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A question about booking ahead on the Le Puy without a phone...

Healthful

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Siempre
I have read quite a few posts about the need to book ahead on this route in autumn.

If one is not traveling with a phone, and has the first night booked in Le Puy, is it feasible to think I can book one night in advance, one day at a time, via the gite owners?
 

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
It was done that way for years!!. And my first lePuy in 2006 we used gites to book the next 1-2 nights along with (what is probably now disappeared) phone booths.
May need to borrow use of cell phone from fellow pelerins.
Alternative is to buy a French burner phone.
But you need to book ahead because hosts need to know you are coming (except a very few municipal)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have read quite a few posts about the need to book ahead on this route in autumn.

If one is not traveling with a phone, and has the first night booked in Le Puy, is it feasible to think I can book one night in advance, one day at a time, via the gite owners?
Yes, that's what I did in 2018. Usually the gite owners are very willing to do that for you with no problem. I also received help from the visitor centers a few times and they spoke good English.
 

Healthful

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Siempre
Yes, that's what I did in 2018. Usually the gite owners are very willing to do that for you with no problem. I also received help from the visitor centers a few times and they spoke good English.
By visitor center do you mean something like a tourist office? How did you find those?
Also, I speak some Spanish but I don't speak French.
 

Healthful

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Siempre
It was done that way for years!!. And my first lePuy in 2006 we used gites to book the next 1-2 nights along with (what is probably now disappeared) phone booths.
May need to borrow use of cell phone from fellow pelerins.
Alternative is to buy a French burner phone.
But you need to book ahead because hosts need to know you are coming (except a very few municipal)
Is it polite enough to let them know you're coming one day in advance? Also, what is a phone booth? :)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
By visitor center do you mean something like a tourist office? How did you find those?
Also, I speak some Spanish but I don't speak French.
Yes, tourist office. The larger cities had them with a sign in the larger cities. I did not speak French, but their English was always good.
 

Steven B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 31 Aug (2016), Le Puy 24 Jun (2018)
If you can walk with a phone and a local sim with data it does make life much easier on the Le Puy route. I walked Le Puy to Burgos last July and the route is very quiet once past the Aubrac. There was about 17 pilgrims walking the whole route and sort of moving along at the same time. I got to know them over a couple of weeks. Mostly french with a few who understood English most would phone ahead about 10am each morning to book a Gite for that night. I would usually work out about how far to walk the next day and call the preferred Gite the evening before. Other pilgrims and Gite owners will call ahead for you if you ask. In the first half there will be a lot more mainly French GR route hikers and booking a day or more in advance advisable.
I do also advise you to learn some basic phrases in French around making reservations, where is an ATM, I'm looking for etc. Can you phone and make a reservation for me.... In that part of rural France it can be harder to find someone who speaks English. Several Gites I stayed in, some by myself, the owners English was worse than my French but we always worked things out.

Don't loose any sleep over it though, it will be a great walk phone or no phone.
 

Healthful

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Siempre
If you can walk with a phone and a local sim with data it does make life much easier on the Le Puy route. I walked Le Puy to Burgos last July and the route is very quiet once past the Aubrac. There was about 17 pilgrims walking the whole route and sort of moving along at the same time. I got to know them over a couple of weeks. Mostly french with a few who understood English most would phone ahead about 10am each morning to book a Gite for that night. I would usually work out about how far to walk the next day and call the preferred Gite the evening before. Other pilgrims and Gite owners will call ahead for you if you ask. In the first half there will be a lot more mainly French GR route hikers and booking a day or more in advance advisable.
I do also advise you to learn some basic phrases in French around making reservations, where is an ATM, I'm looking for etc. Can you phone and make a reservation for me.... In that part of rural France it can be harder to find someone who speaks English. Several Gites I stayed in, some by myself, the owners English was worse than my French but we always worked things out.

Don't loose any sleep over it though, it will be a great walk phone or no phone.
Thanks for this! I cannot walk with a phone. I walk so I don't have to walk with a phone. In my real life, I can't walk without a phone...hence my need to walk a Camino.
 

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
French phone-booths: I was always joking that they are placed in the village square at just the right place to magnify reflections to make use nearly impossible--and where they would gather all the intense afternoon heat.
And also how the Tourist Offices were not open during the hours I needed them!!
And how the rural French villages had little if anything open during the day. Quickly learned to keep enough GORP like snacks in my pack to cover two meals.
Still my favorite route. Having time and health to do LePuy to Santiago in 2013 was a huge blessing and my favorite 'camino'. Best of all worlds for me.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I understand that you don't want to walk with a phone or have a phone. If you did buy a burner phone and just turned it on so your gite hosts can call ahead for the next night's reservation. It would be a nice gesture to have a phone to give to your host who is helping you. The burner phone I had never even needed to be charged as I only turned it on when making a reservation.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances & to Finisterre (2009), Camino Podiensis (2011), Aussie Camino (2018)
Echoing what others have said. In 2011 we walked from Le Puy to St Jean - without a mobile phone. We had booked the first week from Australia but once on the chemin we used 3 methods. Public phone booth with a French Phone Card, Tourist Offices and the gites we stayed in. We would book 2 or 3 nights ahead. Only once did we vary our schedule and had to cancel a booking. We had trouble contacting the Municipal Gite in Miramont-Sensacq as we were always ringing after lunch. It transpired that the office was only open during the morning.
 

