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French Way Premium from St Jean to Pamplona

A magical beginning to the French Way. Walk the first 68 km of the iconic French Way or Camino Francés from the charming Basque village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to the city of Pamplona, world-famous for the running of the bull, staying in luxury hotels and with an average of 13,5 km to walk per day (8,5 miles). Walk without the fear of not being able to finish the difficult first day across the Pyrenees, with luggage transfer, 24/7 assistance with our local partners and a John Brierley Guidebook so you won’t get lost.

So, start your journey on the Camino 775 km away from Santiago de Compostela. Enjoy some of the most impressive views on the whole French Way without exhausting yourself with large distances. Discover Ernest Hemingway's favorite places in the Spanish region of Navarra. Eat in a Michelin star restaurant in Saint-Jean and sleep in the best hotels in the area including Hemingway's favorite Gran Hotel La Perla in Pamplona.

Only €1.190 per person sharing!

  • French Way Premium self-guided INCLUDES

    • En-suite accommodation in charming luxurious manors, 3 to 5* historical hotels including Ernest Hemingway's Gran Hotel La Perla 5* (subject to availability)
    • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
    • Emergency support from our local team
    • All taxes and gratuities for the hotels
    • A John Brierley detailed guidebook per room
    • All breakfasts and three-courses dinners (wine or beer included on request)
    • A Pilgrim Kit per person including an official Pilgrim Passport (Credential)
    • Walk between 12 km and 16 km per day

    price & dates

    Can be organized on request for any number of participants including single departures on the date of your choice (except around the San Fermin early to mid-July where a supplement will be applied)- subject to availability and price fluctuations.

    1190 per person

    Extras:

    • Single room supplement: + €250 per room
    • No dinners discount: - €130 per person
    • Transfer into St-Jean-Pied-de-Port from Biarritz Airport: + €90 per car up to 4 passengers

    Contact us for further pricing details including extra activities, shorter walking days, travel insurance, stop-overs and day tours.

    •   fact file

      Accommodation  Luxurious Manors & 3 to 5* Hotels
      Total Walking Distance  68 km
      Duration  7 days / 6 nights
      Starts  Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
      Stops  Roncesvalles, Erro, Akerreta
      Ends  Pamplona
    • highlights

      A wonderful and easy first taste to the Camino
      Discover Ernest Hemingway's favorite places in The Sun Also Rises: the Gran Hotel La Perla in Pamplona, the Café Iruña, Burguete...
      Walk one of the most stunning section of the French as you cross the Pyrenees
      Stay in the best accommodation along the way

Looking for a different journey? You can also walk the full French Way in 2 to 4* hotels starting in St-Jean and finishing in Santiago de Compostela all at once or in stages or choose an alternative route like the Portuguese Way in luxury hotels.

what to expect on this tour?

Expect to have a wonderful time along the first 68 km of the French Way! We designed this tour around personal experiences of the Camino, client feedback and recommendations so your group can have the best experience possible along the Way. Take your time to travel through the beautiful Basque countryside, cross the Pyrenees and rediscover the pleasure of being in direct contact with nature.

As we are based in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia 775 km away, we use a network of trusted local partners to ensure you receive the same 24/7 local assistance as closer to us.

Note: The stops, activities and distances detailed in the tour itinerary are subject to accommodation availability. Ask us for a final itinerary based on your dates and requirements! We will happily customize this itinerary by adapting the number of days and the distances to your specific interests and needs! Learn more about our Services here.

self-guided Tour with local emergency support

This tour does not have a guide so you will be walking at your own pace and making as much or little stops as you wish. The days have been shorten to ensure you are walking an average of 13,5 km a day (8,5 miles). As everyone will be walking in the same direction, take this opportunity to meet new people or introspect during your time alone.

Most people leave early in the morning to avoid the heat and to be able to indulge during the afternoon in a siesta, make the most of the hotels facilities, visit the local town and have a drink in a local terrace. But this is your Camino, you decide how you want to live it!

Sleep in luxurious manors & historic hotels

We take particular pride in the quality of our accommodation. To ensure your group only stays in the best accommodation along the Way, we regularly visit and rate all our providers.

On this tour, you will sleep in charming luxurious manors near the Camino & historical hotels in town centers. They all provide a welcoming, authentic and unique experience with all the comfort and service of a 3 to 5* hotel.

Everyday, as you change accommodation, you will find your suitcase, left with your hotel receptionist in the morning, will travel with you to the next accommodation and you will have different facilities to enjoy including for example swimming pools and spas (during summer and in selected locations). Most nights, you will be in the heart of a town and others you will enjoy the peace of the countryside. However, you will never be far away from the Camino and always in a area full of history.

