers feel there is a vast gap in the details between the two developments. One French researcher [Philemon - see HERE] has described the gap thus:

".... [Sauniere, was originally] a priest who found a treasure and who lived like a sybarite - these were the first testimonies of Charroux in 1958, Salamon and Noel Corbu  ... essentially therefore [the story] was a simple treasure [story] of history ...... [but] later the story ends up an historical epic starring a Machiavellian priest handling Parisian occult societies, scrolls decoded in Paris by "some linguists", the involvement of world-famous artists, for example, Emma Calvet and others, encoded stones that will lead later to encrypted parchments, a Templar alphabet and erased epitaphs ........"

Philemon legitimately asks; "What happened between these two stories, between these two scenarios ... especially as the second version of the story will be taken over by a "dream team" that will reach world fame!"

        When one looks carefully however there does appear only one source. This source had private family information and access to the archives of a long lived noble family of the area and to which the ingredients suggested a buried treasure in the region. To be more precise the information revolved around an alleged 10th century document that said "the raised stone of Pontils look[s] at the attics [granaries?] and the cellars of the king" ["La pierre levée des Pontils regarde aux greniers et aux caves du roi"]. This raised stone is a Menhir on the commune of Peyrolles, which is also called "Pontils". This [real] Menhir is not mentioned by Boudet in his book about his [imaginary] Menhirs of the area, La Vrai Langue Celtique.  This raised stone  has other names  - "Peiro lébado", "Pierre levée", "Pierre Druidique", "La Pierre-Droite", "Peyro Dreyto". It is found on the way to Arques after having crossed the village of Serres then the Pontils bridge, between Pontils and Pébrières. One then takes the dirt road on the other side of the road (left side). After 350 meters, on the right of this path, stands the inclined menhir. 

       The name Peyrolles derives from the Occitan word "peyre" which comes from the Latin "petra": stone, and the etymology of the village name of Peyrolles is therefore the place of stones, or the rocky place. Since the year 1869 the menhir de Peyrolles has been mentioned as a druidic monument: it is undoubtedly this stone, near the village, which gave it its name: it is even probable, that in the 9th century, there were other menhirs in this region, because the oldest name of the place is village is petrolis, that is to say village of straight stones       The historian Louis Fèdiè  in his "Le Comte de Razes" wrote that there was thought to be a cavity close to the menhir at Pontils, a natural cave or perhaps one formed and carved out by man. He wrote that this standing stone exists in the territory of the municipality of Peyrolles and is shaped like a truncated obelisk and slightly inclined. It measures about 2 m 85 cm, and its circumference is 2m. He said "We must mention a circumstance which has greatly impressed us. Around and almost at the base of the monument, the ground seems firm and topped with inlaid stones, and presents a singular phenomenon.  It sounds hollow under horses' feet, as if the rider has passed over a vault. Is it near a Celtic stone cave carved by nature? Or is it the hand of the man who searched on this and dug a cavity of a certain size?" Fèdiè also thought that the locality of Peyrolles, which is the name of the commune that Les Pontils and its vicinity are located on, stemmed from a barbaric Latin term Peyra Olla signifying 'stone funeral urn'.  Pierre Jarnac thought that the name was formed from the two words "Peire ola" meaning "tomb stone".  If true this may suggest a funerary and sacred tradition anciently associated with the place.

          According to another observer, Monsieur SICARD in 1926, he said [in regards to the  stone]: "The ground resonates under foot around the monument and it is said that a fairly wide cavity or excavation exists underground."


       "It is claimed that a vast excavation exists under the monument, the earth resonant hollow at the foot of the megalith". (abbe ANCE) 

           And again, according to Monsieur Mazieres: "M. Courtejaire had established that there, where can be seen the raised stone of Les Pontils, near the village of Arques, hence north-east of Rennes-le-Chateau, there is a fault. By deduction, he was persuaded that in this place there was an ancient Iberian-Gallic temple, volque and perhaps with caches...".

          Why does Maziere report Courtejaire as coming up with the idea of an ancient underground Iberian-Gallic Temple in the place by the stone of Pontils? A rudimentary internet search brought up one other reference to him:

"What I mean is that the temple ...... was underground, windowless and therefore easily concealable and hard to find. Courtejaire knew of Ernest Cros (polytechnician), who Berenger Sauniere [had] known and who Cros had criticised for his archaeological destruction ...., which is not surprising ... Indeed, Joseph Courtejaire (a future professor at the University of Toulouse) had known in his adolescence the old Ernest Cros who communicated to him certain confidences. 

This led him to study the ground [by the Menhir, as directed by Cros?] where was planted the only menhir of the region: the menhir of Peyrolles. He [Courtejaire] discovered a fault near the site. No one will know what he saw because he was convinced of the existence in this place a Gallic temple of the Volques Tectosages - whose structure - [was of the] Ibero Gauls? Obviously he could not know what it was exactly. The "chance" he wanted all his life [?to investigate] never happened as he died early and his research "fell into oblivion".

Anyway we must remember that the plant biology Professor who through his expertise supplied often much more information than a geological study. The growth and distribution of plant species from either side of the "lip" of a geological fault and the trained eye of a botanist allowed him to discover the most secret recesses of the land". [See HERE].

Researcher Patrick Mensior added further information about Courtejaire. "In his 1985 book, Pierre Jarnac establishes a kinship link between Joseph Courtejaire and Ernest Cros without, however, specifying its nature:

"but he (Ernest Cros) was also related to the Courtejaire family of Quillan".

It is then rumour that will concretise this link by claiming that the two men, having each married one of the two Lassave sisters, were brothers-in-law. Ernest Cros was born in 1857 (died in 1946) while Joseph Courtejaire was born in 1932 (died in 1966) and so there is, between these two births, a gap of seventy-five years! Even if, in the most favourable hypothesis, the first, Ernest Cros, at the age of twenty-three, had married Christine Lassave, a few years younger, and the second, Joseph Courtejaire, Octavie, the sister of Christine, who would have been much older than her husband, the age difference between the so-called sisters would be such that their relationship is made impossible; and, de facto, the one by marriage falsely established between Ernest Cros and Joseph Courtejaire! If there is a relationship between these, therefore, which is still to be proved, it is certainly not of this nature! On this point, in April 2009, I questioned Mrs Sylvestre, former teacher, now retired, who taught in Quillan. She knew Joseph Courtejaire very well and was greatly astonished by this supposed family relationship that I shared with her"Was his family related to Mr. Cros and Ms. Lassave? I do not believe that. She replied".

Joseph Courtejaire was born in Quillan on March 1st, 1932 in to a very honourable family: his grandfather, Casimir Courtejaire, presided in 1889 the Society of Arts and Sciences of Carcassonne; his father, Émile Courtejaire, created in 1936 the fire brigade centre which today bears his name; his mother Marie-Louise Bourrel is the sister of Antoine Bourrel to whom we owe several documents including the geographical and historical monograph "Quillan Aude". Joseph Courtejaire had a degree in science, a post-graduate degree in botany, he was a member of the C.N.R.S, a botanist-bryologist and a French specialist in the sphagnum group, these very particular foams. He is the author of a thesis on the peat bogs of the Sault Plateau. He was the correspondent of the universities of Paris, Rennes, Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon, Bordeaux, Dublin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Gdansk, Saigon, Ottawa, Wroclaw, Barcelona, Hiroshima, Philadelphia. His many writings were published in various scientific journals: The world of plants, the bryological and lichenological review of the Paris museum, the newsletter of the Natural History Society of Toulouse and Brittany and also in foreign journals such as Bryological Review. 

Joseph Courtejaire was also interested in history and published many studies including in the memoires of the learned society of Carcassonne: on the priest Felix Armand, Mgr de la Cropte de Chantérac, on the grievances of the Third Estate of Senechaussee of Limoux. In 1962, he studied Roman penetration in the upper Aude valley and the Puivert basin. Joseph Courtejaire was also very involved in the life of his community, Quillan, where he was elected to the City Council twice, in 1959 and in 1965. In 1964, he applied for the office of County Councilor of Quillan Township, opposing the outgoing Georges Casenove. On his sudden death on February 6, 1966, in his thirty-fourth year, he was deputy mayor. His six years in the minority of the Quillanais Municipal Council had inspired him with these reflections:

"I know that one of the democratic rules is the law of the majority, but I know, it has never been that of an ostracism close to a minority group. When it comes to local affairs, it is good to be surrounded by constructive advice. No one group has ever been the permanent custodian of real and effective solutions". 

In 1959, accompanied by the president of the Society of Arts and Sciences of Carcassonne, Mgr Georges Boyer, Joseph Courtejaire went to Sabadell to attend the Franco-Spanish ceremonies where a plaque recalling the memory of the the life and death of Monseigneur de la Cropte de Chantérac, the last bishop of Alet, was erected. This visit gave rise to two reports published on pages 153 to 163 of Volume III, 4th Series, Memoires of the Society of Arts and Sciences of Carcassonne". [see HERE]. 

     Another French researcher - Hercule Navarrau-Arsa threw more light on the matter writing that: "René Chesa, in a letter of 21 April 1967, and the Abbe René-Maurice Mazières, said that the famous "Ernest Cros Report" was written by Mr. Joseph Courtejaire, a resident of the Upper Valley - who was professor of Science Faculty of Toulouse and member of the SESA of carcassonne. Mr. Joseph Courtejaire died unmarried, in December 1965..."

