Hendaye church Saint-Vincent visitor guide

Photo of Hendaye church Saint-Vincent

Visit Hendaye church Saint-Vincent, France

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The church of Saint-Vincent is the principal religious monument in Hendaye, a town on the coast in the south-west corner of France and on the frontier with Spain.

Discover the church Saint-Vincent in Hendaye

France This Way review: the church of Saint-Vincent has several interesting features including three rows of balconies so we suggest you visit the church as you explore Hendaye, although we would not travel to the town just to see the church

The original church was built here in 1598, although it has been rebuilt and renovated more than once since that time, in part due to damage during the wars between France and Spain that took place between 1793 and 1813. Most of the church building that we see today is from the 18th and 19th century.

Exterior of the Church Saint-Vincent in Hendaye

The church is rather plain on the outside, and dominated by a large square belltower at the front. At the base of the tower is a porch, entered by large arches.

On the side of the church you can see a small arched door (one on each side) in the roman style. Above the door there is a plaque engraved in stone to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees - which ensured peace between France and Spain and established Hendaye as being on the border between the two countries. The engraving represents the arms of the French royal family.

Next to the door in a small area of garden you can see an ancient cross. Dating from the 13th century, the base of the cross features astral signs.


Inside the church, the wallls near the altar have been painted bright red, which makes an interesting background to the statues and artworks, which at this end of the church are mostly in gold frames. The altar is also red and gold, and includes a 16th century statue of the Virgin.

Along both sides of the nave there are three galleries of balconies (called tribunes). This is the feature that makes the church Saint-Vincent interesting to visitors, because although these are quite common in the Pays Basque region of France, they are very uncommon elsewhere, and add a lot of character to the interior.

Until quite recently, the balconies in basque churches were reserved for men only.

Because of these balconies, the church in Hendaye is one of 12 in the region that have recently been listed as historic monuments.

Among the other points of interest inside the church, you can see a painted statue of Christ from the 13th century, an ancient stone font, several painted reliefs and an organ that has been recently renovated.

Column next to the entrance to the church in Hendaye

Attractions nearby

Of course you will want to visit Hendaye town while you are here: it is in two separate parts, with the coastal part of the town about two kilometres from the historic part of the town. See the Hendaye guide for details.

You can also visit our favourite basque church not far from here: see Church Saint John the baptist in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

See more churches in France. You can find more travel ideas in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques guide and the Aquitaine guide.

See also: 

Photos of Hendaye church Saint-Vincent

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  • balconies
  • column
  • entrance
  • exterior
  • font
  • statue-2
  • statue
  • transept

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The French version of this page is at Hendaye church Saint-Vincent (Francais)