Marie Dénarnaud – Big Borrower
25 July 2015
Following the death of Bérenger Saunière in 1917, Marie Dénarnaud would have had to pay substantial taxes on the Villa Bethanie and the Tour Magdala in Rennes-le-Château. Bérenger Saunière had unsuccessfully tried to sell the estate and planned to move to Lourdes.
Living in abject poverty, Marie Dénarnaud had no choice but to borrow money to pay tax bills on her estate (called ‘mortgages’ in France).
There are two property taxes in France. The French Residence Tax (taxe d'habitation) and the Property Ownership Tax, or Land Tax (taxe foncière).
The details of Marie Dénarnaud's debts when they were finally settled by Noël Corbu in 1946 were published by Claire Corbu and Antoine Captier in their book L'Héritage de l'Abbé Saunière in 1985 – 30 years ago. Their book gave the names of the people she borrowed money from and how much money she owed.
Corbu & Captier's book also contains a letter from an impatient taxman to Marie Dénarnaud dated 30 April 1925.
Below, letter from Maître Pierre Girard, Notary from Espéraza dated 24 August 1946, outlining Marie Dénarmaud's debts of over 31,000 Frs – from Corbu & Captier's book L'Héritage de l'Abbé Saunière:
Maître Pierre Girard
Minutes des Etudes supprimées
d’Arques et de Couiza
C.C.P. Montpellier 239.26
Etude fermée le samedi après-midi
Espéraza, 24 August 1946
To: Mademoiselle Marie Denarnaud, Rennes-le-Château
Dear Mademoiselle Denarnaud,
I enclose a list of all the mortgages held in your name.
The calculations are not completely accurate as I have calculated the interest from year to year, but you should be able to see the approximate amount that you need to find.
I am at your disposal to come and see you about this whenever you wish.
[Stamp: M. Pierre Girard
Debts owed to Péchou
Interest at 7.15% from 2 September 1933 to 2 September 1946
Debts owed to Mayor
Interest at 6% from 13 December 1935 to 1 October 1946
Debts owed to Garrigue
Interest at 6% from 10 September 1930 to 10 September 1946
Interest at 6% from 10 September 1940 to 10 September 1946
Costs for release of mortgage (‘mainlevée’)