Some observers think that "the inhabitants did not refer to any treasure discovery but to gifts and to trafficking in masses, indicating that the source of Saunière’s wealth was an open secret to the villagers in 1948. Neither Noël Corbu or Marie Dénarnaud were mentioned in this article". But of course this isn't strictly true. For starters, if it was such a dead town why did Monsieur Jean Mauhin feel it would be a good place to visit with his friend visiting from Belgium? Of course, it is because they had heard of the rumours of treasure. For in 1936 - 12 years before this article - there is the testimony of Dr Jean Girou (1889-1972):
“We are now in the heart of Visigoth country. It remains to us only to visit the capital of the Razès, the former Rhédé, known to the Romans as Rhedae. At the exit from Couiza a road rises steeply to the left – that’s the road to Rennes-le-Château. Outlined against the ridge of the plateau is a most unusual sight: ruined houses and a dilapidated feudal castle overhang – and are partly mixed up with – the chalk-cliff. Then we see villas and towers with verandahs, which are new and modern and which form a strange contrast with the ruins. This is the house of a priest who built these sumptuous living-quarters with the money from a discovered treasure – or so the locals say anyway!” (L’itinéraire en Terre d’Aude; Causse, Graille & Castelnau, Montpellier; 1936).
Read the translation HERE.