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Best route for French Camino

Chuck13

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
France 2020
I'm planning on going to France in August 2020 and I wanted to start off my trip by walking part of the Camino in France to get used to travelling alone as this is my first trip overseas by myself. I was wondering if there were any recommendations as to which route I should take in regards to the most populated routes and ones with the most infrastructure, especially albergas. Thanks very much
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm planning on going to France in August 2020 and I wanted to start off my trip by walking part of the Camino in France to get used to travelling alone as this is my first trip overseas by myself. I was wondering if there were any recommendations as to which route I should take in regards to the most populated routes and ones with the most infrastructure, especially albergas. Thanks very much
The Camino Francés is the most popular route. Many people start in St Jean Pied de Port in France near the Spanish border.
There are routes in France that lead to Santiago. You can learn about them on Gronze.com


camino map.gif
 

thejoker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
many
I'm planning on going to France in August 2020 and I wanted to start off my trip by walking part of the Camino in France to get used to travelling alone as this is my first trip overseas by myself. I was wondering if there were any recommendations as to which route I should take in regards to the most populated routes and ones with the most infrastructure, especially albergas. Thanks very much
I've only done 3 of the French routes. My favourite is the Via Tolasana, but despite it's beauty I wouldn't recommend it to a first timer. Perhaps you could walk the Via Podiensis, which is challenging but also the most popular French route that joins up by St St Jean.
You didn't mention if you speak French. It is very useful, especially on the smaller routes, but on the Via Podiensis you can get by with absolute minimum French.
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
?
The Le Puy route is the only one in France that I have done, and I would highly recommend it. I believe it is the most popular and has the best infrastructure. It is also very beautiful. You will find lots of information about it on the sub-forum on this Forum.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017

I think the Le Puy has the best infrastructure of the routes in France, but if you want a physically easier piece of this route, start after Figeac.

edit: I tried to insert a map of the routes in France but seem to have failed. Google ‘camino routes France map’ and you should get a few options to look at.
 
Last edited:

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
As others have said. I have only walked from Le Puy and it was awesome and there was enough infrastructure 6 years ago. I would have to assume it has probably gotten a little better since.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Many get to SJPdP connecting through Bayonne. The Camino Baztan starts from there and goes to Pamplona (typically takes 5 days). Or you could take it to the junction of the La Voie de la Nive and walk it to SJPdP (see map in post #2).
 

billmclaughlin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP/Burgos 2012; Le Puy/SJPP 2013; Aumont Aubrac/Aire sur l'Adour 2014; Burgos/Santiago 2016.
No question but you should focus on the route that starts in Le Puy en Velay and leads to the Spanish border at Saint Jean Pied de Port. You’ll find lots of discussions by searching on this site about places to start and stop where there are train stations, difficulty of terrain, weather to expect, reservations or not, etc. But for accommodations and fellowship the Le Puy route is unquestionably the one.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
You may walk the Via Turonensis from Bordeaux coming down from Tours. Thats 6 to 8 days walk to SJPdP.
Bordeaux has a well connected airport. That is what a colleague of mine did.

The nearer you get to the spanish border, the better get's the infrastructure for pilgrims.
Depending of which time of the year you will walk you have to be aware that this is a well known tourism-spot in France. In July and August it is almost impossible to get a reasonable accomodation in this area.

You can start in Bayonne and walk to SJPdP, that is 2 days and you will have less problems to get an accomodation. The Albergues in France are mostly called gîte.

Hope that helps.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I'm planning on going to France in August 2020 and I wanted to start off my trip by walking part of the Camino in France to get used to travelling alone as this is my first trip overseas by myself. I was wondering if there were any recommendations as to which route I should take in regards to the most populated routes and ones with the most infrastructure, especially albergas. Thanks very much
The two routes that I'd recommend in France for that sort of thing would be either --

Start in Lourdes and walk to SJPP from there -- decent infrastructure most of the way, with a little less between Oloron and SJPP. It's a bit mountainous.

Or follow the tail end of the Vézelay Way from say Mont-de-Marsan or Orthez (this is a very pleasant route)
 

bobbogram

Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
After completing the 2nd half of Portuguese, Porto to Santiago two years ago, I flew to Geneva to rendezvous with one of my adult sons interested in the Camino culture. We walked four days west toward Le Puy with the fourth night in Charavines, France. It was a great introduction with rolling farms and hills. Afterwards we took a train to Lyon for a few nights of exploration, the train back to Geneva, and a flight back home to our families.

Before he arrived, I drove around in a rental car for a few days looking at our scheduled accommodations and future destinations en route to LePuy and beyond. Seeing groups of pilgrims traipsing along, I felt a bit of mild kinship and jealousy.

At age 70, I’m not sure I’m interested in a long six week Camino like my first one across northern Spain when curiosity and novelty were peaking. I’m waiting for the coronavirus to run it’s course before returning to the Via Francigena in Italy this year. But it’s tough feeling “homesick” for the Camino - while sitting at home.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
Start in Lourdes and walk to SJPP from there -- decent infrastructure most of the way, with a little less between Oloron and SJPP. It's a bit mountainous.
Depending on the time of year. I started from Lourdes October 2018 and while there was accommodation to be found at reasonable distances cafes and bars were almost non- existent, one or two expensive country hotels that didn't seem pilgrim friendly. The one cafeteria that I did pass was closed. There I was on a hot day with my nose pressed up against the window staring longingly at the Coke machine inside. Definitely stock up on your own food & drink if you walk this way, nothing like a long days walk with no supper at the end and little chance of breakfast the next morning. Just sayin'.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Depending on the time of year. I started from Lourdes October 2018 and while there was accommodation to be found at reasonable distances cafes and bars were almost non- existent, one or two expensive country hotels that didn't seem pilgrim friendly. The one cafeteria that I did pass was closed. There I was on a hot day with my nose pressed up against the window staring longingly at the Coke machine inside. Definitely stock up on your own food & drink if you walk this way, nothing like a long days walk with no supper at the end and little chance of breakfast the next morning. Just sayin'.
hmmmm it's true that if you follow the waymarked trail, you will avoid some villages that are friendlier than that. Much of the Piémont Way is like that, including this extension of it to SJPP.

I was walking 30-35 K stretches that time too, so it affected me less, though the final stretch into SJPP was and is indeed rather bare ...

I guess if you're desperate at that point a tarmac detour to Larceveau (and the end of the Le Puy and Vézelay routes) could get you into civilisation a little quicker, plus easier and so faster terrain into SJPP despite the extra K of the detour.

The Vézelay Way is anyway friendlier than that.
 

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