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Camino Le Puy ending in SJPDP - anticlimactic?

Camino(s) past & future
Sept/Oct 2015
#1
Good day. We are contemplating our second Camino, walking from Le Puy to SJPDP, but are thinking maybe it won't be as amazing as coming into Santiago. What are your experiences coming to a finish in SJPDP, where many people are just starting their camino?
 

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Via Podiensis 2015
#2
I had the same concern. I've taken two groups of my students on the Le Puy route and struggled with deciding where to end, in order to provide a rich and satisfying sense of closure. The first time, we followed the GR-10 to Hendaye/Irún. I figured a challenging stretch in the Pyrenees, the arrival at the sea, and the crossing into Spain would all feel like a fitting end, and that was certainly true for that group.

I liked a lot of that, but it didn't feel like a satisfying end to pilgrimage, so last summer we ended in Roncesvalles. Once again, we had a mountain crossing, we had a border crossing--both good things. But, it was also satisfying to have the evening mass in Roncesvalles to bookend the morning mass in Le Puy, and it also felt special to spend our last day with so many pilgrims on their first day.

To actually answer your question, I'd worry that St. Jean might feel a little less special, with all of the tourists (so many now!) and nervous pilgrims who are still wrapping their minds around what they've gotten themselves into (not that this will have changed too much after the climb!). I was very happy with both the GR-10 and Roncesvalles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
#3
walking from Le Puy to SJPDP, but are thinking maybe it won't be as amazing as coming into Santiago
Well, yes, maybe. I walked from Le Puy to St Jean, and thought OK, what do I do now? So I just kept on walking, until I got to Santiago :D.
 

edandjoan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St. Gallen to Muxia
2012-2018
#4
We walked from Le Puy to Pamplona. We had already walked in Spain and weren't sure what we would do once in SJPP. We walked until Pamplona and decided we were done and caught a train to Barcelona and spent a couple of days at Monserrat.
We don't tend to do the same thing twice. We like a new adventure so that worked for us.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#5
Good day. We are contemplating our second Camino, walking from Le Puy to SJPDP, but are thinking maybe it won't be as amazing as coming into Santiago. What are your experiences coming to a finish in SJPDP, where many people are just starting their camino?
Hola - I have not walked Le Puy and the only in depth study I have read was from someone who was walking it as a prelude to completing the Frances. Thus for him it was not an ending but rather a short hiastis before resuming his walk. He walked in the Northern Summer and arrived in St Jean just as the summer was ending so it was a logical place to finish his walk.
If you want a larger place to complete the walk then maybe Pamplona is it; alternatively if you have walked one of the St Jean-Roncesvalles routes then you can walk the other. Also maybe do some off camino exploring. Cheers
 

Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Camino(s) past & future
Bike: Plantagenets, Littorale, Frances, part Del Norte(all 2017), Walk: Le Puy to SJPdP (2018)
#6
The Via Podiensis, or Voie du Puy is beautiful, with very diverse scenery and heritage and quite a different vibe from the CF. I loved it. I hope you will too.
I walked from Le Puy in April '18, intending to finish in SJPdP. I arrived in St Jean three days earlier than my booked train home from Bayonne. I like the town, but it is small and I have stayed before during my cycle pilgimage.
After an afternoon's rest, a slap up evening meal and a morning 'goodbye' to those of my pilgrim family who were continuing over the Pyrenees, I was bored. So I walked the Voie de la Nive to Hellette (municipal gite) and Cambo les Bains - from where I caught a train-replacement bus into Bayonne.
Bayonne cathedral would be a good place to finish, perhaps? Great Basque city with real character. (And do have lunch at the atmospheric Bar du Marche!)
I intend to restart later this year from St Palais, giving my legs a couple of days warm up before the Napoleon route over the mountains and eventually Santiago.
Bon chemin!
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
Jul 2019: San Miniato to Bolsena
#7
I fully agree with others that ending in Pamplona or Roncesvalles would be an excellent terminus. I'm not familiar with the other towns mentioined, but I'm sure they're great.

