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Booking and planning in advance for Le Puy

ChloeRose

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route and Camino Frances 2015/16
Hello all,

This will be my first Camino! I've decided, perhaps irrationally, to begin my first pilgrimage in Le Puy instead of at the more traditional Pyrenees. There's a lot less information out there for this route, and though I speak French fluently, I have never been to France or on an extended walking adventure before.

For those who have already done Le Puy, I have some nagging questions:

1. I understand accommodations are tricker to find along this route. Should I call in advance each morning for a bed the same night, or should I call the day before? Should I be booking spots now, a month in advance? Yikes!
2. Accommodations also seem more expensive. Were you able to find hostels for under 20 euro, or were they all ranging in the 30-35 range? This is disappointing, as I was looking at the Camino Frances rates (so cheap!) when I made my budget for the whole trip.
3. I will cancel my Canadian phone plan, but keep my android phone with a Euro sim card. Are there any recommendations for good/cheap plans that will work in France AND Spain? I will need data and some minutes for booking accommodations.
4. Food. I know the Camino Frances is bursting with restaurants and grocery spots. Will I need to pack more than the day's meal along Le Puy?

Many thanks in advance! I couldn't have chosen a more supportive travel community for my first long-term adventure :)

-Chloe
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
call the day before
That is best.
Were you able to find hostels for under 20 euro
That is not too hard for the gites, but adding the demi-pension usually makes it about 33E.
recommendations for good/cheap plans that will work in France AND Spain
No. Orange is good in France; Vodafone is good in Spain. You will need two chips to avoid roaming charges.
Will I need to pack more than the day's meal along Le Puy?
You may find stores closed on Sunday and Monday, but restaurants will be open for some hours both days. If you plan to self-cater, two days of food may be necessary to bridge Sunday and Monday.

Bon chemin.
 

billmclaughlin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP/Burgos 2012; Le Puy/SJPP 2013; Aumont Aubrac/Aire sur l'Adour 2014; Burgos/Santiago 2016.
I'll second all that was said above. Being fluent in French you'll have a ball. My French is decent and I think it made a huge difference. But then the social side is very important for me.

Money. Yes you'll pay more, but you'll get good value for your money, just not the super bargain that Spain offers. If your budget is very tight, you can look for places that allow you to cook.

I love this route, so I'd say do as much of it as you can afford this year. Don't punish yourself by walking longer distances or dining alone. I've seen people stressed by their budget, stretching their funds because this was the trip of a lifetime (from Korea) and they had to make it to Santiago. I hope you can enjoy yourself with the promise of continuing in future years.
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
3. I will cancel my Canadian phone plan, but keep my android phone with a Euro sim card. Are there any recommendations for good/cheap plans that will work in France AND Spain? I will need data and some minutes for booking accommodations.
If you want to keep your Canadian number, just have your Canadian service suspended.
Here is the list of prepaid SIM cards with data, keep using your prepaid French SIM with data until it runs out of data and credit then buy a prepaid Spanish SIM with data.
http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Prepaid_SIM_with_data
http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/France
Orange FR seems the way to go for France.

Movistar and Vodafone for Spain.
http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Spain
Lebara ES has the "all in one 15" for €15. http://www.lebara.es/todo-en-uno
 

ChloeRose

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route and Camino Frances 2015/16
Thank you for the suggestions! I've got another month to plan, but these questions were holding me back somewhat. Much appreciated :)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
We thought the gites were very good value when we took demi-pension, but generally I think France is about 1/3 more expensive than Spain. Fewer opportunities to cook because it is difficult to find supermarkets - most French seem to travel by car to larger centres to buy their provisions.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Thank you for the suggestions! I've got another month to plan, but these questions were holding me back somewhat. Much appreciated :)
I will get into trouble here Chloe but here goes,

One is a beautiful walk on one of the many paths in country France , usually for the french on weekly walks .
If you google km 's under GR's in France you will be very, very surprised....thousands of km's
*The other is a motor way.
However both ways are beautiful.
The French really don't care if this GR connects with STJPdP as Samport , Lourdes etc play very important stages on this path.

Book the day before when you arrive @ your place of abode , the hosts will recommend.

If you can find a private room in a YHA in Canada for less than the Le Puy way then you are doing well.

I'm not sure if the Frances is bursting with restaurants , maybe cafes or commodores but not restaurants........................ unless you wish to walk the Norte.
The meals in the gites/pensions on the GR leave for dead the food in the bars/cafes on the Frances that serve meals @ 6-7pm .............about 3 hours before the Spanish eat in THEIR restaurants.

Chloe, don't read too much negativity into this , just go and enjoy this beautiful country and its people.
And please don't bring any conceived ideas , the french are the french and have been around a long time.
They won't and should not change anything they do in relation to this way.
 
Last edited:

marbuck

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Condom to Pamplona April 2016.
Le Puy to Condom France - April-May 2015.
Roncesvalles to Santiago April - May 2014
Finisterre to Muxia May 2014
The French walk the Le Puy route in sections, more as walkers than pilgrims. So some sections will be busy while it will be easy to get a bed in not so popular sections. Booking ahead is always recommended. Demi pension is very good value plus you get to eat their wonderful food, better than you are likely to cook yourself.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
I've got another month to plan
Check this site if you haven't already:
http://www.godesalco.com/plan/podense

A few stages have no intermediate stops.

