Pope of Rennes-les-Bains

Drawing of the pope in Rennes-les-BainsView from the Rennes-les-Bains cemeteryAccording to Jean-Pierre Deloux and Jacques Brétigny, in their book Rennes-le-Château, capitale secrète de l’histoire de France, this drawing once decorated the church in Rennes-les-Bains. It shows a pope, copied from a well-known deck of Tarot Cards. Behind him is the church of Rennes-les-Bains, seen from the cemetery, with the rock of Cap de l’Homme in the distance. The features are unmistakable. The cross, the barred window and the rock can easily be recognised.


The painting was probably based on the ‘Pope’ card from a well-known Tarot deck.

'Pape' Tarot card by Oswald Wirth

The Tarot deck in question, which was based on the Marseille series, was published in 1899 by Swiss artist and occultist Oswald Wirth


Creative Commons License
picture copyright Jean-Pierre Deloux

12 thoughts on “Pope of Rennes-les-Bains

  1. I’d love to know what tarot deck this is, please? Are there any decks that are associated (either designed and/or created) with the Languedoc region?

  2. This picture interests me greatly.

    I’d love to know if there is a deck featuring this exact picture, or whether the reference to the tarot means that it’s the pope that is featured, not the actual landscape, if that makes sense? It is true that a pope (and in older decks, a papesse) is featured in many decks. I’d love to know more about this picture’s origins.

    Thanks for any help! – Juliette

  3. Hey Juliette, the picture was taken from an almost identical Tarot deck. I believe the info is in the book Rennes-le-Chateau, Capitale Secrete de la France. I have it at home and will look it up for you. Might take a while since I am in Italy at the moment.

    Alternatively, drop a line on Andrew Gough’s forum.

    Take care | Raven

  4. Hi Raven,

    Thanks so much for your response, and I will have a look in the book you mention. If you do remember when you get home, I’d love to hear more about it.

    Hope your stay in Italy is wonderful – most sincerely,

  5. Ha, actually I should have said I would have a look *for* the book you mention. I work for the University of California, and went through the World Cat catalogs looking for that title but couldn’t find it. If you or anyone else happens to know further information about the book, I would love to know it as well.


  6. You can find it with our good friends of the Porte-de-Rennes bookshop (just outside the church of St. Mary-Magdalene in RLC). Here’s the link. There is an expensive version with beautiful photos and a cheaper version. Dont’t take the content for fact it’s very much Plantard material and much of it is demonstrably false. Intriguing read though.

    Take care | Corjan

  7. Thank you Corjan, I’ll take advantage of the link you sent :) Will also go over to Andy Gough’s web site forum.


  8. hi Raven,

    as I don’t have the book you mentioned I’d like to ask you what’s the name of the deck and if you know at what time it was made. Maybe after 1956??


  9. 'Pape' Tarot card by Oswald WirthHi Eginolf,

    The deck was created by 19th century Swiss artist and occultist Oswald Wirth. It was published in 1899 and is based on the Marseille deck.

    Hope that helps. Will add this info to the article as well.

    Take care | Raven

  10. Eginolf,

    You’re taking things a little too literal here. The drawing is based on that Tarot card. There is no Tarot deck with the church of Rennes-les-Bains on it. It doesn’t exist.

    Now to the people of Rennes-les-Bains, the drawing presented by Deloux and Brétigny is completely unknown. We have to fear for the worst here as all the material they are pushing in their book is derived from Plantard-lines of thinking (like the bust of Henri Boudet that doesn’t exist either). The drawing is probably something that never existed but which serves to draw attention to Plantard’s theories about the line between the cemetery of Rennes-les-Bains and the Cap de l’Homme.


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