Theme Week Basque Country – Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Thursday, 25 April 2024 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  4 minutes

© W. Bulach/cc-by-sa-4.0

© W. Bulach/cc-by-sa-4.0

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (literally “Saint John [at the] Foot of [the] Pass”; Basque: Donibane Garazi; Spanish: San Juan Pie de Puerto) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in south-western France. It is close to Ostabat in the Pyrenean foothills. The town is also the old capital of the traditional Basque province of Lower Navarre. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is also a starting point for the French Way Camino Francés, the most popular option for travelling the Camino de Santiago. In 1998, the Porte St-Jacques (city gate) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as part of the sites along the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.

The town lies on the river Nive, 8 km (5.0 mi) from the Spanish border, and is the head town of the region of Basse-Navarre (Lower Navarre in English) and was classified among the Most Beautiful Villages of France in 2016. The Pays de Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, also called Pays de Cize (Basque: Garazi), is the region surrounding Saint-Jean-Pied-Port. The town’s layout is essentially one main street with sandstone walls encircling. It is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) by air and 75 kilometres (47 mi) on road away from Pamplona (Basque: Iruña), the capital of Upper Navarre, across the Spanish border.

The cobbled rue de la Citadelle runs down hill and over the river from the fifteenth century Porte St-Jacques to the Porte d’Espagne by the bridge. From the bridge, there are views of the old houses with balconies overlooking the Nive. Many of the buildings are very old, built of pink and grey schist, and retain distinctive features, including inscriptions over their doors. One, a bakery, lists the price of wheat in 1789. The 14th-century red schist Gothic church, Notre-Dame-du-Bout-du-Pont, stands by the Porte d’Espagne. The original was built by Sancho the Strong of Navarre to commemorate the 1212 Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa where Moorish dominance of Spain was undermined. Above the town at the top of the hill is the citadel, remodelled by Vauban in the 17th century. Outside the walls is a new town, with the Hôtel de Ville.

© Zewan/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Zewan/cc-by-sa-4.0 © René Hourdry/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Zewan/cc-by-sa-4.0 © René Hourdry/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Theklan/cc-by-sa-2.5 © René Hourdry/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Zewan/cc-by-sa-4.0 © René Hourdry/cc-by-sa-4.0 © W. Bulach/cc-by-sa-4.0
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© René Hourdry/cc-by-sa-4.0
Traditional crafts and foods remain in the town, including Basque linen from the Inchauspé family since 1848. The town is now an important tourist centre for the Pyrenees and the French Basque country and there are shops, restaurants and hotels.

St-Jean-Pied-de-Port specializes in goat cheese, like the Ossau-Iraty AOP cheese, artisanal trout breeding and piperade omelette with peppers and Bayonne ham.

Mondays see a large market, with sheep and cattle driven into the town. At 5pm, there is a communal game of bare-handed pelote at the fronton. There are large fairs four times a year.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Wikivoyage Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Wikipedia Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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