A walk in Pondaurat and its fortified Saint-Antoine Commandery

Pondaurat
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Located on the left bank of the Garonne, Pondaurat is a pretty town between La Réole and Bazas. Ideal for a walk, it is intimately linked to Santiago de Compostela and has a stopover for pilgrims and hikers on the GR654. Be charmed by its medieval bridge, its mills, its church, and its hospital commandery, built by monks of the order of Saint-Antoine. We go on a visit with Alice Elbaz, tour guide (in FR). An 11km loop hike is offered to walkers, around two remarkable churches. Let's go ?

Photos © Guide Bordeaux Gironde


Pondaurat

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A small old and fortified town

We are in the 13th century, in Aquitaine reign the quarrels between the English and the French. The creation of the Commandery, with the installation of the hospital monks of the order of Saint-Antonin, aims to cure patients suffering from “mal des ardents” ( ergotism , which leads to gangrene). If today Pondaurat seems to be only a small village, the more in-depth study of its location and its architecture allow us to measure how much this pilgrimage, which is part of one of the routes of Saint-Jacques-de- Compostelle (the limousine route from Vézelay ), was important at the time. The monks had a full role in the local economy! It is for this reason that the Commandery was fortified, we suspect that it attracted covetousness...


Pondaurat

Pondaurat Pondaurat
The Commandery is attached to the bridge over the Basanne

Pondaurat takes its name from the very pretty medieval bridge-dike 13m long which spans the Basanne, one of the tributaries of the Garonne. The stone that composes it has a beautiful golden color, bright and warm. On the banks of the Basanne are several mills, which were used to grind grain, make flour to shape bread. It was necessary to feed the pilgrims and travelers coming from Aubeterre-sur-Drone, Castillon, La Réole or Bazas. Cross the bridge to see the pretty buttressed houses on the other side.


Pondaurat
The church and the conventual buildings, view from the inside
Pondaurat Pondaurat
Entrance and interior of the church

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Guided tour of Pondaurat

Arriving on our left is the Romanesque church of Saint-Antoine de Pondaurat, attached to the adjacent Antonins convent. We visit the small village with Alice Elbaz, tour guide who offers tours of the village of Pondaurat, but also and especially the interior of the Commandery! What a pleasure to be accompanied to understand the importance of this place steeped in history but also to have a reading of the built heritage! We enter the small church which is well preserved, we discover painted decorations which date from the 19th century , its architecture presents vaults on ribbed vaults. Why in the 19th ? On this date, Pondaurat is a village which prospers because it has all the assets: many trades, a fortified town to protect the villagers and the pilgrims, water to turn the 5 mills (yes, 5 and some used until 1940) and to drink, fields and forests for crops and the extraction of building materials in the surroundings... A monthly fair is also held there, it brings buyers and sellers from afar!


Pondaurat Pondaurat

A little owl has taken refuge at the entrance to the Commanderie

Pondaurat Pondaurat
A place filled with tranquility and delicacy

During the Revolution , the monastery and the mill were sold to the State, it is now listed as a Historic Monument.


Do you like hiking? Come walk and discover Pondaurat (in fr), following the 11km walking route to discover the local heritage, the churches, the old town and walk along the Basanne.

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A stopover for pilgrims at Pondaurat

The village still has its stopping place for pilgrims. It is open from May to October and welcomes around 150 travelers per year. It is the Stop of the Antonins. In addition to the way of Saint-Jacques, Pondaurat is also placed on the path of the GR654 and hikers are of course welcome! The stopover is located in the former presbytery of the Commanderie and can comfortably accommodate up to 6 people (2 bedrooms, 2 shower rooms and WC). The stopover is managed by an association: Les Amis de la Commanderie Saint-Antoine de Pondaurat.

We wish you a good visit of Pondaurat!


https://www.cirkwi.com/fr/circuit/51976-boucle-des-deux-eglises https://www.cirkwi.com/fr/circuit/51976-boucle-des-deux-eglises
https://www.cirkwi.com/fr/circuit/51976-boucle-des-deux-eglises


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