Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Roquefort des Corbières

The Little Known Strong Rock

   Find Roquefort by taking the N9 (now called the D6009) south from Narbonne to find Roquefort signposted on the right just after Sigean.

  Years ago I passed through this village and stopped for a drink - the mural is opposite a most delightful café - but never explored the place until my friend Cathie Welchman came to the region and declared to me that she had always wanted to see this village because Mary Magdalene had been there.

  I wasn't too sure about this, but the village was only metres away from the old route of the Via Domitia Roman road, which passes from Narbonne southwards, parallel to the coast, to Spain.  If Mary Magdalene and Jesus were in this region in the first century they would have travelled on the Roman roads, for France was part of the Roman Empire.  My archeological books are full of remains found there and the village itself has made an archeological park, with the Roman milestones found displayed.

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  The village is named after the immense rock, beneath which it is situated.


   You can climb up onto this rock, it is clearly signposted, so off we went.  It is not that steep and we really enjoyed it.  Cathie was very happy; she was sure that Mary Magdalene had been there and stood on this very rock, looking out to sea.  (We both believe that Mary Magdalene came to this region, rather than Provence, but after that, our theories diverge!)

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    On it are traces of windmills, one made into a house, and old mines.  We had magnificent views of the village.


  There was once a medieval castle at Roquefort, now completely ruined, as you can clearly see here in the centre of the picture..


  St. Martin

You can also see the hill with the church of St. Martin on it.  Cathie believes that all St. Martin churches were built on the site of previous pagan altars.  There was probably a Roman temple of some sort, I thought, having previously seen that the Romans liked to build the temples on hilltops so people could walk up on hot sunny days to make an offering or have a picnic, just as it is believed they did at Rennes-le-Château.  So off we went!

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  And indeed, the first thing we saw was the remains of Roman walls.  Behind them was the chapel, itself very old as can be seen from the buttresses.

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  Unfortunately it was closed but the new doorway incorporated some capitals which were very old, while the cockleshell above the door implies it was on the pilgrims' route to Compostella. 

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And so we had our picnic under the trees, as did the Romans so long ago.

  I would like to go to Roquefort again.  So many places, so little time!

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