During the Middle Ages, Moirax was a stage on the pilgrims’ route to Compostella.
Today, Moirax is still crossed by the St James of Compostella route, the GR 652, which is shared by the Cluniac walk between Moirax and Agen.
In the village itself you can still see houses dating from the Middle Ages, as well as the old ramparts.
The Church of Notre-Dame
This is the church of the former Cluniac priory of Sainte Marie, founded in 1049. In the 11th century the lord of Moirax, Guillaume Arnaud, decided to give his possessions to the Benedictines of Cluny and to build a Cluniac priory on the site of a small wooden church. His son Pierre was the first prior of the new priory.
The priory buildings comprised the church, the convent with its square courtyard, and the cloister, the traces of which can still be seen on the walls of the convent. The latter was completely destroyed during the Revolution.
The Romanesque church was classified as a historical monument in 1846. In 1956, its restorers made the choice to strip the walls in order to bring out the whiteness of the stone, the purity of line and the harmony of the whole. The church has 130 Romanesque capitals of remarkable craftmanship.
Inside, one cannot but admire the 17th century stalls and sculpted wooden panels representing biblical scenes; and outside, the chevet grouping with the apse and two apsidioles.
Group visits to the priory can be arranged by contacting:
To the south of the village are two windmills and to the north, alongside the Cluniac route, a former washing place (lavoir) and the fountain of Navarre.
The Fountain of Navarre
Coming from Moirax, after having crossed the Brimont stream and mounting the east side of the valley, at the edge of the woods and to the right of the path, you will see a spring. This is the fountain of Navarre, known since ancient times, for the route of the GR 652 links two major old roads: the Peyrigne and the Ténarèze, which runs from Bordeaux to the Pyrenees without crossing any bridges.
Engraved on a stele is the inscription:
FONS DE NAVARA – UN COP ERA SUS MA PEIRA – DONA JOANA SOBEIRANA – DEL BRULHES S’ASSETET
ALAVETZ SE MIRET – DINS L’ONDA PRIGONDA – LA REINA AIMADA AI REFRESCADA
This means : “Once on my stone Lady Jeanne Sovereign of Brulhois sat, then gazed at her reflection in the deep water. I refreshed the much-beloved queen.”
It refers to Jeanne III of Albret, Queen of Navarre. The stele itself is not old; it was engraved and put up in 1988 by the minister of Cabrol, who at the time lived in the nearby priory of Ségougnac. The text is a poem in Occitan composed by the abbot Mateu.