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Roncesvalles

Set among the rising foothills of the Pyrenees where northern Navarra borders with the French Pais Basque, Roncesvalles, or Orreaga to give it its Basque name is the start point for many setting off on the Camino de Santiago. This tiny village was first made famous due to the legendary battle of Roncesvalles where the Basque tribes defeated the forces of the mighty Emperor Charlemagne and for the deathj of Roland, one of the French leaders, immortalized in the Chanson de Roland. Due to its historical importance and strategic position on the Camino, providing rest for pilgrims directly after crossing the Pyrenees, there has been an important Collegiate church and hospital here since the middle ages. Nowadays there are more places to stay and a couple of bar /restaurants but it has not become over-developed and, positioned between the immense forests of Irati and Quinta Real, with mountains all around and St Jean Pied de Port over the mountain pass, it can make a great rest-stop as part of a day out.

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