Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

MEET - Thierry Tombeur

The man who makes the scenes behind the scenes at Rennes-le-Château

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 Believe it or not, (Thierry is a good-looking man!) what first caught my eye was the bas-relief of the Visigothic Cross, which is now used, upside-down, to support the statue of Notre Dame de Lourdes in the church garden at Rennes-le-Château, well, a facsimile of it.  Bérenger Saunière placed the pillar upside down, which seems strange as he would surely have known about Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end?

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The Virginal pillar and the Visigothic pillar, now in the museum; the base stone dates from the time of Saunière.  It was originally an altar support, the actual altar being the plain stone slab from which the communion was served, supported by this single square pillar.

Thierry pointed out that the design shows a cross, commonly known as "La Croix du Silence," with a handle so that it could be held high during religious processions.  The alpha and omega must have been known to very early Christianity - the Visigoths came to what is now Rennes-le-Château in the early 5th century, around 414, and so processions must have been held before this square sectioned altar base was sculpted.  Notice also the vine representation, Jesus himself said that he was the true vine.

  "Are you a sculptor?"  I ask Thierry and he replied that he prefers to be called a model-maker.  He has made many of the models in the museum, for example.

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  This explains the Domain brilliantly . . .the area between the red-roofed presbytère and the grey-roofed Villa Bethania now houses the new Tourist Office/Boutique du Domain.  It is all owned now by the Municipality.

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Thierry, seen here in front of the converted barn that is his studio/workshop, can be found there most days, to the left of the château d'Hautpoul.  He has lived at Rennes-le-Château for more than thirty years, and tells me he would never live anywhere else.  He showed me something he had been working on for the small plays that are held during the season, when local people such as Stephanie Buttegeg and Christian Doumergue act out the Saunière story.  It was a basket of gold coins that Bérenger apparently brought up from the crypt the day he discovered a tomb - each coin was handmade by Thierry and painted with gold paint.

  He showed me his collection of photos, of many of the Rennes-le-Château personalities and events from days gone by. He remember Jean-Luc Robin, whose wonderful book about Rennes-le-Château was translated by Henry Lincoln.

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  If I am not mistaken, that dark-haired person helping to move the pool table was Thierry himself when young (sorry - younger than he is now!)  Jean-Luc used to the run the restaurant, Le Table d'Abbé, the table of the abbé, where is now le Jardin de Marie.  He used to hold festivals and conferences there, for those mystery hunters and treasure hunters who used to flock to the village in those exciting days.

  I met Thierry on the 11th March 2017 and I had with me the proof of my Bérenger Saunière book so he had a look at it.  Thierry is a man of many parts, I am convinced he once used to be an actor.  I can use that rapt attention as a publicity picture!

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And for more details about the book, click here.

 



15/03/2017
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