René Descadeillas 1962 and 1974

Paul Smith

26 August 2015
Updated 5 September 2015

In 1962, René Descadeillas, chief librarian of Carcassonne, published his Notice sur Rennes-le-Château et l'abbé Saunière where he believed there was some sort of mystery attached to the activities of Bérenger Saunière at Rennes-le-Château 1885-1917.

Descadeillas wrote in Notice sur Rennes-le-Château: “The treasure of Rennes does not exist, but the ‘secret’ of the curé of Rennes is real. And it is there that the mystery resides.”

However, when during the course of further investigations René Descadeillas accessed the Bérenger Saunière archives in the possession of Antoine Captier – and witnessed first-hand that the source of the priest's wealth originated from trafficking in masses – he radically changed his mind and scathingly denounced the existence of the Rennes-le-Château “mystery” as being nothing but nonsense in his Mythologie du Trésor de Rennes: Histoire Veritable de l’Abbé Saunière, Curé de Rennes-le-Château (1974).

René Descadeillas then put a block (interdit) on photocopies being made of his earlier work Notice sur Rennes-le-Château et l'abbé Saunière because it contained his out-dated opinions and conclusions of the subject matter.

This block on Notice sur Rennes-le-Château et l'abbé Saunière by René Descadeillas was to last until his death in 1986.

So it came as a disappointment that when the work was finally published by Pierre Jarnac he made no mention of the 1974-1986 block in his introduction. The information about the block on Notice sur Rennes-le-Château is still not widely known about today, in 2015.

René Descadeillas no longer believed in the “mystery” of Rennes-le-Château by 1974 and was scathingly critical of all those who promoted it, as is exemplified in his about the story of Saunière discovering some gold coins while renovating his church – Descadeillas quickly added that this was nothing to get excited about – and that this discovery only “whetted Saunière’s appetite for more money” – inspiring his trafficking in masses activities.

In November 1956 Monsieur Cotte of the Société des Arts et des Sciences de Carcassonne asked the membership during its monthly session about the treasure of Rennes-le-Château, that led to an official investigation of the subject matter. Two members conducted on-the-spot research in March 1957 that lasted for one year. René Descadeillas commented on pages 57-58 in Mythologie du Trésor: “They found no evidence anywhere to support the assertion that, down the ages, any individual, family, group or clan could have accumulated a precious treasure-hoard at Rennes and then concealed it in the locality or its environs. What is more, the activities of the Abbé Saunière were undoubtedly eloquent of the sort of stratagems that he was accustomed to using in order to enrich himself. ”

Therefore, the comment made by René Descadeillas in 1962 below was rejected by him by 1974.