cammino de santiago in saint jean pied de port bridge and houses
cammino de santiago in saint jean pied de port bridge and houses

Camino de Santiago, Aire-sur-l'Adoiur to Saint Jean Pied de Port

Level
4
Distance
162 km
Duration
9 days | 8 nights
period
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
price from
€ 920
CO2 footprint
121 Kg/person
  1. France
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode FRSW550

The most well-known and described section of the French Way starts from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, although only a small portion of it is actually in France. However, this journey takes you along the Via Podiensis, through the stretch that leads from the village of Aire-sur-l'Adour - known for its UNESCO Heritage church - to Saint Jean. Along the way, you'll traverse a lush landscape of hills, Romanesque churches, monasteries, medieval chapels, and fortified villages, including Navarrenx, among the most beautiful villages in France.

The journey continues through forests and countryside with the Pyrenees in the background, crossing the border into the French Basque Country. Here, you'll find the Stele of Gibraltar, where all the paths from France converge, until you reach the village of Saint Jean, at the foot of the Roncevaux Pass.Here, savor a Basque cake to celebrate - or to replenish your energy because, if you're not done yet, another Camino lies ahead of you. 

Highlights

  • Discover UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Church of Sainte-Quitterie
  • Pass the Stelle de Gibraltar, where all the Camino routes from France meet
  • Explore the first place in France to be fortified with Italian style ramparts in the 16th century: Navarrenx
  • Taste the culinary delights of the region and the hospitality of your accommodation hosts 

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Aire-sur-l’Adour

Arrival in Aire-sur-l’Adour
The town of Aire-sur-l’Adour is a quiet market town by the river Adour. A settlement has existed here since roman times although it is only a trace of the name that still exists: the roman name was Atura, which later gave rise to Adour. The town extends south from here along rue Gambetta and rue Carnot, where you will find lots of small shops.

Day 2

From Aire-sur-l’Adour to Arzacq 31 km

From Aire-sur-l’Adour to Arzacq 31 km
Your walking day to Arzacq Arraziguet wanders through lush green countryside with hamlets and ancient buildings such as medieval chapels and wash-houses (“lavoirs”). It is a demanding walking day, mainly due to its length rather than the difficulty of the trail. You will see your first view of the snow-capped Pyrenees today as you enter the department of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques. You will pass the magnificent 11th century Church of Miramont Sensacq formerly dedicated to St James. Pimbo is a “street bastide”, stretching along a high narrow bridge. From here you enter the region called “Béarn”. Arzacq Arraziguet is a bastide town built in the 11th century with two main squares and 2 “lavoirs”.

Distance: 31 km

Elevation gain: +365 / -215 m

Day 3

From Arzacq to Larreule, 12,3 km

From Arzacq to Larreule, 12,3 km
Your walking day to Pomps gives you a magnificent scenery, with the Pyrenees to the south. The route takes you across rolling hills and past villages such as Louvigny and Larreule (the 10th century Benedictine Monastery was an important stop for medieval pilgrims) for your night.

Distance: 12,3 km

Elevation gain: +200 / -305 m

Day 4

From Larreule to Maslacq, 26 km

From Larreule to Maslacq, 26 km
Today your walk takes you to Uzan, visit the beautiful rural church of Sainte Quitterie and a stone fountain. From Pomps to Maslacq, passing Arthez-de-Béarn, with its distinctive Basque architecture. A few long uphill stretches will add some difficulty to this pleasant section of the trail.

Distance: 26 km

Elevation gain: +155 / -205 m

Day 5

From Maslacq to Navarrenx, 22 km

From Maslacq to Navarrenx, 22 km
Your walk today ends with a long descent through a forest which will take you to the lovely walled town of Navarrenx, the first place in France to be fortified with Italian style ramparts in the 16th century. Navarrenx is also one of “les plus beaux villages de France”. Over the centuries, the fortified wall of Navarrenx has retained its main features. From the top of the ramparts (for example, from the crenellation platform overhanging the Saint- Antoine gate), there is a pleasant view of the Pyrenees and, below, the arches of the bridge of Navarrenx (13th century).

Distance: 22 km

Elevation gain: +380 / -355 m

Day 6

From Navarrenx to Lichos, 13 km

From Navarrenx to Lichos, 13 km
Today your walks takes you through woodlands and peaceful countryside before reaching Lichos, and you will enter the French Basque Country.

Distance: 13 km

Elevation gain: +95 / -120 m

Day 7

From Lichos to Saint-Palais, 24 km

From Lichos to Saint-Palais, 24 km
Stop at the Romanesque church of St Etienne in Aroue and make a detour off the path to see the lovely Romanesque church of St Just in Olhaiby. Be aware your accommodation in Saint-Palais will be slightly off the main track (Saint-Palais is about 4,5 km North of the GR65 including in your total distance today). As of the Stele (Scallop shell on the map here under), change the main GR65 heading towards Saint Palais (Path of "Gilbraltare" or "Xibaltare", now classified GR 654 and 655).

