Sorde Abbey (fr. Abbaye de Sorde) is located in a small village of the same name (Sorde-l’Abbaye), located at the intersection of Landes and the Basque Country. It was built in the eleventh century, on the banks of the Gave d’Orlon.
The abbey consists of three architectural objects:
– The Abbey Church (L’abbatiale Saint Jean-Baptiste de Sorde), built in the “Latin cross” (croix latine) shape at the end of the 11th century. At first, it served as a worship place for monks and then opened for parishioners. Its architectural peculiarity lies in the fact that it combines both the original Romanesque style and the Gothic style with seventeenth and nineteenth-century elements. This is due to the many restorations and transformations that the abbey had to undergo over the centuries. The main sights are a mosaic, (several panels are from the 11th century) and an abbey model made by one of the villagers. The church is open to the public.
– The Abbey Villa (the house of the abbot himself, the refectory, the cellar, salon, lobby and terrace) is a residential complex that is the result of several stages of its evolution. The villa is sometimes open to the public in accordance with the Landes Department program.
– Thermal baths (balneum in French). Restoration work is currently underway. Visiting is also possible.
A community of Benedictine monks founded Sorde Abbey in the 10th century on the Gallo-Roman villa’s (4th and 5th centuries) ruins in Sorde. This is evidenced by the donation of Guillaume Sanche, the Duke of Gascogne dated 975. The war against the Viscounts of Dax and Bearn destroyed the abbey in 1060.
However, the abbey was restored from the Middle Ages, and a prosperity period began, which was again replaced by a period of numerous devastations. In particular, the Earl of Orange (comte d’Oranje) besieged the abbey in 1523, and Montgomery troops besieged it again in 1570.
A monastic maurists congregation (reformers of the Benedictine order) settled in the abbey in 1663 and began to restore it. Work ended in the early 18th century.
The monks were expelled after the French Revolution in 1789, and the villagers used the abbey’s buildings to build or repair their houses, which led to its destruction as well.
Private individuals bought the monastery ruins at auction in 1822. Their successors left it in 1980 to the Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Notre Dame de Belloc, based in Urt. The latter donated it to Sorde commune in 1996.
The Abbey Buildings have been open to the public since 1999.
Sorde Abbey was listed as a historical monument in 1994, and in 1998 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a location on the Camino de Santiago (Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle).
Tariffs and opening hours
Sord Abbey is open from March to November.
If the number of visitors is less than 5 people, an unaccompanied visit may be offered.
March and November – from Monday to Friday from 14:00 to 17:30, guided tour: from Monday to Friday at 15:00 and 16:00.
April – from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 17:30, on Sunday from 14:30 to 17:30, a guided tour – from Tuesday to Sunday at 15:00, 16: 00 and 17:00.
May, June (until July 7) – from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 17:30, Sunday and holidays from 14:00 to 17:30. Guided tour – from Tuesday to Sunday at 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00.
July (from the 8th day), August: from Monday to Saturday from 10:30 to 12:30 (except on 14/07 and 15/08). Guided tour – every day at 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 and 18:00.
September – from Tuesday to Saturday – from 10:30 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 17:30, Sunday – from 14:00 to 17:30. Guided tour – from Tuesday to Sunday at 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00.
October – from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 17:30, Sunday from 14:00 to 17:30. Guided tour – from Tuesday to Sunday at 15:00 and 16:00.
Groups by reservation.
How to get there
From Bayonne – A64, D19, D29
From Toulouse: A64, D19, D29
Coordinates: 43 ° 31′47 ″ N 1 ° 03′10 ″ E