LivingTravelVisiting the mysterious village in the Aude region

Visiting the mysterious village in the Aude region

Rennes le Chateau and the mystery surrounding the parish priest Berenger Sauniere and how he obtained the huge sums of money necessary to restore his church and grounds have been ripped off the tourist radar by recent books like The Da Vinci Code . Sauniere seems to have spent a better part of her life leaving clues about her sudden wealth. Think you can find one that is overlooked? Or even the treasure itself? Well why not visit Rennes le Chateau and see?

Get there

There is no mystery in visiting Rennes le Chateau. It is located in the Aude department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, near the Aude river south of Carcassonne. The closest town is Couiza. Just south of Couiza is the town of Esperanza with accommodation and services, as well as an excellent Sunday market.

  • By car: from Carcassonne, take the D118 towards Limoux until you reach Couiza, then the D52 to Rennes le Chateau.
  • By train: you can take a train or bus from Carcassonne station to Couiza-Montazels station. From there, you can probably take a taxi in Couiza to take you to Rennes le Chateau.
  • Taxi Hoste: 04 68 74 25 36. It is possible to walk to Rennes Le Chateau from Couiza.

Tourist offices in Rennes le Chateau

Rennes le Chateau INITIATIVE UNION
Grande Rue des Thermes

The Berenger Sauniere Center

Located in the northwest neighborhood of Rennes le Chateau, the main site, called the Centro Berenger Sauniere, is open from 10 am to 7 pm from May 1 to September 15, with shorter hours the rest of the year. This is what you have come to see. After visiting the church, you can buy a ticket that includes visits to the Presbytery where Sauniere lived, the Villa Bethania, the Magdala Tower and the Gardens. There are notations in English everywhere. A visit should take 1 to 2 hours.

There is a good bookstore in town with many books on Rennes le Chateau, some in English. It’s called Atelier Empreinte (Tel: 04 68 74 26 71)

Recommended accommodation

The Château des Ducs de Joyeuses in Couiza is a wonderful and evocative hotel interior in a castle built between 1540 and 1550 but now equipped with modern amenities including wireless internet access.

If you want to save money, the nearby Maison Riviere Bed and Breakfast will surprise you with its value.

If you prefer the countryside, and it’s a great countryside to explore, HomeAway offers many vacation rentals in the Limoux area. To stay close to Rennes le Chateau, choose accommodation near Couiza.

Other sites in the vicinity

You are right in the heart of the Cathar country. Visiting several of the castles is a must for castle buffs. Limoux, just to the north, is the center of Blanquette de Limoux, an excellent sparkling wine, and has many restaurants and tasting rooms. Our favorite restaurant turned out to be Maison de la Blanquette (Tel: 04 68 31 01 63). Limoux is also home to the Piano Museum near the train station, a collection of pianos from the 19th century to the present day. Hope, just south of Rennes Le Chateau, is home to a hat and a dinosaur museum.

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