You'll love !
- the dome
- the baroque altar
- the green marble font
Sauvelade is located in the centre of a region "Le Larbaigt" which means the valley of Laà. On the road to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, the via Podensis (the Puy-en-Velay route), Sauvelade is a stage on the way from Arthez-de-Béarn to Navarrenx.
Sauvelade abbey was built in the12th century. Gaston IV called « Le Croisé », vicount of Béarn, gave the « Faget » forest to a benedictine monk Dom Hélie to build there a monastery dedicated to the Virgin. In 1286, Sauvelade abbey is officially affiliated with the order of Cîteaux.
The abbey’s decline begun in the 14th century : lands were abandoned and there was a looseness of manners from the clergy.
On the 10/08/1569 : the protestant army of Béarn commanded by Montgomery, lieutenant of Jeanne d'Albret and pursuing the catholic army of Catherine de Médicis burnt the abbey.
After the revolution, all the church goods and all fiefdoms were confiscated in favour of the nation. Sauvelade abbey and its outbuildings were bought by a rich french republican citizen.
In the 18th century, there were only two monks..
The church was mentioned in 1287. It was registered as a historic monument in 1973. A distinctive feature is its Greek cross plan crowned by a dome which is quite unusual in Béarn. The church has the sobriety characteristic of Cistercians monuments.
The baroque altar may be attractive if we take the time to observe the different sculptures.
Note in the north side transept the font supported by a green marble column shaft of Campan (a small village in the Hautes Pyrénées) which is probably a vestige of an aquitano roman villa whose base is a Corinthian capital with acanthus leaves.
Guided tours for groups, contact us at 05 59 12 30 40