Saint Jean pied de Port in the Basque Country

Enter the old quarter through the Saint James Gate, listed in the Unesco World Heritage. The medieval ramparts of the citadel bear witness to the military history of the village, listed as one of the “Most beautiful Villages in France”.

You enter a different world when you walk down the cobbled main street. With houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries on either side, you will understand instantly that you are at the heart of a major stage on the Road to Santiago/Way of Saint James; to be precise, it’s the last one before reaching Spain— the scallop shell is visible on the ground, on milestones, but also on the lintels of the buildings and can even be hung on your backpack.

A special atmosphere is generated from the close connection between the inhabitants, the pilgrims and the feeling of being in another world. The Bishops’ prison, which bears the name only, houses an exhibition about the Way of Saint James during the Middle Ages.

Take the Rampart Walk, it reveals the back of the houses and their lovely sloping gardens where vegetables and decorative flowers are grown.
The view from the citadel is breath-taking, it offers a panorama over the valley of Saint-Jacques, its villages, its mountains and the Irouléguy vineyard; a magnificent setting for admiring the landscape.

The gothic architecture of Notre-Dame-du-Bout-du-Pont church is worth contemplation. Stand on the Old Bridge, a couple of steps away, and admire the beautiful flower-bedecked buildings which overlook the Nive River, with a bit of luck, you might even spot a few trout.

You are bound to be charmed by this delightful, flower-bedecked village, rated as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”. The white facades with red half-timbering are typical of traditional Basque architecture. The inhabitants will welcome you in all simplicity. Don’t miss the unique, disc-shaped headstones in the graveyard which are specific to the region.

This village, ranked as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France,” by itself offers numerous attractions which guarantee a memorable visit.
It’s an authentic fortified town, housing several arts and crafts workshops, a washing place, the oldest operating ‘Jeu de Paume’ court in France, as well as a church and its cloisters paved with tombstones.

Visiting Sare means experiencing Basque life style first hand. You will enjoy the exquisite charms of one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”, but also the relaxed and cheerful atmosphere which prevails here. If you are visiting in September, don’t miss the festivities at the Fêtes of Sare which showcase Basque traditions such as gastronomy, dancing, pelota, and singing.