     The famous local priest HENRI BOUDET described in his The True Celtic Language that a "Peyre-Hole" [but really homophonic with Peyrolles, ie can be pronounced same but has a different spelling/meaning] meaning a hollow, cave, or small house - came from the English language and would mean "Pierre de Trou". Pierre de Trou is a 'stone with a hole, hole stone/cavitie.' Using the same principle of his invention BOUDET informs us that a small cave or cavern exists quite close to the menhirs of the Cajole  - "Fadge-Hole". Then Boudet dedicates chapter IV of his book to PIERRE DE TROU OU HACHE CELTIQUE. He writes; "The polished stone, called the Celtic ax, made of jade, serpentine or diorite, affects various forms. The Languedoc dialect calls it "pierre de trou", which represents what it is necessary to believe, that is to say, the necessary teachings inscribed in large raised stones - to trow (trô), believe -. " 

"it preserves lightning" 

"The polished stones found in abundance in the cromleck of Rennes-les-Bains and deposited in the Museum of Narbonne, are generally made of jade

"We have in our possession a flint fourteen centimeters long and three centimeters wide, with many serrations at the edges, found in the grounds of the Haum-moor, near the site of an old Gallic house. This is not, for us, a pierre de Trou

"It is quite possible that the religious idea attached to the pierre de Trou also affected the simple flint cut, which on its side, would have still represented in mind the essential religious beliefs." 

"Our polished jade stones, excellently deserved the name of Pierre de Trou or Stones of Belief

"The Celts would not always have in all countries, before their eyes, the great stones raised to excite their will to gratitude to the Creator, to bring them to ask and thank, while the pierre de Trou, of an easy wearing, warned them persistently of the religious duties to be fulfilled." 

"The presence of flint and polished stones in the tombs of the Celts, fully confirms the religious idea attached to the pierres de Trou." 

     For Boudet then, Peyr-olles is Pierre de Trou - which represents what is necessary to believe and is inscribed in large raised stones. What about this strange [raised] "stone" associated with a "hole" and in which Boudet invites us to believe? 

The "tomb of the Pontils" 

Before the French Revolution the Pontils fief was owned by the Joyeuse family - as recorded in the dictionary published by Sabarthèse. The Joyeuse family are also linked to the tomb at Arques, which usually refers to the famous tomb 'of Poussin' at Pontils! Before the Joyeuse family the land was owned by the ancient Aniort family [The Niort family, formerly d'Aniort, is an ancient noble lineage of Languedoc, strongly involved in the Albigensian Crusade in the 13th century. It has been divided into several branches, including: 

  • that of the "Barons of Niort", which acquired part of the seigneury of Niort at the beginning of the 16th century, and was maintained in its nobility in 1669 and 1670 on evidence dating back to 1550. In particular, allied with the families of Raynaud, Saint-Martin, Nègre d'Able, Marsol, etc.
  • that of the "Barons of Bélesta", maintained in its nobility in 1699 and extinct at the beginning of the 19th century, which provided several officers, especially within the Artois regiment, decorated with the cross of Saint-Louis, and which allied itself with the families of Argiot, Arsse, Gléon-Durban, Bruyères-Chalabre, Dax d'Axat, Cazamajour, etc].

The very earliest researchers into Rennes worked with the person who was the source of the above mentioned famous 10th century document associated with the menhir of Pontils and built further upon it via their own research. The original source was Yves Maraval. A second important source is the Abbé Maurice Mazieres - who had access to a lot of information from Maraval. Maziere himself appears to have been a well liked and repsected individual. He was born in Perpignan on February 8th 1909, the son of an officer to the Inspectorate of Finance. He studied later at the Faculty of Arts of Montpellier and was said to be "an accomplished philosopher" and on 1 June 1959 he became the President of the Society of Arts and Sciences of Carcassonne. He exercised his ministry in various parishes of the diocese: he was Vicar at St. Paul of Narbonne in 1935, responsible for Donazac in 1938, curate of St. Michael of Carcassonne in 1939, Vicar in Quillan in 1940, pastor of Pezens in 1954, priest in Rouvenac 1955, chaplain of the Institution Jean d'Arc of Castelnaudary in 1958 and pastor of  Villesèquelande in 1959. 

So who was Maraval?

       There is little information about Yves Maraval. He was the descendant of Fondi de Niort and not actually the ancient Aniort family as he always specified. The Negre families of Le Clat and Marconis de Negre de Montauban were distant cousins of his. He was once co-owner of the castle of Niort where sometimes he spent the summers with members of his family. It was in the archives of the castle of Niort that he found some documents, probably related to the case of Rennes-le-Chateau. It was he who introduced in the early sixties a document representing a plan of Rennes. As he liked to say, his knowledge of the case was essentially based on family stories and traditions. He firmly believed that the much sought-after treasure was that of the kingdom of Mallorca.

        Yves was from the family of François-Dominique Fonds, a family originally from Limoux. The original family name was Fonds, which was only changed in the eighteenth century against that of Fondi. The family is probably from a branch, detached at an unknown time, of the Fonds-Lamothe family of the same region. 

       Jacques Fonds was born in Limoux in 1602 & was consul of this city in 1653 and died in 1678. From his first marriage with Marguerite Baldine, he had a son Antoine Fonds (1625-1667) who married Catherine Barrau, of the branch of the family of Niort. Antoine Fonds and Catherine Barrau had a son: François Dominique Fonds born  in 1657 who married Jeanne Marie Doumières. They gave birth to six children, including Jean Jacques Fonds, baptized on January 21, 1681 in the Saint-Martin church of Limoux. Jean Jacques Fonds, a merchant, married June 1, 1723 in Limoux, Anne Catherine Andrieu born in 1695, daughter of Martin Andrieu. They had three children, including François Dominique Fonds, baptized on June 30, 1729. François Dominique was later a member of the departmental directorate of Aude. He married on 1 August 1753 in Limoux, Antoinette Astruc. They had six children. It is this François Dominique Fonds who acquired on September 15, 1756 the seigniory of Niort:  in 1756, this noble stronghold of the lordship of Niort belonged to Marie de Nègre d'Able, widow of Messire François d'Hautpoul-Blanchefort, lord and baron of Rennes-le-Château. The rights over the seigniory of Niort passed by deeds of sale on September 15, 1756 and in 1757 from Marie de Nègre d'Able and the Casemajou family [we remember here also that Berenger Sauniere's father was steward of the Casemajou family], to Dominique Fonds, co-seigneur of the town of Limoux.

      François Dominique had with his wife twelve children, among whom were known under the name of Fondi de Niort. On July 2, 1907, the bishop of Carcassonne celebrated the religious marriage between Marie Antoinette Fondi de Niort and Joseph Maraval when the civil marriage had not taken place, an offence punishable under Article 199 of the Penal Code. Our interests lie in the fact that the bishop who married these two was none other than the persecutor of Berenger Sauniere, Bishop Beausejour. Beausejour was indeed a very good friend of the Maraval family. 

We have seen that by her wedding to Francis of Haupoul, in November 1732, Marie de Nègre had brought a dowry to her husband which was the chateau of Niort. When her husband died Marie, as a widow experienced a very difficult financial period. Therefore in 1756, Marie decided to sell the lordship of Niort to François-Dominique Fonds as we saw above.  All of the securities and documents of the family of Aniort [which had remained for many centuries in the chateau Aniort) were moved to the castle of Rennes, in 1732, with the wedding of Marie. Twenty-four years later in 1756, when François-Dominique had bought the lordship, the same archives of the Negre family and those of the Aniorts fell into the hands of Fondi who then added their own archives and the Niort name. Since 1910, these records were to be found in the hands of the Maraval family, because Yves Maraval's father had married a daughter of Marcian Fondi de Niort.  

The persecutor of Sauniere, responsible for the accusation of mass-trafficking and arbiter of his final downfall was Monseigneur Beauséjour. Monseigneur Beauséjour had close associations with Marcian Fondi de Niort, a descendant of François Dominique Fonds. François as we have seen bought the lordship of Aniort from Marie de Nègre and it is from her that the mystery of Rennes begins, particularly with her tombstone. Her epitaph/tombstone is said to have been reproduced by members of a local scientific society [SESA - Society for the Scientific Studies of the Aude] who visited the Rennes cemetery on June 25th (or 24th) 1905 and reported their findings in the 1906 issue of their annual bulletin. 

Monseigneur Beauséjour and Marcian Fondi de Niort spent every summer together in the home of Fondi de Niort at his large chateau in Niort. Monseigneur Beauséjour & Fondi discussed many things, including what was happening on the hill of Rennes-le-Château. Years later Yves Maraval will suggest [from his family knowledge] that Beauséjour went after Saunière to find out his 'secret'. Confronted with the luxurious lifestyle of the priest of Rennes, Mgr de Beauséjour will ask him for accounts and explanations of the source of his income. Bérenger Saunière will refuse to provide the slightest detail as to how he supports his lifestyle, and this was enough to annoy the bishop. Because of the insolent attitude of the priest, Beauséjour brings Saunière to trial for mass trafficking which Maraval affirmed was only a pretext for Beausejour to see more clearly what was going on. Bishop Beauséjour was said to have even confided to Marcian that "... this accusation of mass trafficking is illusory". The remark is very clear. Bishop de Beausejour obviously suspected something else and the mass trafficking charge was a smoke screen to hide something else. This seems to make sense. Why? Because mass-trafficking seemed to be common among Catholic priests [see HERE] and yet none were ever enveloped in the mystery that Sauniere was. 

          Marcian Fondi de Niort himself was described as a royalist. This would put him on a par with other local nobles in the Aude area and other well to do families who supported the royalist cause such as the family of Sauniere.  In theory Fondi de Niort would have had much in common with the Sauniere family. And in fact the parish priest of Rennes regularly paid Mr. Fondi money to subsidize l'Action française [or the royalist committee of Aude]. We can see Saunière was certainly a man of the church but also a convinced royalist who used the principles and means of the world to support the royalist cause.  

