During my research into the Rennes-le-Chateau Mystery, I became aware of a researcher, Francois Grassaud. I was told he had a huge archive of information he had collected over the years and so I was interested to see if he had any information that would shed light on the 'mystery.' A meeting was arranged for December 2006 at his home in Axat. On entering his house we found ourselves in Mr Grassaud's office. Mr Grassaud kindly posed for a photograph.
His office was full of filing cabinets which I soon found out were full of his twenty years of research. he said he had first became interested in the Rennes-le-Chateau Mystery when people kept stopping him in the village of Axat and asking him where they could find the grave of Henri Boudet. Boudet was the priest of Rennes-le-Bains whilst Saunière was the priest of Rennes-le-Chateau, they were probably friends as well as colleagues.
A young Henri Boudet 1837 - 1915
Born Jean-Jacques Henri Boudet, his grave is now much visited by those interested in the Rennes-le-Chateau affair as supposedly some of the information included on the tombstone inscription conceals a secret, namely the small raised block of stone that looks like a closed book.
This then was how Francois Grassaud first became interested in Rennes-le-Chateau and Saunière. Having a heavy local accent he was not always easy to understand but he is a very knowledge person and seems to have done his homework and has collected copies of many documents, some of which are of interest which I will reproduce here in English. But first I was surprised at something he said when I asked about about Saunière's museum artefacts. His reply was that many of the Artefacts on display, are not Sauniere's but Boudet's. Taken aback at this I asked him to clarify, how did he know this?
"It was me that gave them to the museum" was his reply. He then explained how he had come into ownership of Boudet's possessions.
When Boudet gave up his position of priest of Rennes-le-Bains he moved in with his brother Edmound in the village Axat. The house he lived in was next door to Francois Grassaud. Eventually Francois's brother brought the Boudet house and moved in. One day while rummaging around in the attic, his brother found a cache of objects once belonging to henri Boudet, knowing Francois was interested in Rennes-le-Chateau, Berenger Sauniere and Henri Boudet, so he gave them to Francois.
In 1999 Francois gave all the objects to Rennes-le-Chateau Commune when he heard they wanted to set up a museum there. This is an English translation of the letter he wrote taken from booklet, The Abbé Saunière 1885 to 1909. priest of Rennes-le-Chateau.
I the undersigned, Monsieur Grassaud, resident of (his address here) Axat, declare this day at the commune of Rennes-le-Chateau, that I leave all the documents, archives, old books, framed objects, coins, fossils, display cabinets and various objects detailed below, for the benefit of the museum
With the following reservation: in case, for whatever reason, the said museum ceases to function, the whole collection must be sent to the departmental Archives of the Aude, who will come to take delivery on the spot. the said organisation has been informed today of this gift.
Signed at Axat, 30th April. 1999.
(signed) F Grassaud.
Though the Rennes-le-Chateau Museum has changed now, the room on the right as you enter the museum used to be called the Grassaud Room and the vast majority of items on display in this room were owned by Henri Boudet.
Rennes-le-Chateau Museum Artefacts
Rennes-le-Chateau Museum Artefacts - Coins, Camera, Telescope