Roman abbey of SAINT-SAVIN
"Turn off the main road..."
Abbey of Saint-Savin - 9, place du Castet - 65400 Saint-Savin-en-Lavedan - Tel. -

outside view
Yesterday ...
The Abbey, XIIth century
          The church of Saint-Savin-en-Lavedan, today a parish church, up until the French Revolution was a very influential Benedictine monastry in Roman times. It dates from the XIIth century and was heightened structurally in the XIVth century. The chapter house still exists today.
          The history of the monastry goes back to the Xth century. In 945, it was richly decorated by the counts and viscounts of Bigorre. It was an affiliation of the Saint-Victor Abbey of Marseille that allowed the actual construction that can be seen today.
          After a few laxes in discipline, during the XVIth century in the hands of the clergymen, and restauration by the congregation of Saint Maur in the XVIIth century, the abbey fell into ruin. Only 3 monks lived their in 1790. The year after, the abbey became a parish church and the monastry buildings were sold.

Savin, hermit monk
          Saint-Savin lived there a few centuries earlier. According to writers, between the Vth and IXth centuries; there are a lot of doubts about the exact date. What is for certain, is that he was one of the first Christians to have evangelized the Lavedan valley, after a stay at the Ligugé monastry.
          Of a Spanish origin, he dropped everything to follow Christ and proclaim evangelism. He lived as a hermit in the mountain above the village in a locality called "Pouy-Aspé". For thirteen years he lived an austere life of prayer and contemplation.
          After his death, his body was descended to the village of Bencer -ancient name for Saint-Savin- to be worshipped. Today, the tomb of Saint-Savin, of Roman origin, is the main alter of the church. On each side of this sarcophagus, two large paintings on wood dating from the XVth century illustrate in a lifelike style the life of the saint. They illustrate his miracles and are witness to the fervour of a people making him the patron saint of the valley.

"My house will be called the house of prayer."
          The ancient abbey, today a parish church and an assembly place for the local Christian community, welcomes each year numerous groups of pilgrims for prayer, worship and to celebrate the Eucharist. Open every day all year round, with a capacity of 250 seats and access for reduced mobility. A nearby carpark is provided for coaches.
          A team from the Pastoral of Tourism of the Diocese is at your service on site. Visits can be organised for small groups (between 10 and 40 people). As well as visible objects inside the abbey (Roman holy water basins, XIVth century Christ, Renaissance organ,.), a tresor to discover, in particular, is the religious heritage of the sanctuary : statues, reliquary, furniture, liturgical clothing, sacred vessels, monastic books, etc. A donation is kindly requested for access to the above (opening hours depending on season).
          Le diocese celebrate Saint-Savin 9th October. A mass is celebrated each year at his hermitage at the beginning of October.

How to get there
Where to find the Abbey of Saint-Savin on the Hautes Pyrénées map