Historical Background


The Mystery of the little village Rennes-le-Château in the South of France and its priest Berenger Saunieré has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for two generations of authors and researchers worldwide, resulting in hundreds of books and publications.

It's the story of the village priest Berenger Saunieré, who has found an enormous treasure under his church. There, he left behind strange clues hinting to his secret. But until now no one has been able to solve the mystery of the priest. Legends speaks of an ancient secret, a terrible secret, that the priest has hidden till his mysterious death in 1917.

Rennes-le-Château has everything that makes a great mystery: treasure, betrayal, forgery, forbidden love, unsolved murders, rituals and a secret believed so powerful that it could shake the roots of Christianity.

The history of Rennes-le-Château, which provides the actual background to the film "You Will be Called" is hugely popular - and not just in France. The recent bestseller "The Holy Grail and Its Legacy" (Lincoln/Baigent/Leigh) has focused international attention on the village.

Although at first glance Rennes-le-Château is a somewhat unprepossessing village on the edge of the French Pyrenees, history has transformed it into an irresistible mystery. Many maintain that it is closely linked with the legend of the Holy Grail.

Students and researchers in their hundreds have meanwhile grappled with the phenomenon of Rennes-le-Château and, during the course of their studies, have come to quite different conclusions.

Traces of the ominous story surrounding the Abbé Saunière lead to the treasures of the Merovingians, the Visigoths, and the Knights Templar - and back to the beginnings of Christianity itself. Did Saunière find the Holy Grail? Was he actually part of a secret society? And what has prompted people today to believe that this was, in fact, the case?

Whatever the truth of the matter, it has meanwhile become firmly entrenched in village history. Abbé Bérenger Saunière stumbled upon something that, practically over night, turned him into an immensely wealthy man. He supposedly left clues to his "treasure" in the village church of Maria Magdalena, which he described as a "terrible place". In this strange and tiny church, visitors are purportedly accosted by the demon Asmodeus, "Guardian of the Hidden Treasure".

But who was Abbé Saunière - the man whose work as the parson of Rennes-le-Château still fascinates millions of people around the world today?