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Coordinates: 43°24′02″N 0°56′19″W / 43.4005555556°N 0.938611111111°W / 43.4005555556; -0.938611111111

Commune of Sauveterre-de-Béarn

Sauveterre-de-Béarn is located in France
Country France
Region Aquitaine
Department Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Arrondissement Oloron-Sainte-Marie
Canton Sauveterre-de-Béarn
Intercommunality Communauté de communes de Sauveterre-de-Béarn
Mayor Jean Labour
Elevation 44–205 m (140–670 ft)
(avg. 71 m/230 ft)
Land area1 14.54 km2 (5.61 sq mi)
Population2 1,352  (2006)
 - Density 93 /km2 (240 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 64513/ 64390
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Sauveterre-de-Béarn is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in south-western France.

It lies on the border with Spain.


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 de Compostela, 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.

See also



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