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Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is a town of 1,500 people (2019) in Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France. It is a common starting point for the French Way of the pilgrim route Way of St. James, to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.


View of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

The town lies on the river Nive, 8 km from the Spanish border. It is the head town of the region of Cize (Basque: Garazi), and was the capital of the former Basque province of Lower Navarre.

The town's name means "Saint John [at the] Foot of [the] Pass"; the pass leads through the Pyrenees to Spain. That's where the pilgrims go.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

You can fly to Biarritz's airport (BIQ IATA) from many airports in France, the UK and Ireland.

For an airport transfer, taxi, bus or coach service from Biarritz Airport to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, you can contact Express Bourricot[dead link], Sea-Lifts or Biarritz Airport Transfers[dead link]. There are trains from Biarritz.

From Madrid, you can fly to Pamplona and take a taxi from there.

By train[edit]

There are trains to Bayonne from Gare Montparnasse in Paris: 4 hr, 4–6 trains/day. Book online at SNCF Connect. From Bayonne, there are trains onwards to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port: 1½ hr, 4–5 trains/day. Book at SNCF Connect (at SNCF Connect itinerary).

There are also trains from Biarritz (SNCF Connect).

From Madrid, you can take a train to Pamplona and take a taxi from there.

By pilgrimage[edit]

Before the age of rail, most pilgrims had to walk all the way from home to reach Santiago de Compostela. Several of the routes through France pass through this town and still see use by pilgrims.

Get around[edit]

Choir of the church of Notre Dame in Saint-Jean



There are many very old buildings, built of pink and grey schist, which retain distinctive features including inscriptions over their doors.

  • Cobbled Ru de la Citadelle.
  • 1 Notre-dame-du-Bout-du-Pont (Église de l'Assomption de la Vierge), Rue de la Citadelle. It may have free trekking or hiking poles.
  • 2 porte Saint-Jacques. porte Saint-Jacques (Q56682398) on Wikidata


St. John points the way to pilgrims

Begin the French Way of Way of St. James (Spanish: El Camino de Santiago, El Camino; Galician: O Camiño de Santiago, Ruta Xacobea; French: Chemin de St-Jacques, German: Jakobsweg)

This is a popular starting point, if not the most popular starting point for those who are beginning the Way of St. James. Referred to as pilgrims (pèlerins in France and peregrinos in Spanish), many international travellers choose this, as it is the starting point in France that is closest to the Spanish border. Pilgrims begin by reporting in to the Pilgrim's Office to obtain their credencial to begin their journey.

  • 1 Pilgrim Office (Accueil aux Pèlerins / Amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques), 39 rue de la Citadelle. Daily 07:30–12:00, 13:30–20:00. Go pick up your Pilgrim Passport as soon as you arrive in town.


  • 1 La Boutique du Pèlerin, 32 Rue de la Citadelle, +33 5 59 37 98 52, . Daily 06:30-20:30. Stock up on hiking supplies you forgot such as hiking sticks, backpacks, clothes, shoes, guidebooks, etc.
  • Free trekking or hiking poles may be available at Notre-dame-du-Bout-du-Pont. See above under See.
Porte de Navarre




  • 1 Beilari (Esprit du Chemin), 40 Rue de la Citadelle (Across street from Pilgrim Office), +33 5 59 37 24 68, . Check-in: 06:30, check-out: 22:00. €40 per person including dinner and breakfast..
  • 2 Gite Makila, Rue de la Citadelle 35 (2 doors down from Pilgrim's Office), +33 06 63 10 13 46, . Check-in: 15:00-20:30, check-out: 08:30. Nice hostel. Bunkbeds have curtain and individual electric outlets. €25 including breakfast.
  • 3 Refuge Municipal (Ospitalia), 55 Rue de la Citadelle, +33 6 17 10 31 89. 32 beds. Dorm €12, double €30.


Go next[edit]


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