          During his election campaign to become Councillor of the Aude, Fondi de Niort held two meetings in a row, one in Espéraza and the other in Rennes-les-Bains as shown in the Courrier de l'Aude of September 12th, 1889. At Rennes-les-Bains, the meeting took place at the grand cafe of the Hotel de la Reine. For this public meeting, 400 voters had made the trip to hear Fondi de Niort. On that occasion, Mr Teisseyre was appointed President and MM.Raynaud of Couiza and Coll of Limoux Vice-presidents ... Mr. Coll was one of the 3 partners who acquired the property (baths, land and house) from the daughters of Henri de Fleury [at Rennes-les-Bains] at the time of the auction at the court of Limoux. The other partners were Mr. Armand Bories (the person who advised Mr. Henri Rouzaud to meet Abbé Boudet in 1910) and Mr. Satgé. During the rally at Rennes-les-Bains, Mr. Fondi de Niort attacked his opponent who was Mr. Beaumetz-Dujardin, an intimate of Sauniere and who certainly visited him at Rennes-le-Chateau [as an aside, it is interesting to note that Beaumetz-Dujardin was related to the Maraval family. He married Marie Petiet who descended from Jean Maraval, Maitre Maréchal 1610-1655 who died  9 march 1655. Beaumetz-Dujardin was in fact a related by marriage to Joseph Maraval]. 

        All these figures weave in and out of the stories associated with Sauniere and the priest at Rennes-les-Bains, Henri Boudet.

The Tradition of a Treasure...

Sauniere carried out activities which certainly is suggestive of him searching for something. The facts are as follows;

Beginning in 1891 Sauniere approaches the town council to close off the square in front of the church and cemetery.

• He wants to build religious furniture and lay flower-beds here (however he doesn’t do this til 1894 -1897).

• the local Council agrees to his request after public consultation.• Sauniere then appropriates 500m2 of space in front of the church and cemetery. He controls access to this area for 300 days of the year. Why? To excavate? Sauniere certainly excavates here and in the cemetery.

• Sauniere moves the worship of the Virgin Mary to outside the church. Originally inside the church, there was an altar to the Virgin not far from the place of the original pulpit. This was referred to by Leuillieux in 1876.• There are concealed recesses here (Sauniere built these) with staircases - the size of which matches the exact size of the original altar of the Virgin (58cm x 200cm)

• The accounts of the lifting of this altar is where researcher Paul Saussez thinks is the root of the eyewitness descriptions (‘I saw a pot with shiny glinty objects ..’) of the workers with Sauniere when they raised the slab. They saw the glinting objects under the the stone slab when it was removed. Sauniere says to his workers these are worthless medallions from Lourdes, cementing the connection with the Virgin altar.

• The stone slab raised at this altar marked an entrance passage. Sauniere puts temporary floorboards down here. At the opposite end of the church he builds the Secret Room. Steps down from this second entry passage are later found by Cholet. [courtesy Paul Saussez]


There was already an entrance on the south side of the Church wall. It was the private entrance used by the Lords of Rennes. It was called the ‘Gate of the Lords’

• Eyewitness accounts of a phial seen in an old baluster had an old parchment in it. This baluster was an architectural feature holding up two arches at the side of the church.

• Saussez: this paper most certainly the work of Bigou. Did it reveal the Tomb of the Lords and it's entrance?

• Parish register found among the papers of the late Sauniere which referred to this tomb of the Lords.

• Discovery of a tomb on 21/9/1891 - does it relate to this tomb of the Lords? [The discovery seems to culminate at the end of all the actions of controlling access to the church and cemetery and after he had been digging around in the cemetery and church etc]. Sauniere then leaves for a retreat, sees various other priests, returns from retreat and after a visit from 4 unknown colleagues begins new work with new Masons. One of those Sauniere consulted was Carriere (a doctor from Limoux) who’s cousin was Abbe Lassere of Alet, and who was personal doctor of Count Chambord. The donation of 3000 gold francs from Chambord went through Carriere. Others he consulted were Gelis and Cros. [courtesy Paul Saussez].

     Later on Abbé Mazières, an historian of the Aude, confirmed that he had received information from the archives held by Yves Maraval, dating from the tenth century, about a  document which said that "la pierre levee de Pontils regarde des attics et aux caves du roi". This phraseology has links to the enigma of the tombstone of Marie de Nègre which we will look at below. Marie's tombstone is mainly associated with Sauniere either looking for it in the cemetery or erasing its details so no others could read its contents after him. As recent French researchers have suggested, lots of unknown information is found within private family archives, which means the Maraval information could indeed be helpful in finding out what happened at Rennes-le-Chateau at the turn of the last century. 
           Corbu himself certainly benefited from this information, as well as from the Sauniere archives that he inherited.  The information Corbu knew, much later, culminated in the stories that Plantard et al later elaborated on. One thing we should say though, is that the 'bridge' connecting the two strands of stories cannot have been Pierre Plantard.

Plantard arrived on the scene relatively late, say the mid to late 60's, notwithstanding the observations made by Rene Descadeillas. Descadeillas, Librarian at the Municipal Library of Carcassonne and President of the Society of Arts and Sciences of Carcassonne [in 1957] investigated the 'matter of Rennes' and discovered that;

"in the last years of his life, Abbe Joeseph Courtauly, [Courtauly died in his castle in Villarzel-du-Razès which he owned the chateau, at the age of 71 (1890-1964),- in 1908, at the age of eighteen, he spent two months with Abbé Saunière, in Rennes-le-Château, with his help, he made a small painting in the church of Rennes - my addition] when he was taking the waters at Rennes-les-Bains, frequently met a strange person who, from the end of the 1950's, was often seen prowling about in those parts. This man lived in Paris. He had no connections and no known relatives in the area. He was a difficult fellow to place .....drab, secretive, cunning, with the gift of the gab ......people asked for the reason of his visits, because he turned up unexpectedly even in winter. They also speculated about his interest in archaeological and natural sights, because he was not an intellectual ....he used to go around surveying the area and inquiring about the origin of properties. He would set his heart on scrub land or abandoned ground which did not interest anyone."

Descadeillas does not name this person  - the most he will say is that this strange figure, he thought, was the same person who wrote the Lobineau Papers. If Descadeillas is right then this was probably Plantard, present in the area of the two Rennes around 1958 to 1959. Not so far-fetched perhaps - had Plantard read the newspaper reports of Saunière in the La Dépêche de Midi from January 1956 and decided to investigate for himself? 

      In 1944 Noel Corbu, along with his wife and two children moved to Bugarach. It was the local schoolmaster at Bugarach who told Corbu about the story of Saunière. Gossip regarding Saunière and a treasure had obviously reached Bugarach. Corbu visits Rennes and his family become friendly with Denarnaud. Denarnaud later told Corbu 'When i die you will be very rich ....!". 

In 1946 Marie Dénarnaud bequeathed Saunière’s Estate by Holographic Will to Noël and Henriette Corbu and in 1953 on January 29 Marie Dénarnaud died aged 85. Noël Corbu then inherits her archives relating to Bérenger Saunière. In 1954 Noël Corbu temporarily becomes a member of the Société d’Ètudes Scientifiques de l’Aude. And in 1955 Noël Corbu transforms the Villa Béthanie into a restaurant called the Hotel de La Tour. 

In 1956 on 12th, 13th &  14th of January Albert Salamon’s series of articles entitled ‘The Fabulous Discovery of The Millionaire Priest of Rennes-le-Château’ appear in La Dépêche de Midi. This, most people assert, is the origin of the myth of Rennes-le-Château involving Noël Corbu, who claimed for the first time (12th January) that, while the old Church altar was being dismantled “one of the old pillars of the altar providentially revealed a hole, from where slipped some tubes of hollow wood containing parchments written in Latin”. Noël Corbu also claimed (14th January) that Bérenger Saunière had “thanks to the parchments falling into his hands…discovered the famous treasure of Blanche of Castile, a royal treasure equivalent now to a minimum of 50 billion francs, since it comprises in part 18,500,000 francs in gold pieces, which at the very least is worth at the present time, in view of its historic and archaeological value, more than 400 million francs.

These very earliest articles on the Saunière 'mystery' report various facts regarding the story as it was then:

1] After the parchments in Latin had been found, the works [i.e. the redecoration and renovation of the church] were immediately stopped, only to be re-started some time later by Saunière himself. 

2] The articles imply that the parchments found gave the location of the 'treasure'.

3] Corbu felt that the mysterious travels Saunière undertook in Belgium, Spain and Switzerland were to 'dispose of the coins that he had melted down!'

4] Corbu confirms that at the time of the articles being published in the paper, the hotel at Rennes was full of people who were actively already looking for the treasure. He said that Rennes had already yielded 'besides treasure, some little bits of incalculable archaeological riches ....such as, from the Visigothic period, an engagement ring of a princess'! How had these people found out about Rennes-le-Chateau if it wasn't via these articles in the paper - because they had not been published yet? How did Corbu know it was a Visigothic ring, and further more, that it belonged to a Princess? And furthermore, does he want us to believe it was a Visigothic princess?

5] The journalist Salamon also wrote that he had 'heard from reliable sources that excavations connected with archaeology have been made at Rennes-le-Chateau and have already led to the discovery of certain pointers promising good results. Rennes, having been a large Visigothic fortress with buried treasure, there is a strong chance that the Cathar treasure, including the famous Holy Grail, was taken there!"

What or who were these 'reliable sources' in 1956 that Salamon claimed were already undertaking excavations? Perhaps Saunière himself? After all Saunière wrote this himself on his published postcards - RENNES-LE-CHATEAU has its origins in the garrison town of Rhedae, which was home to approximately 30,000 people and which was founded in the 5th century by the Visigoths on the plateau extending south-eastwards which lies at the foot of the present-day village. It was the capital of the huge territory known as Rhedez, which was destroyed in 1170 by the army of the King of Aragon.

