From Aire-sur-l’Adour to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the 6th and final section of Via Podiensis will surely bewitch you. It starts in Les Landes and hikers quickly enter the French Basque Country. Charming French villages, beautiful forests, great scenic views, history: this section combines it all as you get closer to the Pyrenees, never far ahead in the distance. Finally, you reach their foothills in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, both the end of Via Podiensis and the beginning of the Camino Frances, to Santiago.
Walking the Via Podiensis from Air-sur-l'Adour to Saint-Jean
Aire Sur L'adour to Saint Jean Pied De Port
Le Puy Camino
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AIRE SUR L'ADOUR (Arrival)The pretty town of Aire-sur-l’Adour, gateway to Les Landes département, is split between two parts: the lower section lies by the river Adour and is home to the 12th century cathedral. In the upper town, the Eglise de Sainte Quitterie is also a must-see. This medieval market town is the perfect start to experience the region’s peaceful way of living.
AIRE SUR L'ADOUR to ARZACQ ARRAZIGUET
As the kick-off to the final section of Via Podiensis or Le Puy Route, we spend our first day walking through les Landes département and its crop fields. Cultivated landscapes are dotted with hamlets with different ancient buildings, from well-conserved stone chapels to washhouses. This first day is demanding, mostly because of its length rather than the difficulty of the terrain.
ARZACQ ARRAZIGUET to ARTHEZ EN BEARN
The beauty of the route today lies in the lovely paths taken along hillsides from where, from time to time, we can see a steeple reaching up to the sky, from the valley below. The route runs through the rounded hills, passing by numerous villages and as many old churches, such as in Luvigny, Larreule or Caubin.
ARTHEZ EN BEARN to NAVARRENX
Today is a long day, going through the attractive undulating countryside of Le Bearn area. After crossing over the river Gave de Pau, there are a few long uphill stretches which add some difficulty to this stimulating walk. One of the best rewards of the day comes after the uphill, when arriving in Navarrenx, a beautiful fortified city which was the first bastioned city of France.
NAVARRENX to SAINT PALAIS
Soon after Navarrenx, we find ourselves walking through the countryside and attractive woodland. Then we reach Lichos, marking the entrance of the Camino into the Basque Country. Passing via the village of Aroue, we continue our way up and down with the Pyrenees getting closer and closer with each step. Finally, we reach Saint-Palais.
SAINT PALAIS to LARCEVEAU
This is another incredible walk, passing through few villages but offering beautiful views all the way. Walking through the peaceful countryside, we gradually make our way up to the chapel of Soyarce with its wonderful views over the Pyrenees. We pass the typical village of Ostabat and continue to Larceveau.
LARCEVEAU to SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT
The last day of the final section of Via Podiensis runs through the hilly countryside of the Basque Country, with its grazing sheep and red-roofed houses. The Camino goes up and down all day long, offering great views over the verdant countryside and passing through villages with typical Basque names like Bastida Xoko, Utxiat or Bussunaritz. The journey ends up in the beautiful medieval Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, at the foothills of the Pyrenees and starting point of the French Way to Santiago.