Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

To the Woods! - of Rennes-les-Bains

Contents - Enchanted Forest, Trembling Rock, Devil's Armchair and the Grave of Jesus.


The Enchanted Forest and the Trembling Rock 

I found this place really mysterious and, I sensed, Celtic.  If you take the road south from Rennes-les-Bains, then take the unmarked road to the right, you will soon see a signpost to the Devil's armchair and a path. 

signpost.JPG  forestpath.JPG
  You enter the enchanted forest . . . it is quiet . . . no birds are singing . . . tree branches mingle overhead . . . the trees are pine and chestnut.

Then another sign for La Roche Tremblante.  We passed many strange-shaped rocks on the way, that looked like animals, or faces.
  signpost2.JPG   animalface.JPG
In front of us was the Trembling Rock.  You can push it and it will move, but you will never knock it off it's perch.

dolmen1.JPG  dolmen4.jpg
  As we walked round to get a better photo, we saw a Celtic dolmen.  "A megalithic tomb" my dictionary tells me.  i did a little more research.  A dolmen is a grave, measuring about 2 metres long and up to 1.5 metres wide.  The sides were built of rocks and the stone covering the tomb is known as a "table stone."  Many table stones are missing and can be found nearby but in this case it could have dropped into the grave.

  In Spain and western France, almost all the dolmens found face east or near east, "looking" towards the sunrise.  In Provence dolmens face west, towards the setting sun.  In Languedoc and Catalonia, dolmens are mixed, east or west facing.  This one at Rennes-les-Bains faced east, for its back was against the mountain and the rising sun would have shone into the entrance.  We don't know if there were any trees on the mountain at that time.

The Celtish people did live at Rennes-les-Bains, before the Romans came in 70BC, since about 3,000BC.  The Celts lived close to nature, and all nature was magical to them.  It's been suggested they were sun worshippers, because of the way they orientated their graves.  (Christian churches face east so that they look towards Jerusalem.)

Some people see this forest near Rennes-les-Bains as eerie - but I wasn't afraid.

A footnote - in 1905 the worthy members of the Societe d'Etudes Scientifique de l'Aude visited Rennes-le-Château, where they drew the Marie d'Ables grave with its inscription, many think, carrying coded messages.  They then continued to Rennes-les-Bains, passing La Roche Tremblant on the way.  "Twenty arms of strong men could not more this stone," they said, and there was a picture.

But on the picture were no chestnut trees and no forest.

  There's more news since then, thanks to my friend Trebha Cooper.  He tells me that, about one hundred years ago, they did sheep-farming in Rennes-les-Bains and the sheep ate all the vegetation.  Since that ended, the natural rainfall and the warm temperatures encouraged the forests to grow, that cover all the mountains aroundabout.  Other people tell me that orders were given for the region to be re-forested, in the early twentieth century.

  This has hidden much history; in the woods one can find the remains of buildings everywhere, for Rennes-les-Bains had a much higher population then.  In the early 1900's many people went away to war, and never came back, while in the 50's and 60's, the young people had more access to education, and then moved away to the cities for work.

  Trebha took me to see the Trembling Rock in October 2013. Note the Pentacle.


  It no longer trembles, for somebody tried to dynamite it last year and the Mairie have mended it as best they can.  One can do without "treasure hunters."  Nearby someone had pitched a tent in this enchanted place, and made a Star of David beside the Trembling Rock.

Strange.JPG  Inscription.JPG
  Above - damaged by dynamite?  And we were shown an inscription that Trebha is photographing.  It says; "Mallett 1896", which shows that this was already a tourist beauty spot over 100 years ago, even before the Scientific Society came, when there were no trees.

The Devil's Armchair


 My friends, with Trebha leaning on the Devil's Armchair.   In front of it are the sad remains of the Source de la Cercle, a natural water source.

   There are two ways up to this popular spot.  One is to drive south by car out of the village, and take the first turning on the right.  The Devil's Armchair is sign-posted, and then you can walk along a sandy track in the woods towards it, from the Trembling Rock.

   However the route chosen for me in the first week of October 2013 really needed mountaineering boots!  It was TOUGH.  One parks in the car-park by the camping, and the track is directly opposite, sign-posted, between houses on the opposite side of the road.

RockyPath.JPG   MorePath.JPG
  Well, I got up there in the end, and they made me sit in the Devil's Armchair to "feel the energy;" but I mostly felt quite silly.  The "throne" is big and I had to be lifted on . . . There are many stories about the Devil's Armchair, triggered by supposed connections with the Devil statue in Bérenger's Saunière's church at Rennes-le-Château.  None of them are true!  I heard that the seat in the stone was carved out by one of the aristocratic Fleury family, a nobleman who wanted to sit there and watch when the hunt went by.  Remember, there were no trees then.

  However, many spiritual people go to the spot, calling the stone "The Seat of Isis."  There they experience the goddess herself . . . . here's a link to watch if this interests you, of a story of a young woman's spiritual tour in Sacred France, including Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains.

  Trebha, even more down-to-earth than I am, told us the seat was cut out in the 1950's and the markings on the stone are even more recent!

  The natural source beside it is called the Source du Cercle.  I was concerned to see how neglected the natural source was.  It was much better kept and used in "the olden days."  The huge vase used to decorate it is now in the museum.

SourceCercle.JPG   sourcewithvasquw.gif
   I will go back to the Devil's Armchair one day to see if I get any visions - but WITHOUT mountaineers for company!

 Sebairou Mountain

   Do you like my mystic picture?  I took it from the slopes of the Col Doux - the Sweet Hilltop - of the mountain across the valley called Sebairou.  I had often heard the story that this mountain near Rennes-les-Bains was the place where Jesus was buried.  A legend of course! 

  Nonetheless, my friend Richard Stanley had seen some ruins on the map and wanted to explore so a group of us went together;  Richard, his lady Scarlett Amaris, my friend Sarah who was staying with me for a few all-too-brief days, and myself.  The first thing to do is find the ford across the river Blanque.

FordFriends.JPG  DragonStone4.JPG

 Beside it is the engraved Dragon Stone, that Richard explained to us. Many people bathe at this spot. Then we set off up the track.

PathRichard.JPG  PathAll.JPG

 It was quite strenuous.  We passed all sorts of rock formations and eventually came to a mysterious clearing where we sat and chatted for a while and took photographs.  The talk ranged around various mystic issues and strange events all had experienced . . . 
PlaceRock.JPG  ScarlettPhotos2.JPG

Place8.JPG   PlaceScarlett.JPG

 We heard thunder rumbling - time to go!  The path was too steep to go further anyway and just before we left we saw a little somebody that I nicknamed "The Guardian."  I thought he had been left there by another visitor to this strange site . . .

PathWentOn.JPG  Guardian.JPG
  I had asked Richard if this was the tomb of Jesus.  Click here for his reply.

Then the storm broke.


  Click here!

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