SAUVETERRE, STEEPED IN HISTORY
Sauveterre is a “sauveté castrale”. From its origins in the 11th century, the city was a place of refuge and shelter, its people directly protected by the Viscount of Béarn.
It wasn’t until the 13th and 14th centuries, and the reign of two great Viscounts (Gaston VII Moncade and Gaston Febus), that the city became one of four key towns in the Béarn. From the year 1000, pilgrims travelling to Compostela via Vézelay brought more prosperity.
As the gateway to the Béarn, the town was endowed with impressive ramparts and defensive features. The bridge, the Monréal Tower, the church, the arsenal are for the most part built on the rocky hilltop. Who would dare attack Sauveterre?
But times changed. By the 16th century, attacks from Spain and France’s wars of religion got the better of the town despite its impressive ramparts. The strategic importance of Sauveterre came to an end.