Memories of Canfranc !!!

I saw in my vault a couple of pictures from different years which should be in my blog and give me the opportunity to expand on a wonderful passage between my dear France and Spain, The Somport Tunnel is a road tunnel linking Spain and France to the west of the Pyrenean chain. It is traversed by the Spanish national road N-330 and the French national Road N-134, elements of the European route E7 Pau-Zaragoza. The N 134 crosses the Pyrenees at the Col du Somport at 1 632 meters above sea level. Opened on February 7, 2003 ,and since 1990 passed by here climbing in 2nd gear the old VW Golf of my dear late wife Martine ! And we did came same 2003 to open up the tunnel with my Ford Focus Break (station wagon) ! All 8 602 meters long of it ,with  2 848 meters in France and 5 754 meters in Spain. .

The town of Canfranc is part of the community of Jacetania , in the Huesca province, autonomous community of Aragon, Kingdom of Spain, It is 88 km from Jaca. (see posts ),It is crossed by the N-330 highway, which splits into the territory on the road that it crosses the French border through the Somport tunnel (see post) ,and the one that ascends to the port of Somport passing through Canfranc-Estación. The most notable mountains are Peña Collarada (2,883 meters), on the border with Villanúa, (see post) the Anayet peak (2,555 meters), on the border with Sallent de Gállego, and the Aneu peak (2,364 meters), on the French border. The port of Somport (1,631 meters), serves as a natural passage to France. Canfranc Pueblo ( town)  stands at 1,040 meters above sea level, while Canfranc-Estación is at an altitude of 1,190 meters.


The old town of Canfranc, despite the devastating fires of 1617 and 1944, still preserves part of its ancient monumental heritage to see. The remains of the castle, of medieval origin and enlarged in the 16C, are preserved on a rock; the façade of the Torre de Aznar Palacín from the 14C; the Parish Church of the Assumption, with its four Baroque altarpieces. The strategic and military importance of the Canfranc Valley, given its proximity to the French-Spanish border, was the cause of the construction of various forts and military positions, among which the Fuerte de Coll de Ladrones or Fort of Thieves (1758-1887) stands out, and the Torreta de los Fusileros or Turret of the riflemen (1876) (see pics). At the exit of the town towards Jaca you can see the ruins of the Church of the Trinity. Dating from the mid-16C, much more modern is the Church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar of 1965. It maintains traces of the old roadside town that was on the Aragonese Camino de Santiago. Among the notable buildings is the Escuela from 1928 and rebuilt in 1948, the remains of the Medieval origin and enlarged in the 16C, In the Plaza del Ayuntamiento or City hall square ;the City/Town Hall and the Tourist Office are located in the same building. Another place of interest is the Centro A Lurte, a term in the Aragonese language that means “the avalanche”, inaugurated in 2001. It is a reference center for snow and avalanches, which has a permanent exhibition on the various types of snow and avalanches. The Somport tunnel drilling works lasted several decades; The construction of the railway line began in 1882 and the tunnel was opened in 1908, although the railway took several more years to be inaugurated on July 18, 1928 by Alfonso XIII, The international train station experienced moments of splendor and other dark and romantic ones. like those of the famous German gold in times of WWII. On March 27, 1970, a French freight train derailed at the entrance to the L’Estanguet bridge in France. Since then international rail traffic has been interrupted.



A bit of history I like tell us that in the 11C, and on the side of the road to France, Canfranc was born as a border town. According to some authors, its population would be mainly made up of Franks and the place name could be related to this circumstance. Historically, cross-border communications have marked the historical evolution of the valley as El Somport, also called the port of Canfranc in times is the least abrupt and busiest border crossing in the entire central Pyrenees. From the old mule track, turned into a road in 1876, to the construction of the cross-border railway inaugurated in 1928 , and the recent road tunnel, the history of communications through the Somport is closely linked to the history of Canfranc itself.

I have mentioned in my series some news from Spain on the hotel, but now is a sure thing ! In 2023, a hotel was opened in the station building and an extensive park was inaugurated on the back esplanade with elements of railway activity ,The great hotel of Canfranc train station. The Barceló group has opened the Canfranc Estación hotel, a Royal Hideaway Hotel 5*, in January 2023 with reception from its first clients on January 27, 2023. This station was inaugurated in 1928, and railroad and history buffs know that the Canfranc International Train Station was one of the most important railway complexes in Europe in the first part of the 20C. The railroad is open up to here, from Zaragoza awaiting ok between France and Spain to continue into Pau ,still debating by the two countries, The Canfranc Estacion Hotel is a luxurious five-star palace. Nicknamed “the Titanic of the Pyrenees” with its 241 meters long located about 1,200 meters above sea level in the Pyrenees, This liner with 400 windows, now expects to welcome many tourists. Operated by Royal Hideaway Hotels & Resorts, the luxury branch of the Barceló group of Spain. The palace now has 104 rooms,and the layout of the building has been designed to revive the charm of the old train station. The interior decoration has retained the inspiration of the 1920s and the Art Deco style through the furniture, but also the materials such as wood and brass, the choice of upholstery fabrics such as velvet, as well as the colors, and this , down to the uniforms of the staff, The hotel also offers a wellness area with spa and indoor swimming pool of 200 square meters, as well as several restaurants, including two gourmet tables, under the leadership of renowned chefs of the great Aragonese cuisine with rooms in converted old passenger cars. The old station hall retains its main reception function, since this is where the reception is located. Webpage:

The town of Canfranc and its heritage :

The Aragon autonomous community tourist office on Canfranc :

PS. Special me think to tell you about the Camino Francés to Santiago de Compostela that passes by Canfranc.

With the arrival of Christianity and the news of the discovery in Galicia of the tomb of the Apostle Santiago,(James) the old Way was filled with faithful pilgrims who headed towards the city of Santiago de Compostela, using, among other means, the natural passes offered by the Pyrenees. One of these passes, the Camino Francés, used the ports of El Palo and Somport. The latter, considered the traditional one, as it is the best known and best preserved, begins to descend the valley from the border with France, immediately reaching the ruins of one of the three most important hospitals along the way: Santa Cristina de Somport. Continue the journey to Canfranc Estación, passing at the foot of the Coll de Ladrones fort and continue to Canfranc, where you will find the Puente de Peregrinos or Pilgrims’ Bridge over the Aragón River, in good condition. The pilgrim reaches Villanúa (see post), in whose parish Church Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, a magnificent Romanesque carving from the 10C that represents the Virgin with the child and the village of Aruej, with its small Romanesque church from the 11C. Before arriving at Castiello de Jaca, (see post) the faithful have the possibility of taking a detour through Aratorés, a town that has the beautiful Church of San Juan Bautista, from the 12C, to approach Borau, where a little further north is the Church of San Adrián de Sasabe , 11C. In Castiello de Jaca, we find the relics, associated with medieval legends of pilgrims and its Church of San Miguel 12C, and in the Garcipollera Valley stands the Romanesque Church of Santa María de Iguácel 11C,. the road as it passes through Jaca,(see posts) with its Cathedral of San Pedro, whose exterior decoration gave rise to the “checkered jaqués”, and once you have passed this city, in the direction of Puente la Reina, a detour leads you to Santa Cruz de la Serós ,(see post) a town that has two churches: that of Santa María, a former Benedictine convent, and that of San Caprasio. The pilgrim finally reaches the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña, (see posts) the cradle of the Kingdom of Aragon and the true culmination of Alto Aragonese Romanesque art.

There you go folks, a wonderful ride and beautiful memories of always, And me, always looking forward to do the run again, awesome experience, And the future looks better for Canfranc me think, Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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