Name - Abbaye de St-Orens
Location - Ortiac
Department - Gers 32
State - Abbey Ruin

Please do note that this abbey is a hard walk up the side of a mountain for over a hour, but what a delight sits near the top.


Also known as the Abbaye Benedictine de Saint Orens de Lavedan (dating from the VIIIth to IXth Century) Perhaps the primitive monastery was built on the site of l'ermitage de Saint Orens, by the monk of Spain in the 5th century. Orens de Lavedan would have been born in Urgell, of a Catalan lord. More probably, The construction of the abbey would go back to the VIIIth or IXth century.
In the XIth century, Saint Orens (which is a small community of just 6 monks) becomes a Priory under the rule of Cluny, attached to the Priory of St Orens d' Auch. A declining abbey, suffering because of the proximity of powerful and rich Abbaye de Saint-Savin, it was put in control in the XVIth and was given up about 1720. The deserted buildings were sold in the Revolution and were used as a stone quarry, but their difficult access preserved part of the site.
Walls of the abbey have almost all have disappeared, The main entrance was to be dominated by a bell-tower of which there remain nothing any more but the vestiges. This doorway was passes via a cemetery going downwards via a staircase which has today disappeared. Skilful eyes will be able to distinguish on the walls the remainders of frescos and paintings. The remainder of the site is occupied by vestiges of the old buildings of the abbey and by later constructions.

The site of the Abbaye de St Orens is one of most beautiful in the valley for which one seeks peace, for a little meditation in front of a splendid panorama, The beauty of the ruins can only reinforce the attractiveness of the place? it is definitively unforgettable.