Did you know that the Sauve-Majeure abbey owes its name to the large forest in which Gérard de Corbie, a Benedictine monk, established a monastic community in the year 1079? Be careful, you are not at the end of your surprises, follow us the visit may be interesting.
Say, tell me the story ofe the abbey of Sauve – Major
Imagine our Gerard has connections: indeed, he benefits from the support of the Duke of Aquitaine Guillaume VIII, which will help him GREATLY. The abbey quickly enjoyed great prestige confirmed by the number of its priories: 76, yes ladies and gentlemen! The Hundred Years War, then the Wars of Religion put an end to almost two centuries of prosperity. In the 1910th century, a Catholic teaching college moved into the buildings constructed by the Maurist monks, after expansion and repair work. The Ecole Normale de la Gironde succeeds them and remains present in the premises until the terrible fire of XNUMX which destroys most of the buildings.
The majestic ruins that surround you are those of the abbey built in the first half of the XNUMXth century, on the site of the church founded by Gérard. The building has a Benedictine plan with five staggered chapels, a plan used in monastic architecture in the XNUMXth century, but never adopted with such magnitude in Bordeaux.
The Abbaye de la Sauve-Majeure is renowned for its high quality Romanesque sculpture. Dear visitors, it's time to raise your faces and admire this remarkable group of Romanesque capitals, the work of a sculptor, "the master of Sauve", and two secondary masters. Some represent biblical themes and scenes of various fights between centaurs and sagittarians, between man and lion, between asp and basilisk. We recognize, in the northern part, the Original Sin and its consequences. Opposite, two robust lions with thick manes devour a man, a probable fisherman subjected to the punishments of hell. Two other baskets show mermaids-fish, an image of female temptation, facing two men prisoners of plants in which we saw for a long time an interpretation of the Homeric story of Ulysses and the sirens. To the south are the themes of Daniel in the lion's den, Samson fighting with the lion, or the Temptation of Christ. The capital of the death of Saint John the Baptist is an admirable composition populated by many characters. In short, there is so much to decipher, that it will probably be necessary to go there twice, at least.
The large meadow which highlights the remains of the abbey encourages rest and meditation.
The visit to the lapidary museum and the House of Entre-Deux-Mers wines installed in the old barn, completes the visit to this unique place in Gironde.
Abbey of Sauve-Majeure,
Listed as a Historic Monument, inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List as part of the Routes of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle in France.