In March 1956 Dr André Malacan obtained permission from the necessary authorities to conduct the first official archaeological excavation of the church of St Mary Magdalene in Rennes-le-Château. The “excavators” start by “thoroughly examining the subsoil of the church”. Once “the tiling had been properly removed” they come across “a crumbly layer of soil where, at a depth of about one metre, in a layer of lime, there still [lay] some bones”. But, “besides this burial” – the location of which is not specified – they do not discover “anything [...] worthy of interest”. [Descadeillas, Mythologie du Trésor, 1974]. This was where Malacan found a skull marked with a groove – a “ritual” groove according to its discoverer. You can read an update about this skull HERE.

In 1958 Robert Charroux, founder of Club des Chercheurs du Trésors in 1951, with his wife Yvette, also unsuccessfully scanned Rennes-le-Château for gold and jewels using a metal-detector; they were joined by the actress Denise Carvenne. Visitors included the dancer and actress Lycette Darsonval (Alice Andrée Marie Perron, 1912-1996) and artist Jean Raffy Le Persan (1920-2008). Pendulum enthusiast and hypnotist Rolland Domergue with medium Germaine Goyard also soon appeared on the scene hoping to find evidence of the treasure discovered by Bérenger Saunière. 

Here one begins to see the first bricks of the 'invisible' bridge between the two strands of the incredible story of Sauniere!

One researcher has rather fascinatingly discovered that Robert Charroux, as founder of the group Club of Researchers, had appointed as Honorary President of the group a man going by the name of Henry de Monfreid. This Henry knew the infamous Ernest Cros [we mentioned him above as knowing Joseph Courtjaire], the engineer who allegedly wrote the Cros report, a document that appeared on the scene at Rennes around about 1960, if not earlier. [It had appeared earlier if not in name certainly by the contents! See link above for more information from Philemon].

Is this the beginning of the story of Sauniere branching in two distinct directions? It certainly looks that way. The names already known to early Rennes researchers, which are somehow mysteriously connected with this Cros Report are Abbé Mazières, Ernest Cros, Corbu and even Maraval and Charroux. Who indeed wrote the Cros report? Was it Cros himself, or was it Maziere or even Maraval?  

Whatever was happening, another early excavator at Rennes was Jacques Cholet. He was descended from the Aumary-Monfort family and it is said he was also working from private family archives. He was apparently descended from the famous Simon de Montfort, who bequeathed the Rennes area to Pierre de Voisins after the Albigensian Crusade. Between 1959-1963, Cholet undertook official excavations in the church of Rennes-le-Château, where he found some remains of steps ... the old entrance to the Gate of the Lords. Extracts of the report Cholet compiled regarding the excavation show Cholet recounting the stories about Sauniere as he had heard it, but rather strangely this Report appeared much later after the death of Cholet:

One morning the old bell-ringer, while performing his duties, was almost hit on the head by a piece of wood that had fallen from the belfry. He kicked it inside and continued ringing the Angelus. That evening he came across the piece of wood again and, out of curiosity, picked it up and found it rather light for its size. Looking at it more closely he found that it was hollow and that it contained some ferns. Inside the ferns he found a parchment wrapped around a bone. The text on this parchment was written in Latin” 


One day a lady, who was both pious and quite rich, said that she thought it was unseemly that people were continuing to say Mass (in this beautiful church restored to new condition) on such an old altar. With the agreement of the curé and without any regard for archaeology, she had the old altar, which dated from the Carolingian period, or perhaps even from that of the Visigoths, demolished and had it replaced with the one that is there now. Once again there was a ‘find’: in one of the pillars which held up the heavy altar slab the workmen found three parchments which the non-juring curé of the time[Abbé Antoine Bigou] of the Convention had hidden there. This time the translation was an easier task. It is thanks to the first two parchments that we know what we have written above about the local history of the region. The contents of the third parchment were not divulged, but Curé Saunière's subsequent conduct is a clear indication of its content. He asked some workmen who were busy building the conservatory at that time to come into the church with their shovels and pickaxes. He made them dig behind the altar and soon there appeared the neck of an earthenware jar. He wanted to continue on his own: he had just found the secret hiding-place of the curé who had fled to Spain. It was in this earthenware jar that he found the magnificent ciborium which he offered to the canon of St. Paul de Fenouillet [Abbé Eugène Grassaud] to thank him for having pleaded his cause before the court in Rome”.

Rolland Domergue, also the excavation partner of Jacques Cholet, discovered a forged parchment in a well dated “25 June 1249” and ascribed to Brother Dominic de Mirepoix – a hoax perpetrated by unknown villagers using a page from a 17th century book, with enigmatic words in Chinese ink added, placed in a bottle dating from Saunière’s time. Even this parchment has become muddled in later history, as we shall see! [See HERE]. It has also been mixed with the infamous Maraval document with a determined effort to merge the two, but in actual fact they are really quite separate! 

In April of 1962 Robert Charroux appears on the scene again, publishing Trésors du Monde enterrées, emmurés, engloutis (Éditions Fayard 1962). In July of the same year, under the name of Club des Chercheurs de Trésors there takes place at Rennes-le-Château a recording for the radio program France -Inter, led by Robert Arnaut and Robert Charroux. The book Charroux publishes in April 1962 does not mention the infamous Cros Report but in July 1962, only three months later, the Cros Report is being mentioned! Cros was the name of a local railway engineer, who lent his name [to the report] from its very first appearance. Extracts of the report are given on a radio show. Following the show, the newspaper La Depeche du Midi, which attended the same recording, published on August 1, a short text recounting this radio adventure. The paper reiterated an appeal - launched to the Parisian audience by Charroux - to try to find two stones identified in the report. 

There is some confusion over when the Cros Report was first referred to. The point is moot - because if those early researchers were using information contained in the Report [for example the description of the Reddis Cellis stone with vertical lines between the letters, or descriptions of a stone bearing markings of letters such as SAE and SIS .... which would suggest the Coumesourde stone, [see HERE] then we are in fact dealing with the Cros Report even if not named as such. If it is not the Cros Report then we have to look for another source of this same information that Corbu had got hold of. One alternative source might be Yves Maraval. Researcher Sagarzazu reported that;

"Mrs. Claire Corbu-Captier told me that her father, Noel Corbu and Yves Maraval often went together around the "Pla de Las Brugos" .... They went to the side of the "Cap-de-l'Homme" and they spent whole days conduct[ing] their research.  It was certainly ...on a hill numbered on the maps 532, where there was discovered the slab called the "Coume Sourde" by Ernest Cros, in 1928, on the ridge overlooking the field adjoining Saint-Loup, and east along the dirt road that goes ...to La Cabanasse"

And in fact there is evidence that Cherisey already was aware of this information because he drew it. You can see the mention of the hill numbered 532 as depicted below;
The two of them must have been working from the Cros Report because it is the only place where the Hill of 532 is mentioned. It says in the Report:  ... to unravel the meaning of the tombstone of Blanchefort, and to understand the fury of Berenger Saunières in getting rid of the inscription, you have to study the Coumesourde stone, discovered by Mr .CROS in 1928, near the peak of of the mountain 532 [refer to the topographical map; Etat-Major;] - From the thirteenth century, the families of de VOISINS, de MARQUE-FAVE, Hautpoul, de FLEURY, held and later passed on to one after the other, the secret of the location of one or more caches; - in 1789 or in the years immediately following, before exile,  an indication of the enigmatic secret was carved on the tombstone of the Lady of Blanchefort, on the Coumesourde stone and perhaps elsewhere ...."].

       So we have a 10th century document talking about attics and cellars of a king, where a local menhir looks over to where this 'king' is. It looks to Blanchefort, Roc Negre and Cardou. We have the Cros Report, associated with an engineer Cros, who saw in the cemetery at Rennes a 'Reddis Cellis' stone, effectively carrying a similar message as the 10th century document [the cellars of the king] - and all are associated with Marie de Negre and her 'missing' tombstones. 

       Confusion reigns over these 'stones'. Robert Arnaut and Robert Charroux, while interviewing Noël Corbu on the radio show cited above, speak of the gravestone of Marie de Negri d’Ables and to the existence of another “stone” bearing the inscriptions “SAE” and “SIS”, announcing: “It is sincerely hoped that ..... [these] two triangular stones bearing various key inscriptions [are found]. These two stones could be in Paris. One bears the following inscription: ‘P.S. Reddis cellis regis arcis praecum’ and the other: ‘Sae sus in media linea ubi M cecat linea parva P.S. Praecum.’ Corbu claimed that Saunière had chiselled away at the epitaph from the gravestone of Marie de Negri d'Ables, Countess Hautpoul-Blanchefort. Confusingly all present at the recording then talk of Ernest Cros, who [they said] had visited Rennes-le-Château in 1928 to carry out some research and accordingly found some “stones” in the cemetery. Cros also found another flagstone at Coumesourde.  The coumesourde “stone” bore precise inscriptions of SAE – SIS, which formed the basis of Corbu's research, which had an emphasis on geometrical angles. Corbu said that SAE stood for Sub Altarum Iglesias (“'under the master altar of the church”). He said that Rennes-le-Château was governed by the sign of the ram (Aries) and this was represented by the geometrical triangle found on the Coumesourde “stone”. Corbu claimed that Ernest Cros took both “stones” to Paris. Again for Corbu the Coumesourde “stone” bore a Templar cross, which he decided Bérenger Saunière used to discover the legendary treasure of the Knights Templar. How be it that suddenly now the Templars are involved on the scene? There can only be one reason and we will discuss this below. Corbu clarified; “you have IN MEDIO with a cross patty, a Templar cross patty. And along the side you have LINEA UBI. Below you have M SECAT - that's S.E.C.A.T. - then LINEA PARVAT. Then you have P.S. Then PRAE-CUM again and a Templar cross which ends the third branch of the triangle.” The other “stone” bore REDDIS REGIS CELLIS ARCIS with PRAE-CUM at the bottom, the letters CELLIS ARCIS were separated by vertical lines. This one had been reconstructed by CROS from the eyewitness testimony of the villagers at Rennes.

