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SAINT-JEAN ABBEY

The Landes department has many cultural heritages classified as historical monuments. The Saint-Jean abbey is one of them and is located in the village of Sorde. This one even belongs to the oldest, which is why UNESCO took care to register it among the world heritage sites in 1998 under a different name: the road to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle in France.

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History of the Saint-Jean abbey

The Saint-Jean abbey is one of the oldest sites in the Landes department, as it dates from the 10th century. It is an old church built well before the 960s and currently has become majestic ruins that are still highly coveted. Its location meets the rivers of Oloron and Pau. It served as a dwelling during the Neolithic period. But this site has witnessed several rather turbulent acts such as the Protestant devastation and the revolution which took with them the ancient archives. It is also one of the churches destroyed in 1068 and subsequently rebuilt.

In 1290, the King of France, who was none other than the seneschal of Toulouse, then ordered the fortification of the village of Sorde in order to protect it, but it still fell under English domination. It was these years of domination, which ended in 1451, which began the ravage of the village, not to mention all the wars which followed one another on the spot, thereafter. Despite its history, the abbey has undergone improvements and renovations over the decades until it found its current appearance. His career is becoming more and more appreciated and his architecture more esteemed.

abbatiale sorde

The abbey in all its splendor

Saint-Jean Abbey is recognized today for its architecture and the beauty of its surroundings. It is accessible just 4 kilometers from Peyrehorade. Visiting this majestic ruin is usually done within 40 minutes.

The south apsidiole is the oldest part of the abbey. It has kept its Gothic style with its pink colored stones. The high altar in polychrome marble of different kinds has the shape of a vault. Very neat, it is the work of the Mazzetti brothers. The monks' stall, meanwhile, is scattered all over the church following its dismemberment. One can also notice palisades made of wrought iron. These served as a communion table at the time. However, what catches the most eyes is the wooden statue of the Madonna and Child. Dating from the 18th century, it has been modernized and covered in polychromy. Other furniture dating back several centuries is still present there, such as the sacristy, the sarcophagus and the funerary slab.