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Arles Route trip report - Montpellier to Pau

#1
Hello all, I've just finished 3+ weeks on the Arles route. My original intent was to walk as far as Punta la Reina, but I've made a last minute decision to take the train to Hendaye and start the Camino Del Norte instead.

I can take a lot of my own company, but after 3+ weeks spending more time on my tablet than with other people, I'm ready for a change. I knew there would be fewer people than on the Le Puy route, but there are just too few, and none in my age group. The trail is beautiful though - I would even do it again - just not alone.

Since I've found so much helpful information on this forum, I thought I'd jot down a few notes that might be helpful for those considering this route.

1. St. Guilhem to St. Gervais-sur-Mare is absolutely spectacular. I suspect St. Gervais to Murat-sur-Vebre was also, but the weather was so rotten I didn't see anything. Incidentally, that day was the only day I've ever felt like I was taking a significant risk in walking by myself. There was no one else on that section of the trail that day, and had I slipped and fallen, hypothermia could have been a problem.

2. I recommend the Gite Communal at Boissezon, the home of Dr. Py in Castres, the Gite Lamothe just before L'Isle Arne, the Gite run by the Amis de Saint Jacques in Baziege, and the gite of Mr. et Mme. Patrick Robert in Marciac. All are listed in MMDD.

3. I usually reserved only when I wanted demi-pension. Nothing was full except one night on a long weekend. I was sometimes the only guest.

4. The Gite communal in Angles is servicable, but a bit dismal.

5. Consider a rest day in Pau, which is lovely and has lots to do.
 

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M

mikevasey

Guest
#2
Agree with most of the above missed out the Castres to Toulouse section so can not comment on that. The other option In Angles is being run by a lady who wants to sell up and move away and as a guest it felt like that. The trails from St Guilhem to Salvatat are virtually asphalt free and stunning but also hard work, walking times for me went down from 4km an hour on other caminos to 2-2.5 on this section but the Bosquets to Mecle section was a reminder to me of what the peace of solitutde can be. I had the same problem on some days that the weather was freezing and wet, pre chemin I had decided that it was the south of France and It was going to be hot in late May so I bought all linen clothes. Ended up buying a Merino wool top in Toulouse
I had gone too many days feeling wet and cold and realised that was a recipe for ending my Camino.
Go to Marciac tomorrow so thanks for that tip!!!
Also would recommend Le Grange before Giscaro it has been mentioned elsewhere on here but this deserves all the shouts it can get, the married couple who run it and met on the Frances also served as hospitaleros at Granon and that was their inspiration to open a Gite for pelegrins. There was a special moment at the end of the night where we all got a moment to dedicate or give thanks for our chemin, and for me personally it helped me focus again on feelings or motives that had slipped out of view.
 
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M

mikevasey

Guest
#3
I'm going to add a bit more to this thread. On the pilgrim number side I won't say I had the opposite of Marin's but I certainly encountered more pilgrims. In the carmelites in St Guillem le Desert there was 9 of us, 4 Dutch, 2 Germans and 2 Danish. Encountered them again over the next few days and also an Englishman from Leicestershire(David) were usually knocking about. Various other big distance,high speed pilgrims came and went. The Gite in Murat was packed with French, it was a long weekend. After Toulouse there was a steady stream of pilgrims mostly French. So it was not that quiet, funnily enough the only night I had a pilgrim connected accommodation to myself was at Marciac in the place suggested above, the owners were away so had to ring a number and hoped they spoke English so I could get a code to get in. It was an an old tower with several floors which I had to myself, several things happened in the night which had me feeling uncomfortable so reluctantly turned off the light but kept my mobile at hand. Not really into things that go bang in the night, and it was probably my over anxious mind filling in gaps with what I was not sure about. The next night I stayed in Lahite-Toupiere at the British Family run Gite Happy Coulsons, they knew the owners of the Gite in Marciac and they claimed that they had said to them it was haunted. I'm not believing one way or another but certainly felt on edge there and a couple of things happened where I was positive that I had switched a light off and had placed an item somewhere else, but I'm getting older and my memory was not that great anyway.
 

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