do I really need a pilgrim’s pass?

Yes, if you want to use the “albergues” (pilgrim’s hostels) in Spain, you need a pilgrim’s pass, which must be stamped daily. You also need the pass to qualify in Santiago for a “Compostela”: the certificate that states that you have done the Camino.

You can buy a pilgrim’s pass in Saint-Jean, for a small fee, at the pilgrim’s office of the Amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques (39, rue de la Citadelle, just opposite our hostel).