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SJPdP one night or two?

MarkS

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2024
This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
We flew to Paris, stayed in an airport hotel, then flew to Biarritz early the next morning. Left us plenty of time to walk around SJPDP and leave the following day. Alternately you could fly Paris, travel to Bayonne by train and spend the night before heading into SJPDP.

Edit: I have seen Paris. I had no desire to see it again.
 
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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
We flew to Paris, stayed in an airport hotel, then flew to Biarritz early the next morning. Left us plenty of time to walk around SJPDP and leave the following day. Alternately you could fly Paris, travel to Bayonne by train and spend the night before heading into SJPDP.

Edit: I have seen Paris. I had no desire to see it again.
Thanks; that's what we were thinking. Were hoping to get the insight from someone who's done it before. :)
 
Personally, I fly into Madrid or Pamplona, rest from the trip there, then take the bus to SJPP.
Then, when the whole world of pilgrims are stopping in Pamplona on the way back through, you've seen it and can either get behind or ahead of the herd by booking or sleeping in the "in between" places.
 
My own preference is to land in Barcelona or Paris and immediately the same day continue on to Biarittz / Bayonne / Pamplona to spend 1 night. Then 2 nights in SJPP in order to do a final shakeout of gear or deal with missing bags etc.

Also start on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to avoid the weekend bumps.
 
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This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
I'd actually recommend starting with a few days' walk up to SJPP, just 2-3 days would be fine IMO.

Bayonne, Saint-Palais, even Mont-de-Marsan and Alliers-sur-Adour are all good starting places, to get some Camino legs into you prior to the crossing over the mountains.

If not, well, then a rest day at SJPP is a fine notion.
 
My tuppence worth...

Night 1 Paris
Night 2 Bayonne
Night 3 SJPP

As already mentioned on some threads, the Olympic Games are on in Paris this Summer. While you are travelling in early May, I imagine the city will be busy preparing...
 
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Go straight to SJPdP, and relax there for two days soaking in the atmosphere. It's beautiful and peaceful and a far cry from the craziness of Paris which detracts from the beauty this city. There will be enough adventure on your Camino.
 
Welcome MarkS
Have you been to Paris before ?
If not - and you’ve got time - enjoy ❤️ at least a day there.

Alternately you could fly Paris, travel to Bayonne by train and spend the night before heading into SJPDP.

Bayonne is a really lovely place to visit. If you’re flying into Paris and have seen Paris ., then get to Bayonne and spend some time there and sleep there. Next day - the short train trip to SJPdP and look around - get to the pilgrims office etc and rest there the night before you set off.

If you are flying into Madrid / @Anniesantiago ‘s method works very well.

Buen camino.
It will be ‘just right ‘ whichever you choose.
 
For me personally 1 night in SJPDP was enough. I flew from the US to Madrid and the same day flew on to Pamplona, Spent one night and took the bus to SJPDP. The problem with staying more than 1 night in SJPDP- if you are staying in a pilgrim-oriented place -they usually do some kind of a "get to know everyone" exercise. It's lovely once. But not twice. Just say'n.
 
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Would you consider booking your first night in SJPdP and then seeing what you feel like doing when you wake up in the morning? You might want to stay another day or you might be ready to walk on.
 
SJPP is a lovely city, but you can walk from one end of the main street to the other in ten minutes. I actually spent two days there, bcs I was nervous about a tingle in my knee and it is a long way to Roncesvalles. I washed my clothes, went to Mass in Notre Dame du Bout du Pont, visited the imposing Citadel, walked along the river. It was fine but at the end I felt that a night may have been enough. Particularly in the morning there are not many pilgrims, and it felt a bit odd and lonely.
Incidentally, the albergue I chose (Paroissial Kaserna) did not allow staying by two nights, except for an emergency, and I considered that I really did not qualify. So, if you stay two days, make sure this is not a problem.
Buen camino!
 
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SJPP is a lovely city, but you can walk from one end of the main street to the other in ten minutes. I actually spend two days there, bcs I was nervous about a tingle in my knee and it is a long way to Roncesvalles. I washed my clothes, went to Mass in Notre Dame du Bout du Pont, visited the imposing Citadel, walked along the river. It was fine but at the end I felt that a night may have been enough. Particularly in the morning there are not many pilgrims, and it felt a bit odd and lonely.
Incidentally, the albergue I chose (Paroissial Kaserna) did not allow staying by two nights, except for an emergency, and I considered that I really did not qualify. So, if you stay two days, make sure this is not a problem.
Buen camino!
Thanks Felipe. And it would be really nice to be there in time for mass.
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
Paris arrival ( day off to see the sights if you like or rest )
next day early train allows you to get to Bayonne and St Jean and have a look around should you want

thats what I have done in the past

IMHO there are more opportunities for rest days in the more interesting towns and cities on the CF when you also may be tired
 
As @OzAnnie suggested, whether or not you have visited Paris before would be key to my decision if I were doing the planning. It has a lot to offer and a lot of great walking. So what I have done, make that what my wife and I have done multiple times, is stay a night or two near Gare Montparnasse and then, somewhat over jetlag, take an early high speed train to Bayonne.
 
