Transcript for Episode 280: Rennes-le-Château: a Place of Legend

Categories: Off the Beaten Track in France, Toulouse Area

Discussed in this Episode

  • Download the new version of my Marais tour! [01:21]
  • The Aude Department and New Age beliefs [04:04]
  • The ancient village of Rennes-le-Château [05:33]
  • The treasure of the Gauls [07:30]
  • Nobody knows what happened to the gold of the Tectosages when the Romans arrived [09:15]
  • The gold of the Visigoths [09:53]
  • The gold of the Cathars [15:33] and [26:17]
  • The start of the Voisin dynasty in Rennes-le-Château [18:44]
  • The gold of the Knight Templars might be hidden in Rennes-le-Chateau![19:51]
  • People start digging for treasure around Rennes-le-Château in the late 1700s [27:27]
  • Monks in Rennes-le-Château make fortunes from selling Indulgences [29:30]
  • The arrival of Abbé de Saunières in the early 19th century [31:42]
  • Did Abbé de Saunières make a deal with the Devil? [35:11]
  • Reactionary monarchists and their support for Abbé de Saunières [37:11]
  • Le Diable au Bénitier [37:40]
  • A movie called L'Or du Diable [38:47]
  • New Agers in Rennes-le-Château [39:20]
  • People are still trying to dig for treasure in Rennes-le-Château [40:56]
  • Apparently Mary Magdalene came to Rennes-le-Château and might be buried around there (super serious historical source being Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code) [41:50]
  • Waiting for the end of the world in Bugarach [43:29]
  • Why you should see Rennes-le-Château for yourself [48:08]
  • Hundreds of books have been written about this place [50:19]
  • The Auda as an area filled with mystery [51:27]

Annie Sargent  00:00

This is Join Us in France Episode 280. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and today’s episode of the podcast is a conversation with my friend Elise, who is a tour guide, and we talked about some strange places in Occitanie. They are called Rennes-le-Château and Bugarach. These are both in the Aude department not far from Carcassonne and Limoux. These are small places with a big reputation for the metaphysical, hidden gold treasures and end of the world gatherings. Can Annie and Elyse crack the code and tell you exactly where the gold is? Hmm?


Annie Sargent  00:43

You’ve never heard of Rennes-le-Château or Bugarach probably unless you’re interested in the paranormal. Neither Elise nor I are into otherworldly things, but we do enjoy a good story and this area is full of great stories, so we had fun with it!


Annie Sargent  01:02

We recorded this in person a couple of days before we were all asked to stay home. So this is our last in person recording for a while. I’m missing those, but we’ll get back to those soon. Hopefully, I’ll update you on the situation in France and in our lives after my chat with Elyse.


Annie Sargent  01:21

As you know, I produce audio tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app. VoiceMap tours are designed so you can put in your earbuds, put the phone away and enjoy Paris with your eyes and ears. But none of us can travel right now. So I’ve started adding photos to all the stops along my tour on the app so you can enjoy it even if you can’t walk it right now. A new version of the Marais tour with photos is now available.


Annie Sargent  01:50

The others to follow in the next couple of weeks. Go to for the details and for those of you who’ve already bought my map a tour, you can get the updated version with the photos for free. You just need to download the tour again. And I will put instructions on how to do that in the show notes for this episode, which are at the number 280


Annie Sargent  02:54

Bonjour Elyse


Elyse Rivin  02:55

Bonjour Annie


Annie Sargent  02:56

How are you?


Elyse Rivin  02:57

I am fine. It’s a nice sunny day today.


Annie Sargent  03:00

Beautiful day in the middle of the month of March.


Elyse Rivin  03:02

Middle of the month of March. It’s actually the beginning of spring time.


Annie Sargent  03:06

It’s also the beginning of


Elyse Rivin  03:08

Closed down of everything


Annie Sargent  03:10

Of self isolation.


Elyse Rivin  03:12

Yes, well, we’re not self isolating. We’re duo isolating today. We’re we’re hanging out together.


Annie Sargent  03:18

She’s not that scary.


Elyse Rivin  03:21

I’m not scary. She’s not scary. We both washed our hands. Actually, did we wash our hands today? I don’t know.


Annie Sargent  03:26

I’ve washed my hands a few times already today.


Elyse Rivin  03:29

Yes, well, talking is not contagious.


Annie Sargent  03:32

Yeah, if you get the podcast bug, you won’t get sick.


Elyse Rivin  03:36

You won’t get sick. You will just have fun. Yes, you really will.


Annie Sargent  03:39

Today we’re talking about places around the Aude department.


Elyse Rivin  03:43



Annie Sargent  03:44

Just a little bit to the east of Toulouse.


Elyse Rivin  03:46

And south.


Annie Sargent  03:47

And South a bit, yep. And we’re talking about Rennes-le-Château.


Elyse Rivin  03:51



Annie Sargent  03:52

Which is interesting.


Elyse Rivin  03:53



Annie Sargent  03:53

And Bugarach


Elyse Rivin  03:55

And the Bugarach. Yes.


Annie Sargent  03:57

Which is a mountain.


Elyse Rivin  03:58

Which is a, yeah, it’s a small mountain.


Annie Sargent  04:00

And of course, as usual, I know nothing about this!


Elyse Rivin  04:04

This today is very special day because we’re going to I’m going to mention a couple of places that are just really nice, interesting historical tourist places to visit. But the theme for today is more about how strange things can be, and how New Age stuff has taken hold, in a part of the Aude department.


Elyse Rivin  04:27

Now we’ve talked about the Aude when we talked about Limoux, but this is this is a little south and southeast of Limoux. Not very far. This is, but this is another kind of tourism that we’re going to talk about today. So…


Elyse Rivin  04:46

So, let’s go Yeah, so


Annie Sargent  04:46

Let’s go!


Annie Sargent  04:48

Do I need to put on beads or anything?


Elyse Rivin  04:50

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No, but and, and I don’t think you need garlic around your neck either at this point, I don’t think so. We’re going to gp south of Limoux, we’ve we’ve done a podcast about Limoux in the lovely little town that’s right next to it called Alet-les-Bains. So this is a continuation basically on the on the departmental road that goes south. And we’re going to go to this village, which actually is very beautiful. It’s up on the top of a hill. In Catalan, it’s called a PUECH or PUEG. And I don’t know ever how to Pronounce either of those words.


Annie Sargent  05:31



Elyse Rivin  05:33

Which means basically peak, I said and it’s a peak. But but this is the center of a very, very, very interesting form of tourism. So let’s back up a little bit: Rennes-le-Château is a village that in fact, historically is very, very ancient.


Annie Sargent  05:54



Elyse Rivin  05:54

It goes back. There’s actually been archaeological work done there and they have found it evidence of settlements from prehistoric times. Now on another podcast that obviously can be re-listened to to way back, we talked about Niaux and some of the caves that had prehistoric things.


