L'Hôpital-Saint-Blaise, a small Souletin village of 80 inhabitants located on the border between Béarn and the Basque Country, owes its existence and its name to a former reception establishment for travelers, a hospital, which has now totally disappeared.
Situated on an ancient passageway to Spain, the village has remained faithful to its tradition of hospitality and continues to host many pilgrims each year.
The Saint-Blaisians are also very involved in the development of their exceptional heritage.
In L'Hôpital-Saint-Blaise, you must walk between the traditional houses of the 16th and 17th centuries, and stop to visit the church, a real jewel of the Romanesque architecture of the 12th century.
Classified as a Historic Monument in 1888, it was then registered on the Unesco World Heritage list as a pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in 1998.
This consecration comes from its unique character due to the Hispano-Moorish influences present in its architecture.
A little history...
It is the monks of the abbey of Sainte-Christine du Somport who built this establishment intended for the reception of the travelers on a road connecting at the time Béarn to Navarre.
A church was quickly built near the hospital, certainly intended, from its origin, to be a place of pilgrimage. The Hôpital-Saint-Blaise became a commandery with cultivable land, a mill, herds and which collected tithes from the nearest village. It would survive for several centuries but, gradually abandoned, the hospital would disappear completely at the end of the 17th century. The original community gradually became a small village grouped around the church.
The church is the only remnant of an ancient hospital foundation on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Romanesque building, with its Hispano-Moorish architectural features, is unique in France.
Sound and light show
A real original and surprising journey back in time is proposed to you thanks to a Sound and Light Show. You will be transported in the footsteps of the pilgrims of the 12th century thanks to a new high definition scenography projected on the walls of the building and colorful light shows. This highly technical show, imagined by the inhabitants of the village, retraces the history of the church while respecting the purity of the place.
The mill ...
The visit of the village, will also allow you to discover an old water mill, probably of medieval origin, but remained in activity until the 1960s.
Since then, it has undergone very important restorations, to the point of having been almost completely rebuilt.
The mill operated until the development of industry made it obsolete before the Second World War. During the war, local farmers returned to the mill to grind their grain secretly to avoid the Germans taking part of their production. After the war, the owner decided to transform the mill into a small sawmill which was used until the 1970s.
These buildings (mill, building and shed) have recently been bought by the municipality which, since then, has been trying to restore them in order to make them accessible to the public.
The town hall
Tel : 05 59 66 11 12
For the visits of the church and the lodging
Church of Hôpital-Saint-Blaise
Bourg - 64130 Hôpital-Saint-Blaise
Tel : 05 59 66 07 21
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator