According to Paul Smith [HERE]:
"....Stéphanie Buttegeg [in] Les Mines Légendaires Antiques de Rennes-les-Bains (A la Recherche du Secret Perdu, Légendes d’Oc, avril 2013), concluded [that] the source for the TEMPLE ROND at Blanchefort were the 1989 articles in Vaincre".
For Smith the idea of an underground 'Temple' therefore originates in the Priory propaganda of Pierre Plantard, a propaganda which is carried on by Plantard's son, Thomas. Smith quotes an article by Norberto called "Le Symbolisme de l’Echiquer” [from Vaincre], pages 17-19; ".... The Round Table is located at Le Roc Nègre near Rennes-les-Bains in the Aude. "This was constructed from 1780 to 1782 by Brother DUBOSC at 28 metres below-ground" in the old mines and underground passages. A superb square-mosaic paving covers the centre of the floor. According to some documents, all that Brother DUBOSC did was to hollow out a chimney to reconnect with the Round Table as the usual entrance had ceased to exist by 1780 (and, indeed, had not existed for more than a century before that date).”
This DUBOSC (Is Norberto calling him Brother DUBOSC to imply that he was a member of the Priory of Sion?) referred to here actually did carry out mining activities in the area of Rennes-les-Bains. There are files relating to it in the archives.
But is the idea of an underground Temple in the area of Rennes-les-Bains only found from 1989 onwards and only with Plantard et al? Well it depends on how you interpret history. There is some evidence - archaeologically speaking - of structures underground, near to the spa area of the village. We know that Henri Boudet was aware of these archaeological discoveries in the area of Rennes-les-Bains - he himself found several artifacts, some of which he gave to his friends and furthermore, in a book he wrote called La Vrai Langue Celtique he has a chapter called "LES ROMAINS ET LA SOURCE THERMALE DE LA REINE". In this chapter he writes:
"The southern countries of the Redones had long been part of the Province, and the Romans had built a temple in the valley of the Sals, and baths at the source de la Reine. A new village was built on the plateau of Villanova, overlooking the spa's north-east side. The Romans left many traces of their extended stay in the Cromleck, medals and coins of gold, silver and bronze, from the triumvirate of Antony, Octavian and Lepidus, until the reign of the Emperor Gratian, whole amphorae, broken statues carved in white marble, capitals and bases of columns and carved inscriptions in stone".
Some of these assertions reflect what abbe Delmas had written in various manuscripts. He was a much earlier priest of the parish of Rennes-les-Bains [the 1700's] and he wrote of the Roman occupation of Rennes-les-Bains, its colonisation by the 7th and 10th Legions of the Roman army, a probable mysterious tomb in the area and the many Roman coins found in the area. Boudet did not just pluck out of the sky the idea that the Romans built a Temple in the valley of the Sals. He based it on local archaeology and opinion. For example more than four hundred medals in gold, silver and bronze were collected in Rennes by abbé BERTRAND. Also found at the Fontaine du Cercle was a basin and some Gallo-Roman capitals. SAGE, in a paper read at the Academy of Sciences of Toulouse in 1746 reported [in the office of the late President CAULET] a "remarkable antique" - an object that was held by the priest Delmas. It was a sepulchral lamp which the Romans used." One wonders why it was a 'remarkable antique'! The Delmas cited here is the same priest who wrote about Rennes-les-Bains and the sepulchre of the unknown Roman. The fact that he [Delmas] had a remarkable sepulchral lamp that the Romans had used somehow conjures up images of Delmas already accessing some kind of dark crypt or tomb from whence he found this mysterious Roman lamp!
The Hotel de la Reine itself also appears to have been built on very old substructures. Repairs carried out to a house [near the Hotel] in 1928 showed "large block foundations" that Mr. ROUZAUD, former president of the Archaeological Survey of Narbonne, attributed to ancient Roman buildings, temples and palaces. Some of these structures are said to be under the current floor level. In 1799, when repairs to the source of the Reine were being carried out, a stone arch was found, collapsed in a pool - 16 feet long and 12 wide, and the bottom was paved with white marble and surrounded by a hard black shale and a beautiful polish. This vault was destroyed during the construction of the hotel de la Reine. At the entrance of Rennes, a little to the south of the spa station, a piece of land labelled Section B on the cadastral map of the town, in which, after some recent plowing, it was possible to collect fragments of pottery and vases of red clay of all forms and to which all had the characteristics of Gallo-Roman pottery. A little below the baths of Rennes, on the right bank of the Sals, there was also discovered the ruins of an old house with mosaic pavements, shards of old pottery and tile's. Collected from the slope opposite the Hotel des Bains de la Reine, shards of pottery of various forms of crockery, glass perfume bottles, fragments of plaster of apartments, bones of edible animals, oyster shells and other shells. It is in this place that Louis PECH of Narbonne in 1844 guessed the location of a Roman house (left bank of Sals, at the upper entrance to the park). In the ruins of the house, crushed by a boulder, were further bricks, broken glass, animal bones, oyster shells of the Mediterranean, ancient manufacturing nails, a piece of thick greenish glass, similar to glass removed from the excavations of Pompeii.
So there are extensive archaeological vestiges and historical references to possible underground Temples or palaces perhaps beginning with a Roman origin. This is difficult to assess because up til now there has not been any official archaeological investigation's in the village.
In his book 'The True Celtic Language' - Boudet speaks of many things but we can say with certainty that the book is not really concerned with 'the true Celtic language' or with the imaginary 'cromleck' that does not exist in the region. Boudet instructs us however that what the book is really about is to 'penetrate the secret of a local history by the interpretation of a name written in an unknown language'. And, via a quote from Joseph de Maistre, Boudet notes later in the following pages of his book: 'Dialects and the names of people and places, appear to me like mines that are almost unexploited, which are the source of great wealth'.
Many years later  a British expert in megaliths - proposed a hypothesis that wherever one found a megalith it was often associated with a mine. Perhaps Boudet himself subscribed to such an idea, and was 'ahead of his time'? Might not Boudet be telling us that the true subject of his book is the secret of a mine bearing vast riches that can be located through a study of the local history, most notably by studying his Cromleck? And if you take together his meanderings in the local countryside and his falsifications perhaps in the cemetery at Rennes-les-Bains - we are indeed met with a priest with a message to tell.
Boudet trudged the mountain slopes removing something here, adding something there. He added and removed crosses. He even managed to carry off a 'head' located on a menhir - because after all, do we really think an unknown young man hacked the face of a menhir that had already seen 18 centuries? [i.e. a date that would place the face on the menhir's origin back to the 1st century AD, the height of the Roman occupation]. There is a map in the back of his book, perhaps related to all the changes he had made in the landscape, detailing his imaginary Cromlech and grave, which he associates with the Resurrection. Boudet had written that
menhirs are ancient graves and that a cromlech is always built around a menhir. So if we put things together Boudet is suggesting that:
1) there is a secret in the local history of Rennes-les-Bains.
2) there is an underground mine that is almost unexploited, which is the source of great wealth and might even house a tomb
3) his imaginary cromlech & menhir surrounds this ancient grave. The grave, for him, is associated with the Resurrection.
There has been published a book [by Stéphanie Buttegeg] on the mines of Montferrand [and an alleged Underground Temple] in the area. The author is quoted by Paul Smith at the top of this post but she also said in summary of the history of Rennes-les-Bains and its mine's;
"All indications are that a dark secret lurks in the bowels of Rennes-les-Bains! But is it a simple gold mineral deposit, a former monetary deposit, or a sacred historical treasure [or] an ancient temple? To find out go back over the whole history of mining in this country ... Whether in antiquity, the Middle Ages, in the 18th or 19th century, the mines of Baings de Règnes appear repeatedly! Marie de Nègre d'Ables & le comte de Fleury guarded [them] jealously, Boudet seemed to attach importance and more recently Pierre Plantard has even [spoken] of an ancient Celtic temple! Through unprecedented historical records, we will try to shed light on this mystery, where legends and historical realities mingle".
It seems that the idea of an underground Temple may have begun with Boudet and the local archaeologists of the 19th century, maybe even earlier [back to abbe Delmas]. Boudet is certainly suggesting that down an ancient mine is something spectacular to be found. Plantard and Cherisey must have believed this - because their writings suggest it. It remains to be seen as to whether their suppositions are correct and whether anything will ever be found!
Welcome to the blog of Rhedesium
My name is Sandy Hamblett, inspired and passionate researcher of the mysteries at Rennes-les-Bains.