I didn't feel any particular sense of wonder arriving in Santiago (and luckily I had been warned that many don't), though I did feel a sense of closure. I think the challenge with ending in SJPDP isnt the tourists, or a lack of grandeur. It's that those who are ending disappear among the hundreds who are starting a pilgrimage. It's a very different energy than any other stop before or after.

I loved the Le Puy route, and it was exciting and fun to meet so many fresh and excited and nervous people in their first day in Saint Jean. But I'm glad I continued walking. I'm not sure I would've felt closure there.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#8
I walked the Piedmont two years ago. Most of the pilgrims were French, and most of them finished their walk in SJPP. To them, praying and attending Mass at Notre Dame (the old gothic church, just before the bridge) was the highlight of their pilgrimage. They were completely uninterested in the crowds going to Roncesvalles; to them, there was not an "us".
I´d say that the emotional relevance of a destination point is a very personal, subjective (and, given my own bittersweet experience in Compostela) unpredictable issue.
There is also a practical side to consider: SJPP is well communicated, with a short regular hop you are connected to the main railway network or an intl' airport. Roncesvalles, instead, could be difficult, and requires some planning.
 

karenhypes

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (09), Chemin Le Puy (10/11), hospitaleros (11), Chemin Arles (Apr 13), Caminho Portuguese (15).
#9
We walked the Le Puy route to SJPP and continued to Estella where we served as hospitaleros. While SJPP is not like walking into Santiago the first time it was a great experience for us. We got to see and talk with many pilgrims just starting their Camino and were taken in with their excitement and energy. We also got to experience SJPP. On our first Camino we just arrived there, went to the pilgrim office and started walking. It's a great town and the energy is incredible.

As mentioned earlier, if you have the time, walk on to Roncesvalles or Pamplona. The crossing was just as great the second time. Dayton and Karen
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#10
We are contemplating our second Camino, walking from Le Puy to SJPDP, but are thinking maybe it won't be as amazing as coming into Santiago.
Which translates as, "We are concerned, having read the last chapter of the book first, that we won't find the earlier parts of the book quite as interesting."
My experience arriving in SJPP was the same as my arrival at the end of each year's stage in Nuremburg, Einsiedeln, Geneva, and even Cahors: the culture shock of returning to an urban environment after days of walking through rural countryside. Who are all these people? What is all this stuff in the shop windows? I have to wait to cross the street? What is with all this noise?
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
#11
Have walked the Le Puy route twice and essentially finished in SJPP both times, although the second time my husband and I went to Orrisson the next day and then Roncesvalles, but caught the bus back to SJPP. It was a little anticlimactic...you have to kind of create your finish.
We went to the church and by chance met up with pilgrims we had met a few times en route, when we dropped into the pilgrims office. We all had dinner together and it was a nice evening.
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#13
@brault-singh , good question.

I was passing through and spent the afternoon looking around. The place was full of day trippers.

For many the journey is the thing and any arrival can be an anti-climax. For me, the journey through France was very enjoyable.

A book-end for an arrival at Saint-Jean is an evening Mass at the Parish Church (Eglise de Santa Maria) on the Chemin de Compostelle, complementing the morning Mass at Le Puy Cathedral.

And stopping at Saint-Jean is not necessarily an ending. On the way from Le Puy I met many taking one or two weeks of their annual holidays to complete a number of stages and returning the next year to restart and complete some more stages.

Whatever you decide, kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

Rowena

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015), Chemin de Saint Jacques (2016), Geneva Way (2017), Camino Frances (2018)
#14
We walked from Le Puy to Pamplona. We had already walked in Spain and weren't sure what we would do once in SJPP. We walked until Pamplona and decided we were done and caught a train to Barcelona and spent a couple of days at Monserrat.
We don't tend to do the same thing twice. We like a new adventure so that worked for us.
I agree. I did the same thing. Having already walked from SJPP to Finisterre, I wanted to walk the route in France from Le Puy. SJPP didn’t seem like an ending place, so I went ahead to Pamplona (by taxi and bus, since crossing the Pyrenees once was enough for me) and then on to Barcelona. The next year I walked from Geneva to Le Puy. Ending there was wonderful! I had not seen Le Puy the first time because I had inadvertently decided to set off on the weekend of the grande fête de Renaissance and ended up having to stay 10 km away. The next morning the host drove me back to Le Puy, but the central area was closed to traffic and I didn’t see any of it.
Rowena
 

