The Abbey of Saint-Savin-en-Lavedan was a Benedictine abbey in the commune of Saint-Savin and one of the most important religious centres in the County of Bigorre. The abbey dates at least from the 10th century, and it was built by order of Charlemagne on the site of an ancient Gallo-Roman fortress. In 841, the abbey was looted and burnt by the Normans, and previously by the Saracens.
In 945, Count Raymond I of Bigorre gave the abbey a generous endowment consisting of a territory known as the Pascal de Saint-Savin, which was made of the eight villages. The church of Saint-Jean-de-Saint-Savin became their communal church.
In 1080 the abbey was united to the Abbey of St. Victor, Marseille. In 1130 Bernard d'Arcizas and Centule II, Count of Bigorre, confronted the abbot and the inhabitants of the Val d'Azun over a burial. Queen Marguerite of Navarre (1492–1549) took refuge in the abbey from a flood. From the thirteenth century, the abbey still controlled the territory of seven villages.
From the 16th century the abbey suffered due to the destruction associated with the French Wars of Religion and relaxed its discipline, although there were attempts to restore it in the 17th century by the monks of the Congregation of St. Maur.
Only three monks remained living in the abbey in 1790. In the following year, the church and the monastic buildings were converted for the use of the parish. Part of the abbey was sold for a stone quarry and the chapter house became a stable. In 1854, a strong earthquake caused further destructions. Prosper Mérimée took charge of its restoration in 1855.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.