Distance: 24 km

Elevation gain: +340 / -310 m

Day 8

From Saint-Palais to Ostabat, 12,5 km

From Saint-Palais to Ostabat, 12,5 km
During your walk today you will pass the Stelle de Gibraltar, where all the Camino routes from France meet. Your walk then takes you across rolling countryside before reaching the chapel of Soyarce where you will get amazing views over the Pyrenees. Next you will reach the village of Ostabat, today a small village but an important stop for medieval pilgrims.

Distance: 12,5 km

Elevation gain: +230 / -230 m

Day 9

From Ostabat to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, 21,5 km

From Ostabat to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, 21,5 km
Your last walking day today! Your walk will take you across the rural Basque Country before reaching St James Gate and entering the stunning medieval town (also “one of the most beautiful villages of France”) of Saint-Jean Pied-de-Port, at the foothills of the Pyrenees. This village is a small border town on the river Nive but always busy with Camino pilgrims, as it is the starting point of the French Way to Santiago. The town has traditionally been an important point on the Way of St. James, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, as it stands at the base of the Roncevaux Pass across the Pyrenees. Pied-de-Port means 'foot of the pass' in Pyrenean French. The routes from Paris, Vézelay and Le Puy-en-Velay meet at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and it was the pilgrims' last stop before the arduous mountain crossing.

Distance: 21,5 km

Elevation gain: +200 / -215 m

Details

Is this for me?


This journey is perfect for those who want to walk the entire Camino de Santiago or perhaps have already walked the one in Spain and are intrigued by the French stretch.

There are no particularly challenging ascents except in the final part, with the climb towards the Pyrenees to reach the final stage. For this reason, good training and overall experience with multi-day trips are still required because some of these days are longer than 20 km.

The paths consist of a mix of asphalt, dirt roads, and tracks. The entire route is well-marked with the official waymarkers of the Camino de Santiago

Included


What is included

  • 8 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • 8 dinners
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • maps and detailed description of the itinerary
  • Pilgrim Passport
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included 

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.

Accommodation


Aire-sur-l'Adour: N'Atura Hôtel **

Set along the Adour River in Aire-sur-l’Adour and offering an outdoor seasonal swimming pool, N'Atura Hôtel is a 2-star hotel with air conditioned rooms. Each room at N'Atura Hôtel also offers free WIFI access, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom fitted with a shower and free toiletries. 

www.naturahotel.

Arzacq-Arraziguet: B&B La Maison d'Antan

B&B La Maison d’Antan is a house of charm of the XV and is located in the center of Arzacq. Guests can enjoy a garden with free WIFI access. Each room at La Maison d'Antan includes a TV and a private bathroom with a bathtub or a shower, and a hairdryer. Guests can enjoy a local cuisine meal with a twist at the restaurant on site. 

www.lamaison-dantan.com

Larreule: Gîte L'Escale

This gîte is located on the Compostela route, with WIFI and swimming pool.
 

www.gitealescale.fr

Maslacq: B&B La Ferme de Bicatou

B&B La Ferme de Bicatou welcomes pilgrims in the small family farmhouse in the centre of the village of Maslacq, right next to the church, on the way to Santiago de Compostela.

www.lafermedebicatou.jimdofree.com

Navarrenx: Le Relais du Jacquet

Located in the heart of the medieval town of Navarrenx, the guest house and table d’hôtes Le Relais du Jacquet welcomes you all year in it’s guest house or in it’s furnished flats. You have free access to WIFI, television, garage for bikes and motorcycles. Sheets and towels are included.

chambres-hotes-navarrenx.com

Lichos: B&B Haitzpean

The B&B is located on the Compostela route near the city centre, in a quiet and peaceful environment. 
 

Saint Palais: Hôtel de La Paix

Hôtel de La Paix is located in the heart of the French Basque Country, in Saint Palais. All the rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs (TNT, Bouquet Canal+, Bein Sport), free WIFI access and en-suite bathrooms. There is a buffet style breakfast including pastries, fresh bread, cereals, egg, ham, cheese, etc. each morning.

hotellapaix.com

Ostabat-Asme: Gîte La Ferme Gaineko Etxea

The Gaineko Etxea Farmhouse in Ostabat in the Basque Country on the Compostela Way (GR65) welcomes hikers, groups and pilgrims. There are electric heaters in all rooms. A veranda has been fitted out to serve as a lounge.

ostabat-compostelle.fr

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


Arrival in Aire-sur-l'Adour:

Aire-sur-l'Adour does not have a train station. Take a train to Mont-de-Marsan, coming from for example (Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux). From Mont-de-Marsan you can take a bus to Aire-sur-Adour. Be aware, departure every 4 hours! Otherwise a taxi to Aire-sur-l'Adour is an option (approx. 45 minutes).

Departure from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port:

From Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port you can take a train to reach Bayonne and on to various points in France (Pau, Bordeaux, ...) or Spain (San Sebastian, ...). These are the TER regional trains (approx. 1h05). From Bayonne you can take a 30 minutes bus to the airport in Biarritz and fly to points throughout Europe.

For timetables and further information check the website of SNCF or rome2rio for all French National trains (SNCF).

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486
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