BShea

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(9/2013) Le Puy
(5/2015) CF
(5/2016) Le Puy
(5/2017) CF
(9/2017) Le Puy
#15
I love ending in SJPdP! As you arrive you enter through the arch and it felt like a wonderful accomplishment. After that experience, I felt the arrival into SdC was anti-climatic. No adorable archway, just a long haul to the Cathedral. That said... most French walkers end in Roncevalles. WP_20170511_13_01_38_Pro.jpg WP_20170511_13_01_38_Pro.jpg
 

Grammy Kin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013); Finisterre (2013); Portugues (2015); King Ludwig’s Way (2016); Via Podiensis (2018)
#16
Le Puy to St Jean takes about a month. It’s a great route and you will feel good on completing it. You won’t get a certificate, even though you’ve earned it as much as anyone walking Sarria to SdC! Here’s what I’d suggest: walk to the point where you started the CF. We had taken a picture on the bridge in St Jean as we started five years ago, and then took a picture at the same spot when we finished Le Puy this September. This gave us a sense of completion and continuity. Much as we might have liked to keep going, there wasn’t time.
 

ERICAST

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2013)
Camino Frances (April 2016)
#17
I walked the Piedmont two years ago. Most of the pilgrims were French, and most of them finished their walk in SJPP. To them, praying and attending Mass at Notre Dame (the old gothic church, just before the bridge) was the highlight of their pilgrimage. They were completely uninterested in the crowds going to Roncesvalles; to them, there was not an "us".
I´d say that the emotional relevance of a destination point is a very personal, subjective (and, given my own bittersweet experience in Compostela) unpredictable issue.
There is also a practical side to consider: SJPP is well communicated, with a short regular hop you are connected to the main railway network or an intl' airport. Roncesvalles, instead, could be difficult, and requires some planning.
Thanks Felipe,I’m planning to walk Le Puy- SJPP in September. I’ve done the CF twice and have no real need to enter Santiago again. The “going home” connections are great from SJPP and thank you for the idea of attending mass at the cathedral in St Jean PP. the Camino really is personal and each of us decides how we want to start, to walk and bring it to an end and then we also have the Camino surprises which will interrupt all agenda 🙂
 
Camino(s) past & future
Completed GR65 (2016)
#18
Good day. We are contemplating our second Camino, walking from Le Puy to SJPDP, but are thinking maybe it won't be as amazing as coming into Santiago. What are your experiences coming to a finish in SJPDP, where many people are just starting their camino?
My 2 trail pals and I came across a blind 68 year old French lady by the name of Linda Vincenze. We were walking from le Puy to SJPDP in April 2016. She had 2% vision which is legally blind. We found her in a forest on the Massif Central where she had been lost for 8 days and nights. Blind, lost in a damp forest with freezing nighttime temperatures, no sleeping bag, only a raincoat for shelter! She was in bad shape. She decided to walk the Compostelle alone "no matter what". We had a quick conference discussion and immediately offered to lead her for the remaining 500+ kilometers. We took turns making sure she wouldn't stray more than a couple of meters from our heels. She relied on her hearing to keep her distance.
When we arrived at SJPDE it had been raining and we were quite muddy; by chance it was my turn to lead her for the last leg into town. Just as we arrived a large(ish) group of bus tourists, with cameras on the ready, were waiting at the edge of town to witness the "arrival of pilgrims". It seems there are bus tours that offer such cultural experiences. Linda couldn't figure out what was what, so I stopped and explained to her why dozens of people were crowding us making progress tricky. We were tired, hungry, cold and wet and really had to go for a pee.
She burst into tears.
The crowd went stone quiet, let us through, then we walked to the Le bureau des pèlerins de SJPDP where we all enjoyed a much deserved pee in privacy where each of us had the time to reflect on what had just happened. It was profound.
 