       French researcher Mensior has pointed out that in indicating the lying rectangular stone in the ossuary Noel Corbu proves "that he did not know the particular shape of the stone, reproduced in the bulletin of 1906 of SÈSA. But what he also says regarding this stone shows that he was unaware of the text of it. In the article of 1958 of the Ribière couple, those reproducing the version of  "Corbu" say the death of the countess of Blanchefort was around 1600! How could they  communicate such erroneous information if they had been informed of the epitaph where this date of 1781 is clearly quoted? It is the Cros Report that allows Noel Corbu to learn the exact date of death of Marie de Hautpoul: 17th day of January 1781, at the age of 61 years.  His ignorance of the text on the stele is the reason for which he nourishes the hope to make it reappear: “Now, I think that one will arrive, perhaps in a certain time, to make these inscriptions  reappear with - how you say -  by special processes”. But his ignorance of the engraved epitaph and that of its form, which in fact was a raised stone, also proves that at the time when the radio broadcast aired in July 1962,  Noel Corbu did not know the report of the excursion organised by Elie Tisseyre  in 1905 which comprises the depiction of this stone".


In August 1962, Noir et Blanc published an article by Yves Saint-Saviol (pseudonym of Robert Charroux) entitled “It’s open season for hunting the billions: they’re finally going to recover the treasures from their hiding-places”. The treasure story by now had developed into Bérenger Saunière discovering “four or five hollow wooden rolls sealed with wax with parchments inside them.” Corbu was still keeping faith with his story of a local shepherd that he had suddenly introduced into the proceedings. He had also introduced the curé Antoine Bigou. 

This developing story had the location of the main hiding-place of the treasure of Rennes-le-Château secretly and somehow carved onto the tombstone of Marie de Negri d'Ables, Countess Hautpoul-Blanchefort: information that Saunière finally deciphered. Corbu claimed that Ernest Cros had partially reconstructed the inscription on the tombstone that Saunière had chiseled away, believing it was a secret alphabet. But the Coumesourde “stone” played an important part. The article in Noir et Blanc repeated the appeal for assistance from the public in tracking down the Coumesourde “stone” that Corbu had claimed was taken away to Paris by Ernest Cros. Quite clearly everyone seemed to be confused about tombstones and other coded stones!

In  Plaisir de France, Number 298, 1 August 1963  there was published an article entitled “Le Président du Club des chercheurs de trésors vous parle...” showing a photograph of Yvette Charroux, Noël Corbu and Denise Carvenne using a metal-detector in the church of Rennes-le-Château, by the main altar and the article carried an early artistic impression of the Coumesourde “stone” [you can see this article HERE]. After the publication of the articles in the paper's and the TV programmes [since 1956] there began to arrive to the village of Rennes-le-Chateau the first wave of early 'researchers'.

But one of them, Yves Maraval, had his own information which stemmed not from Noel Corbu and his story of the priest but from his own independent family tradition. This was because Maraval had married into the Aniort family, an important and long lived noble family of the area that had links to the Rennes Affair as we saw above. The most important link was the marriage of the Aniorts into the family of Marie de Negre. This family had always owned the land of Les Pontils, associated with a 10th century document held by the family of Aniort. 

Maraval himself met up with Noel Corbu [when?] and together they pooled their knowledge & made surveys and researches in the Rennes area looking for some kind of 'treasure' using a work by Ernest Cros, as we mentioned above. This original work by Ernest Cros has never been seen but two documents claiming to be that report have been found. One of them is on paper that carries the Corbu hotel name and later analysis appears to show that the ink and type came from the typewriter of Noel Corbu. So did Corbu write the mysterious Cros report, or did he copy it? The other copy was to be found in the hands of the researcher Chesa. After extensive analysis French researcher Mensior has shown that the early and more reliable Report is the one owned by Chesa. How is the Cros Report known so early on?

Henri de Montfried

New research by French researcher Philemon is opening up new avenues of discovery. Philemon has looked at the major differences in aspects of the story of Sauniere and discovered the role of an unknown person, Henri de Montfried. Montfried was a President of Charroux 's Club of Treasure Seekers, who knew personally Ernest Cros and his family. Philemon wrote:

"Imagine that at a meeting of the Club of Treasure Seekers a telephone conversation begins between President Robert Charroux and President of Honour Henry Monfreid, who was far from being a passive honorary president ... 

"Robert, I saw your article on "The priest with the billions," ... it's Henry Monfreid speaking".

"Ah! good and you loved it?" says Robert Charroux ...

"...... I have met people who sought the famous treasure of the parish priest ... these people also discovered stones ... one of them often yelled at the Abbe"!

"Is this true?" Charroux answers, 'and you have information on that ...?'

"A little," says Henry Monfreid, "especially since I'm currently writing the biography of my family and I am often in the Aude, and I meet the daughters of this gentleman that I know was investigating precisely this period ..."

"You have his name?' says Charroux!

"Of course, his name is Ernest Cros! He and his family were very close to ours! I think I have some info on this deal ... I'll talk to you soon!"

Philemon continues "I said that this conversation is fictional but we cannot totally rule out the idea that Charroux and Monfreid have together raised the story of Rennes-le-Château at their Club meetings!"

Was he [Montfreid] present with the Club of Treasure Seekers, as Honorary Chairman on these visits to Rennes ...? There was no mention of his presence but René Descadeillas remarks in "the Mythological Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau" when he is describing a chronological inventory of the different "teams" who came to Rennes, he speaks of the Club of the Treasure Seekers ... saying "we saw our compatriot of the Aude, Henry Monfreid" without saying if Henry Monfreid was seen at the "Club" or at "Rennes" !

One cannot completely exclude the active participation of Henry in the appearance of the Cros Report  ... Henry Monfried is the only person to be associated with the search for a solution so this person is at the crossroads of all parties involved in the occurrence of the report! He knows CROS, it is certain ... he knows Charroux, it is certain! He had been currently investigating precisely Ernest Cros for writing his biography! This is an unrepentant treasure hunter! .... 

Philemon goes on: In his manuscript “Pierre et Papier” dating from approximately 1971-1973, Philippe de Chèrisey claimed to have forged the Coumesourde “stone”: “That Mr Cros existed is one thing, that the small wad of typed pages was from a typewriter that he would have used himself, is another. As far as I know, as I held these pages in my hands, they could equally be my work, which I could have passed to Mr Noël Corbu in Rennes-le-Château in exactly the same manner that I forwarded Documents I and II to Gérard de Sède.” Philippe Cherisey, Philemon thinks, already knew about the Cros Report and Sauniere from Denise Carvenne. Believe it or not, sensationally, this Denise was a member of the Club de Chercheurs de Trésors and she had already frequented Rennes-le-Château with Charroux and Monfreid - and she had also already made 5 films with Philippe de Cherisey! 

            As Philemon says: "do not talk to me about coincidence .....they did not turn up in the same scenes [of the films they made], there were many people ... that these two were appearing in at least 5 films and in a very short period of time and they are also found in the following years in an unknown village in search of the same treasure in the company of the same people!" [You can read all about the Philemon research HERE].

This Cros Report was felt to be important to Maraval. French researcher Sagarzazu said;

"Yves Maraval confirmed to me that he had documents. He told me that his knowledge was based on the stories and traditions of his family of the Niort of Sault. Yves Maraval who has been deceased for several years, was convinced, according to the document he possessed that the treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau came from the treasure of the Templars of the Kingdom of Majorca (which included the Roussillon and the Balearics, with Perpignan as its capital). He also believed (wrongly) that the Pierre dressée des Pontils (ie the Peyro Dreito) was part of a triangle of reference (SAE-SIS ) detailed on the Coume Sourde stone discovered by Ernest Cros in 1928 on Hill 532".

Maraval was looking for something from information in family archives which he appears to already possess & when he heard of the Cros Report - he thought this was relevant to the family information he had. There is some confusion between the Reddis Cellis tombstone and the Coumesourde stone, of which both are mentioned in the Cros Report. The original descriptions of both, however, seem to have originated with Cros in some way. The Reddis Cellis stone [without the additions from later people i.e. the et in arcadia phrase etc], is the stone Cros is supposed to have reconstructed after talking to the villagers of Rennes-le-Chateau, who had seen the tombstone in the cemetery, whereas the Coumesourde stone he is supposed to have found elsewhere.

Michel Valet comments on the Maraval connection. He says in his "History of the Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau" (1985 - p. 307): "... Indeed, through the research of Father Mazieres, we know there is a document of venerable antiquity which is indicating a point from the ""Pierre levée des Pontils". It was known from Count Yves Maraval, because his family seat being the chateau of Niort de Sault (Aude), an eighteenth century mansion [where his family archives were held?] .... Abbé Mazières explained to me that in the archives of Aniort was a document of the tenth century, in which it was indicated that the "Pierre levée des Pontils" looked to the cellars and attics of the king. " I have not however, personally seen this manuscript."

If we look more closely at the descriptions of this Maraval 10th century document and also the Cros Report we see why Maraval was interested in it, because they are certainly similar.  For example, the Maraval document describes the cellars and attics of the king. What are these? Does it mean the cellars and attics of a building, a castle, a chateau? Or perhaps it mean cellars in a natural cavity in one of the hills or mountains that the 'Pierre levee des Pontils' overlooks? From this casual observation hangs so much to do with the legends of Rennes. 