For a comprehensive list of accommodations:
http://www.amazon.fr/miam-Miam-Dodo...qid=1458386687&sr=1-1&keywords=miam+miam+dodo

Miam Miam Dodo is almost essential! It will show you costs (with or without demi-pension) and a lot of other information. I don't like the maps much, but they are sufficient. They have an application for smart phones, but I don't know if it is any good. There are some bookstores in Canada that carry it, but the French Amazon site is the most reliable source (or wait until you get to Le Puy en Velay and buy a copy there).
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I loved the Le Puy Route so much, I walked it twice and would do it again. I usually stayed in gites that offered Demipension which was excellent value and I lived like a king for 40 to 45 Euros all up on average. The food was always delicious and consisted of 3 courses fresh local produce and wine and usually a herb tea. Breakfast was simple, toast and home made jams.
I often had a dorm or room to myself or shared with a few others. I thought it was all exceptional value for money.
I do recommend booking the first few nights out of Le Puy as you may run into difficulty finding a bed. Some Australian people I met found themselves in a huge wave of pilgrims leaving le Puy on the same day and not having booked ahead they had to taxi off route on a few occasions to much more expensive Chambre d'hotes.
 

Pilgrim Peggy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Done Santiago camino Frances (autumn 2014.) Now planning Lisbon to Porto in May (2016)
When I walked from Le Puy, it was late July and there were plenty of beds...until shortly after Conques when the numbers walking swelled.. I immediately felt stress, and found myself rushing along, shortening my breaks, in my anxiety that I wouldn't get a bed. Silly, I know. After that I rang and booked a bed the day before as recommended above. It didn't take away the spontaneity of my next day's walk because it was always clear where I would stop. There are not that many choices.

As far as food goes, there were a couple of hungry days when a local festival shut all the shops for a couple days, so I would always carry something, even if it was a carrot and some pasta, plus bread. The infrastructure is simply not as extensive as on the camino frances, nor would one expect it to be. There were fewer cafes, gites d'etape, shops....but such stunning beautiful countryside that takes the breath away.

My final thought - the people I met on the Le Puy route, wonderful, French, different ages, tended not to be "Pilgrims" but having a holiday, enjoying a lovely long distance walk. What is the difference? It's hard to put into words but the camaraderie was different than what I found on the Frances.

I used Alison Raju's book which was basically helpful but occasionally woefully inaccurate.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I think this is the biggest difference between the Frances and Le Puy routes: you can be spontaneous on the Frances - but that doesn't really work on the Le Puy. Don't get me wrong, you might get lucky. But planning ahead at least a day or two for lodging and food will make a much smoother and happier experience. Since this is a very thinly populated section of France, the hospitality services are quite sparse. So, when there are closing days on Sunday, often Monday, and sometimes an additional day each week, or long weekends, and stores are not located in the towns on the route, you'll need to carry lunch stuff for several days. That's why we rely on the demi-pension arrangements: there are not local stores, and the in-house kitchen is in use by the host (who understandably isn't interested in sharing!).
 

Pilgrim Peggy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Done Santiago camino Frances (autumn 2014.) Now planning Lisbon to Porto in May (2016)
Yes, it is true about the cooking facilities in the b&vs, of course! I stayed exclusively in gites d'etape which were like the albuergues on the Frances- dormitories with kitchens, occasionally meals provided but rarely.
 

ChloeRose

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route and Camino Frances 2015/16
Many thanks! I had been wondering about the specific differences between the B&Bs and the gites d'etape, now it's much clearer. It does sound like the B&Bs are an excellent way to meet locals and eat well on a route that is less populated with pilgrims.

And I've ordered a copy of Miam Miam Dodo! Excellent suggestion, and worth the extra weight, I think.
 

SusanReneGr65

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Le Puy Fall 2015
Getting food on Sunday/Monday and en route between towns can be quite challenging. Always have some sort of emergency food in your pack. We always had nut/raisin mix and it saved us a few times.

If you're not taking the demi-pension and want a coffee from a bar and a croissant (or two!) from the boulangerie for breakfast, ask the previous night for opening times. This way you can plan your morning.

We needed a lot of calories for the distance we were covering. Our usual routine was breakfast of croissant, expresso from a bar, and yougart purchased from the epicerie in town. We carried lunch: baguette, about 200 g of cheese, apple, maybe cookies. Supper was 2 or 3 courses at a restaurant. Know where you're going to get the calories, and don't pass a store without buying food if you have no plans.

Have a great time. The Le Puy route was magical!
 

marbuck

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Condom to Pamplona April 2016.
Le Puy to Condom France - April-May 2015.
Roncesvalles to Santiago April - May 2014
Finisterre to Muxia May 2014
Once you've walked a section, the pages are disposable. That book gets lighter by the day!
I never throw a guide book out, they claim top shelf in my library. You get stronger as you walk so the extra weight of a few pages is not worth loosing your guide book.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I never throw a guide book out, they claim top shelf in my library. You get stronger as you walk so the extra weight of a few pages is not worth loosing your guide book.
Except Brierley's for the Camino Frances.
Lasted 4 days in 08
This should get a few replies.
 

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