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Eglises (de Gothiques au modernes)

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Basque church on road to MauleonReligion has always been an important part of life in South West France. Nearly every village has its church, and usually it is quite old. The rival traditions of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches - Pau provided France's Protestant king, Henri IV, of which the area is still very proud, the converging of all the important routes for the pilgrims going to St Jacques de Compostelle in Spain, and the fiercely independent cultures of the various areas, provide a rich variety of architecture to discover. Right, the three points of the steeple on a Basque church dominate the rural landscape

Some ecclesiastical buildings date from Roman times. Some played an important part in the defence of their villages or towns in those perilous centuries when blood was so easily spilt. Thus the church at Sauveterre de Bearn formed part of the fortifications of the town, while in isolated villages lookout posts were built into church steeples to provide warnings of impending danger.

As every commune has its churches, we try to list here the most interesting ones, though every building has its own little history. Abbeys and cathedrals still in full operation are listed separately, while old ecclesiastical buildings no longer being used - or where only a small part remains in use (as in Sorde de l'Abbaye) are detailed on the Historic Remains page.


In certain towns - particularly the cosmopolitan Basque coast - there are churches, temples and mosques of many denominations and religions.


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Villes - Churches

Ainhoa. Une bonne exemplaire d'un village typiquement Basque
14th Century church.
Biarritz. Centre majeure de tourisme, bien connu pour ses connections anglaises
Russian othodox church.
Bielle. Ancienne capitale du vallée d'Ossau
Church of St-Vivien 15th and 16th century. No trace is left of a monastry or a priory which is believed to have been once built here, but there is the fine church of St Vivien, built in the 15th and 16th centuries in the typical Béarnais gothic style. Note the impressive roof and also marble pillars believed to have come from an old Roman villa
Boulogne-sur-Gresse.
Gothic Church.
Dax. Une des plus importantes stations thermales de France, qui date de l'époque romaine
L'église de Saint-Paul-les-Dax. Eglise du 11e siècle avec des sculptures intéressantes à l'extérieur, de dragons, de bêtes et de gens.
Notre-Dame de Buglose. Cette église devint un lieu de pèlerinage depuis la découverte, en 1620, d'une statue de la Vierge en pierre multicolore.
Eauze. Une des métropoles de l'Armagnac
Church, 15th and 16th Centuries.
Fleurance. Vieille bastide affairée
Church of Notre Dame and St-Jean-Baptiste. One survival from medieval times is this fine and imposing church in brick and stone. Good stained glass windows.
Gimont. Vieille bastide et centre du foie gras
Eglise de Notre Dame. Exemple caractéristique du style sud-Gothique, l'église fut fondée au 14e siècle, bien que la tour d'horloge date de plus tard. Beau triptyque à l'intérieur.
Laàs. Petit village dynamique sur le Gave d'Oloron
La chapelle de St Barthélemy. La commune est en train de restaurer cette chapelle du 12e siècle
Marciac. Vibrant bastide town with major jazz festival and large lake
Eglise du 14e siècle.
Montreal.
13th Century church.
Nogaro.
11th century church.
Oloron-Sainte-Marie. Vieille ville importante au pied des Pyrénées, à la jonction de deux rivières
Sainte Croix Church 11th and 12th centuries.
Riscle.
Eglise Saint Pierre. 13ème siècle.
Saint Bertrand-de-Comminges.
Church.
Saint Jean-de-Luz. Très important port de pêche Basque
Large Basque-style church, Saint Jean-Baptiste.
Sauveterre-de-Béarn. Une ville fortifiée spectaculaire qui domine le Gave d'Oloron
Saint André 12th Century church.
Valance-sur-Baise.
14th Century Church.
Vic Fezensac.
Church.

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