Nearly everyone who walks the traditional Spanish portion of the Chemin St. Jacques, also known as the Camino de Santiago de Compostello and The Way of St. James, passes through St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port which in English means St. John at the foot of the pass. This French mountain town is the gateway over the mountains towards Pamplona, Spain.
There are multiple pilgrimage paths through this region, leading to the well known Spanish Camino as depicted in the 2011 film The Way. The regional Aquitaine tourism office offers background on the routes as well as a database of lodging options in St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port and the environs.
Indulge yourself if you are starting out on the first segment of the long path in the morning: eat well, sleep comfortably.
Michelin Guide lists Les Pyrénées Hotel Restaurant as a fine dining experience. Though all I enjoyed was a refreshing mint spritzer, the barista was friendly. There are 18 rooms and several suites.
The tourism office — Syndicate d’Initiative, 14 Place Charles de Gaulle — located budget lodging for me in a bed and breakfast on the outskirts of town, less than a 10 minute walk from the ramparts of St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port.