French chateaus, picturesque rivieras and places like Mont Saint-Michel -- a landmark that is second only to the Eiffel Tower are just a few of the tourist destinations that France touts. Paris alone is reason enough to visit the museum-laden country, but for one group of New Age believers, there can only be one "city of lights."
Pic de Bugarach, a mountain popular for being the inspiration behind Jules Verne's book, Journey to the Center of the Earth, has become a temporary home to an estimated 20,000 people -- all who claim the infamous peak is an ancient launching pad that will activate on Dec. 21, 2012.
The doomsday theories are nothing new, but in an unusual twist these specific esoterics believe that the Pic de Bugarach is more than a mountain -- it is a sacred land occupied by aliens as we speak. According to their beliefs, once the apocalypse begins the aliens will reveal themselves to the patiently faithful and take them on a journey in a Noah's-ark-meets-Star Wars-voyage to another universe.
"The apocalypse we believe in is the end of a certain world and the beginning of another," one of the New Age pilgrims going only by the name "Jean" tells the paper. "A new spiritual world... the year 2012 is the end of a cycle of suffering. Bugarach is one of the major chakras of the earth, a place devoted to welcoming the energies of tomorrow."