Eat fresh, delicious & traditional meals

You have chosen a Gourmet tours, so, each night, we will bring you to the best restaurants near your hotel. You will try a Michelin star restaurant on your first night in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Hemingway's favorite Café Iruña in Pamplona. The Basque Country is recognized world-wide for having some of the best chefs and a wonderful cuisine. So, expect mouth-watering dinners made out with fresh, local ingredients. Local wine can be included at dinner on request.

Lunch is usually not included to allow you to stop whenever you feel you need a break and enjoy quality time with the new friends you will make along the Way.

We cater for vegetarians, vegans and any special dietary requirements or allergies. Just let us know beforehand so we can advise the chefs.

Add extra days or activities for an unforgettable adventure

Why not take advantage of the fact you are in the Iberian peninsula to do some tourism and visit Paris, Bordeaux, Barcelona or any European city on your bucket list? The closest International airport to your Camino is Bayonne but Bilbao is also very close-by and there is a small airport with flights to Madrid in Pamplona. There are bullet trains to Bayonne / Biarritz from Paris and either we can pick you up in Bayonne or you can get the local train to St Jean. For your departure, there are direct trains and flights from Pamplona to Madrid or you can return by bus or taxi to Biarritz in 1h.

We can help you choose and book those extra nights before or after your tour and our local partners can organize day tours around the Basque Country to, for example, San Sebastian, Lourdes or Bilbao or extra activities during the tour (wine-tasting, Balneotherapy, guided City tours or much more. Check out our selection of Day Tours in Spain and European Stop-Overs or let your imagination run wild and let us know let us know how you would like to make this tour unique.

CAMINO FRENCH PREMIUM FROM SAINT JEAN TO PAMPLONA DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

This 6 nights route brings you along the first 68 kilometers of the Camino Francés - French Way from Saint Jean Pied de Port into Pamplona.

Map and elevations of the last 114 km of the French Way from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona

DAY 1 - MAKING OUR WAY TO YOUR STARTING POINT OF THE CAMINO

Make your way to the starting point of the Camino Frances: the town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port just before the Spanish border. You can get there by flying or taking the bullet train from Paris into Bayonna and getting a taxi or the local train to St Jean. You will be staying the next couple nights in the town's 4* hotel with a swimming pool and a Michelin Star restaurant (if available - closed on Tuesdays) while you start your ascend over to the other side of the mountain chain of the Pyrenees, a natural border between France and Spain.

After check-in, spend some time discovering this beautiful walled Basque village, once the capital of the traditional Basque province of Lower Navarra, its citadel and enjoying the swimming pool in your hotel before having a gourmet dinner in the Michelin Star Restaurant of your hotel.

DAY 2 - 12 km - from saint-jean to the Virgin of Orisson

Finally, this is the day you start your journey along the Camino Frances. Leave from your hotel to join the French Way and cross the river along with the other pilgrims on their way to Santiago. Other pilgrims will have to walk 26 km to reach their destination for the night, Roncesvalles, but, to make this first day more manageable, we have arranged for a pick up in the middle at 14h30 by the Virgin of Orisson just after 12 km walk.

So, take it slow, especially along the first 8 km, which are the steepest, engage with your fellow pilgrims and enjoy the stunning views onto the valleys and the mountain range. After a few hours, you will reach the refuge of Orisson, where we recommend having lunch and refilling on water. From here, there is only 3,8 km left to walk to reach the Virgin of Orisson at 1100m altitude. Enjoy the views onto the impressive backdrop of the surrounding mountains and pay your respect to the Virgin, while you wait for your driver to pick you up and bring you back to Saint-Jean.

DAY 3 - 15 KM - FROM THE VIRGIN OF ORISSON TO RONCESVALLES

We have scheduled a pick up from the Tourism Office today at 8:30 am to bring you back up to the Virgin of Orisson, where they picked you up the day before (expect a 30 min drive). Make sure to leave your luggage at the hotel reception and be on time. You will be walking the remaining 15 km from the top of Orisson into the hamlet of Roncesvalles.

You are now on the “route of Napoleon”. The “Route des Cols” was created in the 19th century under the leadership of Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie. This “Spa Route” linked together the various Pyrenean spa towns that were very popular amongst the leisured classes. You will be going uphill again for the next 5 km until you reach the Col de Lepoeder at 1450 m altitude passing the fountain of Roland. Roland was a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne. He was killed by rebellious Basques in Iberia at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass and became one of the most important literary figures in later French medieval and Renaissance literature. The Song of Roland is the first and, along with The Poem of the Cid, one of the most outstanding examples of the chanson de geste, a literary form that flourished between the 11th and 15th centuries and celebrated legendary deeds.

