Volunteering for the Accueil Saint Jacques at St Jean Pied-de-Port
If, after completing your journey to Santiago, you are interested in maintaining contact with the pilgrimage, and helping other pilgrims, you might like to spend a week at the Accueil Saint Jacques at St Jean Pied-de-Port – where you may well have been welcomed yourself. It’s run by the local association (les Amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques des Pyrénées-Atlantiques), who are glad to have help from people from other countries, with reasonable French, but especially with English, German, and Spanish. Foreign volunteers are always placed with local people who can advise on local conditions. A week at St Jean will do wonders for your French; you will meet a good many pilgrims, and will have the satisfaction of helping them before they embark on the hardest single day of the journey; and you’ll have a good deal of fun.
The following is a translation of the “job description”given out to prospective volunteers for the Accueil.
- You need to be available for pilgrims from 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m., with a 2-hour break for lunch.
- You welcome pilgrims, and give them all the information they need about accommodation, the route, the weight they are carrying (they can do what they like, but most learn quickly enough the uses of the French and Spanish postal services), local shops and repair facilities.
- St Jean being a tourist town, you will also be giving passing holiday-makers information about the camino (there may well be future pilgrims among them).
- You need to be tactful and modest: this is not the place for acting the old soldier.
- You’re a volunteer: you pay your own fare to St Jean, and for your own food, though accommodation is provided (there are 3 bedrooms, each with 2 single beds, in premises provided to us by the municipality).
- You share the cooking with the other volunteers. Similarly, you share the responsibility for keeping the place clean and tidy (though the main housework is done by a cleaning lady who comes once a week).
Please write to us (in French) if you are interested in acting as a volunteer, giving:
- Your exact address
- Your telephone number (including the international code)
- The languages you can speak (with your level of proficiency)
- The weeks (Monday to Monday) between 1st March and 30th November 2004 when you could be available
M Jean-Claude Nogues (Canditature Accueillant),
Accueil des pèlerins de St-Jacques,
39 rue de la Citadelle,
64220 SAINT JEAN PIED-DE-PORT,