The name of the village is from Campus Franci, literally the field of foreigners. It was originally a small market village, as well as providing pilgrims on the Arles route of the Way of St. James their first respite after the difficult crossing of the Pyrenees over the pass of Somport.
The village, which lies in the valley of the Aragón River covers an area of 71.6 km² and is situated at an altitude of 1040 m. The remains to be seen include a Romanesque pilgrim's bridge and two churches of interest: Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (12th to 16th centuries) with four Baroque retablos, and la Trinidad (16th century). The town was obliterated by fire in 1617 and again in 1944, after which the villagers for the most part moved to nearby Canfranc Estación. The current population is 77.
This small village (altitude 1190 m.) was largely created due to the inauguration of a railroad crossing the Pyrenees on 18 July 1928. Canfranc Estación is most well known due to its huge abandoned railway station. The French side of the railway station is a forsaken place since an accident destroyed the bridge at nearby L'Estanguet.[note 1]
There are rumours of "German gold" arriving here during World War II. Also, British espionage smuggled information and people from Vichy France to the consulate in San Sebastián through Canfranc since the nearer Irún bordered with occupied France.
The railway station is the highlight of the village and was used during the filming of Doctor Zhivago. There has been talk for some time of reopening international rail traffic between France and Spain, but until that time the area is profiting from its nearness to the ski resorts of Candanchú and Astún. The current population is 454.
The abandoned railway's Tunnel of Somport (7874 m) is now used as an emergency lane for the motorway's Tunnel of Somport (8602 m) and is also used for the Laboratorio subterráneo de Canfranc (Canfranc underground laboratory).
Canfranc-Pueblo celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (its Patron saint) on 15 August, while Canfranc Estación holds festivities on the anniversary of the inauguration of its train station, 18 July.
Canfranc is twinned with:
- The area where the bridge stood is Saillet et Esquit, Lées-Athas. The railway passed over the Gave d'Aspe & the E-7 now crosses the remains of the trackbed, which can be traced north & south.on 27 March 1970 and definitely ended the international link between Bedous France and Canfranc Estacion Spain.
- Saillet et Esquit (1970-01-01). "Saillet et Esquit, Lées-Athas, France - Google Maps". Maps.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- an agreement on reopening was reached in June 2010 between French and Spanish regional governments
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Canfranc.|
- CAI Aragón Turismo (in English)
- Canfranc website (Spanish only)
- Pictures of Canfranc Train Station and the line from Pau
- The International Train Station of Canfranc, photographs and history (in English)
- "El oro de Canfranc". Heraldo.es (in Spanish). Heraldo.es.
- Web dedicated to the history of Canfranc
- Pyrenees crossing - snow and cognac Travel experience in 1971 after the accident (in English)
- 27 mars, 1970 — l'accident The Estanguet bridge accident (in French)
|The Aragonese Way of the Way of St. James||Succeeded by