Annie Sargent  06:13



Elyse Rivin  06:14

This is a part of the beginning of the foothills of the Pyrénées. And in the foothills of the Pyrénées there are some very interesting places, there are some strange caves that have evidence of prehistoric activity, and then settlements that go back to either what’s called Neolithic or a little bit later, which is before the Romans showed up.


Annie Sargent  06:36

Yeah, so Neolithic would be


Elyse Rivin  06:38

Neolithic is about four or five. It’s about 4000 years ago. 5000 years.


Annie Sargent  06:43

Yeah. Okay.


Elyse Rivin  06:44

So and and so Rennes-le-Château which at the time did not have that name, has proven to be a site of an oppidum. And an oppidum was when the local indigenous populations which is pre Roman, so whether they were what the Romans called the Gauls or the Celts, or whatever, I don’t even know what we would call them. Probably similar to the peoples that actually lived in Toulouse. When they built villages, they built them on the top of these little hills that had 360 degree view as a defensive thing.


Annie Sargent  07:16



Elyse Rivin  07:16

And they built stone walls around it.


Annie Sargent  07:19



Elyse Rivin  07:20

So the everyone that is in in art history and in archaeology knows that the settlement that was there goes back very, very far.


Annie Sargent  07:30



Elyse Rivin  07:30

But the history that we’re interested in, begins with the Tectosages. That is the Gauls, the people, the people, the nation have have Gauls that were there in this region when the Romans arrived. One of the legends which is something we can actually talk about in detail later on, at another time, one of the legends about the the Celts so the Gauls is that they had an injury enormous amounts of gold.


Elyse Rivin  08:02



Elyse Rivin  08:02

That they had a huge treasure because the the warriors wore, the men, wore gold as they were breast pieces, and they were ankle bracelets. And they wore things like that that were made a massive gold. Because they believe that had a magic power to protect them in war.


Annie Sargent  08:22

Hmm. Okay. Is that like they have they found pieces?


Elyse Rivin  08:28

Yes is in the Saint Raymond museum.


Annie Sargent  08:31



Elyse Rivin  08:31

There are three or four pieces that are absolutely fabulous.


Annie Sargent  08:35

Okay, so this is not just legend.


Elyse Rivin  08:37

No, no, no.


Annie Sargent  08:37



Elyse Rivin  08:38

The legend is that they had a treasure of stockage about I don’t know what the right word is actually that that they did. It is not a legend that they made these pieces to go into battle. And it was the men who wore them and they were put to protect them. It wasn’t women wearing jewelry. But the legend is that they accumulated so much much gold, so much gold, that there is this there are these stories that go on and on and on about the treasure the gold treasure.


Annie Sargent  09:07

Well, if there’s no gold treasure is no fun. Is it?


Elyse Rivin  09:09

No fun. Right? So we start with the treasure of the Tectosages.


Annie Sargent  09:14



Elyse Rivin  09:15

And then we’re talking about when the Romans arrived in this area, which is of course, basically just about 50 BC. What happened to that treasure? Nobody knows. Nobody knows. There’s been a lot of speculation for all these many, many, many years. And then we get into the period that most people are more familiar with, which leads us into the Middle Ages. Yes, I’m skipping lots of centuries, but it doesn’t make any difference. Because in between, what did we have? We had all these invasions. You had the vandals, the Goths and all these peoples. Did they look for the gold? I have no idea. None whatsoever.


Elyse Rivin  09:57

However, the second period that talks about a treasure with with lots of gold is the time of the Visigoths. Know what you we know all know what a goth looks like a goth is somebody who wears black and has lots of hardware all over their faces, right? The Visigoths, which literally meant the Goths of the West, were a Germanic people that in this sixth century, the five hundreds came down and across, they basically were from where Poland and Germany meet up to these days. And they were an invading people that came down and I don’t know how long it took them. Obviously, this was not done in a day or two, and in in the eventually attacked Rome. And so we’re talking about probably about 100 years of migration of this and


Annie Sargent  10:52

So, they attacked Rome when Rome was already declining.


Elyse Rivin  10:55

They attacked Rome as it was declining. And, and what happened was that They attacked Rome and because they were really warriors, you know, I mean, we know about the Vikings, but these guys were pretty good too. What happened was because they did indeed sack Rome, in the four hundreds, the rulers, but this is, as you say, very much a declining Empire. They said, okay, look, guys, you are really incredible warriors, we really would prefer not to have to mess with you anymore. So how about we do this? We’re going to give you part of our Western Empire, that part that’s over in this place called Gaul. And in exchange, you work with us, not against us, and you protect us from the next group of invaders that are going to come and they were the Huns.


Annie Sargent  11:45



Elyse Rivin  11:46

So, basically, a deal was made. And it is a fact that has how the Visigoths who were really very very organized as warriors came from the east and settled in to what is basically the southern half of France. Okay. And they made Toulouse their capital. So they


Annie Sargent  12:07

I had heard that actually, yes.


Elyse Rivin  12:09

Yeah. I mean, so um, yeah, this is what’s interesting about this whole thing, and it’s gonna Yeah. How does this take us to Rennes-le-Château? Well, what all of this is about is that there’s truth and legend all mixed up.


Annie Sargent  12:21

Right. As always, as always ancient history, right? How would it not be?


Elyse Rivin  12:26

So the Visigoths came and basically stayed in this area and including they went as far as the Atlantic and they did go across into the what is now northern Spain, and eventually were kicked out by the Franks and moved south and moved into what is now Spain and stayed. But there is a story, a legend about the gold of the Visigoths.


Annie Sargent  12:51



Elyse Rivin  12:53

And everything they did was with gold. The problem is we don’t know where any of that gold went from.


Annie Sargent  12:59



Elyse Rivin  13:00

We have no idea.


Annie Sargent  13:01

It was probably imaginary gold.


Elyse Rivin  13:03

They did put gold on the walls with mosaics, just like the Byzantines did.


Annie Sargent  13:09

But like a piece of gold,


Elyse Rivin  13:10

A piece of gold, it’s kind of like the gold you use for putting on a frame for a picture. You know, I mean, you don’t need a whole lot of gold to do that kind of thing.


Annie Sargent  13:17



Elyse Rivin  13:18

But after the first legend about treasures of gold, there’s the gold of the Visigoths. Nobody knows where it went when they left and went across the Pyrenees into Spain.


Annie Sargent  13:30

Okay, another set of gold.


Elyse Rivin  13:33

Then we come to a very important part of the history of this place called Rennes-le-Château. It happens that starting with the organization of what became France. When we have the Charlemagne and the development, we’ve talked about this a lot about how he made counties and he made counts and he made you know, royalty everywhere. Rennes-le-Château,which had a different name at the time. was a small village they had taken over the remnants and the vestiges of what was this opium that was left from basically prehistoric times. And they made it into a village that was village run by a Count, who paid his dues to the vicount of Carcassonne. Okay, so we’re now getting to about the year 1000.


Annie Sargent  14:24



Elyse Rivin  14:25

And this is pretty much a similar history to everything that goes on in this region. We have a feudal system we have these little nobles who are each one has its own little territory to to govern and pillage I guess,


Annie Sargent  14:40

You know, well, you don’t call it village when it’s your ruler. You call it taxes.


