Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is classified among the “most beautiful villages in France” and deserves an excursion during your holidays in the Basque Country. This preserved medieval city is an important stop on the way to Compostela: it is indeed the starting point of the mythical stage of the crossing of the Pyrenees by the Roncesvalles pass. Situated in an exceptional natural setting, at the foot of the mountains and on the banks of the Nive, the town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port boasts a rich historical and architectural heritage. An imposing citadel has stood on the site of the former medieval castle of the kings of Navarre since the 17th century. The Bishops’ Prison, an intriguing medieval building listed as a historical monument, hosts temporary exhibitions on the history of the city.
In season, from April to October, a small tourist train allows you to admire the fortified town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port as a whole: the train takes you through the cobbled streets of the town to discover houses with traditional architecture, ramparts and medieval gates, the church of Notre-Dame-du-Bout-du-Pont and remarkable buildings such as the Mansart house or the Arcanzola house. The city is particularly lively on the occasion of heritage festivals in mid-August: among dances, songs, shows, cow races and pelota, Basque folklore is in the spotlight.