Built originally as a walled refuge (sauveté hence Sauveterre) from the turbulent times of the Dark Ages, Sauveterre grew in importance as its old bridge was on one of the main routes to Spain, used by pilgrims on the way to Santiago del Compostella, and others. In the Middle Ages it was to keep a watch from its lofty heights on Navarre and Gascony.
It was from the bridge that in 1170 Queen Sancie, widow of the recently deceased Gaston V of the Béarn, was submitted to the judgement of God and thrown into the river, hands and feet tied, after being accused of the murder of her newly born and malformed son. She survived and was declared innocent.
The fortifications suffered from the religious wars, but enough remains to fire the imagination of what this once important town must have been.
|Village tennis courts ||Tennis Clubs|
|The village's tennis courts are available to tourists|
|Le Vieux Pont de la Legende ||Historic remains|
|Once the main route for pilgrims to Spain, the bridge was destroyed on the far side of the Isle de Glères in 1730 by a flood. It was from here that in 1170 Queen Sancie was thrown into the river, bound hand and foot, after being accused of murder.|
|Fortifications of medieval town ||Medieval fortifications|
|The Tour de Monreal towers over the gave, next to the church which formed an essential part of the fortifications of the medieval town. Still largely unspoilt, you can enjoy guided visits of the bridge, tower and chateau. Open Days: 28 July; 14 and 15 September.|
|Saint André 12th Century church ||Churches|
|Isle de Glere ||Natural History|
|A rare lichen lives on this island in the Gave d'Oloron.|
|Athos ||Small villages|
|The village of Athos gave its name to Athos, one of the Three Muskteers of Alexander Dumas|
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