Date and Time of Visit: May 2, 2016 at approximately 11:00 a.m.
Another beautiful village has been added to the French Basque Country.
On June 27, 2016, France’s most beautiful village got a new addition!
As soon as I woke up this morning, I was looking at Facebook and this news jumped out at me.
Bienvenue à Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port !
It seems that there is a new most beautiful village in France. It is « Saint Jean Pied de Port ».
This news has of course been covered extensively on the official website of Saint Jean Pied de Paul.
I actually stopped by by accident when I visited French Basque in GW 2016!
That’s right. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Paul, this was the first town we visited from the Spanish side over the Pyrenees when we visited the French Basque Country during our 2016 GW trip.
In fact, I visited this town because it flourished as a town before the Pyrenees on the « Le Puy Road », one of the pilgrimage routes to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostela in France, which is also a World Heritage Site.
In this trip, I entered from Pamplona side of Spain, the opposite direction of the Le Puy road, and returned to France via Roncesvalles, and arrived at this town at the end of the pass, that is, before the pass.
The main purpose of our French Basque tour was to visit Navarrenx, a new addition to the beautiful village in 2014, and La Bastide Clairence, which we were unable to visit previously due to construction.
Navarrenx（ナヴァラン）- フランスで最も美しい村巡り2016 No.1 -★★★☆☆
La Bastide Clairence（ラ・バスティード・クレランス）再訪- フランスの最も美しい村巡り2016 No.2 -★★★★☆
And it just so happens that Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Paul is now a new member. How fortunate for us!
A beautiful village at the foot of the Pyrenees, crowded with pilgrims
So, what kind of village is it? Naturally, the village was crowded with many tourists and pilgrims because it is a base for the hassle of the Pyrenees and the time of the visit was around 11 o’clock.
What can I say, compared to the Spanish side where I was until yesterday, there are more restaurants! But there are many cars and people.
Most importantly, I appreciate the French writing. I can read, I can read!
It’s still a little before noon, but I feel like savoring it slowly.
Let’s get back to the village tour. Basically, the « village » is a small town, or rather village, in size. You enter the village from the northeast side (almost north) on the actual Le Puy road, which is just a series of main streets that serve as pilgrimage routes.
There really were a lot of pilgrims & tourists.
There is a river flowing in the middle of the village. It’s just like a valley there, so it’s downhill from the time you enter the village to there.
The castle gate you pass through when crossing the river. This photo was taken from the Spanish side (the direction of travel) in the opposite direction.
From here, it is called Spanish Street.
Here is the view from near the exit of the town in the opposite direction of travel (in terms of the pilgrimage route).
It’s a small, single street, but it was crowded with tourists, and it was a wonderful, tasteful sight. It may be just this, but I felt it was natural to be chosen as a beautiful village because of its scenery and historical background.
By the way, as it is just before the Pyrenees, information about the pilgrimage, tourist information, and accommodation mediation is available on this main street (just after entering the village), probably by local volunteers. Please take advantage of it.
As it is the last stop on the French side of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port has a great variety of accommodations, restaurants and souvenir shops. In this sense, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Paul is a more complete village than the other most beautiful villages in France.
I actually bought a few souvenirs in this city. French Basque textiles, foodstuffs (I bought a can of gizzard confit), chocolates, sandwiches (the very classic chambon fromage = ham and cheese), and much more. Sorry I was so busy eating that I didn’t take many pictures.
These chocolates were amazing, as was the sandwich chambon fromage I bought for lunch!
What can I say… I was so happy to be able to shop in French! (This year, I mainly traveled to Spain)