The town of Aire-sur-l’Adour is a quiet market town by the river Adour. A settlement has existed here since roman times although it is only a trace of the name that still exists: the roman name was Atura, which later gave rise to Adour. The town extends south from here along rue Gambetta and rue Carnot, where you will find lots of small shops.
Your walking day to Arzacq Arraziguet wanders through lush green countryside with hamlets and ancient buildings such as medieval chapels and wash-houses (“lavoirs”). It is a demanding walking day, mainly due to its length rather than the difficulty of the trail. You will see your first view of the snow-capped Pyrenees today as you enter the department of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques. You will pass the magnificent 11th century Church of Miramont Sensacq formerly dedicated to St James. Pimbo is a “street bastide”, stretching along a high narrow bridge. From here you enter the region called “Béarn”. Arzacq Arraziguet is a bastide town built in the 11th century with two main squares and 2 “lavoirs”.
Challenge: 31 km, 365 m ascent, 215 m descent.
Your walking day to Pomps gives you a magnificent scenery, with the Pyrenees to the south. The route takes you across rolling hills and past villages such as Louvigny and Larreule (the 10th century Benedictine Monastery was an important stop for medieval pilgrims) for your night.
Challenge: 12,3 km, 200 m ascent, 305 m descent.
Today your walk takes you to Uzan, visit the beautiful rural church of Sainte Quitterie and a stone fountain. From Pomps to Maslacq, passing Arthez-de-Béarn, with its distinctive Basque architecture. A few long uphill stretches will add some difficulty to this pleasant section of the trail.
Challenge: 26 km, 155 m ascent, 205 m descent.
Your walk today ends with a long descent through a forest which will take you to the lovely walled town of Navarrenx, the first place in France to be fortified with Italian style ramparts in the 16th century. Navarrenx is also one of “les plus beaux villages de France”. Over the centuries, the fortified wall of Navarrenx has retained its main features. From the top of the ramparts (for example, from the crenellation platform overhanging the Saint- Antoine gate), there is a pleasant view of the Pyrenees and, below, the arches of the bridge of Navarrenx (13th century).
Challenge: 22 km, 380 m ascent, 335 m descent.
Today your walks takes you through woodlands and peaceful countryside before reaching Lichos, and you will enter the French Basque Country.
Challenge: 13 km, 95 m ascent, 120 m descent.
Stop at the Romanesque church of St Etienne in Aroue and make a detour off the path to see the lovely Romanesque church of St Just in Olhaiby. Be aware your accommodation in Saint-Palais will be slightly off the main track (Saint-Palais is about 4,5 km North of the GR65 including in your total distance today). As of the Stele (Scallop shell on the map here under), change the main GR65 heading towards Saint Palais (Path of "Gilbraltare" or "Xibaltare", now classified GR 654 and 655).
Challenge: 24 km, 340 m ascent, 310 m descent.
During your walk today you will pass the Stelle de Gibraltar, where all the Camino routes from France meet. Your walk then takes you across rolling countryside before reaching the chapel of Soyarce where you will get amazing views over the Pyrenees. Next you will reach the village of Ostabat, today a small village but an important stop for medieval pilgrims.
Challenge: 12,5 km, 230/230 m ascent/descent.
Your last walking day today! Your walk will take you across the rural Basque Country before reaching St James Gate and entering the stunning medieval town (also “one of the most beautiful villages of France”) of Saint-Jean Pied-de-Port, at the foothills of the Pyrenees. This village is a small border town on the river Nive but always busy with Camino pilgrims, as it is the starting point of the French Way to Santiago. The town has traditionally been an important point on the Way of St. James, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, as it stands at the base of the Roncevaux Pass across the Pyrenees. Pied-de-Port means 'foot of the pass' in Pyrenean French. The routes from Paris, Vézelay and Le Puy-en-Velay meet at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and it was the pilgrims' last stop before the arduous mountain crossing.
Your journey will end in the town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. You have the possibility to book an extra night in this charming city.
Challenge: 21,5 km, 200 m ascent, 215 m descent.
You will mainly be housed in bed and breakfasts or gites. The accommodations along the Compostela route are usually stopover places, and unfortunately we sometimes have limited choice, we have tried to select the accommodations that provide the best services and atmosphere.
Extra nights can be booked at any of the accommodations along the way.
Set along the Adour River in Aire-sur-l’Adour and offering an outdoor seasonal swimming pool, N'Atura Hôtel is a 2-star hotel with air conditioned rooms. Each room at N'Atura Hôtel also offers free WIFI access, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom fitted with a shower and free toiletries.
B&B La Maison d’Antan is a house of charm of the XV and is located in the center of Arzacq. Guests can enjoy a garden with free WIFI access. Each room at La Maison d'Antan includes a TV and a private bathroom with a bathtub or a shower, and a hairdryer. Guests can enjoy a local cuisine meal with a twist at the restaurant on site.
This gîte is located on the Compostela route, with WIFI and swimming pool.
B&B La Ferme de Bicatou welcomes pilgrims in the small family farmhouse in the centre of the village of Maslacq, right next to the church, on the way to Santiago de Compostela.
Located in the heart of the medieval town of Navarrenx, the guest house and table d’hôtes Le Relais du Jacquet welcomes you all year in it’s guest house or in it’s furnished flats. You have free access to WIFI, television, garage for bikes and motorcycles. Sheets and towels are included.
The B&B is located on the Compostela route near the city centre, in a quiet and peaceful environment.
Hôtel de La Paix is located in the heart of the French Basque Country, in Saint Palais. All the rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs (TNT, Bouquet Canal+, Bein Sport), free WIFI access and en-suite bathrooms. There is a buffet style breakfast including pastries, fresh bread, cereals, egg, ham, cheese, etc. each morning.
The Gaineko Etxea Farmhouse in Ostabat in the Basque Country on the Compostela Way (GR65) welcomes hikers, groups and pilgrims. There are electric heaters in all rooms. A veranda has been fitted out to serve as a lounge.
You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April 1st and October 31st.
Arrival in Aire-sur-l'Adour: Aire-sur-l'Adour does not have a train station. Take a train to Mont-de-Marsan, coming from for example (Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux). From Mont-de-Marsan you can take a bus to Aire-sur-Adour. Be aware, departure every 4 hours! Otherwise a taxi to Aire-sur-l'Adour is an option (approx. 45 minutes).
Departure from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port: From Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port you can take a train to reach Bayonne and on to various points in France (Pau, Bordeaux, ...) or Spain (San Sebastian, ...). These are the TER regional trains (approx. 1h05). From Bayonne you can take a 30 minutes bus to the airport in Biarritz and fly to points throughout Europe.
Parking informations on request
GPS tracks are available on request