Rennes-les-Bains travel guide

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Visit Rennes-les-Bains (Occitanie, France)

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Rennes les Bains is a village situated south of Carcassonne in the Aude Department. The town originally developed here in Roman times with the discovery of the local thermal waters, and several roman artefacts have been found here including a statue of Mercury.

Exploring Rennes-les-Bains

Rennes les Bains actually has both hot and cold springs, and two wells that were dug in the 19th century. Because of the unusual geological characteristics of the rock the water in the river Sals is naturally salty (hence the name of the river), which is of course very unusual for a river.

attractive Rennes-les-Bains scenery

The village itself lies along the valley bottom with the tall houses of the town hugging the waters edge, some of them having balconies situated over the river. The river is crossed by both a stone bridge and a more recent pedestrian iron bridge.

You can also see the small, very old, church of Saint-Nazaire and Saint-Celse in Rennes-les-Bains, and a small part of the original Roman baths, although these are both quite minor historic monuments.


As well as admiring the views along the river, the village is now best known for its spa complex which has an outdoor pool that is naturally heated to 33°C. The spa waters here are reputed for their properties in helping with rheumatism and various skin problems.

Rennes-les-Bains has also received a little recent notoriety as a result of Kate Mosse’s book ‘Sepulchre’ which was set in Rennes les Bains.

houses along the river in Rennes-les-Bains, France

Attractions nearby

The town is a popular base with hikers exploring the surrounding hills or visiting the natural water sources. There are several sites of interest nearby, including the ruined abbey at Alet-les-Bains, the remains of castles at Arques Chateau and Coustaussa Chateau, and the picturesque Calamus Gorges to the south-east.

Rennes-les-Bains is in the heart of Cathar country and very close to Rennes-le-Chateau recently made very famous for its role in Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’. The famous cathar castles such as Chateau de Queribus and Chateau de Peyrepertuse, perched high on craggy hilltops,  are also within easy reach.

You can find more travel ideas in the Aude guide and the Languedoc-Roussillon guide.

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A small village with lovely views, it is also the legends associating Rennes-le-Chateau with the Holy Grail that attracts many visitors here

Rennes-le-Chateau guide


The abbey ruins are the most imposing monument in Alet-les-Bains but be sure to explore the town to discover the other highlights

Alet-les-Bains guide
Gorges de l\'Aude

Gorges de l'Aude

The Gorges de l'Aude are a scenic highlight to explore close to Carcassonne

Gorges de l'Aude guide


Be sure to take a stroll through Quillan as part of your trip to explore the Aude countryside

Quillan guide
Chateau de Puilaurens

Chateau de Puilaurens

Castle Puilaurens is a Cathar castle of France in a beautiful mountain location

Chateau de Puilaurens guide


The small town of Limoux is best visited in late spring to enjoy the Carnival of Limoux, one of the oldest and best known carnivals in France

Limoux guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Aude

Address: Rennes-les-Bains, Couiza, Limoux, Languedoc-Roussillon, 11190, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 42.9192, longitude 2.31934

Plan your visit to Rennes-les-Bains, Aude

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Gorges de la Pierre-Lys: site of natural beauty (13 km)
  • Gorges de l'Orbieu: site of natural beauty (14 km)
  • Gorges de Galamus: site of natural beauty (16 km)
  • Limoux: recommended detour (17 km)
  • Mosset: most beautiful village (28 km)
  • Camon: most beautiful village (31 km)
  • Lagrasse: most beautiful village (31 km)
  • Fontaine Intermittente de Fontestorbes: site of natural beauty (31 km)
  • Eglise de Sainte Marie de Marcevol (Arboussols): religious monument (32 km)
  • Carcassonne City: grand site of france (32 km)
  • Cité de Carcassonne: site of natural beauty (32 km)
  • Eus: most beautiful village (33 km)

The French version of this page is at Rennes-les-Bains (Francais)