A milestone on the French Way, this small and quiet town, almost freed from traffic and growing in population due to the opening of the motorway of the Camino, still retains its original Calle Mayor, the initial street to this urban stretch. (map) Puente la Reina is for pilgrims the meeting point of different roads, the Aragonese and Navarrese branches of the French Way in Spain.
The name of the town, Puente la Reina, comes from this famous Romanesque bridge, for many the most beautiful and balanced of the French Way. The bridge would have been built in the 12th century for a Queen of Navarre, maybe Doña Mayor wife of Sancho el Mayor , although most historians believe the Queen to have been Doña Estefanía wife of García el de Nájera. It is a structure with six semicircular arches with a pointed profile that originally also had a central tower that no longer exists today. This bridge would have facilitated the passage of pilgrims and merchants through the town, while contributing at the same time to its growth and importance.
If you arrive in Puente la Reina between the 24th and 30th of July, the town hosts a week long celebration in honour of Santiago. During which there is music, bullfights, dances and various shows. On July 25th there is St James’s Day, celebrated with a flag salute. If you visit the centre during the last week of September, you will encounter fairs, including its famous race, a competition in which participants on varied agricultural vehicles and tools race to pass the finish line first.