On our Camino, we flew USA to Biarritz and went directly by van to SJPP, arriving early afternoon. We chose to stay two nights there in a lovely B&B and just strolled leisurely around for a day. We were there on a Saturday and at least that day the only Mass we could find was in a chapel in a senior home!! It was a great evening before starting.
We had a reservation at Orisson which dictated our start day, but if you aren't reserving, the advice given above about seeing how you feel might be good advice. Our rest day in SJPP was a glorious, sunny 70F day. The day we started up to Orisson was 50's , windy and pouring rain. And the following day going to Roncesvalles was worse; foggy, colder and windier with harder , horizontal rain. So you might take the weather report into consideration.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
An excellent question. I flew in to Paris from Montreal and was lucky enough to have a friend with whom I could spend two nights. Then I took the train to Bayonne where I switched to the local mountain train to Dt Jean Pied de port ( would not have missed this for anything) I slept one night in St Jean and then, on the advice of my host started on my walk even though it was a rainy day. I slept that night at Orisson - another great experience. I know it is not fat but with that elevation and an artificial hip it is “ that far” . The host at my albergue in St John had promised me a brilliant second day and that’s what it was. Getting over jet lag is important but so is weather on site. Picture is dawn at Orisson. Buen Camino
 

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This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
i am flying from US early may as well. considered a night seeing sites but decided to travel directly to sjpdp and spend two days there acclimating to time change and getting myself in check. everyone is different but for me i need to get right to the starting point soo i can eliminate any anxiety of something going wrong. now i feel calmer. i will see the sites, whatever they are, eat local food, and get ready to go. but we're all different. maybe i will see you along the Way.
 
1 night in SJPP is plenty for me. I flew into Paris and took the train to SJPP, checked into the Pilgrim’s Center, stayed overnight and was ready to head out the next morning. I only went as far as Orisson the first day.
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
I did two nights. Depends what time you arrive in Biarritz because I needed to get my passport and recover a day from US Jet lag and didn’t get to StJP until about 3-4pm on a Saturday. Allowed me to attend mass in Basque on Sunday but if I had to do it again I would try to stay one night and leave in the morning as I felt a lot of dead time that Sunday although got to enjoy France. If pressed for time, one night but two is good to take in Basque France. But I must say I was well rested leaving to start Monday morning so that was good.
 
Arrive in the morning or midday to SJPDP, soak on the atmosphere, then after one night walk to Orrison or 1km further to Borda to relax and fully enjoy the trek over the Pyrinees. I've stayed in both, Borda last Oct, highly recommend, booking essential. You get a lovely start next morning high up in the mountains and arrive to Roncevaux in good fettle. Buen camino.
 
This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
Both. You won’t regret it.
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
I second the view that one night is enough in SJPDP. I spent two nights there last year. As previous posts have noted, you can see everything there in a few hours. For me the second day felt rather odd. If one really wants two days to acclimate/rest for two days, I agree with several here that Bayonne is a very pleasant town in which to overnight. Getting on the train from Bayonne to SJPDP in the morning gives you a practically a full day in SJPDP. And, yes, as noted, the pilgrim train ride from Bayonne to SJPDP and stepping off the train with fellow pilgrims is part of the lore and lure of the Camino, although if I had not seen it in The Movie, I might not think that.
 
If you have the time to spend two nights in SJPdP, it’s a great way to acclimate to the time zone and the energy of what’s to come. At least that was my experience. Last fall, I flew from the US to Paris, spent the night at a small hotel near the Montparnasse train station (the desk clerk’s brother had just completed the Camino - small world), and the next day traveled by train to St Jean, arriving in the early evening to a pre-booked room. I spent the following day in St Jean getting ready (no line at the Pilgrim’s office at 10 am!), taking in the sights, cramming some conversational Spanish, and watching the old city empty and refill with peregrinos — the nervous excitement was palpable. When I left the next day, I had packed and repacked and already knew where to begin. The added bonus — I continued to encounter people I had met (or merely noticed) those first two days on the train, in town and elsewhere along the camino - futher enriching my experience. Whatever you decide to do — trust for you it will be the right choice. Buen Camino.
 