Last edited:

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#19
...tourists, with cameras on the ready, were waiting at the edge of town to witness the "arrival of pilgrims". It seems there are bus tours that offer such cultural experiences.
Apparently the small-group walking tours of SJPP offer tourists a similar opportunity. I was sitting on the bench inside the SJPP entry gate, late of a morning, waiting for a friend. Along came a small walking tour (maybe 6-8) with a tour guide speaking English. The guide was giving quite limited and somewhat inaccurate information. So I piped up, told the pilgrim story, told my story, and let them try on my pack. Perhaps I made a few recruits? (Although I would not have made the effort with the busload cited above, I must admit.)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (June 2016) - Mixía/Fisterra (July 2016).
VDLP / Sanabrés (April/May 2018)
#20
.... alternatively, would it be an option to walk from SJPP to Le Puy? (Just throwing it out there?)
 

Richo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2014; Via Podiensis 2017, Camino Frances planned for 2018.
#21
My 2 trail pals and I came across a blind 68 year old French lady by the name of Linda Vincenze. We were walking from le Puy to SJPDP in April 2016. She had 2% vision which is legally blind. We found her in a forest on the Massif Central where she had been lost for 8 days and nights. Blind, lost in a damp forest with freezing nighttime temperatures, no sleeping bag, only a raincoat for shelter! She was in bad shape. She decided to walk the Compostelle alone "no matter what". We had a quick conference discussion and immediately offered to lead her for the remaining 500+ kilometers. We took turns making sure she wouldn't stray more than a couple of meters from our heels. She relied on her hearing to keep her distance.
When we arrived at SJPDE it had been raining and we were quite muddy; by chance it was my turn to lead her for the last leg into town. Just as we arrived a large(ish) group of bus tourists, with cameras on the ready, were waiting at the edge of town to witness the "arrival of pilgrims". It seems there are bus tours that offer such cultural experiences. Linda couldn't figure out what was what, so I stopped and explained to her why dozen of people were crowding us making progress tricky. We were tired, hungry, cold and wet and really had to go for a pee.
She burst into tears.
The crowd went stone quiet, let us through, then we walked to the Le bureau des pèlerins de SJPDP where we all enjoyed a much deserved pee in privacy where each of us had the time to reflect on what had just happened. It was profound.
thanks for posting.
What a wonderful story. How kind of you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#22
I would never contemplate any Camino not reaching Santiago -- but then that's me, and I'm one of those pesky "purists" ...
I'm with you on that one.

Whilst I am 100% of the view that the "journey really is the destination" to finish elsewhere might seem a bit weird for me.

Though having said that, at the end of my first Camino arriving in Santiago was a total anti-climax. :oops:

But I had been warned by the good members of the Forum that this can happen.
So I took a bus to Muxia and sat on the rocks looking out at the Ocean........
Now that really felt like a fitting ending.

So I have just contradicted myself :rolleyes:

Confusing stuff isn't it? :oops:
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#23
My 2 trail pals and I came across a blind 68 year old French lady by the name of Linda Vincenze. We were walking from le Puy to SJPDP in April 2016. She had 2% vision which is legally blind. We found her in a forest on the Massif Central where she had been lost for 8 days and nights. Blind, lost in a damp forest with freezing nighttime temperatures, no sleeping bag, only a raincoat for shelter! She was in bad shape. She decided to walk the Compostelle alone "no matter what". We had a quick conference discussion and immediately offered to lead her for the remaining 500+ kilometers. We took turns making sure she wouldn't stray more than a couple of meters from our heels. She relied on her hearing to keep her distance.
When we arrived at SJPDE it had been raining and we were quite muddy; by chance it was my turn to lead her for the last leg into town. Just as we arrived a large(ish) group of bus tourists, with cameras on the ready, were waiting at the edge of town to witness the "arrival of pilgrims". It seems there are bus tours that offer such cultural experiences. Linda couldn't figure out what was what, so I stopped and explained to her why dozen of people were crowding us making progress tricky. We were tired, hungry, cold and wet and really had to go for a pee.
She burst into tears.
The crowd went stone quiet, let us through, then we walked to the Le bureau des pèlerins de SJPDP where we all enjoyed a much deserved pee in privacy where each of us had the time to reflect on what had just happened. It was profound.
What a heart warming story.
And what Angels you were for that Lady!
 

