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Arles Route Difficulty

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015, Camino Portugues 2017, Camino Finisterre 2017, Le Puy Route (Sept. 2018)
#1
Can anyone tell me how the Arles Route compares to the Camino Frances or Le Puy Camino in terms of difficulty? Also, will it be difficult finding nightly pilgrim accommodation on the Arles Route? Thanks for any advice.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#3
I found it easier than the CF in terms of heights and climbs etc., but there was much much much less in terms of infrastructure-- no fuentes, villages further apart, and a need to really really focus on the waymarkings as you will not have the crowds of pilgrims to guide you. Indeed, there will be very few pilgrims-- I walked with Janet Leitch, the supremo of the pilgrims' group in Oz, and she was a wizard at the waymarkings and I spoke French, so we kept each other from difficulties. I went over 10 years ago and so cannot speak to current accommodation. I found it challenging at times, but something always turned up. The people were very friendly and helpful.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#4
There is a FB group for the Via Tolosana/Chemin de Arles if you don't find your answer here. I am a member of that group. When I posted that same question about accommodation availability I was told that there is a gite/albergue about every 20kms. Gronze, which you were referred to earlier, is not complete for this route at this point in time. I was also referred to the MiamMiamDodo Guide to the Via Tolosana which is available from Amazon.fr. The CSJ(Confraternity of St. James) also has a publication for this route.
 

frida1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
#5
There is a FB group for the Via Tolosana/Chemin de Arles if you don't find your answer here. I am a member of that group. When I posted that same question about accommodation availability I was told that there is a gite/albergue about every 20kms. Gronze, which you were referred to earlier, is not complete for this route at this point in time. I was also referred to the MiamMiamDodo Guide to the Via Tolosana which is available from Amazon.fr. The CSJ(Confraternity of St. James) also has a publication for this route.
 

frida1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
#6
We did this route from Mntpellier to Puente la Reina in May 2017. The first 10 days or so are quite difficult due to ascending, descending and very rocky surfaces. Accommodation can be 30 k apart. That said, it’s beautiful and rewarding. We only met 17 other walkers on our whole journey. That tells you something. After a Castrés the way is much less difficult in terms of steep terrain.
 

Dan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013
Chemin Le Puy 2014
Pennine Way, UK 2015
Camino Del Norte 2016
Arles Route 2018
#7
Rossco
>>how the Arles Route compares to the Camino Frances or Le Puy Camino in terms of difficulty? Also, will it be difficult finding nightly pilgrim accommodation on the Arles Route?<<

The Arles route is more difficult than the Frances. It's about on a par with Le Puy - a bit harder in places.
It's not difficult to find accomodation on the Arles route.

To elaborate:

As I remember Le Puy, the first two weeks were tough. We met several people who, like us, had previously done the Frances and the general consensus was that we were finding the early part of Le Puy was harder than anything on the Frances.
On the Arles route, once you get past Montpellier and into the mountains at and after St Guilhem le desert, it's tough country. At least as hard as Le Puy, and for some stretches it was harder. Before we tackled the Arles route we used always say that the Pennine Way was the toughest thing we'd done. Now we reckon that some sectors of the Arles route are just as tough - and in a couple of places it was just a bit harder than the Pennine.
You should take all of that with a grain of salt. Everyone's experience is different. It depends so much on temperament, and fitness, and age.

Accomodation: I used always shy away from using Municipal gites. They are so cheap, I thought that they must be lousy. And had a bad experience with a couple on the del Norte which put me off the idea. But we took a risk with a couple on the Arles route and were pleasantly surprised; clean, great kitchens, and cheap. We ended up looking for them. Many seemed to be associated with the local Office of Tourism.
However, we were early in the season (set off from Arles on 22 March 2018). Often we had the place to ourselves. That certainly made everything seem more spacious!
To find the accomodation we had the 2 volume guide from the Confraternity in London. It would have been good to also have the Miam Miam Do Do. We used that on Le Puy. Gives more options. But, in the end, we got by with what we had and chatting to the locals (and my French is hopeless).
 
Last edited:

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
#8
The Arles route through the mountains is absolutely a must, weather and level of fitness permitting. So too, the lack of crowds is sheer pleasure.

That said, the only problem with that is that, absent changing your own planned route/pace, you can't help but keep bumping into (and shaking off, if you find them annoying or worse) a few of the folks you do meet. (Don't ask!) (sigh) .
 
Last edited by a moderator:

sharon w

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
#9
Rossco
>>how the Arles Route compares to the Camino Frances or Le Puy Camino in terms of difficulty? Also, will it be difficult finding nightly pilgrim accommodation on the Arles Route?<<

The Arles route is more difficult than the Frances. It's about on a par with Le Puy - a bit harder in places.
It's not difficult to find accomodation on the Arles route.

To elaborate:

As I remember Le Puy, the first two weeks were tough. We met several people who, like us, had previously done the Frances and the general consensus was that we were finding the early part of Le Puy was harder than anything on the Frances.
On the Arles route, once you get past Montpellier and into the mountains at and after St Guilhem le desert, it's tough country. At least as hard as Le Puy, and for some stretches it was harder. Before we tackled the Arles route we used always say that the Pennine Way was the toughest thing we'd done. Now we reckon that some sectors of the Arles route are just as tough - and in a couple of places it was just a bit harder than the Pennine.
You should take all of that with a grain of salt. Everyone's experience is different. It depends so much on temperament, and fitness, and age.

Accomodation: I used always shy away from using Municipal gites. They are so cheap, I thought that they must be lousy. And had a bad experience with a couple on the del Norte which put me off the idea. But we took a risk with a couple on the Arles route and were pleasantly surprised; clean, great kitchens, and cheap. We ended up looking for them. Many seemed to be associated with the local Office of Tourism.
However, we were early in the season (set off from Arles on 22 March 2018). Often we had the place to ourselves. That certainly made everything seem more spacious!
To find the accomodation we had the 2 volume guide from the Confraternity in London. It would have been good to also have the Miam Miam Do Do. We used that on Le Puy. Gives more options. But, in the end, we got by with what we had and chatting to the locals (and my French is hopeless).
We enjoyed all the communal gites we stayed in. Some were full or near enough to full. The one at Jaca was very big. Great beds in fairly private areas. Just have no hooks etc for the showers.
The communal French gites were great.
 

Dan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013
Chemin Le Puy 2014
Pennine Way, UK 2015
Camino Del Norte 2016
Arles Route 2018
#10
We enjoyed all the communal gites we stayed in. Some were full or near enough to full. The one at Jaca was very big. Great beds in fairly private areas. Just have no hooks etc for the showers.
The communal French gites were great.
Gidday Sharon - blow me down - October and you're back. The year has disappeared. Anne and I are toey to get going again. We even talk of doing the Arles route again!!
 

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