Coordinates: 42°55′41″N 2°15′48″E / 42.9281°N 02.2633°E / 42.9281; 02.2633
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Rennes-le-Château is a French commune located in the southwest of the Aude department in the Occitanie region.

The commune is part of the Corbières massif, a limestone chaos that forms the transition between the Massif Central and the Pyrenees. Subject to a modified oceanic climate, it is drained by the Blanque river, the Couleurs stream, and various other small watercourses.

A rural commune, it had 91 inhabitants in 2020, after experiencing a population peak of 474 inhabitants in 1851. Its inhabitants are called Rennains or Rennaines.

Its territory was part of the ancient Carolingian county of Razès, whose oppidum, called Rhedae, is believed to have been located at the site of the current village.

The commune was made famous by the priest Bérenger Saunière, one of its curates, who lived and officiated in the parish at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century and undertook at his own expense renovations and beautifications of the church and its surroundings. Despite the lack of historical evidence, various authors have suggested that he found a treasure in 1885, the exact origin and nature of which are unknown. In fact, Saunière was subjected to a suspense a divinis following an investigation into mass trafficking conducted against him by his hierarchy, a severe punishment for a priest at any time. The priest also had difficulty explaining himself, refusing to provide clear and detailed justifications to his hierarchy about the origin of his supposed fortune.

As a result of such notoriety, Rennes-le-Château has seen an increasing influx of tourists since the late 1960s, with the region also being rich in historical and prehistoric sites. The municipal council decided to dedicate a museum to Abbé Saunière and his servant, located in the heart of the village.

Rennes-le-Château is a member of the Limouxin community of communes.

Tour Magdala
Tour Magdala
Coat of arms of Rennes-le-Château
Location of Rennes-le-Château
Rennes-le-Château is located in France
Rennes-le-Château is located in Occitanie
Coordinates: 42°55′41″N 2°15′48″E / 42.9281°N 02.2633°E / 42.9281; 02.2633
CantonLa Haute-Vallée de l'Aude
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Alexandre Painco
14.68 km2 (5.67 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019)[1]
 • Density6.3/km2 (16/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
11309 /11190
Elevation272–568 m (892–1,864 ft)
(avg. 435 m or 1,427 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Rennes-le-Château is a commune of 80 people (2017). It is in the region Occitanie in the Aude department in the south of France.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Populations légales 2019". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2021.


  1. "Bienvenue à la Grelinette au Domaine de Pailhères - Domaine de Pailhères" (in French). 2023-11-29. Retrieved 2023-12-14.