Richo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2014; Via Podiensis 2017, Camino Frances planned for 2018.
#24
When I walked through the Porte de St Jaques in SJPP in 2014 before starting the C.F. I knew that one day I'd be back. The morning I set out I lit a candle for my mother in the church of Notre Dame du Bout du Pont. I'm no longer "of the faith" but I know she would have greatly appreciated the gesture. Arriving in Santiago was an unforgettable experience. Then in 2017 I walked the Via Podiensis. After entering through the Porte de SJ and into SJPP, I headed straight for the church and lit another candle - a small ceremony of completion and gratitude. I then sat in that quiet, dark space for a while to process my emotions. Both entrances were equally unforgettable in their own way. Entering the Plaza Obradoiro was an exhilarating, energy charged, powerful experience. Arriving back in SJPP was gentler - more contemplative, one of quiet joy and gratitude.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Le Puy to Navarrenx April/May 2018 Planning to walk RLS Trail & GR78 Carccassonne in 2019
#25
Good day. We are contemplating our second Camino, walking from Le Puy to SJPDP, but are thinking maybe it won't be as amazing as coming into Santiago. What are your experiences coming to a finish in SJPDP, where many people are just starting their camino?
One of the many joys of walking solo is being able to decide when and where to end your walk, last year I walked the Le Puy route and when I got to Navarrenx I had done enough. There were more and more people on the route and booking accommodation a day ahead was getting more difficult. This year I am planning to walk the RLS route from Le Puy and at the end get a train to Carcassonne then follow GR78 toward SJDP for as far as I want to go, maybe a 6 - 7 week walk
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept/Oct 2015
#27
I liked a lot of that, but it didn't feel like a satisfying end to pilgrimage, so last summer we ended in Roncesvalles. Once again, we had a mountain crossing, we had a border crossing--both good things. But, it was also satisfying to have the evening mass in Roncesvalles to bookend the morning mass in Le Puy, and it also felt special to spend our last day with so many pilgrims on their first day.
Roncesvalles is a good idea, since it seems more spiritual than SJPDP. We stopped in Orisson last time and perhaps we'd be able to walk through from SJ to the monastery in Roncesvalles. Thanks, Dave.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept/Oct 2015
#28
My 2 trail pals and I came across a blind 68 year old French lady by the name of Linda Vincenze. We were walking from le Puy to SJPDP in April 2016. She had 2% vision which is legally blind. We found her in a forest on the Massif Central where she had been lost for 8 days and nights. Blind, lost in a damp forest with freezing nighttime temperatures, no sleeping bag, only a raincoat for shelter! She was in bad shape. She decided to walk the Compostelle alone "no matter what". We had a quick conference discussion and immediately offered to lead her for the remaining 500+ kilometers. We took turns making sure she wouldn't stray more than a couple of meters from our heels. She relied on her hearing to keep her distance.
When we arrived at SJPDE it had been raining and we were quite muddy; by chance it was my turn to lead her for the last leg into town. Just as we arrived a large(ish) group of bus tourists, with cameras on the ready, were waiting at the edge of town to witness the "arrival of pilgrims". It seems there are bus tours that offer such cultural experiences. Linda couldn't figure out what was what, so I stopped and explained to her why dozens of people were crowding us making progress tricky. We were tired, hungry, cold and wet and really had to go for a pee.
She burst into tears.
The crowd went stone quiet, let us through, then we walked to the Le bureau des pèlerins de SJPDP where we all enjoyed a much deserved pee in privacy where each of us had the time to reflect on what had just happened. It was profound.
WOW! What a Camino tale that is! God bless you!
 

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