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Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port

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The ancient capital of the Basse Navarre, just 8 kms from the Spanish border, still maintains much of its beauty and grandeur from its medieval glory. Its fine citadel, high up on a hill, and encircled by mountains, guards the way to Spain over the Pyrénées, much used by pilgrims from three of the four main routes to St Jacques de Compostelle and armies alike.

Down below the narrow streets clustered round the river Nive with a number of old building, including the Bishop's prison dating from the time when there was a rival pope at Avignon.

It was not far from here that in 778 the rear guard of Charlemagne's army was slaughtered in an ambush by local mountain-men fed up with occupation and pillage. The defeat was celebrated in the Song of Roland, leader of the defeated army, although the local men were transformed in to bloodthirsty Saracens - an early example of the truth being massaged for political reasons. It was too humiliating to admit to defeat by local men!


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Things to do in Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port

St Jean-le-Vieux: Hot air ballooning Aerodromes etc
Nive; Nives de Béhérobie, d'Arneguy, des Aldudes Fishing
Apart from the Nive the fishing rights to the rivers in this area belong to the APRN who are not part of the reciprocal arrangements for the department.
Hiking - many walks through and around St Jean-Pied-de-Port Hiking and Snow walking

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Things to see in Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port

Annual fete with bull running for juniors, close to Pamplona for their annual, world famous fete Festivals and Fetes
Medieval remains Medieval fortifications
Pelote Basque Pelote Basque
On the St-Jacques de Compostelle route Pilgrimage of St Jacques-de-Compostelle
Cheap shopping over Spanish border. Shopping and Markets

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