Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A Castle on Every Mountain

 Yesterday evening, I was texting with our son Spencer. He was getting a tire fixed on his day off. He asked how my day was. 

I hiked with some friends, I told him and sent a picture. 

The view from atop Rennes le Chateau

"Is there a castle on top of every hill there?" he asked. 

Well, yes, practically. Or parts of old castles.

Monday was a scorcher here in the south of France, but we had planned a hike from Couiza to Rennes le Chateau. In addition to the hike, we had a mission from Grace, who is using Rennes le Chateau as a case study for her masters thesis. And we had invited our husbands and a few other friends to join us for lunch at the top as well.

We started off about 9:30 in the morning. We thought the hike would take two hours but we had reached Rennes le Chateau by about 10:45. We were sweaty, but the views were worth it. 

Melissa, Sue and I started from Sue's house in Couiza
The flowers were in bloom and the rolling hills and far off mountains looked great from up high.
Walking up to the chateau gave us a new vantage point. 
Some stone stairs at the end

Grace had asked us to search for pentagrams in Rennes le Chateau as part of her masters thesis. She's researching how some tourist places use the occult to draw in visitors. We treated it like a treasure hunt, searching the old buildings, examining the church.

We took a break to have a drink in one of the nearby cafes, sitting under the shade of the trees. I ordered a menthe a l'eau, water with mint syrup added to it. Cool and refreshing. My British friends ordered hot mint tea. I don't get it. My face was still dripping with sweat and I couldn't picture drinking hot tea, but apparently the Brits do. They were delighted with their mint tea. 

Grace texted that her professor suggested we look at the church pews for pentagrams, so we returned to the church. And inside, we found our friends Theresa and Jim who were meeting us for lunch, and Theresa was joining in on the pentagram search. The pews were obviously fairly new and plain wood. No signs of pentagrams.

Melissa had noticed a "storage shed" earlier that had some pews in it so she and Sue went to search there. 

The church is beautiful and quirky. 

No pentagrams, but lots of stars above the altar
This is a picture of the devil holding up the holy water. It's behind glass now because someone destroyed it a few years ago. So I've included an old picture so you can see what it looks like. 
The view all around Rennes le Chateau is beautiful
View again. 

Of course, there's more to Rennes le Chateau than the view. There's a mystery that draws visitors and researchers like Grace. Here's a link to a previous post I wrote about Rennes le Chateau in 2017 on our first visit there. 

After searching the church, the gardens, the tower and the surrounding village for pentagrams without success, we walked to the restaurant where we were meeting the rest of our group. France still has a limit on six people dining together, even outside, so our group of 10 was broken into two tables. We sat men at one table, women at the other, but someday we'll all be able to sit together again. 

The food was good, view beautiful, company outstanding and even the accompanying dogs were well behaved. 

1 comment:

Kiwi said...

Really stunning views! Your photographs are something else. Framed so nicely. I feel as if I am there.
Re: your daughter's thesis, I don't know if she is focusing only on occult tourism in your area, but two places come to mind that I think I have seen promoted in this manner. One is the "beau village" of Sainte Suzanne in the Mayenne, where I believe they have a festival or gatherings of people interested in witchcraft, tarot, etc. Another is the Chateau de Veauce, another very old site that was previously owned by an eccentric character who promoted its ghost and her story.

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