Elyse Rivin  14:44

It’s called taxes it basically you took taxes and and and the Knights that have to do whatever they you know, they’re supposed to do. Yeah. And so we have it, ironically, and interestingly, this little village of Rennes-le-Château, which is part of this area that we’d mentioned recently called the Razès, this is the name of the region


Annie Sargent  15:07



Elyse Rivin  15:08

The Razès, the original name of Rennes-le-Château was Redae, REDAE.


Annie Sargent  15:15



Elyse Rivin  15:15

Okay. It’s recorded as being Redae in the year 1002. So, it goes back really far.


Annie Sargent  15:23

Yeah. And so there was there’s a written record.


Elyse Rivin  15:25

There is a written record.


Elyse Rivin  15:26

Yeah, a legitimate written record. Yeah, this is the part that’s not simply we’re talking about crazy legends and stuff like that.


Annie Sargent  15:33



Elyse Rivin  15:33

It was a fortified village on the top of this hill, and it had a count, who was the ruler of the area in the 1200s. When we have this war that really did take up a lot of time and killed a lot of people in this region of France. So we are talking about the war of this famous war with the group that we now call the Cathar that was really a war for annexation. Let’s put it that way, you know, between the King of France, this area was loyal to the vicount in caucus and so like in Limoux and other places, sided with the people who were here, not with the invading people.


Annie Sargent  16:18



Elyse Rivin  16:19

In other words


Annie Sargent  16:20

So Trencavel


Elyse Rivin  16:20

Trencavel and the Counts of Toulouse and all of these people.


Annie Sargent  16:24



Elyse Rivin  16:25

Unfortunately for them, even though it was a place forte, and strategically looked like it could be very successful in defending itself. Simon de Montfort’s army managed to come in


Annie Sargent  16:40

That the invader’s army


Elyse Rivin  16:42

That the invader’s army


Annie Sargent  16:42

Sent by the King of France


Elyse Rivin  16:44

Sent by the King of France, and they took it over they managed to conquer it. And nobody really knows why except that probably it Trencavel and all these people were too busy defending the more important cities like Carcassonne. And this was a small fortified village, which maybe we have, you know, I mean, it was never that big. It probably had a few hundred people at the most just that it was. It’s it’s getting into the foothills of the Pyrenees. So its activity would have been textiles and metal work. And maybe leather because you have lots of rivers and you have lots of sources of metallic mines and things like that.


Annie Sargent  17:28

Yeah. Now, let me ask you, you you mentioned Simon de Montfort


Elyse Rivin  17:31



Annie Sargent  17:33

Everybody listening, you have to know that to understand the story of the south of France. You have to know about this guy.


Elyse Rivin  17:39

Yeah, he was a bad guy.


Annie Sargent  17:41

Yes, he was a bad guy. And he was killed in Toulouse. Yes. In your VoiceMap tour. Do you take people to? In fact, it’s interesting that you asked me that question because we I don’t go to the place where he was but what I am going to be doing is the VoiceMap Cathar tour of Toulouse and Inquisition soon. Okay. And in that VoiceMap then you will definitely show where he got killed. All right.


Annie Sargent  18:11

So just to explain, Elise is developing VoiceMap self guided audio tours of Toulouse and the area.


Annie Sargent  18:19

I have been doing the same but with Paris. And it’s a great way to discover the city because, yeah, it shows you, you know. And I’ll put a link in the show notes for how you can find them. But if you go to Toulouse Guided Walks, there’s going to be something there where you can you can lean on to it. Yeah, you can find them it’s Toulouse Guided Walks, that’s Elyse’s site.


Elyse Rivin  18:19



Elyse Rivin  18:44

So and this man’s Simon de Montfort who is really it down here you have to go. When you hear his name, this is what you’re supposed to do. He was the general that lead the invading army. And he gave the village Redae to one of his generals, the same general who was given Limoux. This is all part of the same time period. This man who was named Pierre de Voisin. And so it became the beginning of a dynasty, an aristocratic or noble dynasty of the family of the Voisins.  Just like in Mirepoix we had the family of the Levy, you know.


Annie Sargent  19:22



Elyse Rivin  19:22

And what happened was, the walls of the village were torn down when Simon de Montfort attacked it. But a little bit later, in the early 1300s, the family Voisin which is now a noble family with, they have their counts, they rebuilt the walls, and they added a Chateau.


Annie Sargent  19:45



Elyse Rivin  19:46

And this is when it becomes Rennes-le-Château.


Annie Sargent  19:51



Elyse Rivin  19:51

We’re in the beginning of the 1300s. And what happens then we’re at the beginning of the 1300s and we have a King, who is called Philippe Le Bel.


Annie Sargent  20:04



Elyse Rivin  20:05

And Philippe Le Bel is a man who wants to make France rich. And France has been bleeding money because it’s been going on too many crusades. And because they’re at war with everybody.


Annie Sargent  20:20



Elyse Rivin  20:21

They’re at war with their cousins in the south in Spain. They’re at war with England. They’re at war just about with everybody. And so.


Annie Sargent  20:29

Bad idea.


Elyse Rivin  20:29

Bad, bad, bad, bad idea. But it’s kind of a sort of a broken record in the head of the kings of France for a certain amount of time.


Annie Sargent  20:37

Yeah, it took him a long time to realize that maybe you should cut that out.


Elyse Rivin  20:40

Yeah. Yeah. Because, you know, it’s not working that well, you know, that’s what led to the Revolution after all. And so what does he do? He decides he’s going to attack the Knights Templar. Who are It’s a strange concept. I mean, even if For all these years of reading about this and going to these places, it is still a concept. This is monks who are warriors.


Annie Sargent  21:07



Elyse Rivin  21:08

And the Knights Templar, which is an organization that was begun to defend Jerusalem.


Annie Sargent  21:17

Right. So they so people went on crusades and the night Templars helped them


Elyse Rivin  21:21



Annie Sargent  21:22

All the way to Jerusalem


Elyse Rivin  21:24

And fought there to protect Jerusalem.


Annie Sargent  21:26



Elyse Rivin  21:26

But the other part of the history of the Knights Templar, which is why it becomes important in talking about Rennes-le-Château is that they became the official bankers, for the Pope.


Annie Sargent  21:39



Elyse Rivin  21:40

And for anybody going on a crusade, and so we’re talking about kings, and princes, and counts and all these noble people. And what they would do is that they would send their treasure and their money ahead for the Knights Templar to take care of it. So that it was not pillaged on the way to as they think they would send it by ship by by boat that actually would arrive in the ports in what was the would be really Palestine for Jerusalem. And they would go by land with their armies across. And so over the years because the First Crusade started in 1096, so we’re talking about a period of almost 300 years. Over the years, the Knights Templar became very, very, very rich.