In 1990 Plantard wrote to a French researcher, Sagarzazu - the following comment - 'I have not undertaken any  researches in the Caves de la Reine (in the Rennes district), nor in the  Souterrains du Roi ("underground chambers of the King"), so there have not been any researches or investigations on my own property'  which perhaps sounds uncannily similar to the 'cellars and attics of the King' in the Maraval document. When Plantard made the acquaintance of Corbu did they discuss this Maraval document? Had Plantard taken and embellished legitimate information he received from Maraval and Corbu? Let us recall that the document of the tenth century, in which was indicated the "Pierre levée des Pontils" looked to the cellars and attics of the king" also sounds uncannily similar to the reconstructed Reddis Cellis tombstone translation by Cros - "At RENNES, a garrison belonging to the King - in the cellars (or hiding in the cellars) of the stronghold/castle a garrison property of templiers'.

Other interpretations from the engravings on this famous [but never seen] Reddis Cellis stone include:

PS: go.
REDDIS: in/to Rennes.
REGIS: the King.
Cellis : in the cellars.
ARCIS: Citadel
PRAE-CVM: the heralds (" heralds of Christ", one of the designations of the Knights Templar in the 13th and 14th centuries).

Put together we arrive at : "At Rennes, a treasure is hidden in the cellars of the Citadel of the King. This treasure belonged to the Knights Templar".

Another interpretation :

PS: property.
Regis: the King.
Reddis: in Rennes.  

Arcis: from Blanchefort (Blanca fortax, arcis).
Cellis : in the caves
Praecum: from the Knights Templar.

We thus arrive at  - In Rennes [or Blanchefort], a treasure/property is hidden in the caves, a property of the King and the Knights Templar. 

French researcher Stéphanie Buttegeg mentions a mine near Blanchefort in her book. She says "...Yet on the Blanchefort mountain near Roc Negro -  under the boulder of the watchman [Veilleur] is to be found another very old mine. This is the most important [one] to our knowledge on this mountain and it also appears to be so [for others] as it appears recurrently in the archives of the fleury-dubosc folder. However, it is not a gold mine, but copper - as evidenced by the many blue and green stones littering the floor of galleries and the blue colour of its walls. The ancient texts call it the mine of Ivry".

This mine has aroused so much passion in the past that it is certain, says Buttegeg, that it houses more than just copper minerals. But what? After all we know the Roc Negre & Blanchefort mountains are the ones that give birth to fabulous legends! Le Vellieur, also sometimes known locally as the Grand Roman, is located somewhere near an ancient mine called IVRY - and it is this mine which is suggested to have something more special buried beneath it.

Further Stephanie Buttegeg stated; "Everything suggests that there is a dark secret lurking in the bowels of Rennes-les-Bains! But is it a simple gold mineral deposit, a former monetary deposit or a sacred or historical treasure of an ancient temple? To discover this all [we need to do] is go back in to the history of mining in this country ... Whether in ancient times, the Middle Ages, the 18th or the 19th century, the mining of Baings de Regnes appears recurrently! Marie de Negre d'Ables and the Comte de Fleury jealously guarded these mines and Boudet seemed to attach paramount importance to them and more recently Pierre Plantard even talked of an ancient Celtic temple! Through unpublished historical records, we will try to shed light on this mystery, where ancient legends and realities mingle! "(Stephanie Buttegeg)

One Priory document (called the Gold of Rennes for a Napoleon), written by Philippe de Cherisey, carries a diagram not unlike the Dalle de Coume Sourde stone.  This places the tomb of the/a Grand Roman at the foot of Pech Cardou and also utilises the Delmas Pompeius stone. It would, for Plantard, seem that the Grand Roman might be this local landmark. But confusing the issue further, not making it simple for us - who did Plantard and Cherisey think the Grand Roman was? For Plantard it was the Roman general Pompey. Plantard sent an answer to some questions raised by a researcher. Here is the letter in its entirety;

"Thank you for your letter of 25 July 1990, which reached me  (after a short delay) in Perpignan, which I am currently passing through on my  way back from Barcelona. I have written one book, entitled "L'Or de Rennes", which was published under the name of Gérard de Sède about 25 years ago, but this was only a novel, and since then some treasure-hunters who believed that the story contained in it was actually true have invented all sorts of documents that lead back to Rennes.I have not undertaken any researches in the Caves de la Reine (in the Rennes district), nor in the Souterrains du Roi ("underground chambers of the King"), so there have not been any researches or investigations on my own property. This property (according to the calculations of the surveyors, as the land registry entry was modified in 1987) has a surface area of 47 or 48 thousand square metres held by a sole tenant. It has the following boundaries: to the South – chemin de Farres; to the North – Roc Pointu; to the East – the main road to Rennes-les-Bains; to the West – the mountain top. On my property are two mines: a copper mine and a gold mine. The copper mine was excavated on the orders of Colbert, while the other one, the gold mine, dates from the Roman era, from about 70 BC. This piece of land is called Roc Nègre. Across the whole 48,000 square metres there is not a single square metre that has escaped the attentions of those vandals who style themselves "researchers", and that's been going on for 25 years now! You refer to the tombstone of Coumesourde. I'm sorry to have to disappoint you, but it simply never existed. On the other hand there IS a text dated 1880 or 1890 written by the engineer Ernest Cros based on the Zero Meridian of Paris and the English equivalent in Greenwich (the latter being situated at 9 metres 20.9 seconds west of the Paris Meridian). The triangulation for this study was based at Pontils, between Peyrolles/Serres, at the location of a tomb. The "secret location" to which you refer is the Roman tomb (50-48 BC) called the Tomb of Gnaius Pompey, which is located in Fangalots at a distance of 1 kilometre 500 metres from my property. It is located between two belfries –those of Rennes-les-Bains and Rennes-le-Château, at 500 metres’ distance from the belfry of Rennes-les-Bains. With all good wishes, and  please do keep me informed of your researches".

So, for Plantard, note, that an important tomb existed near his property which was  'known' as the tomb of Gnaius Pompey. He adds a further piece of information - that this tomb is located in Fangalots. Fangalots is a place in the vicinity of Rennes-les-Bains. To my astonishment, while perusing the Secret Dossiers i came across a statement in the text as follows; "The decoration (to) the setting to the tomb referred to [i.e. the 14th station of the Cross at Rennes-le-Chateau] is ... of the necropolis of Fangallots at Rennes les Bains". The quote was placed next to a picture of Sauniere's 14th station of the Cross. The quote seems to intimate that the art work behind the Crucifixion would pertain to Fangalots. And that either Fangalots is related to a tomb of Pompey or even the historical Jesus Christ figure! And that figuratively it is near the Grand Roman, i.e. local landmark at the foot of Cardou!

And why would Plantard, in his letter, even refer to the tomb at Fangalots as that of Pompey? Historically Pompey's  '...... fate was decided by the counselors of the young king Ptolemy XIII. While Pompey waited offshore, they argued the cost of offering him refuge with Caesar already en route to Egypt; the king's eunuch Pothinus won out. In the final dramatic passages of his biography, Plutarch had Cornelia watch anxiously from the trireme as Pompey left in a small boat with a few sullen, silent comrades, and headed for what appeared to be a welcoming party on the Egyptian shore. As Pompey rose to disembark, he was stabbed to death by his betrayers, Achillas, Septimius and Salvius". Later he was cremated. Any possible tomb at Fangalots quite obviously cannot be that of Pompey'.

There are several ideas in the above Plantard letter which are also reflected in Cherisey's novel Circuit. The language is reminiscent of the Reddis Cellis stone and the Cros document and the Maraval alleged 10th century document. Firstly is the suggestion that there are at least two different aspects to the 'treasure' connected to Rennes-le-Chateau. Plantard admits that he has not ' undertaken any researches in the Caves de la Reine (in the Rennes district), nor in the Souterrains du Roi ("underground chambers of the King")". 

What are the Caves of the Queen? And the underground chambers of the King?
In Circuit, pp109-110 we read the following exchange between two of the characters in the novel;

"Charlot - Hence it follows that Saunière succeeded as a local guardian?
Andresy - Abbe Boudet, of Rennes-les-Bains, whose book La Vrai Langue Celtique' (CARCASSONNE 1886) gave the cure (Sauniere?) the clues to track the Rosicrucian (or perhaps Rose -Croix) treasure [but he] was rather too indiscreet .... the clues given by the jewel of the father Voluta and the work of the Abbe Boudet denote the old jet mine located south of Rennes, on Mount Sarbairou. The 'opening' is in a place that is in front of you - constantly evoked in the name of pierre de trou, du pain, or de pin. Having discovered the place and treasure in 1892, the abbe SAUNIERE took two years to empty it.

Andresy - The caves of the queen, the king's fortress - here are two different zones of treasure. The cellars of the Queen are related to the pierre 'du pain' and we accede that it corresponds to the corn/wheat in the constellation of Virgo. Here Volques Tectosages have transferred the treasure of gold of Delphi.............'

On page 61 the details of that treasure have already been elucidated;

 "...in case you suspect, like me, the well founded accusations that the  enrichment of Saunière would appear to be due to the discovery of a treasure..... according to popular tradition there exists at Rennes a treasure of 350 million francs divided into 180 heavy caches. The origin of his fortune is the gold at Delphi, that of King Solomon, one of the Visigoths and the Merovingians. The Volques Tectosages guarded some of it ranging from small cures through the riphees who descended roseline, the Cathars of Montsegur and the Templars of the Languedoc".

I am reminded, as i mentioned above, that the Reddis Cellis phrase on the alleged de Negre tombstone is interpreted by some to refer to the 'depot, at Rennes, of the King'. And in fact, both Plantard and Cherisey, in their own respective works, labour the point about the treasure of the Reine (read Queen but phonetically Rennes-le-Chateau or perhaps Rennes-les-Bains) and that of the King. Are they separate? Or linked in some way? Another comment Plantard made to Chaumeil in 1972 was that; "Certain pamphlets are false, such as that of Joseph Courtaly in 1964, which claimed to republish the author Stublein in LES PIERRES GRAVEES DU LANGUEDOC. Certainly one of the tombstones, reproduced on page 60 (Charivari) is authentic (Reddis-Regis): everyone knows that it had been engraved about 1686 on the order of Henry d'Hautpoul. But the one cited on page II of your revue (ci-git Dame Negri d'Ablis) is false: it was remade in 1905 to serve the needs of Sauniere's cause and published at his request in ....1906 for the first time! All that is very far from 1791 and the Abbe Bigou".