From the fountain, you will get your first views onto Navarra and your destination for the day: the village of Roncesvalles. There will then be a steep descent into Roncesvalles through magnificent beech woods and you will spend the night in a beautiful 3* hotel next to the collegiate church which several curious relics associated with Roland.

DAY 4 - 18KM - WALK FROM Roncesvalles to alto de erro

Today, expect a much easier day than the first two walking days. You are at 1000m altitude and Pamplona is at 400m so the Camino will inevitably go downhill from now on, although you will still have a couple uphills. Leave directly from your hotel in Roncesvalles through woodlands into Burguete, a town where Ernest Hemingway used to go fishing and which appears in his masterpiece the The Sun Also Rises. We recommend reading this book before your tour as there will be many reminders of Hemingway and this book during this journey.

You will then pass the traditional village of Espinal, cross the Erro River, the village of Viscarreta and go uphill until you reach the Alto de Erro. Here, a taxi will transfer you to your guest-house set at the foothills of Monte de Alduide Nature Reserve a few kilometers away.

DAY 5 - 15KM - WALK FROM alto de erro TO ekerreta

In the morning, the taxi will bring you back to the point where he picked you up the day before. You will then walk the last 3,5 remaining kilometers into Zuburi. This quiet village of little more than 400 inhabitants is the capital of Valle del Esteribar, a long and narrow valley that follows the course of the river Arga. It is the most common stopping place for pilgrims on their second day and a good place to stop for lunch. Many battles took place here between Romans, Moors, French to conquer this strategical place also known as The Valley of the Hunters (El Valle de los Cazadores).

5,30 km after Zubiri, take your time to discover Larrasoaña, an important pilgrim stop in medieval times which used to have 2 pilgrim hospitals and a monastery. Your hotel is just 1km after Larrasoaña in the village of Akerreta and you might just recognize it from the movie The Way!

DAY 6 - 15KM - WALK FROM ekerreta to Pamplona

On your last day of this Camino, leave from your hotel to walk into Pamplona. A few kilometers after starting your walk, take the recommended short-cut through Zabaldika to see the 13th century Church of San Esteban and make sure to ask the nuns to allow you to ring the bell to sent your players out onto the valley. After Zabaldika, you will leave behind the luxurious countryside for the urban outskirts of Pamplona. You will walk through the neighbors of Villava and Burlada before arriving into the wonderful city of Pamplona.

Pamplona certainly owes some of its fame to its adopted son, Ernest Hemingway, who spent a considerable amount of time in Navarra during the Spanish Civil War and was a big fan of the San Fermín Festival. Hemingway wrote about the festival and the “Running of the Bulls” (“Encierro” in Spanish) in The Sun Also Rises. The San Fermín Festival starts on July 6th and lasts for a week. During this time the city is flooded by more than 1,000,000 visitors and turns into one of the world’s largest fiestas. But Pamplona has so much more to offer, so spend the afternoon discovering its beautiful Old Town and the citadel park.

You will be staying in the city’s most famous hotel, where Hemingway used to stay, the Gran Hotel La Perla (if available), which is right on the main square La Plaza del Castillo, and enjoy your last dinner on this Camino in the famous Café Iruña just next door.

day 8 - Start of your next adventure

You have accomplished this Camino, but there are still 708 km to Santiago de Compostela, the end of the Camino de Santiago and the resting place of the Apostle Saint James where after walking the last 100 km you will be able to obtain your Compostela, the Certificate of Achievement.

We hope the first 68 km of the French Way have brought you whatever you were looking for and that it made you want to discover more of the Camino, Northern Spain and the Basque Country.

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Step 1   After you have filled in our inquiry form and clicked 'Submit', a Camino Planner will get back to you with a personalized quote within 24h or contact you over the phone for further details

Step 2   Once you are satisfied with the Terms & Conditions of your tour, we will invoice you for a non-refundable 50% deposit of the total price to process the booking - we currently offer two modes of payment: bank transfers & credit card payments via a secured page of our website (we will add an extra 1,50% if paying with American Express - VISA & MasterCard free).

Step 3   Ultreya Tours Reservations Team will start booking your accommodation, meals, activities, guides and other services immediately after receiving the initial deposit and send you your hotel vouchers as soon as they are ready

Step 4   30 days before the departure, we will request the 50% remaining deposit and we will send your pilgrim kits directly to your first hotel along with printed versions of your vouchers, your scallop shells and guidebook

To make sure we constantly meet your expectations, we will regularly follow up with you and keep you updated throughout the whole process and until you come back home.

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Why Choose Ultreya Tours?

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    Choose from a wide range of services: stop-overs, day tours, wine-tasting, specialized guides, luggage transfers, bikes rentals, support vans...

  • personal treatment

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