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Camino Frances from Lourdes

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Camino(s) past & future
September (2013), June (2015), June (2018) July (2019)
Beginning my fourth Camino from Lourdes in July. While I am comfortable flying by the seat of my pants (a really good cover story for someone who cannot plan anything, lol), it seems that Lourdes to SJPdP is a stretch that requires calling ahead to arrange for a bed? I have no experience of the Lourdes to SJPdP path, having twice started from SJPdP, and last summer from Lisbon. Booking a bed wasn't really necessary.
Can anybody advise me?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011 Frances
2013 Frances
2015 Piemont-Frances
2017 Portugues
2018 Frances, Ingles
2019 VdlP, Sanabr
Beginning my fourth Camino from Lourdes in July. While I am comfortable flying by the seat of my pants (a really good cover story for someone who cannot plan anything, lol), it seems that Lourdes to SJPdP is a stretch that requires calling ahead to arrange for a bed? I have no experience of the Lourdes to SJPdP path, having twice started from SJPdP, and last summer from Lisbon. Booking a bed wasn't really necessary.
Can anybody advise me?
I walked the Piemont route from Lourdes to SJPdP in early-September 2015. To this day it remains one of my favorite sections of my many Caminos. However, had i not been with a friend who spoke fluent French, it would have been much more difficult. In fact, i met a Chinese Aussie pilgrim on the 3rd or 4th day who had been really struggling and found herself often lost because she could not communicate in the native language. You are correct that accommodations must generally be booked in advance, which is very challenging if you don't speak French. There is a Pilgrims office in Lourdes which will provide you with a list of the pilgrim accommodations, and a basic route map. You can also find guidebooks for the Piemont, but only in French or German if i recall correctly. I highly recommend this route, despite the aforementioned challenges. The vistas and landscape in the foothills of the Pyrenees, including the days in the Basque Country, are spectacular.....and the people are charming! Bon Chemin & Buen Camino!
Fred
 
Camino(s) past & future
September (2013), June (2015), June (2018) July (2019)
I walked the Piemont route from Lourdes to SJPdP in early-September 2015. To this day it remains one of my favorite sections of my many Caminos. However, had i not been with a friend who spoke fluent French, it would have been much more difficult. In fact, i met a Chinese Aussie pilgrim on the 3rd or 4th day who had been really struggling and found herself often lost because she could not communicate in the native language. You are correct that accommodations must generally be booked in advance, which is very challenging if you don't speak French. There is a Pilgrims office in Lourdes which will provide you with a list of the pilgrim accommodations, and a basic route map. You can also find guidebooks for the Piemont, but only in French or German if i recall correctly. I highly recommend this route, despite the aforementioned challenges. The vistas and landscape in the foothills of the Pyrenees, including the days in the Basque Country, are spectacular.....and the people are charming! Bon Chemin & Buen Camino!
Fred
Thank you for this! My high school French (45 short years ago) should come in handy, just as my high school Spanish has. I am nervously excited about this stretch. Solo pilgrimage this time. Unfamiliar way. Sounds right for me. :)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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I do not agree with the idea that your bed needs to be booked in advance on that stretch, and in my experience the only difficulty would be for a slower walker who might need to stop for the night where no bed is available -- but generally, the distances between sleeping spots are not overly lengthy.

Fred is correct though that a language barrier can be rather unhelpful there ...

There are two pilgrim offices in Lourdes BTW -- one on the Esplanade near the basilicas, and the other in town that's more focused on Santiago pilgrims specifically.

Fred's quite right that Lourdes to SJPP is lovely !!
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
The "accueil jacquaire" (for Compostela pilgrims) in Lourdes is at 16, Boulevard de la Grotte. Here in Google Maps. It is the main street, full of shops, that goes to the sanctuary.
In France, I always call in advance. Sometimes albergues (gîtes) are small, just a few beds.
On the other side, I feel that the good priest in Arudy don't manage "reservations", you just announce your arrival beforehand.
The municipal in Mauleon does not take reservations, it is as in the Frances, first come, first served. I recommend that if you plan to arrive late, make a reservation in a hostal.
If you have problems with your French, you may ask the kind guy in the Lourdes "accueil" to call for you, and in next stages ask hospitaleros to do the same.
Having a working cell phone is advisable. And carry some snacks, there are not many bars or restaurants in the middle of stages.
It is a great camino, if you want some solitude and magnificent landscapes. There are some threads about the Piedmont in the forum, use the "search" function.
 