Healthful

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Siempre
I've heeded all of the advice above but will not bring a phone. No smart phones, "burner phones," etc. Also no guide save for the one sheet print-out generously offered by a pilgrim on facebook.

At this point I'm thinking of scrapping the Le Puy and doing the Frances again.

So I think I need to rephrase my question. I am interested in hiking the Le Puy to SJPDP route in running shoes, without a phone, in October, booking one night ahead from the gites and by asking the gite proprietor to do this for me. Will this work? If not, it's on to the Frances...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Will this work? Only you will know. I do not really mean to be facetious, but it is something that you can try, given the helpful advice already given. If it does not work, hop on some kind of transport and take your b option. I hope for your sake the A option works, as it sounds like what you are looking for.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
If you don't bring a phone you will have to rely on the kindness of others to use their phone. No one can predict how this will turn out, but you will probably be fine. Booking one night ahead is a common procedure on the Le Puy (at least it was when I walked it in 2015). Of course there is always a chance that the gîte is complet, but life is an adventure after all.
 
Last edited:

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I think you can do it without a phone: The French people are great at helping. Just start out saying that you're sorry you don't speak French, and that you need help. Something like: Pardon-- Je ne parle pas francais-- je suis desolee, mais parlez-vous anglais? J'ai besoin d'aide.

I depended on tourist offices or the marie (village office) to help. They speak english at the tourist offices. I would take some index cards with some french phrases on them, so you can hand them to people when you need help.

I joined up with a group at Le Puy for a while and a french speaking woman took the reponsibility of calling ahead. But then I split off by myself, and just showed up at a gite and that worked fine. I walked Sept/Oct 2017. I don't think you're going to find full gites, it's more likely they won't be open or have made food. Though-- that never happened to me. There was always plenty when I just turned up.

When I went on the alternative route to Bonneval, I was alone during that whole walk. At the turn off from the main chemin, I asked someone walking (college age person--I figured he could understand english a bit), to call ahead to the village Condom d'Aubrac for that night and to the Abbeye at Bonneval and tell them I was coming. At Condom d'Aubrac, the village office stayed open for me, and the woman there gave me the key to the community center (gym mat on floor in small heated room, kitchen. No-showers, but hot water, and radiators where my washed socks dried overnight). Upon finding that I had no food, she went and got the cafe owners to open the cafe and make me dinner, then breakfast the next morning, and they packed a nice lunch for me too. -- (The community center was a donative, and I paid for the meals at the cafe.)
 

Jun Meng

The Only Way I know
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Le Puy
I have read quite a few posts about the need to book ahead on this route in autumn.

If one is not traveling with a phone, and has the first night booked in Le Puy, is it feasible to think I can book one night in advance, one day at a time, via the gite owners?
You can always get a bed at this this. No problem at all. Only in sauvage because there is no other options there. That place is fantastic.
 

Flem

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 - 2019 several caminos (7 differents)
I think you can do it without a phone: The French people are great at helping. Just start out saying that you're sorry you don't speak French, and that you need help. Something like: Pardon-- Je ne parle pas francais-- je suis desolee, mais parlez-vous anglais? J'ai besoin d'aide.

I depended on tourist offices or the marie (village office) to help. They speak english at the tourist offices. I would take some index cards with some french phrases on them, so you can hand them to people when you need help.

I joined up with a group at Le Puy for a while and a french speaking woman took the reponsibility of calling ahead. But then I split off by myself, and just showed up at a gite and that worked fine. I walked Sept/Oct 2017. I don't think you're going to find full gites, it's more likely they won't be open or have made food. Though-- that never happened to me. There was always plenty when I just turned up.

When I went on the alternative route to .....)
Thanks for your post. I am planning for the Via Podiensis late april/first may 2020, and is a little consern about the accommodation sit. My guidebook says as you, that if you are walking alone there should not be a problem. On the other hand someware in this thread say that always to book ahead (for some nights anyway). Whewn walking in Spain I never book (knowing is't different in France) it seems that booking puts me on a schedule wich is not the purpose of my pilgrimage. Also knowing my frence is next to nothing I just wonder the 'pro and con'. So I seems to need some advice on the accommodation question. Thanks in advance
 

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