Plantard also mentions (in the letter cited above) the Coumesorde stone saying; 'You refer to the tombstone of Coumesourde. I'm sorry to have to  disappoint you, but it simply never existed. On the other hand there IS a text  dated 1880 or 1890 written by the engineer Ernest Cros based on the Zero Meridian of Paris and the English equivalent in Greenwich (the latter being situated at 9 metres 20.9 seconds west of the Paris Meridian). The triangulation  for this study was based at Pontils, between Peyrolles/Serres, at the location of a tomb". 

Here Plantard is linking the stones to the Paris Meridian with triangulation being based at the location of a tomb at Pontils! It is here that 'someone' made the connection with Poussin and the so called 'Poussin Tomb' not far from the standing stone in the area of Pontils on the commune of Peyrolles.So we are back to the Pontil Menhir that we started with!

For me at least the sudden reason why Pontils is mentioned is twofold. Why? Because the Aniort/Maraval document is linked to another document whose origins are seen with the Abbe Cabanié, abbé of Le Bézu. This might be interesting in view of the fact that a very good friend of Abbe Cabanie was Abbé Mazieres. Mazieres later wrote about the legends of the Templars at Bézu. He also wrote a paper, "Historical Research in Campagne-sur-Aude" which had a bearing on later excavations at Campagne-sur-Aude, a small village associated with the medieval Templars as well as the Aniort family. Did Mazieres stumble upon information during his research?

Secondly the view described from the Maraval document seems to be the same view alleged by Plantard et al to be seen from the Poussin tomb! And in fact, from these same archives the tombstone of Marie de Negri d'Ables was described as a reused slab which was somehow related to the area of Les Pontils. But why? The view does depend on where you are standing on the physical ground. The indications are that where you are supposed to stand - to get the view - is on higher ground, walking towards the Pontils Menhir  - when you look towards the hilltop view of Rennes-le-Chateau in the distance then you will be looking towards the "cellars and attics of the king" - indicated by the 'Reddis Cellis Regis Arcis stone as the 'depot, at Rennes, of the King' [as depicted below].

We should be reminded here of the work of Stéphanie Buttegeg and her book Les Mines Légendaires Antiques de Rennes-les-Bains. She asserted that there was some strange machinations in the mines under Roc Negre that she believes conceals more than just seams of copper. Plantard had accessed these archives and developed a theme of Dubosc accessing a mysterious place under Roc Negre and combined this with knowledge he already had. Plantard even uses the measurements from the Dubosc archives to illustrate how far down it is in Roc Negre to get to that mine of importance! In actual fact, if you stand near the Peyro Dreito stone you will be looking back not only at Rennes, but also this legendary Mine of Ivry, & the cellars and attics of the king & Blanchefort and also the Grand Roman. 

The famous Pompeius stone, at Rennes-les-Bains, for Fedie, was "discovered at Bains de Rennes, more than a century ago, in a piece of old wall surrounding the source of the Reine". Cherisey equates this Pompeius stone with the Grand Roman and the foot of Cardou. In the Priory document named above is the following diagram: 

Circuit continues:

"Charlot - dm
Critias - 'diis manibus' - the writing of Nostradamus DM.

.... It is, in a circle of standing stones...... embrace the great monarch with the great Roman under the medusine 'ensigne'. It IS the devil sitting on a throne of stone and the very spot for centuries .... with the motto 'les treize ors de l'arene' (i.e. the treasures of Rennes). Finally, it is hidden in the bergere alignment of the three rocks, a black rock, yellowish sharp rock and a white rock corresponding respectively to Melchoir, Balthazar and Gaspard. All, depending on the mood, gives a sobering though

The black rock is Rog Negre, the yellow rock is Pointu and the white rock is of course Cardou. And in fact in the diagram above there is a 'bergere' indicated on this 'map' - it is on an alignment with the Marie de Negre tombstone in the cemetery at Rennes-le-Chateau! Is this even the 'bergere' of the Large Parchment and cipher? ('Bergere pas de tentation, que Poussin Teniers gardent la clef'...). A further diagram identifies the 'maison de berger' - so there is a shepherdesss and shepherd of importance for some reason!

On p82-83 of Circuit:

"anne - quia pulvis are
charlot - and pulvem reverteris

Critias - ah, here is the nepenthes!

She starts to evoke King Dagobert II - which signifies that he was faking his genealogy. She also tells them about his sword, which at the king's death, in 679, passed through the hands of his youngest daughter Rathilde who thirteen years later gave it to her husband Childeric II.  We found the sword in Paley, the 17th January 1913 in a burial - the handle topped with gold leaf, encrusted with coloured stones, with four Merovingian bees, twenty four rectangles of gold and twenty eight cells ..... and  she goes in search of Temperantia.....rock n roll, rocks and roulers, and then ........the treasure in the cellars of the king, the queen of the citadel".

Reddis Cellis - in the cellars of the king!

We know that Monsieur CROS was said to have restored the original text on the Reddis Cellis stone with the help of some villagers from Rennes. CROS had written in his notebooks; 'The locals told me - 'there were other vertical letters, but we cant tell you what they meant. We were told the letters were Greek but we didnt understand anything'. CROS went on to say - 'Personally i do not think the letters were Greek, but rather Kabalistic Templar signs.....'

Why does Cros suddenly bring the Templars into it? We know Salamon had wrote in the 1956 articles about the Visigoths, the Cathars and the Holy Grail in relation to the treasure of Sauniere but never the Templars. We know however that Mazieres was interested in the Templars [see HERE]. Is this a descriptor that betrays the hand of Abbe Mazieres? Mazieres knew all the local area priests, he categorically knew Cros, he knew Maraval ...... he was obsessed with the Templars of Bezu and the Roussillon, he was interested in Sauniere .....he had access to all sorts of information and archives ....

Here are the many examples where Abbe Mazieres is behind the scenes regarding specific information:

 - Michel Valet comments on the Maraval connection, mentioning that "... through the research of Father Mazieres, we know there is a document of venerable antiquity which is indicating a point from the ""Pierre levée des Pontils"........ Abbé Mazières explained to me that in the archives of Aniort was a document of the tenth century, in which it was indicated that the "Pierre levée des Pontils" looked to the cellars and attics of the king. " I have not however, personally seen this manuscript."

 - Some interesting information about Ernest Cros is supplied by the Abbe Mazieres which is taken directly from Maziere's own private archives. Mazieres seems to have benefited from much 'inside' information via these private archives including details about the Aniort family.  Abbe Mazieres supplied further references to Franck Marie who then reported the information in his Critical Studies of  Rennes-le-Chateau. In these Critical Studies Mazieres is cited as describing Cros as 'tolerant, understanding and welcoming .... [and that] he did not belong  to any church. He claimed to ascribe to the Johannite ideology, just like the  great bailiffs of the Order of the Temple'. These private archives also confirmed that Cros was a member of the Masonic Lodge Grand Orient. 

 - "In the cemetery of Rennes-le-Château - until 1906, was the stele bearing the epitaph of Marie de Negri of D'Able, born in 1713, seigneuresse Niort and Roquefeuille in county Sault, where it was moved to an unknown location [M. CROS  has said that before the coming of B. SAUNIÈRE this slab was towards the centre of the cemetery near the tower  - Private archives of Monsieur l'Abbé René-Maurice MAZIÈRES". 

 - Monsieur l'Abbé MAZIÈRES drew our attention to an observation of surprising consequences. The document we had in our hands (1), unlike the one published by Gérard DE SEDE (2), carried a signature/ symbol already known. (1) Private archives of the Abbe MAZIÈRES, partly obtained from Mr. CHEZA in Carcassonne."
When Franck Marie comes to thank those who helped him write his book top of the list is Abbe Mazieres 'who agreed to share with us his memories and opened his archives up to us'. All information Franck Marie obtains about Ernest Cros came from the "private archives of Abbé Mazières"
- After Cros had reconstructed one of the tomb inscriptions he set about trying to make sense of their meaning. He proposed the following 'translation' - 'At Rennes, (a depot) of the King, in the caves (where is hidden) the citadelle of the Templars'. Another hypothesis, according to Abbe Antoine Beaux, cure of Campagne -sur- Aude and friend of Sauniere, was that this stone tomb's engravings could be interpreted to mean 'At Rennes, in the Chapel, of the citadelle (?castle), foundation of Prayer, for the king' (cited by Franck Marie). These assertions mentioned by Franck Marie had again come from the private archives of Abbe Mezieres
 - The Abbé Mazières, historian of the Aude, and once again cited by Franck Marie as coming from private documents held by Mazieres - had confirmed that he received information from the archives of the House of Aniort which suggested a family document dating from the tenth century which said that "la pierre levee Pontils regarde des attics et aux caves du roi " . He relayed this information to Franck Marie.

         Sagarzazu reports that Bernard Sorieul carried out research of the underground passages in the former Templar church of Campagne-sur-Aude without result. At the same time, at the request of Father M.-R. Mazières, Rene Chesa also effected in the church of Campagne-sur-Aude researches into the cavities and the underground crypt and this by much more sophisticated means. Sagarzazu continues; "Yves Maraval along with Noel Corbu believed that this place of deposit of the treasure was located on the hill of 532, but there is a misinterpretation. The Coumesourde stone is only one of multiple encodings left by the Templars, monks and priests to locate the cache first to be discovered this is all from contacts and exchanges with the Maraval family of Niort de Sault, as well as the Abbe Mazieres, vicar of Quillan, from 1940 to 1954, who had built his whole research on the trail of the Templars of Roussillon and the secret causes of the creation of the Kingdom of Majorca, hinted at in his publication "The arrival and stay of Templars of Roussillon in the late thirteenth century and early fourteenth in the valley of Bézu (Aude)".

