Jean-Luc was my friend and gave me my first tour of Rennes-Le-Chateau. His knowledge was broad and deep, and his conclusions sensible, sceptical and measured. He lived and breathed Rennes-le-Chateau, having once served as caretaker of the Villa Bethania. In recent years he managed a restaurant in the Villa’s garden where he sponsored summer lectures that drew crowds from all over France.
Jean-Luc created an organization for the preservation of Rennes-Le-Chateau and his passion for the integrity of the village – and the mystery – was unsurpassed. His book, ‘Rennes-Le-Chateau – The Secret of Sauniere’ contained a forward by his good friend and mentor Henry Lincoln, and was hailed by enthusiasts for its honesty, wit and insight, and it instantly became my personal favourite.
Jean-Luc and I spoke frequently. He called on Monday – the 10th of March – to inform me that the party which he organized had narrowly defeated the incumbent major of Rennes-Le-Chateau, Jean-François Lhuilier, and that although he would not stand for major himself, he would most likely serve as minister of Tourism and Preservation. He was excited, proud and looking toward the future.
Jean-Luc died during the night of March 11-12, having suffered an apparent heart attack.
Rest in Peace my friend.
This tragedy is even greater considering Robin’s success in the local election, which would have allowed him more influence in the preservation of the enigmatic French village.