For many pilgrims who walk or cycle through France it is a shock to arrive in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Not only are there many tourists in high season, but there are also many pilgrims.
The shock can be great if you come from the relatively busy route from Le Puy, but much greater if you come from the quiet pilgrim roads from Paris, Vézelay or Arles.
The difference between "before Saint-Jean" and "after" has been noticeable for many years and is still growing. In 2011 76% of the pilgrims who visited the pilgrim’s office in Saint-Jean started their Camino there.
Our advice: take it as it comes; it is "inevitable". Whichever Camino you choose to walk or cycle, the closer you come to Santiago, the busier it gets.