La Sauve-Majeure Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by tim76
  • Two-bodied lions
    Two-bodied lions
    by tim76
  • Patrick trying to get a good picture
    Patrick trying to get a good picture
    by Mique

La Sauve-Majeure Things to Do

  • tim76's Profile Photo

    by tim76 Updated Jan 20, 2010

    This Benedictine abbey, founded in 1079, used to be an important stop on the pilgrims route to Santiago de Compostela. Although in ruins nowadays, during the Middle Ages it was very powerful, with 70 priories, some as far as England and Spain.
    It's hard to imagine now, but the whole region was heavily forested then and the abbey was a welcome stop for pilgrims. When the popularity of the pilgrimage to Santiago dwindled ever since the 13th century, the importance of the abbey decreased. After the French Revolution the site was used as a stone quarry and the abbey fell into ruins.
    Although not restored to its former glory, the site is still an impressive example of Romanesque architecture. It's very atmospheric too, so definitely worth a visit.

    Opening hours:
    Jun - Sept:
    10 - 18
    Oct - Apr:
    Tue - Sun: 10:30 - 13 and 14 - 17:30

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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  • tim76's Profile Photo

    by tim76 Updated Jan 20, 2010

    The abbey is famous for its sculpted capitals from the early 12th century. Many of them are still in excellent condition. They provide insight in the Medieval world, with mythical animals depicted next to scenes from the Old and New Testament. The fantasy with which everything is carried out, still impresses today.
    The church has preserved six medallions that were especially made for the consecration in 1231. Although some are badly damaged, this collection is very rare.
    The brochure that is handed out at the entrance, gives detailed information about the capitals.

    Sirens, symbol of temptation Daniel in the lions' den Adam and Eve Two-bodied lions Consecration Medallion
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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  • Mique's Profile Photo

    by Mique Updated Aug 4, 2004

    The abbey ruins can be visited. If my memory serves me well, the fee was 4,5 euro p.p. (2004) So if you go, make sure you're not in a hurry. With walking through the ruins, climbing the stairs and visiitng the little museum you can spend a while. At the desk you'll get a map with descriptions and the history of the place.

    Open 1 june to 30 september:
    10.00 to 18.30
    1 october till 31 may
    10.00 - 13.00 and from 14.30-17.30
    Closed on 1 januari, 1 may, 1 and 11 november, 25 december

    More abbey
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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  • Mique's Profile Photo

    by Mique Updated Aug 4, 2004

    Favorite thing: The building has quite a turbulent history. In the 12 and 13th century the abbey was very powerfull and attracted many high visitors. Unfortunately it also attracted less agreable ones and the abbey was ransacked a fair few times. It came through the religious wars but needed a lot of restauration. After that part of the building was heavily damaged in a storm and in the 17th century the bell tower collapsed.

    In the late 18th, early 19th century it was used as a prison. In 1837 the building was bought by the archdiocese and turned into a college. Which burned down in 1910. Since then.. nothing left but ruins and the tower

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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  • Mique's Profile Photo

    by Mique Updated Jul 21, 2004

    Favorite thing: This little fellow was one of the very few visitors of the abbey when we were there. I think we were visiting the ruins and in the little museum for an hour or 2-3 and we met maybe 5 people. It could be because it was may but i do think it won't be overly crowded here in summer either. This area of the Aquitaine has much less visitors then the coast and the few very well known places. Which makes it fine with me because this way i can explore the area without running into herds of tourists..

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