Two Reports attributed to Ernest Cros 

               The two typewritten Reports attributed to Ernest Cros entitled “Recherches de Mons. L'Ingenieur en Chef Ernest Cros; enterprises dans la Haute Vallée de l'Aude, surtout durant les années 1920 à 1943” can not be accurately dated and their provenances are unknown. One of the reports originated on Noël Corbu's typewriter, bearing the letterhead of the Hotel de La Tour; the other is attributed to René Chesa (who died in February 1991, and was a friend of Abbé Mazières). Both Reports are unreliable in that whoever produced them made the blunder of describing events that allegedly took place in 1958 and 1959, whereas Ernest Cros died in Paris in 1946. Both reports give drawings of the REDDIS REGIS gravestone and the Coumesourde “stone” as well as quotes from the works of Paul Courrent (1861-1952) – in the form of direct quotes and reworked text. Both Reports more-or-less repeat the story of the “stones” as given by Noël Corbu on the 1962 Frances-Inter Radio Programme. The Reports also claimed that Ernest Cros and Bérenger Saunière were acquaintances.

Mensior is convinced that it is Maziere's behind the Cros Report. He wrote: "But the analysis of the text of the " Cros " [Report] brings new facts. When compared in detail and .... with the study wrote in 1959 [by]the abbe Mazières on La a venue et le séjour des Templiers du Roussillon à la fin du XIIIè siècle et au début du XIVè dans la vallée du Bézu, many similarities lead us to consider other alternatives [for the true authorship of the Cros Report]. But it is best to list them".

When Mensior scrutinized these similarities, the Report reveals several clues that eventually reveal the identity of the author of the 'original' Cros Report as that of abbe Mazières. Just like a criminal forensic detective analysing handwriting and writing style Mensior says there are categorical markers in the Cros Report and other texts written by Mazieres that indicate Mazieres as the probable author of the Cros Report. Mazieres himself evokes in many of his studies his relationship with Ernest Cros in whose company he led various studies and surveys. He [Maziere's] also benefited from documentation of Cros. He evokes also, for example, six times the Roc of Bézu, and the substance of the Cros Report is also strongly oriented towards the alternative of a Templar treasure theme that Father Mazières researched in depth on. The question that may come to mind is: why, if the author of the Report, is Father Mazières did he remain anonymous in the document? The answer, Mensior says, may be in the testimony given by Jean Fourié in the newsletter Tell me about RLC 2006(page 33) where he speaks of monthly meetings which he attended with other members of the Society of Arts and Sciences of Carcassonne. Names such as "Monsignor Georges Jean -Pierre Boyer , Vicar General, who undoubtedly knew what was going on, René Nelli, famous historian of the Cathars, Father René -Maurice Mazières who took an interest closely with his colleague Father Bruno de Monts, and also the historian of the last Lords of Rennes, René Descadeillas. All were members of the Society of Arts and Sciences of Carcassonne, in the early seventies, and at meetings of the Society [which were held in the evening at 21:00] Rennes-le-Château became a taboo subject. Indeed, if addressed, the passions were stoked and rage ensued and inevitably controversies among the group, especially between Bishop Boyer & abbe Mazières - as they did not always agree. The Vicar General, [was] a very rational mind often opposed during these discussions to abbe Mazières, who himself was from a philosophical training [background] and therefore more attracted by the irrational and the occult" [i.e. i suspect this means the hidden events not seen by the many]".

Mensior concluded that 'All these concrete elements highlighted in these pages are obviously not clear evidence to suggest, for sure, that this report was sponsored by abbe Mazières, and even if they do not allow us to formulate this hypothesis uncategorically, they form a significant body of evidence that, on balance, wonderfully converge in the direction of his paternity of the Cros Report. If this is correct, then it leads us to consider that the two stones described in the Report actually existed".

But one last thing: Yves Maraval. It is in the archives of the Castle of Niort that he found some documents, probably related to the case of Rennes-le -Château. It was he who introduced in the early sixties a document representing a map of Rennes on which were traced lines. As he liked to say, knowledge of the case of Rennes-le-Chateau rested primarily on the stories and traditions of the local families. He firmly believed that the treasure was that of the kingdom of Majorca. A curious echo of the theories of the Abbe Mazieres.

So, in all of this, to conclude - Abbe Maziere's is certainly one of the bridges. If it means anything at all, it means we should look at his role more closely. The bridge that Maziere's brings is that of the treasure of Majorca, the Templars and the mysterious treasure of the Visigoths buried near Blanchefort & the association of Maraval and his 10th century document - where from the Peyro Dreito one can see the cellars of the King at Rennes. Henri de Montfried is the connection perhaps of the legend of Sauniere meeting famous leading lights in film and music and those from the occult circles in Paris ..... but he is also a link with Cros. Cos supplies the Reddis Cellis stone.

At the same time, at the request of Father M.-R. Mazières, Rene Chesa also effected in the church of Campagne-sur-Aude researches into the cavities and the underground crypt. But in fact, why did researchers in possession of this Templar scroll end up looking in Campagne-Sur-Aude? I suppose one may be intrigued by the fact that it is the Medieval Aniort family again who were connected with a dispute of ownership of this village (it was Géraud de Aniort, who was attacked in a Carcassonne trial by the Templars (the Commander of the Temple of Douzens) on the ownership of Campagne-sur-Aude) and that it is also this same Aniort family archives where the Maraval Templar scroll was found.

French researcher Sagarzazu felt that some ideas were still troubling. He said: "The place of Pontils is on the commune of Peyrolles, two hundred meters from the road to Arques, on the left bank of the Sals. Here stands among vegetation left to its exuberance, a curious upright megalith. It is likely that this stone purporting to be from the tenth century is to be linked to the Scroll of Yves Maraval, but which do you think is the king of which this paper reports? A king of the past or a future king? In my opinion I think the document "Ernest Cros" was written, not by Father Maurice René Mazieres, but by Yves Maraval. Firstly because he is a researcher who knew the area, but also because there is a link of this researcher to the interests of Ernest Cros on the triangulation of the "Coume Sourde stone", on Hill 532 where it [the Coume Sourde] was found under an oak, on the "Pla de las Brugos".

       By relying on the Maraval testimony, I prefer to believe that there is not a cavity carved into the rock and masonry under the church of "Ste. Mary Magdalene" (as Paul Saussez believes) but that three caves exist, one of which contains the answer to the source of the legend that feeds the village of Rennes-le-Chateau and has done since time immemorial, the second containing the tomb of the Lords and the third - a mecca for the Evangelization of Gaul"    

And what of the antiquity of the legends in the local area? The oldest legends refer to the plateau of Lauzet. Lauzet encompasses Le Bezu as well as Rennes-le-Chateau and Rennes-les-Bains and the local traditions concern the fate of an ancient Visigothic treasure in and around Lauzet, particularly at Blanchefort. Medieval legends later involve the Templars of the area - who are said to have come to exploit and look for this Blanchefort treasure, or even to add another treasure to it! Along with these one may add new 'legends'. Bertrand de Blancafort, a Grand Master of the Templars, conferred lands in the environs of Rennes-le-Chateau and Bezu to the Templars. In 1156, under Bertrand's regime as Grand Master, the Templars are also said to have;

"imported to the area a contingent of German-speaking miners. These workers were supposedly subjected to a rigid, virtually military discipline. They were forbidden to fraternise in any way with the local population and were kept strictly segregated from the surrounding community. A special judicial body, 'la Judicature des Allemands', was even created to deal with legal technicalities pertaining to them. And their alleged task was to work the gold mines on the slopes of the mountain at Blanchefort - gold mines which had been utterly exhausted by the Romans nearly a thousand years before. During the seventeenth century engineers were commissioned to investigate the mineralogical prospects of the area and draw up detailed reports. In the course of his report one of them, Cesar d'Arcons, discussed the ruins he had found, remains of the German workers' activity. On the basis of his research, he declared that the German workers did not seem to have been engaged in mining. In what, then, were they engaged? Cesar d'Arcons was unsure - smelting perhaps, melting something down, constructing something out of metal, perhaps even excavating a subterranean crypt of some sort and creating a species of depository. Whatever the answer to this enigma, there had been a Templar presence in the vicinity of Rennes-le-Chateau since at least the mid-twelfth century. By 1285 there was a major preceptory a few miles from Bezu, at Campagnesur-Aude. Yet near the end of the thirteenth century, Pierre de Voisins, lord of Bezu and Rennes-le-Chateau, invited a separate detachment of Templars to the area, a special detachment from the Aragonese province of Roussillon. This fresh detachment established itself on the summit of the mountain of Bezu, erecting a lookout post and a chapel. Ostensibly, the Roussillon Templars had been invited to Bezu to maintain the security of the region and protect the pilgrim route which ran through the valley to Santiago de Compastela in Spain. But it is unclear why these extra knights should have been required. In the first place they cannot have been very numerous not enough to make a significant difference. In the second place there were already Templars in the neighbourhood. Finally, Pierre de Voisins had troops of his own, who, together with the Templars already there, could guarantee the safety of the environs. Why, then, did the Roussillon Templars come to Bezu? According to local tradition, they came to spy. And to exploit or bury or guard a treasure of some sort. Whatever their mysterious mission, they obviously enjoyed some kind of special immunity. Alone of all Templars in France, they were left 83 unmolested by Philippe le Bel's seneschals on October 13th, 1307".