Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is a fortified medieval town much deserving of a visit. We invite you to stroll through its pedestrian streets where you will see the ancient and very typical houses of the region. Don’t miss visiting the gothic church of Notre-dame du bout du pont and then cross over the ancient bridge spanning the Nive River. Then you can continue to on to the Rue de Espagne with its shops.
And then, going in the opposite direction you can take the Rue de la Citadelle, climbing until you reach the building called the Prison des Eveques (Prison of the Bishops) which has now been converted into a museum. A few steps further in this direction you will reach the gate of Saint-Jacques which has been declared an Historical Heritage Site by UNESCO. This gateway into Saint-Jean is where pilgrims have entered the city for almost 10 centuries.
Proceeding through the Gateway you can climb to the Citadelle itself, a 17th century monument restored by the architect Vauban. It is really worth
a visit. From there you will have a panoramic vista of the town and the surrounding mountains. If you walk around the walls you will discover a small forest, not mentioned in any guidebook, but a jewel of nature.
Returning to the Citadelle you can take the chemin de ronde that borders the fortified walls. You will discover a hidden part of the structure, the houses that supported the fort with their gardens and orchards.
At night we would suggest a walk after dinner along the edge of the river. This short, delightful walk will take you over the Roman bridge from which young people dive and bathe in the river. It is a perfect place to enjoy a moment of tranquility at the end of the day.
Don’t forget to pass by the market. Every Monday you will find a wide range of local products of excellent quality sold by their own producers. In the summer there is also a market day on Thursdays. Highly recommended.