The Abbey de la Sauve Majeure and La Maison des Vins

Hidden in the Entre-deux-mers region, 25km from Bordeaux, are the ruins of the Abbey de la Sauve Majeure and the Entre-deux-mers Maison des Vins. Built between the XI and XII centuries, the abbey is particularly well known for its columns, sculptures and relics. Under an open sky and surrounded by a luscious field, the ruins are spread out over two kilometers with a wall marking the contour. The abbey takes its name from the great forest, the “Silva Major”.

The Abbey de la Sauve Majeure...

 

The Abbey de la Sauve Majeure history stretches back to 1079 when a Benedictine monk, who would later become Saint Gérard de Corbie, founded Notre Dame de la Sauve Majeure in the vast forest located in between the Garonne and Dordogne regions in a territory known as l’Entre Deux Mers. The abbey grew in importance thanks to the support it received from the Dukes of Aquitaine and thanks to its proximity to the Saint Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage. Its reputation reached its height in the XII century  when it was in charge of 70 priories spread from England to Aragon. 

Sauve Majeur Tour Portrait couché soleil  

...nearly 1000 years of history!

 

The Hundred Years' War brings the abbey difficult times. In 1660, even though the monastery is all but abandoned, the congregation of Saint Maur, the Maurists, bring back monastic life to the abbey. After the revolution, the abbey is used as a source for stone and the great church is left in ruins. In 1840 the ensemble is classified a historic monument and is bought by the state in 1960. In 1998, the abbey joins the list of protected UNESCO heritage sites- along the pilgrimage route Saint Jacques de Compostelle.

Abbaye Sauve Majeur Tour  

The Abbey de la Sauve Majeure...

...is one of the most prestigious examples of roman architecture and sculpture in South-West France.
From its bell tower, you can see a unique view of the Entre-Deux-Mers scenery. The enchanting view looks upon three hectares of monastic ruines, the cloister next to the abbey-church, famous for its medieval story-telling columns. There is also a lapidarium through which you can take a stroll.

The Maison des Vins
of Entre-Deux-Mers region

Whilst in the you will be wandering around the abbey de la Sauve Majeure, why not take a moment to visit its Maison du Vin (its wine house), in which you can lean everything there is to know about the local wine production- and its relationship with the monks. What’s more, the wine house, which is also the headquarters of the union of Entre-deux-Mers' of wines, is located right next to the Abbey de la Sauve Majeure. There is a permanent exhibition “Monks and wine in the Middle Ages” as well as a free wine tasting opportunity where you can taste three different glasses of local wine. And before you leave, don’t forget to check out the medieval garden!

The Maison des Vins of Entre-Deux-Mers region  is open all year-round

Low-season opening times (October 1st to May 31st): Monday to Friday, 10am - 12pm and 2pm - 5pm / High-season opening times (June 1st to September 30th): Monday to Saturday, 10am - 12:30pm, and 2pm - 5:30pm

The Abbey is open every day all year-round (except Mondays from Oct. to June)

Low-season opening times: 10:30am - 1pm, and 2pm - 5:30pm / High-season opening times: 10am - 1:15pm, and 2pm - 6pm. Last access 40 minutes before closing. 

Maison du Vin - Sauve Majeure