Annie Sargent  22:28

Right. So, to put it another way, this was an organization of very strong men who had relationships everywhere in France. So they set up little fortified places, all the way between Paris and Jerusalem, and they had relationships all the way and of course, if you were a rich person, and you had to move money, moving it with the knight Templars was a much safer way


Elyse Rivin  22:57

Much safer


Annie Sargent  22:57

Than giving it to your… to somebody’s and tell them right like calm right now do you couldn’t trust any of that. So the trusted money movers were the knight Templars in the Middle Ages. And that’s how they became so powerful is because of course, they took a cut.


Elyse Rivin  23:16

And they kept a lot.


Annie Sargent  23:17

And that’s how it worked. And a lot of times also these noble people would get kidnapped.


Elyse Rivin  23:25



Annie Sargent  23:25

And if there was a kidnapping, you had to pay a ransom, right? Guess who took the ransom? The Knight Templars. And they took a cut


Elyse Rivin  23:33

And they took a cut


Annie Sargent  23:33



Annie Sargent  23:34

And so they were really important. And then in in, in my VoiceMap tour of the Île de la Cité in Paris, I explained how they became so powerful that they had to be executed.


Elyse Rivin  23:47

They need to be eliminated


Annie Sargent  23:49

Eliminated completely and in a very, very brutal and visual way to mark you know, so people wouldn’t forget that this is what happens if you mess around with the French King and the Pope because they were playing them both they were they were playing both sides of the anyway.


Elyse Rivin  24:06

And so Philippe le Bell. What happens is there was in fact a time when one of the centers for the Knights Templar was here in Toulouse. And so a legend grew up that when they knew that they were going to be persecuted and chased by Philippe le Bell, and of course, the leaders were about to be arrested. They went and took a big chunk of their treasure. And they hid it somewhere. Now where did they hide it? They hid it somewhere in the hills around where? Rennes-le-Château!


Annie Sargent  24:44

Of course they did!


Elyse Rivin  24:45

Of course they did. Yes. So here we come. This is legend about treasure number three. Okay, okay. Next year or next year, next century? Yes, there’s a history. I don’t know if it’s true or not, to be honest. I really Didn’t delve deeply into it. There’s a history of a legend about forgery. About because we’re talking about a time when money was coin, there wasn’t paper money. So there were, of course, it was supposed to be the king that was supposed to be stamping and making the money. But there is a legend that a century later, there was an activity in the foothills of the Pyrenees of forgers making fake coins. Ah, whether they were real or not. I have no idea.


Annie Sargent  25:30

Well, they probably put like a veneer of gold or whatever or silver on top and then inside was tin or something. Which is why people used to bite coins.


Elyse Rivin  25:39



Annie Sargent  25:41

Just to see if it was solid enough.


Elyse Rivin  25:42



Annie Sargent  25:43

And break their teeth.


Elyse Rivin  25:43

to new people. Yes. Of course. Don’t do that to your gold ring. Please don’t do it. So, one century later, we have now a fourth legend about treasure but in this case, it’s a legend about false treasure. Fake coins.


Annie Sargent  26:00

Fake coins


Elyse Rivin  26:00

Fake coins.


Annie Sargent  26:01

Well, that’s a good collector’s item.


Elyse Rivin  26:03

It’s a good collector’s item!


Annie Sargent  26:04



Elyse Rivin  26:04

And all this is in conjunction with a story that belongs to something that we’ve done on a previous podcast, which had to do with the Cathar and Montségur, which is not very far away. It’s a little bit West in the foothills of the Pyrenees.


Annie Sargent  26:17



Elyse Rivin  26:17

Which has to do with the idea that the Cathars which were it’s a whole other story, but they also had a treasure and that there is a legend that several people escaped from this mountain fortress before the rest of them were burned at the stake. And they fled with a treasure that was supposed to be directed towards northern Italy where some of the their own people were waiting for them, but that somehow it got lost close to Rennes-le-Château.


Annie Sargent  26:47

Oh, course he got lost there! Of course. Now that’s a lot of treasures,


Elyse Rivin  26:51

That’s a lot of treasure. Yeah, we have a lot of other treasure here.


Annie Sargent  26:54

Yeah. And we’re, somebody’s got to go find it.


Elyse Rivin  26:57

Guess what, okay. So here Go, here we go. Well, you You’re good, you’re good.


Annie Sargent  27:03

Am I good or what?


Elyse Rivin  27:04

And so what we have is a legitimate medieval village with a rebuilt magnificent fortified castle. That is really a village that is relatively modest in size. And that has some activity, but it’s not nearly as important as some of the other sites around it, including Limoux and Carcassonne and things like that, which are really not very far away.


Annie Sargent  27:26



Elyse Rivin  27:27

And we pass through a little bit of a time warp. Now we come out of the time warp at the French Revolution.


Annie Sargent  27:36

Okay, okay.


Elyse Rivin  27:39

These legends have


Annie Sargent  27:40

This is late 1700


Elyse Rivin  27:41

Which is late 1700s. We have these legends which have persisted all through this time. Yeah, but people are preoccupied with other problems, you know, yeah, there are other issues.


Annie Sargent  27:54

Like feeding your family.


Elyse Rivin  27:55

Feeding your family, like having the plague come through, like having the English marauding, like whether there’s going to be upheaval in relation to the monarchy or not.


Annie Sargent  28:05



Elyse Rivin  28:05

Like the war of religions between the Protestants and the Catholics, things like that. Yes. Like that. Yeah. minor details, minor details. Yeah. However, if you go and read about the history of Rennes-le-Château, all through this time, there are people who have come and have started to dig. Dig where? They dig in the hills that are literally under the shadow. They dig. They can get up to the top of the where the villages they try and dig holes, thinking that there’s somehow a treasure somewhere.


Elyse Rivin  28:37

Like shovels and stuff?


Elyse Rivin  28:39

Yeah. I mean, yeah. People love looking for treasure.


Annie Sargent  28:45

Well, you know, this is really funny to me because I walk this path all the time with my dogs. And every now and then there’s a guy who comes by and he has like a metal detector, metal detector and he will just walk into mud all day long looking for I don’t know what. Cause there’s nothing there dude! And he reappears every few months, you must have like a circle that, you know he must go to all these different places. People do one of these days, I’m gonna have to talk to him and just what the heck are you looking for?


Elyse Rivin  29:18

Maybe he thinks the gold of the Visigoths is there. You never know it


Annie Sargent  29:22

Could be could be. It could be a kilometer away from my house.


Elyse Rivin  29:26

It could be.


Annie Sargent  29:26

And I was the fool who didn’t go looking!


Elyse Rivin  29:28



Annie Sargent  29:29

It could be me the fool.


Elyse Rivin  29:30

How would we call them in French? Des, des, des?


Elyse Rivin  29:30

C’est pas des pardons ?


Elyse Rivin  29:30

But what happens is that in the XVII  century in the 1600s there was a huge scandal because they discover that the monks in the abbey that is just outside Rennes-le-Château have been selling pardons in mass. You know a pardon was rid of your sins. Yes, they were.