Last edited:

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Walked part of this route in April 2019 - beautiful! Calling ahead isn’t required, BUT it’s helpful since some places only have a few beds while others may not be open unless they know a pilgrim is expected.

The Lourdes pilgrim office, each night’s host, and tourist offices can all call ahead for you to secure a spot for the next day. Again, it’s not required, just advisable. I speak zero French and barely marginal Spanish, but successfully made it.

Gronze.com has a guide in Spanish which Google Chrome can translate for you. Plus the Lourdes office has printed guide sheets available, too, but only in French or Spanish when I was there.

Definitely carry food, though, as there are stretches with little services and the small villages close down on Sundays and Mondays.

All in all, a beautiful walk and worth the effort.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September (2013), June (2015), June (2018) July (2019)
I do not agree with the idea that your bed needs to be booked in advance on that stretch, and in my experience the only difficulty would be for a slower walker who might need to stop for the night where no bed is available -- but generally, the distances between sleeping spots are not overly lengthy.

Fred is correct though that a language barrier can be rather unhelpful there ...

There are two pilgrim offices in Lourdes BTW -- one on the Esplanade near the basilicas, and the other in town that's more focused on Santiago pilgrims specifically.

Fred's quite right that Lourdes to SJPP is lovely !!
Thank you for your timely reply, and please excuse my delayed expression of thanks. I will check out the pilgrim offices. I understand there is a place near one of them where I might be able to purchase hiking poles. Merci!
 
Camino(s) past & future
September (2013), June (2015), June (2018) July (2019)
The "accueil jacquaire" (for Compostela pilgrims) in Lourdes is at 16, Boulevard de la Grotte. Here in Google Maps. It is the main street, full of shops, that goes to the sanctuary.
In France, I always call in advance. Sometimes albergues (gîtes) are small, just a few beds.
On the other side, I feel that the good priest in Arudy don't manage "reservations", you just announce your arrival beforehand.
The municipal in Mauleon does not take reservations, it is as in the Frances, first come, first served. I recommend that if you plan to arrive late, make a reservation in a hostal.
If you have problems with your French, you may ask the kind guy in the Lourdes "accueil" to call for you, and in next stages ask hospitaleros to do the same.
Having a working cell phone is advisable. And carry some snacks, there are not many bars or restaurants in the middle of stages.
It is a great camino, if you want some solitude and magnificent landscapes. There are some threads about the Piedmont in the forum, use the "search" function.
Very helpful information here, too. Thank you for reaching out. Apologies for my delayed response. I am beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by the sections I am unfamiliar with, but that's natural, I suppose.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September (2013), June (2015), June (2018) July (2019)
Walked part of this route in April 2019 - beautiful! Calling ahead isn’t required, BUT it’s helpful since some places only have a few beds while others may not be open unless they know a pilgrim is expected.

The Lourdes pilgrim office, each night’s host, and tourist offices can all call ahead for you to secure a spot for the next day. Again, it’s not required, just advisable. I speak zero French and barely marginal Spanish, but successfully made it.

Gronze.com has a guide in Spanish which Google Chrome can translate for you. Plus the Lourdes office has printed guide sheets available, too, but only in French or Spanish when I was there.

Definitely carry food, though, as there are stretches with little services and the small villages close down on Sundays and Mondays.

All in all, a beautiful walk and worth the effort.
Thank you for taking the time to point me to Gronze.com and the helpful information at the Lourdes (pilgrim?) office. I completely forgot to check into days when services might not be available. Good tip. Merci for everything!
 

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