Shell motif Camino de Santiago

Camí de Sant Jaume
in Catalunya

Shell motif
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Stage 1A - Coll de Panissars to Figueres

This branch of the Camí de Sant Jaume starts at the Coll de Panissars, a small ruin at the top of the pass by which the Roman Via Augusta crossed the Pyrenees. The only practical way to reach the Coll is from the French town of Pertús, from which a small road leads southwestwards to the castle of Bellegarde. Bellegarde was, for hundreds of years, a Catalan castle which defended the border with France. But the Treaty of the Pyrenees, which defined the border between France and Spain, assigned the castle to France. The French much enlarged and improved the castle. The first town on the route is La Jonquera, which, at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, was the focus of a mass exodus of defeated Republicans on their way to concentration camps in France before resettling in other countries throughout the world. A museum in the town commemorates this dark period of history.
Route map of this section

The impressive walls of the castle of Bellegarde

Main square with sundial

Detail of sundial

The bridge of the moat and the main gate

The division of the road from Pertús

View towards the Coll de Panissars

The Coll de Panissars with its sign for the Via Domitia leading to France and the Via Augusta towards Spain

Unhelpful notice just below the Coll

The first blue Camí Sant Jaume fingerpost, with the blue sign telling you where you are going and the green one signspots for other routes

View showing the commanding position of the castle of Bellegarde

Pleasant downhill walk in shade

Entrance to Manso Pobre with Bellegarde in the distant background

First view of La Jonquera, with autovia and AVE high-speed train line in the foreground

Waymarks painted under the autovia

Entering La Jonquera by the main street

The main street and church

Interior of the church

Main steet decorated with flags all along its length

The Chairman of the Girona friends of the Way of Saint James trying to shift the large rock with a yellow arrow pointing in the wrong direction (probably dislodged by a lorry)

The low tunnel under the autovia

The Way runs alongside the autovia and its service area and toll booths

The even smaller tunnel under the AVE embankment

Another blue marker post when we reach a small country road

and almost at once turn off it between vineyards

Looking back to La Jonquera and Bellegarde

Fontain in the church square in l'Estrada

Mill house by the river crossing

The Way divides from the road to descend through woodland

Rural house

The Way running alongside a small river

Distant view of the castle of Mont Roig

Rural house

Back by the river again

Milestone for an old path

Entering Biure

The ever-flowing fountain in the church square at Biure, much beloved by pigeons

The first few kilometers out of Biure are on a very minor road, and you then turn left at a blue sign onto a rural route

The monastery of Santa Maria del Roure, now being restored by the local council (above)

Wayside cross (right)

The new concrete road down the valley is flaked by a huge wall two metres wide built by the monastery

Looking down on the town of Molins

Approaching Port de Molins