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Camino Vagabondes

CaminoDeChristiano

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2022
Camino Vagabondes 2024
Hi everyone,

What's the craic? My name is Chris - from Ireland and currently planning my 2nd Camino. The plan is to walk from my front door to Dublin Port, hop on a ferry to Cherbourg, walk through France, and onward to Santiago via the Camino Norte.

In Summer 2022, I had an amazing time completing the Frances from SJPDP and am still in regular contact with many of the friends I met along the way. I'm really looking forward to starting what will be a longer trip around the world with a 1500km plus Camino. What that said, I've got three main questions that I would love some guidance or advice on.

1. What might the accommodation experience be like going through France? I'll be bringing a tent and following a few 'Camino' routes (outlined below in demifferent colours) but curious as to other options such as pilgrim accommodation or staying in churches - as well as wild camping in France

2. How does the Norte compare to the Frances in terms of the social aspect? I'm aware that almost 50% of pilgrims are on the Frances. My walk through France will be a more isolated experience but I'd hope to meet people on the Norte.

3. From Gijon, would people recommend switching to the Primitovo or continuing with the Norte?

Thank You, Ultreia, and Buen Camino

Chris 🇮🇪

Screenshot_20231201_215534_Google Earth.jpg
 
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So I have been doing a route from home I Ireland over a few years - Cherbourg to Mont St Michel, then Voie des Capitales- then I did the Voie Littoral down the coast to Bayonne, then the Via Bayonne/Vasco Interior. These might give you some idea.


From Cherborg there is a marked pilgrim route to Mont St Michel (it is best to use the French version of the website as English version has some key sections missing including accomodation lists)


The Bretagne pilgrim association is great with marking and info On Voie des Capitales

It is definitely worth staying in the pilgrim accommodation on Mont St Michel! From Cherbourg I stayed in the pilgrim themed gite d'etape in Rozel (recommended!l). From Mont St Michel there is a mix of pilgrim gites, gite d'etapes (for hikers) and campsites well set up for pilgrims as far as Clisson. I also stayed with a few pilgrim hosts - the Vendee association were great

Also the link to the Loire association for route close to Nantes

Hope this gets you a little further in your planning!
 
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Hi Chris,

Welcome to the Forums and Buen Camino!

I would recommend asking your three questions separately in the forums focused on those areas. You are likely to get more and better answers that way.
1. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/other-routes-in-france.295/
2. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/camino-del-norte-from-irun.21/
3. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/why-walk-the-camino-where-when-with-whom.297/
Hi David,

Thanks for this great advice. I'll definitely get around to doing so over the coming days.
 
So I have been doing a route from home I Ireland over a few years - Cherbourg to Mont St Michel, then Voie des Capitales- then I did the Voie Littoral down the coast to Bayonne, then the Via Bayonne/Vasco Interior. These might give you some idea.


From Cherborg there is a marked pilgrim route to Mont St Michel (it is best to use the French version of the website as English version has some key sections missing including accomodation lists)


The Bretagne pilgrim association is great with marking and info On Voie des Capitales

It is definitely worth staying in the pilgrim accommodation on Mont St Michel! From Cherbourg I stayed in the pilgrim themed gite d'etape in Rozel (recommended!l). From Mont St Michel there is a mix of pilgrim gites, gite d'etapes (for hikers) and campsites well set up for pilgrims as far as Clisson. I also stayed with a few pilgrim hosts - the Vendee association were great

Also the link to the Loire association for route close to Nantes

Hope this gets you a little further in your planning!
This is class mate - thank you so much. While I have you...what were you looking at budget wise in completing these sections?

I guess I'm hoping to wild camp where I can get away with it to make up money for accommodation when I can
 
France accommodations are definitely more expensive than in Spain and often require a phone call the day before so that they know you are coming. Additionally, most are not the pilgrim-centric places found on the CF, so expect to be treated and charged more in line with being a tourist.

Norte has great accommodations but sometimes you are competing against other non-pilgrim travelers (especially surfers on the coast when the waves appear). You’ll meet far fewer through hikers and many of those won’t be headed to SdC or making a pilgrimage. Overall, it gives that route a different feel, but it’s really beautiful and worth it.
 
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France accommodations are definitely more expensive than in Spain and often require a phone call the day before so that they know you are coming. Additionally, most are not the pilgrim-centric places found on the CF, so expect to be treated and charged more in line with being a tourist.

Norte has great accommodations but sometimes you are competing against other non-pilgrim travelers (especially surfers on the coast when the waves appear). You’ll meet far fewer through hikers and many of those won’t be headed to SdC or making a pilgrimage. Overall, it gives that route a different feel, but it’s really beautiful and worth it.
After many years of walking, I am sticking to the CF: it gives me the "feeling". I have done several other routes, and VdlP comes close, but CF is special to me.
 
After many years of walking, I am sticking to the CF: it gives me the "feeling". I have done several other routes, and VdlP comes close, but CF is special to me.

I completely get what you mean. I loved every moment of the CF - it was like a nomadic community that reunites every day.

I'm definitely torn - I'd like the experience of the coast but I'm aware that 30 days through France followed by the Norte could be quite lonely 😂
 
Chris, whether the walk through France is lonely or not depends a little on whether or not you speak any French, according to my research. (I'm looking at a similar project, but from here in Germany). It will also depend on how often you free camp and how often you stay in official campgrounds or Gites.
Once you hit the Norte however it will be a different story. According to the statistics office over 20,000 pilgrims have walked the Norte this year. That's roughly the same as the Primitivo (which I did in July) and there were plenty of people on that route! They are of course a little more spread out on the Norte but far from non-existent. Neither are anything like the Frances of course (thank goodness).
It is of course season dependent - not sure when you're starting.
Enjoy, and Buen Camino!
 
