In the south of the Landes, 30 km from our Lou P’tit Poun campsite near Bayonne, discover La Bastide d’Hastingues, a small village in the Pays d’Orthe at the crossroads of Basque and Gascon cultures. It’s famous for its Benedictine abbey, its narrow houses and alleys, and its rounded shape like a snail’s shell, the town’s legendary emblem.

Visit to the bastide town of Hastingues and Arthous Abbey

A little history… 800 years already!

On the borders of the Landes and Basque regions, 30 minutes from Bayonne, Hastingues owes its foundation to a treaty signed in 1289 between Edward 1st – King of England and Duke of Aquitaine – and the monks of Arthous Abbey. This pact, signed by the seneschal of Gascony, Jean de Hastings, provided for the creation of a bastide to reinforce the English presence in southern Aquitaine. Looted and burned many times over the course of its history, the town of Hastingues has preserved part of its fortifications, its monumental fortified gateway, its typical houses and its Benedictine abbey.

What to see and do in Hastingues

Curled up on a small hill overlooking the plain of the Pays d’Orthe, on the left bank of the Gaves (the Gave d’Oloron and the Gave de Pau), the Landes bastide town ofHastingues seems to form a shell. The upper town, built on a promontory, has just two streets and a few crossroads. To visit the site and the surrounding countryside, take a walk around the bastide. You’ll find panels retracing the history of the medieval bastide at the entrance to the village and on the houses in the village. The Tourist Office also organizes guided tours throughout the summer.

At the end of the main street, the south-western gateway to the bastide appears. It opens onto a rectangular tower through which runs a passageway with a pointed barrel vault. In the past, this fortified gateway was enclosed by earthen ramparts. Near the tower, the ruined Maison du Sénéchal, also known as Maison Laplante, retains all the characteristics of the English style and a fine Gothic doorway.

On the central square, the Maison des Jurats, built of limestone blocks in the 15th and 16th centuries, is remarkable for its mullioned windows on the two upper floors. The first floor used to feature arcades that have now been blocked up. Opposite, the Saint-Sauveur church is also worth a visit. This fortified Romanesque church was rebuilt in the 17th century on the site of a primitive church.

Arthous Abbey

The real treasure of Hastingues lies about two kilometers west of the bastide, on the banks of theArthous stream. This is theSainte-Marie d’Arthous abbey, founded in 1167 by the Premonstratensian order of canons. With the abbaye de Sorde abbey, it is the second monastic site south of the river Gave to have been built on the route of the Compostelle pilgrims . It’s a must-see for lovers of history and architectural heritage.

The convent buildings have been carefully restored, offering a glimpse of medieval monastic life. Visitors can admire the modillions and capitals sculpted with fantastic animals, characters and Romanesque symbols, one of the finest compositions in the Landes region. Hastingues Abbey is also home to a fun, interactive museum designed for families. The Treasure Room houses exceptional prehistoric horse sculptures dating back 17,000 years.

Upcoming events in Hastingues

  • The Parade des 5 sens festival (July 13 and 14): theater, song, dance, circus, music… Let yourself be carried away by the magic of street arts.
  • The “Déambulation historique”: during the European Heritage Days (September), local volunteers offer a historical and heritage discovery of the Landes bastide through theatrical sketches in period costume.