This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
I came to SJPD overnight from the US via Madrid--bus to Pamplona--share taxi to SJPD so this was a long trip. I saw a few sights such as the Arch on the Camino on my arrival date then only walked to, and stayed in Orisson (3 1/2 hours), the next day. This worked well for me.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Personally, I fly into Madrid or Pamplona, rest from the trip there, then take the bus to SJPP.
Then, when the whole world of pilgrims are stopping in Pamplona on the way back through, you've seen it and can either get behind or ahead of the herd by booking or sleeping in the "in between" places.
Annie, This is what I am planning too. Can you recommend any places to stay before and after close to Pamplona please.
Personally, I fly into Madrid or Pamplona, rest from the trip there, then take the bus to SJPP.
Then, when the whole world of pilgrims are stopping in Pamplona on the way back through, you've seen it and can either get behind or ahead of the herd by booking or sleeping in the "in between" places.
 
Annie, This is what I am planning too. Can you recommend any places to stay before and after close to Pamplona please.
The hostel just over the bridge at Trinidad de Arre is nice. I haven't stayed there since the new folks took over but it was quite nice with a lovely backyard. Are you walking alone or with friends? Are you looking for privates or albergues? PM me.
 
This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
I always stay 2, but I am from Australia 30 hours away. Also its good to have a browse meet people etc. It is not a race a lot of people do damage on day 1 and 2. Easy does it.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
After 24 hours of travel, we stayed in Madrid for three nights to alleviate jet lag and also to have a good look around the city on foot. We had one night in SJPdP before setting out on the Camino. Worked well and will follow the same schedule in an upcoming Camino.
 
Edit: I have seen Paris. I had no desire to see it again.

Thanks; that's what we were thinking. Were hoping to get the insight from someone who's done it before. :)

Go straight to SJPdP, and relax there for two days soaking in the atmosphere. It's beautiful and peaceful and a far cry from the craziness of Paris which detracts from the beauty this cicityo.
I m sorry but a lot of this is personal preference. I've been to Paris numerous times and to the best of my ability will NOT pass up a chance to spend another day or 2 (or 3 etc) there. Paris can get crazy only as much as you want it to get crazy... and there is ALWAYS something to do, something new to see... not sure how it is even remotely possible to detract from its beauty....

As to your ask, I see nothing wrong with spending 2 nights in SJPdP and that is regardless of how many days/nights you may spend anywhere else.

And as you will see it very fast, getting an insight of someone who done it before will get you a lot of insights and with plenty of variations - ultimately it will be up to you

Good luck and Buen Camino
 
If you haven’t been to Paris, I would spend several days there (though, if your return flight leaves from Paris then you could pass through more quickly and leave a few days at the end). I spent about 4 nights in London getting over jet lag then another 5 nights in Paris and I’ve been to both places before!

I spent 2 nights in SJPDP - I was a bit unwell and wasn’t wanting to walk all the way to Roncevalles but couldn’t get a bed at Orrisson or Borda. So I did it over 2 days, going back to SJPDP on the first afternoon.
 
A guide to speaking Spanish on the Camino - enrich your pilgrim experience.
This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
Spend 2 nights in StJean. There is a lot to see and you will be adjusting to the time difference. I have volunteered in the Pilgrims office so spent weeks there. You can also look around the parts outside the old walled city. Just be mindful that some albergues close at 8-9 am and don’t reopen until 3-4. You can leave your backpack with them for safe keeping or ask permission to come and go. They need time to clean and relax.
One alternative is to spend one night in Bayonne, there is a lot to see there as well then next night in StJean.
Best
 
This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
Hi

Depending on where your flying in from (could be a long haul flight) but I flew in from UK to Biarritz and had one night there before getting to SJPP. Stayed at SJPP for 2 nights, sorting out credential (which doesn’t take long) and booking pickup with Express Bourricot etc. It was great having that extra time to soak up the buzz of SJPP, walk around taking photos and explore whilst just adjusting to the new pace of life of the pilgrim. Worked well for me. What ever you decide have a great trip.
 
This will be our first Camino, in early May. We're considering spending two nights in St Jean Pied de Port to be rested before the start of the journey. Would you recommend that, or perhaps fly in to Paris and acclimate to time zones a day there (note: flying in from the US) and then just 'one' night in St Jean? What worked best for you?
I flew into Paris and spent a couple days. Paris is alway a good idea. Then I walked to the train station, had a layover in Bordeaux where I got a haircut then headed to SJPP. Arrived around 9 pm. Had planned to stay 2 nights and then take off. But I woke up early and the Camino called and I grabbed my pack and took off just as the sun started to come up. It was an amazing start. The Camino will deliver just what you need, just when you need it. Don’t over plan too much. Buen Camino!
 
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Then I walked to the train station, had a layover in Bordeaux where I got a haircut then headed to SJPP. ... Had planned to stay 2 nights and then take off. But I woke up early and the Camino called and I grabbed my pack and took off ...
Yes but suppose just suppose you were planning to have that haircut done in SJPdP (and maybe even had an appt\reservation for it)?
🤣;)
 

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