Hotels in St. Jean Pied de Port

Jun 5th, 2002, 05:20 PM
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Hotels in St. Jean Pied de Port

Does anyone have a suggestion for my husband and his two friends as to where they should stay and eat in St. Jean Pied de Port this coming September?

Thanks, Debra
Jun 5th, 2002, 06:43 PM
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We like des Pyrennes--fabulous food but a very simple hotel.
Jun 6th, 2002, 01:35 PM
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We like Les Pyrennes for dining too, but for lodging, I highly recommend driving just 11 km west to the lovely, incredibly restful riverside Hotel Arraya in neighboring St. Etienne de Baigory. It's less "famous" than Les Pyrennes (no M. star) but delightfully Basque. St. Jean Pied de Port is a very, very busy, heavily visited place because of being the major staging post for the pilgrimage to Santiago, and St. Etienne much quieter, less overrun during the season.

The red and white Hotel Arce is been family run for 5 generations, has comfy, welcoming, prettily decorated flower filled parlor with fireplace, antique-filled nooks, simple but pleasant rms, tennis court, a pool that you reach by crossing a private bridge over the river Nive. It's set in the Aldudes valley surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. Its cuisine is quite nice (handsome chef owner, Pascual Arce!), and evening lantern lit dining on their pretty outdoor terrace shaded by plane trees is a special, peaceful, romantic treat. This is a real find! Last yrs. garden doubles (shower only) ran for only 420 ff and the larger ones (full bath) ran 780 with a suite for 930. High season goes until 9/30. If you don't stay, please go for a meal or just to see this charming, lovingly run place! And don't miss the beautiful church in St. Etienne with its typical two-tiered wooden balcony (in olden times to separate the men from the women parishioners).

The Arce is a Karen Brown favorite ( and recommended in the Hunter Rivages series and "Europe's Wonderful Little Hotels and Inns".

For more terrific dining in the area, I'd head straight to the friendly and beautiful family run Hotel Arraya in Sare (don't miss their yummy gateau basque), the Hotel Ithurria in Ainhoa (very refined service) and the extremely popular (and value priced) very typically Basque Hotel Euskadi in the cute red pepper town of Espelette. Hard to get better food than this! We also wanted to try the Xixtaberri Borda, a farm auberge in in Cambo-les-Bains, yet another rec. from Hirigoyen's "The Basque Kitchen" cookbook, but we ran out of time.

This is a wonderful area of the Pays Basque!

Jun 7th, 2002, 07:40 AM
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We rented a house just outside of St Jean Pied de Port and loved the area. Our favorite meals were at the Cider house in Lasse (Lasa), 2 kms from the center of St Jean. It was just a magical place, out in a big apple field, with long tables and delicious, simple food at a reasonable price. Lots of character and all the yummy cider you can drink. I also second the recommendation for Arce in St Etienne--lovey place and nice setting along the river. Send mail if you have any other questions about this area.
Jun 7th, 2002, 01:03 PM
John Burkus
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I support the comments on Hotel Arce. My wife and I stayed there and we still get Xmas cards from the family. The terrace dining area beside the stream is unreal as is the food as is the church bells during the night---pure magic. The trip up the mountain which starts just behind the hotel is grat fun as is the all purpose general store cum bar cum whatever just at the border with Spain.
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