Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (approximately 1,650 inhabitants) is a picturesque, fortified town on the river Nive. The town was founded in the Middle Ages.
The town is close to the Spanish border and, in a straight line, is 40 km from the Atlantic coast.
Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is the capital of Basse-Navarre, one of the three Basque provinces in France, which together form “Pays Basque” (Basque country). The Basque name of Saint-Jean is: Donibane Garazi. In the Middle Ages, Basse-Navarre was part of the kingdom of Navarra (Spain). In 1620 it became a French province. Read more
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Places of interest are, among others: the Porte de Saint-Jacques (see > alongside), the Rue de la Citadelle with among other points of interest the Prison des Ėvêques (which accommodates a modest museum about the Camino de Santiago), the city bridge over Nive river, a Roman bridge, and the 17th Century citadel. You cannot visit the citadel itself, but from the walls you have an excellent view over the Nive valley and the surrounding hills and mountains.
In Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port you find almost all basic facilities: shops, pharmacies, doctors, dentists, a post office and even a cinema. On Mondays there is a sheep market and a day market, with among other offerings a wide selection of fresh local products.