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Duration
9 days
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 8 nights comfort hotels
Meals
  • 8 Dinners
  • 8 Breakfasts

Price

$1360USD

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Overview

Trip Code: FC6

Trip highlights


  • Walking through the wooded hills of the Béarn region with its white villages
  • Arriving in St Jean Pied de Port, the cross roads of the "Grand Chemin de Saint Jacques"
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of fellow hikers and pilgrims
  • Experiencing the culinary delights of the region and the hospitality of your accommodation hosts

Traverse the centuries of time and the borders of Europe on the medieval pilgrim trail of Compostela. In the 9th century, the tomb of the apostle St James was unearthed in Compostela. The site became the focus of a pilgrim trail beginning in France, and crossing northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. This journey, along the Via Podiensis, the French Way of St James, takes pilgrims from Le Puy en Velay to the Pyrenees at St Jean Pied de Port. The route passes a multitude of churches and monasteries, resembling a travelling museum of Romanesque art. Six stages of this historic trail are included in our self-guided walking program in France.

Walking from Aire sur l'Adour offers an insight into the contrasting Béarn and Basque regions of France which have a unique culture, language and cuisine. The landscape is inspiring as you walk between woods and open fields, past a multitude of chapels and historic sights and take time to absorb the history of the villages passed, once resting points for thousands of pilgrims during the Middle Ages. Arriving into St Jean Pied de Port through the Porte Saint-Jacques is a highlight and a rewarding end to the journey along the Via Podensis.

Trip Grading

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating

 

On arrival make your way to your hotel in either Aire or Barcelonne. Aire sur l'Adour is separated into two parts, with the lower section by the river and dominated by the cathedral of St Jean Baptiste, and the high town or Mas d'Aire which is dominated by the Eglise de Sainte Quitterie. Neighbouring Barcelonne is located on the banks of the Adour river and is known for its AOC Saint-Mont wine and rich architectural and historical heritage. The remainder of the day is free to explore before dinner in the hotel dining room.

Meals:  D

A long day on the trail today, although the terrain is fairly flat. You make your way past Lac du Broussau and through small settlements to Miramont, just over half way. Soon after you reach the Eglise de Sensacq, a church formerly dedicated to St James. The route continues along the GR65 to reach Arzaq-Arraziguet, passing by Pimbos en route, which is one of the oldest villages in the Landes. When Arzaq was founded by "les Anglais" in the 13-14th centuries it was not in Béarn (an independent country) but in France. The town was the border between the two then independent countries. Nowadays this is the border area of Les Landes and Pyrenees-Atlantiques departments. Overnight and dinner in Arzaq-Arraziquet. Walking: 31km/19.3mi Note: If you are unsure about walking 31km, it is possible to break this day into two days, staying in the town of Miramont (18km). If you wish to do this please advise us at the time of booking - supplement applies for additional night.

Meals:  B,D

The trail continues through the beautiful Béarn region, with many historic relics to visit including the abbey church of the XII Century St Pierre Larreule, the Romanesque church of St Quitterie and the church of St Jacques and chateau in Pomps. Overnight accommodation will be near Pomps and Morlanne in the village of Casteide-Candau. Walking: 21km/13m

Meals:  B,D

The trail continues past a Romanesque chapel to Arthez-de-Béarn where you'll notice the transition towards Basque-style architecture. The route passes through woods and the Church of Argagnon, the Chapelle of Caubin and the Chapelle of Cagnez before reaching the small village of Maslacq, situated on the Gave de Pau. Walking: 18km/11.2mi

Meals:  B,D

Starting the day through fields and woods following the Gave de Pau, the route passes a sanctuary and later a former monastery (La Sauvelade). The undulating trail takes you through quiet rural scenes to reach the town of Navarrenx, the first in France to be fortified with Italian style ramparts. Walking: 22km/13.7mi

Meals:  B,D

Another great day's walk through the last of the Béarnais countyside on this route, crossing small streams and ascending fields and wooded trails. En route you pass a pâté producer (Jean Haget) and the Mongaston Castle, before reaching the small village of Lichos, the birthplace of Saint-Grat, Bishop of Oloron. You have now crossed over into the Basque region of France. Walking: 13km/8.2mi

Meals:  B,D

The walk today takes you via the Eglise d'Olhaiby along rural trails to St Palais, a cultural town which plays host to colourful festivals and markets. Here the street signs are in the Basque language which is typical of the region. This is also the entry point into the Lower Navarre, formerly the Kingdom of Navarre. There are a number of sights to visit including a museum containing historic pilgrim relics and a statue of St James the pilgrim. Walking: 24km/15mi

Meals:  B,D

Continue on a trail past pilgrim hospitals, small chapels and historic villages to Ostabat-Asme, which was a large centre for pilgrims in the Middle Ages. Walking: 15km/9.4mi

Meals:  B,D

The trail takes you along the D933 through the valley and usually along old lanes either side of the main road. En route you pass the sights of pilgrims hospitals and the Croix de Galzetaburia which is a cross placed on the crossing of Roman roads to mark the entry of secondary routes onto the Via Pondensis. Passing the villages of Mongelos and Bussanarits you reach Donazaharre with its church of St Pierre. Not long afterwards, you will enter the pretty pilgrimage town of St Jean Pied de Port via its Porte Saint-Jacques. The trip concludes on arrival in St Jean. Walking: 20km/12.5mi With its ornate Basque style houses, wealth of sights to visit (Citadelle, Prison des Eveques, museums and churches, the various Portes (doors) and bridges over the river Nive), it is well worth spending extra time here to appreciate the historic significance of the town and celebrate the end of your walk. We can assist with booking a night in St Jean - please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts, 8 dinners: Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad, followed by a chicken, red meat, fish or pasta dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes.
  • 8 nights comfort hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Information pack including maps and walking guide (1 set per room booked)
  • Luggage transfer (1 bag of max 15kgs per person). Additional bags can be transported if supplement is paid in advance (max 15kgs per bag)
  • Visitor tax
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Aire sur l'Adour/Barcelonne du Gers and from St Jean Pied de Port
  • Drinks and lunches
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Tour guide - this is a self guided trip
  • Entrance fees
  • Transfers not noted in the itinerary
  • Excess baggage - arrangements can be made to carry baggage in excess of the 1 bag of 15kgs limit. Please do not tie smaller bags onto your main luggage as they will be treated as extra bags. Excess baggage which has not been pre organised will be refused. A supplement applies for excess baggage. Please ask our office for details.

Grading

  

The trip is graded moderate to challenging. Daily walks are between 13 and 31km on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to mountainous. This is a well worn path where route finding is straight forward (refer below for further details on self guided walking). The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. In the summer months an early start is recommended to avoid sun exposure during the hottest period of the day as sections of the trail are unshaded. You will need a good level of fitness and walking endurance to participate fully in this adventure.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Apr to 10 Oct

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1360USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementUSD$280
  • Single Traveller SurchargeUSD$300
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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