Col des Trois Fontaines

This walk can be done using the bus service between St Jean de Luz and Sare. It is a circuit that goes high on the Rhune and includes a Napoleonic fort.

400m of ascent, 2hrs, 45’


Take the bus from St Jean de Luz or drive to the Col de St Ignace, from where the rack railway ascends the Rhune.

3fontaines flattened


Col de St Ignace 169m – Walk up the road past the railway station and then cross the railway on a concrete track, through a picnic area. After 5’ turn left at the large yellow arrows and cross back over the railway. The path turns W and crosses a stream before climbing onto the crest of a ridge.

15’ – Turn left (signpost ‘Sommet’) and SW on a track, climbing steadily and then passing a conifer plantation before turning right (signpost) on a footpath that climbs onto the ridge. Turn right to view the redoubt.

45’ Napoleonic Redoubt 532m 0612268 4797122 This star shaped fort was used as a defensive position by the Napoleonic army retreating from the Peninsular war during the battle of the Rhune in 1813. The ridge ahead contains a line of further fortifications but the path turns right and W towards the sea to avoid the ridge. .

1hr 5’’ Col des Trois Fontaines 532m A large grassy col. Turn right and cross a stream. Follow the red/white waymarks of the GR10 WNW. Walk next to a wood and up to a col.

The coast and St Jean de Luz
The coast and St Jean de Luz

1hr 20’’ Col, 562m 0610852 4796965 signpost. Turn right and NE on a path towards a stone refuge, a useful place to shelter or even stay overnight. The path soon descends and joins a larger trail, passing a chapel to the left. Turn right after a stand of conifers, as the path turns N and then E, before descending into a valley with a bergerie. 416m.

1hr 50’ Join a stony track, turn left and N, cross a stream and descend towards Ascain. Pass a shelter on your left (120’, 340m)

2hrs, 5’ Take a shortcut to the right, leaving the large path and descending N through gorse. Briefly rejoin the stony track, stay right at a junction, cross another track and descend through trees to the road.

2hrs, 20’’ Car park 144m Walk down the road to the village, past the restaurant des chasseurs and the church.

2hrs, 45’ Ascain – The bus stop is by the fronton.

It is also possible to descend from the Col des Trois Fontaines along the GR10 to the beautiful village of Sare, from where you can also catch the return bus.

Napoleonic redoubt
Napoleonic redoubt