Elyse Rivin  29:30

It could be, yes. And in the midst of all of this, and up through into the French Revolution, there is a scandal that breaks out. Because Rennes-le-Château in spite of not being very big for a certain time period, the church is considered to be a cathedral. Now there’s that’s another whole story about why a small church in a small village will be considered a cathedral because that means there’s a bishop and that means that they get a lot of money from the church.


Annie Sargent  30:26

Non. There’s a name for it, it’ll come back to me.


Elyse Rivin  30:30

And guess what they did? They accumulated a fortune!


Annie Sargent  30:33

Non !


Elyse Rivin  30:35

And that was


Annie Sargent  30:36

And did they bury it in the hills?


Elyse Rivin  30:38

They buried it and they buried it and they buried somewhere. They not only buried it, but people were so crazy that they started


Annie Sargent  30:48

Ah! I thought of the word! It was called “des indulgences”


Elyse Rivin  30:51

Ah, les indulgences!


Annie Sargent  30:52



Elyse Rivin  30:52

Les indulgences. But the people were so crazy trying to find this treasure that they were actually pillaging  tombs.


Annie Sargent  31:01

Nah, that’s not right!


Elyse Rivin  31:03

So this place has this history that is rather the word in French is “louche”


Annie Sargent  31:08

“C’est louche”


Elyse Rivin  31:09

I love that word!


Annie Sargent  31:09

“C’est louche”


Elyse Rivin  31:10

“C’est louche” This is very suspicious. Okay. Anyway, here we go. All right. Modern times begins officially with after the French Revolution. Okay.


Annie Sargent  31:23



Elyse Rivin  31:24

The very beginning of the 1800s. The village is basically isolated. It’s become very poor it there’s very little going on there.


Annie Sargent  31:37

That’s because they can’t find the trailer.


Elyse Rivin  31:38

Well, because there’s no activity left of any kind.


Annie Sargent  31:41



Elyse Rivin  31:42

And what happens is that we get into the early 19th century. And there is a priest, who is named the priest of the church in the village and he is a monk who belongs to this Benedictine Abbey where they had been selling these indulgences. These pardons, right?


Annie Sargent  32:04



Elyse Rivin  32:05

And his name is Abbé de Saunière.


Annie Sargent  32:09



Elyse Rivin  32:09

Saunière. And Abbe de Sonia decides that it is extremely important to renovate the church. And in order to bring money back to the village and to bring people back to the village


Annie Sargent  32:29



Elyse Rivin  32:30

He undertakes the building of a new chateau on the ruins of this chateau from the 1200s.


Annie Sargent  32:38



Elyse Rivin  32:39

Okay. And he adds a park.


Annie Sargent  32:42



Elyse Rivin  32:43

And he adds, I’m losing my words like a like a botanical garden with beautiful flowers.


Annie Sargent  32:50



Elyse Rivin  32:51

And he has a tower built.


Annie Sargent  32:53

All right.


Elyse Rivin  32:54

Okay. And he this this is all built.


Annie Sargent  32:58

Obviously he had money, priest had money,


Elyse Rivin  33:01

Annie, he had money! He had money, but he was a monk who was a priest.


Annie Sargent  33:10



Elyse Rivin  33:11

Where did the money come from?


Annie Sargent  33:14

Well, it’s possible he found one of the treasures.


Elyse Rivin  33:19

And there we are.


Annie Sargent  33:21

There you go!


Elyse Rivin  33:22

There we go. And so what happens is starting in the middle of the 19th century, there is a legend that develops and spreads.


Annie Sargent  33:33



Elyse Rivin  33:33

Worse than the Coronavirus actually, that Abbé de Saunière has found the treasure. Well, we don’t know which one right which one will never know.


Annie Sargent  33:48

Was it fake coins though?


Elyse Rivin  33:50

We never know.


Annie Sargent  33:51



Elyse Rivin  33:51

We will never know.  We will.


Annie Sargent  33:54

That’s disappointing.


Elyse Rivin  33:56

We will never know. The fact is that was happens is that no one ever, ever to this day has found out where the money came from that he used to


Annie Sargent  34:11

To do all this!


Elyse Rivin  34:12

To build all of these buildings that are still there.


Annie Sargent  34:15

A holy monk, why?


Elyse Rivin  34:16

That are still there. Rennes-le-Château is actually very pretty. It has a gorgeous, rebuilt, medieval Chateau. It has a park with gardens. It’s all of this upon top of the hill. It’s got a little center of old medieval houses. It has a 360 degree view that shows you the Pyrenees, the foothills, the valleys going north towards Carcassonne into the rolling hills. It is in fact a very beautiful little village. But what happens is that because of this building, and because there is this fervor around this legend,  people start to come to Rennes-le-Château.


Annie Sargent  35:05



Elyse Rivin  35:06

Now did in fact he ever deny it or not? I don’t know.


Annie Sargent  35:11



Elyse Rivin  35:11

I don’t know. But what happened was that because so many people started coming to Rennes-le-Château, and this is of course, we’re not talking about late 20th century tourism. We’re talking about a time when people were going back into superstitious things, you see, and they were wondering where this Abby got his money from?


Annie Sargent  35:31

Maybe he made a deal with the devil!


Elyse Rivin  35:32

Well, did you read my notes before?


Annie Sargent  35:36

No, I didn’t!


Elyse Rivin  35:36



Annie Sargent  35:37

But this is a classic story. I’ve read a few novels Elyse.


Elyse Rivin  35:46

I’m speechless. I’m speechless, except that this isn’t out of a novel. This is the reality!


Annie Sargent  35:51

Of course it’s real!


Elyse Rivin  35:52

What happens is that the the Bishop of the area, who is a man with a certain amount of rationality, he basically takes him to task. And, and tells him because he’s actually just a local priest. I mean, he’s, he’s a monk from this


Annie Sargent  36:10

Tiny village


Elyse Rivin  36:13

And basically says to him, you know, you have to stop this sensationalism around your church and everything because this is not doing the church as a whole, any good. There’s, there’s too much not


Annie Sargent  36:26

So, you’re attracting too much attention


Elyse Rivin  36:28

You’re attracting too much attention and bad attention because it had to do with what was considered to be notoriety and superstition and things like that. Well, it turns out that the Abbé Saunière  persisted. And he lived to be a relatively old man. And when he died, which is at the beginning of the 20th century, he left behind him some writings that nobody can confirm or deny in terms of what he says in the writings Because they’re very strange writings and they’re a bit mystical and they have to do with the church and devil and this and that.


Annie Sargent  37:08

He was a weirdo.


Elyse Rivin  37:09

He was a weirdo.


Annie Sargent  37:10

Yeah, I’ve kind of told you that already.


Elyse Rivin  37:11

But what’s interesting, and this is where it gets a little bit more serious, actually, is that the people that came to his defense and this is in the 19th century, where the reactionary monarchists.


Annie Sargent  37:24



Elyse Rivin  37:24

See, so he had a huge following. Okay, with the right wing with the very right wing, very reactionary part of the Catholic Church. Yeah. And they were definitely people that you know, I would not want to associate with me.


