If you want to experience small, picturesque communes, France is definitely the place to be. Renne-le-Chateau is one such commune, tucked away in Languedoc in Southern France. This is a place that has seen an unexpected spike in tourism over the past few decades, and somewhere that draws tens of thousands of visitors each year.
Now, there are plenty of reasons why people want to spend time visiting this commune, not least because of the history surrounding this place. Apparently, it is home to hidden treasure, not to mention being the subject of many conspiracy theories as well – but more on this later! Aside from this, the area is one of supreme beauty, and worth a visit for that fact alone. Let’s take a look at the real story of Renne-le-Chateau.
Perhaps the biggest claim to fame for this hilltop village is the buried treasure that is alleged to have been discovered by priest Berenger Sauniere in the 19th Century. The story goes that the church was in ruins by the time Sauniere got there, but, he had raised some capital to begin restoring it in 1887. Legend has it that, when moving the altar, Sauniere found parchments that seemed to mention treasures hidden within and beneath the church. Nobody knows for sure whether this was actually legitimate, but it seems as though Sauniere had an unlimited supply of money to fund further restoration after that!
There have been a multitude of conspiracy theories surrounding Renne-le-Chateau over the years, and it is a popular location among conspiracy theorists. Many of these theories first formed during the mid to late 1950s, and they concerned the Knights Templar, the Merovingians, and Blanche of Castile, among others. There were also later theories surrounding other treasures – most likely influenced by Sauniere’s alleged discovery – including the Ark of the Covenant, and the treasure of the Temple of Solomon. There have been countless theories, and many of them still carry weight, even today, which makes this a top tourist attraction for many people out there.
These days the legends and theories linked to this place have given it a sort of magical and otherworldly vibe. It has become hugely popular with tourists, attracting more than 100,000 visitors each year. The church, and place itself, indirectly influenced Dan Brown’s best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, and this is one of the key factors that has contributed to the popularity. There were also BBC documentaries made concerning the commune, which helped to bring further public attention to it.
You may not have heard of Renne-le-Chateau, but you will certainly be familiar with some of the topics that are often discussed alongside it. It is considered to be a bastion for modern-day conspiracy theorists, not least because of its links to buried treasure, and the conspiracy theories surrounding Mary Magdalene and the Knights Templar. This is a place of great cultural significance, and we recommend a visit whenever you get the chance.