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Hi Chris, that's my kind of project - good on you mate. I'm looking at doing something similar but other than walking the first couple of hundred k's here in Germany I'm still in the research phase.

Sorry, I have zero experience with either France or the Norte but I'm sure somebody will be along soon...

Personally, I love the Primitivo, but several people have said that last stage of the Norte is particularly nice so it's a bit of a 50/50
 
Depending on the time of year, France has lots of campsites available. It’s very popular in the summer and many places have a municipal campsite run by the local community/government. Facilities vary but it’s worth checking their websites or Google maps of the towns you will pass through.

There are a few different organisations or websites (not pilgrim related) set up where you can organise to stay in people’s houses or gardens. I walked through north eastern France over the past two summers and there are masses of campsites in the summer.
 
When I walked the Norte I turned on to the Primitivo for more variety of scenery, but I did complete the Norte a few years later. It seems on this forum that more often people opt to switch over to the Primitivo as I had done. I read far more posts discussing the Primitivo. Fewer pilgrims on this forum discuss their experiences of walking the second half of the Norte if that is an indication that it is less travelled.
 
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CaminoDeChristiano,

What a splendid new journey you are planning!

For additional pilgrim accommodation throughout France in the local tourist offices do ask about the donativo Chaîne d'Hospitalité Locale .Those who offer pilgrims such hospitality do so for the pleasure meeting/greeting pilgrims as well as helping them.

During past years my husband and I ran a b&b/pilgrim house in our farmhouse facing the Marne river as part of the local Chaine. My first pilgrim shell from 2004 hung at the door marking it as a pilgrim place.

Happy planning and wherever/however you do go Carpe diem.
 
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Depending on the time of year, France has lots of campsites available. It’s very popular in the summer and many places have a municipal campsite run by the local community/government. Facilities vary but it’s worth checking their websites or Google maps of the towns you will pass through.

There are a few different organisations or websites (not pilgrim related) set up where you can organise to stay in people’s houses or gardens. I walked through north eastern France over the past two summers and there are masses of campsites in the summer.
Thanks for the reply mate. I'm lucky in Ireland that there is an acceptance of wild camping that doesn't seem to be the case elsewhere in Europe. What am I looking at budget-wise for campsites?
 
CaminoDeChristiano,

What a splendid new journey you are planning!

For additional pilgrim accommodation throughout France in the local tourist offices do ask about the donativo Chaîne d'Hospitalité Locale .Those who offer pilgrims such hospitality do so for the pleasure meeting/greeting pilgrims as well as helping them.

During past years my husband and I ran a b&b/pilgrim house in our farmhouse facing the Marne river as part of the local Chaine. My first pilgrim shell from 2004 hung at the door marking it as a pilgrim place.

Happy planning and wherever/however you do go Carpe diem.
Thank you for such useful pieces of advice. I would love the opportunity to stay with locals or families so I'll check that out. If you are anywhere along my route, let me know and I'll meet you and your husband for a coffee!
 
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When I walked the Norte I turned on to the Primitivo for more variety of scenery, but I did complete the Norte a few years later. It seems on this forum that more often people opt to switch over to the Primitivo as I had done. I read far more posts discussing the Primitivo. Fewer pilgrims on this forum discuss their experiences of walking the second half of the Norte if that is an indication that it is less travelled.
Thanks for the reply. Having walked both, what would your recommendation be? I've walked the Frances previously and I think there is some overlap with the routes - I'd have to say the last stretch from Sarria was not my favourite part of the Camino although after walking the guts of 1500km, maybe I'd like having people around me again ahaha
 
Hi Chris, that's my kind of project - good on you mate. I'm looking at doing something similar but other than walking the first couple of hundred k's here in Germany I'm still in the research phase.

Sorry, I have zero experience with either France or the Norte but I'm sure somebody will be along soon...

Personally, I love the Primitivo, but several people have said that last stage of the Norte is particularly nice so it's a bit of a 50/50
Thanks Peter - I'm definitely growing in excitement (and mild panic) as June 30th gets closer. What were your takeaways from the Primitivo?
 
Thank you for such useful pieces of advice. I would love the opportunity to stay with locals or families so I'll check that out. If you are anywhere along my route, let me know and I'll meet you and your husband for a coffee!
We would be happy to meet/greet you but we live off your route 100 kn NE of Paris along the Marne river in champagne country. Good luck with your plans.
 
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Thanks for the reply mate. I'm lucky in Ireland that there is an acceptance of wild camping that doesn't seem to be the case elsewhere in Europe. What am I looking at budget-wise for campsites?
While there were definitely areas where some people were happy to wild camp on the GR5 it wouldn’t have been possible everywhere because you’re often on farmland or passing through villages. National park (or equivalent) sections tend to be more amenable to wild camping/ bivvying whether it’s technically allowed or not.

I think a lot of the municipal campsites were under a tenner but it varies. The holiday park type ones run by companies will generally cost a bit (or a lot) more if that’s what’s available that day.

You could also look at Welcome to my garden which is a site for slow travelers (non motorised) where people list their gardens for camping overnight.
 

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