Annie Sargent  37:40



Elyse Rivin  37:40

So, is there some connection and is that where the money came from? There is nothing to verify one way or the other. But one of the last things he did before he actually died, was he had work done on the church itself, and in the process of renovating the church. He added a couple of statues and one of which is called “Le diable au bénitier”


Annie Sargent  38:06

Le diable au bénitier, ah!


Elyse Rivin  38:08

I’ve got a little picture in black and white, but it’s it’s very nasty looking. And he added a couple of these pieces that were, that have since been renovated because now they’ve been renovated because in fact, it’s what brings tourists to the church because the legend developed after his death, carried on by these right wing traditionalists, that the treasure that abbé Saunière, Saunière found was a treasure that originally had belonged to the devil and he had recuperated it. I mean, this gets so


Annie Sargent  38:43

Ah, the devil got it


Elyse Rivin  38:44

The devil mixes in with this.


Annie Sargent  38:46

Okay, okay. Well of course, the devil had to be in it.


Elyse Rivin  38:48

And in it in the 1960s there was a movie made called L’or du diable


Annie Sargent  38:55

Oh, there you go, a movie. Oh no!


Elyse Rivin  38:58

Well, why not? Why not? We have to have a movie, don’t we? No, I’m sorry. It was in the 1980s it was called L’or du diable.


Annie Sargent  39:07

L’or du diable, which is, I have not had the pleasure of viewing this masterpiece,


Elyse Rivin  39:12

And it was really about the whole legend and the story of this treasure and Rennes-le-Château.


Annie Sargent  39:19

I wonder if it’s on Netflix?


Elyse Rivin  39:20

Probably is, it probably is. So this is what the story is now. Since the beginning of something that we call the New Agers, people who believe in power lines that go into the center of the earth and a magic crystals and things like that. It’s a concept. I’m not even sure why it came to be called New Agers. But they adopted this town this this village Rennes-le-Château and made it into a site of one of their their energy lines.


Annie Sargent  40:02



Elyse Rivin  40:03

And so what you have is to kind you have basically three kinds of tourism that goes there.


Elyse Rivin  40:09



Elyse Rivin  40:10

You have tourists like you and I, who go there because it is in fact, out of curiosity


Annie Sargent  40:16



Elyse Rivin  40:16

To go to see this place because it is in fact really very pretty. This site is magnificent. And you want to know what all the noise is about that everyone’s talking about.


Annie Sargent  40:25

No, L’or du diable Dang it! Not in French Netflix


Elyse Rivin  40:31

Well, it is French so it’ll come out sooner. And and then you have the people who go there because they want to have a mystical experience.


Annie Sargent  40:39



Elyse Rivin  40:40

And what happens is and this I can tell, I can tell everybody by firsthand experience because I went there with a group that, this is a number of years ago, who wanted to go into the church with their crystals to see if they were good or bad vibrate, bad vibrations happening.


Annie Sargent  40:56



Elyse Rivin  40:56

And walk me around and and had me look at all of these. things. I had only really visited the village from the outside before. But I thought, Okay, why not? And then you still have, and this is amazing because as of literally last year, it was still happening. You have people who come with a shovel and a pic and try and dig holes either underneath the hill or on the top of the hill near the foundation of the church in the shadow of


Annie Sargent  41:25

There’s got to be ordinances against that!


Elyse Rivin  41:27

Well, they get arrested. If they are caught.


Annie Sargent  41:28

Okay, okay. Yeah, because there’s no way


Elyse Rivin  41:30

There’s no way.


Annie Sargent  41:31

If I took a shovel and axe to church around my house next to my house, what do you think would happen? They would stop me!


Elyse Rivin  41:40

Well, so this is the deal with this actually. I mean, in spite of all of this, I have to say it’s really kind of a fun place to visit.


Annie Sargent  41:49



Elyse Rivin  41:50

But don’t go there were certain times of the year and I’m not sure exactly when I didn’t look it up that I know that there is a an influx of groups of New Age people. You That come there for a kind of congregation. Because on top of everything else, the legend grew up that was used in the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.


Annie Sargent  42:11

Oh, then all bets are off!


Elyse Rivin  42:12

Then all bets are off though. Mary Magdalene came, you know, she escaped. Mary Magdalene escaped from Palestine. And she came to the south of France.


Annie Sargent  42:23



Elyse Rivin  42:24

And she had a baby with Jesus didn’t know if you didn’t know that. I’m sorry.


Annie Sargent  42:29

No, no, she did not have a baby with Jesus.


Elyse Rivin  42:32

Yes, she did. That’s what the legend says.


Annie Sargent  42:35

She had she made a kid with her son? That’s incest. Oh, Mary Magdalene! Sorry, sorry!


Elyse Rivin  42:40

No, no, no. Mary Magdalene. A different Mary! Careful here.


Annie Sargent  42:47



Elyse Rivin  42:48

Let’s not get into other other kinds of trouble here.


Annie Sargent  42:50

No, no, this Yeah.


Elyse Rivin  42:52

And when she left, she went to Montségur and Rennes-le-Château.


Annie Sargent  43:00

Yes, as one does.


Elyse Rivin  43:02

And as one does! And somehow she is buried somewhere around here.


Annie Sargent  43:08

Marie Magdalène?


Elyse Rivin  43:09

In this area around Rennes-le-Château.


Annie Sargent  43:11



Elyse Rivin  43:11

So, you have


Annie Sargent  43:14

Well, that would be a hit. I mean, that would be like headlines!


Elyse Rivin  43:18

But they didn’t have internet at the time.


Annie Sargent  43:21

Oh, true. Imagine what would have happened with the internet


Elyse Rivin  43:25

in December of 2012.


Annie Sargent  43:28



Elyse Rivin  43:29

Thousands of new agers came to Rennes-le-Château. And they went to a teeny little village that is actually about 12 or 13 kilometers away. That is at the foot of a little mountain called the Bugarach.


Annie Sargent  43:52

Ah, we get to the Bugarach! Yeah, yes,


Elyse Rivin  43:55

Thousands came because now I’m gonna have to try that. Sorry, I couldn’t have been so serious the whole time. Yeah, well, okay doing really well, haven’t I? Because in the Mayan,


Annie Sargent  44:10

The Mayan?


Elyse Rivin  44:12

I’m sorry. I have to take a deep breath here.


Annie Sargent  44:15

No Mayan, like in the Mayan


Elyse Rivin  44:17

in the Mayan calendar. Oh, no. And then the Mayan Codex. There is a book called The Mayan Codex that has astronomical predictions, which is in fact the Mayans were very good at doing astronomy.


Annie Sargent  44:30

Okay, I guess I don’t know.


Elyse Rivin  44:33

Don’t even ask.


Annie Sargent  44:33

Okay, fine. Fine.


Elyse Rivin  44:34

I’m in the Mayan Codex. There was a prediction that in December of 2012.


Elyse Rivin  44:46

Sorry, Please, everybody. The world would come to an end.


Annie Sargent  44:50

Of course!


Elyse Rivin  44:51



Annie Sargent  44:52

But if you were there in Rennes-le-Château you’d be spared.


