France - Walking from Lourdes to St Jean-Pied-de-Port on the Foothill Route

France - Walking from Lourdes to St Jean-Pied-de-Port on the Foothill Route

Self-guided walking tour on the Pyrenean Foothill route from Lourdes to Saint Jean Pied de Port


The Foothill Route hiking itinerary follows the Pyrenees range from Carcassonne to St Jean Pied de Port. This section of 8 walking days starts in Lourdes where you can decide to stay several nights.

The Piemont route also called the Pyrenean Foothill Way is a hiking itinerary on GR78 that links the fervent city of Lourdes to the authentic St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and winds its way on the foothills of the Pyrenees, starts in Bearn and ends in the Basque Country, both rich authentic places. The footpath along the Gave (river of Lourdes) will take you to Betharram, Arudy, Oloron Ste Marie gradually approaching the Pyrenees and the Basque Country where the landscape turns into a low mountain area up to St Jean Pied de Port, the city where all the pilgrims stay at least one night. All the  Way of St James itineraries converge there before heading to the Camino Frances.

Day 1

Afternoon arrival in Lourdes. A high place of Pilgrimage, with the Domain and the town's 35 place of cult. Dinner and night in a hotel close to the Sanctuary.

Day 2

Lourdes-Lestelle Betharram – 16 km (10 miles) – 4 hour walk.
A shorter walk to have the time to walk underneath the arches of St Pee de Bigorre, before taking a break in the coolness of the Betharram caves, reaching finally the imposing Chapel of Notre Dame de Betharram.Dinner and night in a hotel near the caves.

Day 3

Lestelle Betharram-Arudy – 25 km (15 miles) – 6 ½ hour walk.+100/-100 m
Today's walk leads you into the foothills of the Pyrenees mountain range passing through cultivated fields and numerous villages like St Martin d’Asson with its baroque St James evocation chapel, or Ste Colome and its 16th and 17th century sculpted lintel houses. The walk ends in Arudy where you can admire the 16th century marble church, the Ossau Valley house and ancient abbey. Dinner and night in a hotel in Arudy.

Day 4

Arudy-Oloron Ste Marie – 23 km (14 miles)- 6 hour walk.+/-160m
The Pyrenees range, postcard scenery and the Gave River, a mountain torrent from where came the rocks used in the stone walls of the traditional houses. Close to the village of Busy discover a glacial erratic block left there by the Ossau Glacier. The last ascent of the day leads to the typical mountain city of Oloron Ste Marie with its ancient bridge and 12th century church.Dinner and night in a hotel in Oloron.

Day 5

Oloron Sainte Marie- Hopital St Blaise – 22.5 km (14 miles)- 5h walk+100/-100
Your path today arrives in Moumour with its 13th to 16th century Oloron Bishop Castle, next heading off to the village of Orin discovering its peculiar St Martin porch. Among corn fields we continue reaching Hôpital St Blaise and its Greek-cross-shaped Church. Transfer to Mauleon. Dinner and night;

Day 6

Hopital St Blaise- Mauleon – 17.5 km (11 miles)- 4h45 walk. +539m
+/-170m Transfer to Hôpital St Blaise. The green rolling hills and the Cheraute Forest marks your entrance into Basque Country. The perched fortified castle of Mauleon, its toll bridge as well as the 16th century Notre Dame Church are all worth a visit.Dinner and night in Mauleon

Day 7

Mauleon-St Just Ibarre- 21km (13 miles)- 6 hour walk.+450 m/-430m
Here starts the real mountain. Just before climbing up to Napale Pass (539m), have a break at the Odiarp Church on the river's edge. Your descent takes you into the large and green Bidouze valley and the hamlet of St Just Ibarre. Dinner and night in a Guest House in St Just Ibarre.

Day 8

St Just Ibarre - Gamia Pass -St Jean Pied de Port – 24 km (14,5 miles) -6 h30 walk.+/-350 m.
You can admire and observe the vultures hovering over your head and down slowly towards the castle Apat flanked by four round towers. After passing through St Jean le Vieux you reach St Jean Pied de Port, the first step of the "Way" in France where most of the routes converge. Night in St Jean PP.

Day 9

End of the tour after breakfast

titre 1

Self guided WALKING
Duration :
9 Days
From :
1180 €

Included :

(see details in Dates and prices section)

 2 or 3 star hotels- Half Board- (dinners + breakfasts)

Luggage transfer- A road book and a map.

English Phone Assistance 




Starts in : Lourdes.

Ends in : St Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Access : Lourdes train station.






More Information

Phone : +33 558 48 71 65

Customize your tour : add or remove one night or more. Combine with another section of the Way of Saint James :


See also :

Walking from Carcassonne to Lourdes on the PIemont Route

Walking from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Logrono


More pictures on the walking tour here



Pay your trip online.


Off the beaten path in Bearn and Basque Country

Discover the fervent Lourdes.

The incredible views on the Pyrenees range.

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