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Camping along the way?


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I am considering of walking the Le Puy route (or possibly the Vezelay route) in September.

I have never done any part of the Camino, or any other pilgrim route, but have done large sections of several GRs in France over the last few years. I always carry a tent and camp on the way, either on campings or on the land of farmers (with their permission, of course). As I am a strict vegan, I always carry my own food, which I buy in shops along the way.

The last few days I have reading up on the Le Puy route, both here on these forums and on other websites. Everyone talks about staying overnight and eating in gîtes on the route, and some even discourage walkers from bringing a tent.

I like camping, and have never had much difficulty finding places to stay (though that was mainly in North- and South- Eastern France, never South-West), and campings are generally a lot cheaper than gîtes on the other routes (generally about € 6-8 for a camping vs. € 20-25 for a gîtes). If I buy my own food, I can easily eat for only a few euros a day. As my budget is a little tight, money is of some importance, but not the main consideration.

As I mentioned, I have no experience walking a pilgrim path. Is staying in gîtes merely a cultural (Camino) thing, or are there really few campgrounds along the way? How do pilgrims react to people who do not stay in gîtes (and therefore do not take part in the social aspect of the route, which seems to be very important for most pilgrims)?
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I haven't walked the Le Puy route, but I've walked the Frances, and we saw several people camping. They often camped right outside the alburgues or in the churchyards. It inspired us to take a tent this time. We are walking the VDLP and will take a lightweight screen tent and nysil tarp.

Nobody will frown on you at all.
Go for it!
Thank you, Annie. In a way I was surprised I found so little information about camping. I know it means you have to carry more weight, but the 2kg extra are more than worth it for me. It gives me a lot more flexibility, as you can stop for the day almost whenever you want, and if you learn to pitch your tent in minute, it can provide a very useful shelter when a sudden heavy rainstorm hits you.

I also wonder how busy the Le Puy route would be. The main reason I don't want to walk the Camino Frances (at least not for the time being :) ) is that it is such a popular route. On my walks in other parts of France, I generally meet one or two walkers every two weeks -- not including the local people of course. I know this is very little, and I don't mind meeting more persons, but I do like the solitude (I always walk alone).

For those of you that have walked the Le Puy route, how crowded is it? What should I expect?
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Hallo , the two itineraries you mention are quite different from each other. Number of people are about 10000 per year on Le Puy and about 900 on Vezelay routes , so you see the difference is qiute significant . We've walked both and certainly on Vezelay you'll find less pilgrims and population around you so you will have to be careful about getting food as the little villages very often have no food supply.
Thank you, Giorgio. I didn't know the route via Le Puy was so popular! The scenery is supposed to be nicer on that route (and it is also a little shorter), but I'll look more into the Vezelay route, as I think I prefer less people. As I mentioned, I am used to meeting almost no one on the road, and have no idea what it must be like to travel in bigger groups.

I don't mind carrying food for a couple of days, or even making a small detour to get to a town or village with a shop.
These places show camping facilities along the Le Puy route:


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Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

Perfect, falcon269! This is very helpful. It seems there are quite a few campings on the route.

Where did you find this information?

EDIT: Nevermind. I noticed the url at the bottom of the second page. :)
Hi, it is certainly possible to camp on this route, I met some people camping on the early part Le Puy to Conques. You should be aware though that it can get pretty cold up on the aubrac but I guess if you're used to camping in France you'll be prepared for that.

This is a busy route but I think how busy it is depends on the time of year. One of the folks running a pilgrim gite told me that May was their busiest month and that by July/August it was too hot for the French to be out walking and things were much quieter - I have no idea how this relates to September I'm afraid but it may not be as busy then as other times. I think they possibly start shooting season in October/November so it might be as well to be walked by then, or at least not look too camoflaged! :D
Thanks elzi. I should be prepared for the weather, I think, though I have never walked in that part of France before. I should be comfortable in my sleeping bag in temperatures around 5°C and should be able to survive in temperatures upto -5°C, though I have never tested it. :?

I'm hoping September is not too busy. And if I see some hunters, I might (for the first time!) appreciate the bright orange colour of my backpack's raincover! :D
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

We cycled the Vezelay route (as far a Limoges) last sept/oct. In fact we started from Rheims. WE camped only as far as Vezelay, which was approx the 20 Sept and it was breath-cloud chilly in the mornings. We had (elderly) down sleeping bags and Peter had to wear all his clothes. After that we stayed in pilgrim gites. The Chassain guide gives all the pilgrim gites, camp sites, offers of private homes etc along the Vezelay route as well as detailed route notes, large scale maps and a certain air of superiority! See the web site http://www.amis-saint-jacques-de-compos ... r/?lang=fr
The Le Puy route is pretty high too so I would extect it to be quite cold at night there as well at that time.
We will be cycling from Limoges this year from Sept 20th! May be we will see you?

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