Elyse Rivin  44:55

You’d be spared.


Annie Sargent  44:56

Ah! Brilliant!


Elyse Rivin  44:58

Brilliant. And that One of the energy lines was in Rennes-le-Château and the other is at the top of this mountain, which has a very odd shape.


Annie Sargent  45:06



Elyse Rivin  45:07

The Bugarach. It’s 1230 meters tall.


Annie Sargent  45:11

I mean, if you go there, people probably assume you’re wacko.


Elyse Rivin  45:16

Well, they do. They do. And actually what happened was and I vaguely remember this, although of course I vaguely remember it in the sense that I remember hearing about it because I was still here in Toulouse not there, that they sent out a lot of… I don’t remember if it was police or exactly arm or army to surround the village of Rennes-le-Château and surround the base of the Bugarach mountain because they were afraid that they were going to be incidents. Because the local people have been putting up with these masses of New Age people coming for a long time.


Annie Sargent  45:51



Elyse Rivin  45:52

And they had there had been an announcement made that thousands were going to show up for this final, apocalyptic ceremony. And it wasn’t whether they were going to be saved or if they were going to just simply be able to go to Paradise when the end of the world came, but but it was one or the other.


Annie Sargent  46:09

It’s very disappointing that nothing happened.


Elyse Rivin  46:11

Well, it is very disappointing. But what is fascinating and and this is why I like to throw this out to everybody. Is that it is a fact that geo geologists have done some research about the minerals that are in the Bugarach. And there are some things it’s an there’s an excess of iron ore, which of course creates heavy magnetism.


Elyse Rivin  46:38

Which is why when people come with these, the fact is that people come with the crystals, and I’m sure somebody out there is going to write and say that I’m inaccurate in doing this, but they come with the crystals with the crystals are attached to something metallic in general.


Annie Sargent  46:52

Yeah, okay.


Elyse Rivin  46:52

And it is the fact that these move, see, yeah, and so it has to do with the the iron ore It has to do with other metals that are inside.


Elyse Rivin  47:03

That’s what makes them move.


Elyse Rivin  47:04

And seems to create the reaction that sets the things off. And it is a region that is filled with caves that have very heavy deposits of different minerals. It is a fact you know, so you can take this


Annie Sargent  47:15

That’s natural part is natural.


Elyse Rivin  47:18

So what has happened is that the we could say that the region around Rennes-le-Château and Bugarach  is kind of new age, tourist attraction.


Annie Sargent  47:33

Right, right. And once it’s been in movies and a new book as popular as Da Vinci Code, right, then there’s all bets are off.


Elyse Rivin  47:42

All bets are off. Yeah. However, it is also really fun to go there.


Annie Sargent  47:45

Yeah. Well, I was planning on going tomorrow. But to take photos of both Limoux and Rennes-le-Château, I don’t know if I’ll making it tomorrow, but I need to go eventually. I hope they won’t chase me away with a pitch fork.


Elyse Rivin  48:02

Don’t bring the pitchfork with you.


Annie Sargent  48:04

Just I won’t have a shovel. I don’t have a shovel shovel. Oh, no.


Elyse Rivin  48:08

And if  you go there because honestly and truly, if you’re in this part of France, and it’s the springtime or this summer or the early fall, it is a lovely, gorgeous area. It really the views from some of these villages are absolutely magnificent. And Rennes-le-Château is just to kind of kick to go to this place, and just, there’s a couple of new age bookstores, they’re there, of course, little places where you can have something to eat. But while you’re there, you might as well take advantage of being this area and do two things and go to a teeny, teeny, teeny little Chateau. That’s a fortified Chateau called Arques. ARQUES.


Annie Sargent  48:48



Elyse Rivin  48:49

Which is east of Rennes-le-Château, which is really a magnificent fortified castle. It is in private hands but it is visitable visit-able to both visited it twice, visited it twice. And it’s really beautiful. And it has stayed in the hands of the dynasty of the Maison de Joyeuse.


Annie Sargent  49:15

Joyeuse, that’s a good name


Elyse Rivin  49:17

Which is part of the ancient nobility of the area. But it’s really beautiful to see and it’s got four towers on this rectangular it’s not high up which is interesting because not like when the Cathar ruins that are a little highter. Yeah, this one is really easy to get to, you know. And it’s only a short distance east of Rennes-le-Château.


Annie Sargent  49:39

Yeah, this is this whole area is really lovely to visit. I wouldn’t go into dead of the summer because it would get hot.


Elyse Rivin  49:47

It gets hot and can be really filled with tourists.


Annie Sargent  49:50

Yeah, but if you can go in May or maybe April May and September October. It would be so lovely.


Elyse Rivin  49:57

It is really lovely.


Annie Sargent  49:58

The Aude is a lovely area.


Elyse Rivin  49:59

And honestly


Annie Sargent  50:00

And the wine is good too.


Elyse Rivin  50:01

The wine is good too. And if you go to the top of Rennes-le-Château. The parking, by the way, in Rennes-le-Château is, all the parking is down below. Because they because of the influx of tourists.


Annie Sargent  50:12

So it is you have to walk.


Elyse Rivin  50:13

So it’s a walk. But it’s not terrible. I mean, this is not a horrible, horrible walk up. It’s just nice. But if you get to the


Annie Sargent  50:19

Get your heart pumping


Elyse Rivin  50:19

You really have a view that’s absolutely magnificent from every direction. And you can just have a coffee or a drink and imagine all of these legends and all of these things. Now, just just as a piece of ridiculous information, over 800 books, articles and films have been made about Rennes-le-Château and the treasure of abbé Saunière.


Annie Sargent  50:46

Yes. And so because now we’re putting out a podcast episode, and it’s going to be transcribed. I know for sure there going to be a lot of people who find the podcast just because they were looking for information on Rennes-le-Château. And I want to apologize if we have been cavalier with your dear held beliefs, but at Elyse and I are rational people.


Elyse Rivin  51:08

Let’s say that there’s a certain the infringement we say “prise de distance”.


Annie Sargent  51:15



Elyse Rivin  51:16

Certainly like, okay, prove it no kind of thing you know, it’s like


Annie Sargent  51:20

No, but it’s a great story.


Elyse Rivin  51:21

It’s a great story


Annie Sargent  51:22

It’s a great story so why not you know? Enjoy life if that’s what makes you happy go for it!


Elyse Rivin  51:27

And really this part of Aude, because it’s filled with mystery, its mystery of these ruins that are yes or no maybe really Chateau from the Cathar times, but other medieval fortified Chateau and gorgeous little villages. It is really a gorgeous part of the Aude department to visit. So it’s a great visit, you go to Rennes-le-Château you can do all of this same day. You can do this the same day you do Limoux. You can go to Limoux, you can go to


Annie Sargent  51:55

So that’s my plan is


Elyse Rivin  51:57

Rennes-le-Château and then stop in Arques to see this very beautiful little chateau


Elyse Rivin  52:00

Right, right


Elyse Rivin  52:02

And if you have


Annie Sargent  52:03

And Bugarach


Elyse Rivin  52:04

Enough courage yes go to the Bugarach


Annie Sargent  52:08

The Bugarach


Elyse Rivin  52:08

Go to the Bugarach.


Annie Sargent  52:10

Can you climb up it?


Elyse Rivin  52:11

Yeah, there there


Annie Sargent  52:12

Is there a hike or something?


Elyse Rivin  52:13

Yes, there are trails. Yeah. I can be a little bit muddy because it is actually oddly enough it is a little put a microclimate there so it does get a fair amount of rain. This tiny little village, the village of Bugarach  which is which is down below. But it is really a very beautiful area. And so you have all this


Annie Sargent  52:15

I was gonna I blocked out the day tomorrow to go but then I thought well, with this virus whatever Should I go but the virus isn’t going to be in Bugarach.


Annie Sargent  52:45

There’s no COVID in Bugarach.


Elyse Rivin  52:48

Okay, there’s not that much of a chance that


Annie Sargent  52:51

I mean, Limoux is supposed to have a festival this time of year.


Elyse Rivin  52:54



Annie Sargent  52:55

But I think it’s probably been canceled.


Annie Sargent  52:57

My guess is that it’s been canceled because of my guest on Fortunately, yes that it has been canceled.


Annie Sargent  53:01

So we’ll see. I might still go.


Elyse Rivin  53:05

And you know, it’s just that these are this whole area. We’ve had podcasts we’ve done Mirepoix, we’ve done places like that.


Annie Sargent  53:12



Elyse Rivin  53:13

This area is rich, rich, rich with with wonderful things to see. And I just felt like doing a little bit of an original podcast.


Annie Sargent  53:23

This new age is interesting


Elyse Rivin  53:25

New age and treasure hunting and treasure hunting. Just if you go on site, don’t bring a shovel. It will not be our


Annie Sargent  53:33

If I have crystals dangling from my ears. Will they let me through?


Elyse Rivin  53:38

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. And then don’t rub the belly of the devil. The statue of the devil. It’s in the church.


Annie Sargent  53:45

Are you supposed to do that?


Elyse Rivin  53:47

Yeah, I don’t know if you’re supposed to.


Annie Sargent  53:48

Well, I’m not touching the thing. There’s COVID-19!


Elyse Rivin  53:50

It’s nasty looking.


Annie Sargent  53:52



Elyse Rivin  53:52

He’s really nasty looking. But you can sit in the garden, have a coffee, and that’s right behind. It’s actually right behind the church. Yeah, it’s Between the church and the Chateau, and go, Hmm, okay, I’m in the country of legend. Maybe Maybe all these things really did happen.


Annie Sargent  54:10

Awesome. Thank you so much Elyse!


Elyse Rivin  54:13

You are welcome Annie!


Annie Sargent  54:14

Au revoir !


Annie Sargent  54:15

I don’t have any new patrons to thank this week. But a heartfelt thank you to all my current patrons who support the show, even though they can’t travel just yet. Patrons enjoy several rewards that you’ll find listed at That’s pa tr eo n. Join us no spaces or dashes. I share exclusive content with my patrons, including help with your French, stories about France, photos, and membership into a secret Facebook group. And of course, patrons can message me directly through Patreon and these messages always get top priority.


Annie Sargent  54:52

Once this craziness is over and you’re ready to travel again, I’ll be happy to review your itinerary for France. It’ll cost you 50 bucks, but you get a full review, we go through the whole thing on phone. And then I send you my recommendations in writing. Email to set that up and write itinerary review in the subject line.


Annie Sargent  55:14

You can also send in a one time donation by using the green button on any page on that says tip your guide. And that’s very much appreciated.


Annie Sargent  55:27

And if you’d like to support the show without spending a penny you wouldn’t have otherwise, before you go shopping on Amazon, go to the bottom of any page on Join Us in and click on the Amazon ad. Because you came to Amazon through my site, I get a small commission and it does not cost you a penny more. And it’s the same thing with the ad but I don’t think you’ll be you shouldn’t be booking hotel rooms right now. And thank you so much!


Annie Sargent  55:55

For my personal update this week. Well, we’re still all asked to stay home, having Easter Sunday at home with no family gathering is no fun. But at least we’re all healthy in my immediate family and my husband’s immediate family. So we’re grateful for that. The number of new infections is still not going down in France or in the US, sadly, but it is in Italy and Spain, which is great news. And other countries are dealing with this much better than France. So, there’s hope. But it’s going to take a lot of patience. I think


Annie Sargent  56:33

President Macron is going to make another speech tonight and he’s probably going to tell us where to stay inside until the end of April at least and possibly prepare us for some things that will come into place. once they relaxed the rules. We’ll see wait and see.


Annie Sargent  56:49

I found a place where I can order groceries online and go pick them up at a given time. The slots for pickup are usually five or six days in the future, but it’ll save me going to the store which is going to be a great relief. I really don’t understand people who continue to go to the store like nothing has changed. Last Tuesday, I went to the store–where I hadn’t been for two weeks two full weeks. And I was loading up for another two weeks. So I had a massive cart. As I was rushing to put everything on the checkout belt, one guy in his 60s who was just buying one baguette, asked me if he could go ahead of me and I said yes. But then I wondered who risks catching this terrible virus for one baguette?


Annie Sargent  57:36

Another couple in their 70s both came to the store to buy a pack of six pack of water. Nobody’s running out of tap water, you’re in your 70s this thing could kill you! Why are you here at all? And of course there were two young guys who were buying a camembert each or whatever.


Annie Sargent  57:56

But to me, it’s obvious that you have to limit number of trips you make to the store. And if you don’t have to go at all, that’s even better. So, I’m seeing too many people who take no precautions, no gloves, no mask, they’re not particularly careful about how close they stand to you or anybody else. You know, and I think they go to the store because that’s one of the few things that allowed. Are people that dumb?


Annie Sargent  58:25

Staying home is a small price to pay compared to all the people who risked their lives right now to work in the medical fields and the folks who are keeping the country running. I really, really look up to them. I think of all the people who are lying in bed sick and dying with this virus. I walk around my little garden and today was lovely. It really feels like spring is here. Now it’s the sun is warm. You know, I take my little regulated walks with the dogs and I think how lucky I am. And I hope you’re as lucky as I am. Wherever you are in the world, and hang in there, this will pass. But please, please don’t go out any more than you absolutely have to.


Annie Sargent  59:09

Next Sunday’s episode is going to be about the Bearn. It was a very fun episode to record a few months  back I’m afraid. The lady who I talked to was just full of full of energy, full of beans. It was wonderful. So I look forward to that next Sunday.


Annie Sargent  59:27

Send questions or feedback to Have a great week at home. Be safe, I send you my best wishes from the south of France. And I’ll talk to you next week. Au revoir.


Annie Sargent  59:41

The Join Us in France Travel Podcast is written and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2020 by Addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution non commercial no derivatives license.

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Categories: Off the Beaten Track in France, Toulouse Area