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Chemin Le Puy vs. Norte Difficulty

Camino Badges
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
This is a question for those who have walked both the Chemin Le Puy and the Norte. The first week of the Norte I found to be challenging. Lots of up and down with rocky trails. I feel like I'm hearing the same sort of description for the beginning part of the LePuy route. Did you find one to be more challenging than the other or are they fairly comparable with respect to terrain/hilliness? Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
Hi @intrepidtraveler
I’ve walked both - memory could have a lot to do with my answer :)rolleyes:) but Norte -sept 2014 and Le Puy sept 2016. -( so similar start time).
My memory is that the Norte stands out as more strenuous - especially the first week or so. I don’t remember the start out of Le Puy being so hilly.
After that time on either one - you should start feeling trail fit by the end of first week.
Since then I try to walk in European spring. April plus or minus.
Both are great caminos. Try to do both at some stage.
Buen camino
Annie
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy
The start of the Le Puy route is a bit of a slog, but it gets easier. The Norte is more up and down along its length. They aren't either of them as hard as some make them to be. Just don't be too ambitious with your planning on terms of distance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
Hi @intrepidtraveler
I’ve walked both - memory could have a lot to do with my answer :)rolleyes:) but Norte -sept 2014 and Le Puy sept 2016. -( so similar start time).
My memory is that the Norte stands out as more strenuous - especially the first week or so. I don’t remember the start out of Le Puy being so hilly.
After that time on either one - you should start feeling trail fit by the end of first week.
Since then I try to walk in European spring. April plus or minus.
Both are great caminos. Try to do both at some stage.
Buen camino
Annie
Thanks, Annie. Walking both is the plan. I walked the Norte in 2017 and leave on Friday for the LePuy route.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
The start of the Le Puy route is a bit of a slog, but it gets easier. The Norte is more up and down along its length. They aren't either of them as hard as some make them to be. Just don't be too ambitious with your planning on terms of distance.
I'm thinking in terms of 20-25km days for this route instead of my usual 25-30.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Hi, I walked both. If I recall well the first part (from Le Puy to Conques) is hilly, but not too hard. Only the climb out of Conques is long and steep. In my memory the first week on the Norte was a bit harder. But I walked them in different years, so maybe also with different levels of fitness or expectations. But I am sure that if you can walk the Norte you can also walk the Le Puy route.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've walked both, the Norte 2016, LePuy 2018. I think they both start out relatively hard, but one step in front of the other always seems to get the job done.☺
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy
That sounds reasonable. 20 to 25 should be good enough for accommodation.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Did they both and both are tough. I think the Norte overall is tougher because there are ALOT more steep up and downs for a longer period of time. Both are beautiful but in very different ways.. The other comparisons I would suggest (at least for me) is the signage on the Norte is better. I tended to get lost with a blank mind and missed some of the small stripes that guide you in France. There is better infrastructure on the Norte as many shops and cafes are often closed in France because they are in small villages and all seem to keep weird hours. So take food if you can every day. I speak decent Spanish and NO French and communication was often next to impossible. When I walked at least there seemed to be almost exclusively older French and a few other nationalities walking from Le Puy. But who knows if that is accurate. Just who I met. Many of these people spoke little or no English. But they were all kind and generous and we tried to communicate. When I walked from Le Puy I didn't know about Gronze.com and only had a Michelin guidebook that I thought was really inadequate. It is more of an overview than a true guide. There are some other guides. I know if you searched here you could find some good choices. They are both wonderful and both worth walking for sure.
One final thing. People often rave about the food in Spain but let me tell you this, although I have had some wonderful meals, NONE have compared to some of the dinners and breakfasts I ate in some of the GItes in France. They were heaven on earth!!!
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
When I walked at least there seemed to be almost exclusively older French and a few other nationalities walking from Le Puy. But who knows if that is accurate. Just who I met. Many of these people spoke little or no English.
Exactly my experience. Older French couples and French hiking groups. Very few other nationalities. Because of the lack of facilities a lot of auberges offer communal meals. And my French is lousy. So I often sat down being quiet while the French chatted along.

But the GR65 is very scenic. I loved it.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Exactly my experience. Older French couples and French hiking groups. Very few other nationalities. Because of the lack of facilities a lot of auberges offer communal meals. And my French is lousy. So I often sat down being quiet while the French chatted along.

But the GR65 is very scenic. I loved it.
Very similar to my experience in 2018, but I walked with two friends for company and quite a few of the French did speak a little English.
We got lost a couple of times, partly because the GR65 is often marked on both sides of trees as hikers often go in either direction, so it's easy to get turned around for awhile.
I, like you, loved it, and the good totally outweighed any issues!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Exactly my experience. Older French couples and French hiking groups. Very few other nationalities. Because of the lack of facilities a lot of auberges offer communal meals. And my French is lousy. So I often sat down being quiet while the French chatted along.

But the GR65 is very scenic. I loved it.
I too sat quietly at dinner as everyone chatted away. But the food on the table kept me quite occupied and happy!
 

Allyson Hughes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
fall of 2017
Thanks, Annie. Walking both is the plan. I walked the Norte in 2017 and leave on Friday for the LePuy route.
Hi Intrepid....I am leaving tomorrow and also want to do both paths. Have you researched getting from SJPP to the Norte? I haven't. I am sure I can find out when I get there.....just wondering you or anyone else know this.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
Hi Intrepid....I am leaving tomorrow and also want to do both paths. Have you researched getting from SJPP to the Norte? I haven't. I am sure I can find out when I get there.....just wondering you or anyone else know this.
Sorry, I can't help you. When I made my way to the Norte to start I was coming from being a tourist in Seville so came by way of Bilbao. You might want to start a new thread posing that question. I feel like I've seen that topic discussed previously. Buen camino!
 

Dandabika

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Completed GR65 (2016)
This is a question for those who have walked both the Chemin Le Puy and the Norte. The first week of the Norte I found to be challenging. Lots of up and down with rocky trails. I feel like I'm hearing the same sort of description for the beginning part of the LePuy route. Did you find one to be more challenging than the other or are they fairly comparable with respect to terrain/hilliness? Thanks for taking the time to reply.
Hi, I've walked both to include the Primitivo. The Norte and Primitivo are both more challenging than the Le Puy Compostelle GR65. On the GR65 you cross the Massif Central which is a mountain range but it is not as difficult as the ranges on the Norte and Primitivo plus there are more gites along the GR65 than there are albergues on the Norte and Primitivo; that info translates as you have more options to walk lesser distances per day in France.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
Hi, I've walked both to include the Primitivo. The Norte and Primitivo are both more challenging than the Le Puy Compostelle GR65. On the GR65 you cross the Massif Central which is a mountain range but it is not as difficult as the ranges on the Norte and Primitivo plus there are more gites along the GR65 than there are albergues on the Norte and Primitivo; that info translates as you have more options to walk lesser distances per day in France.
Great! Thank you.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi, I've walked both to include the Primitivo. The Norte and Primitivo are both more challenging than the Le Puy Compostelle GR65. On the GR65 you cross the Massif Central which is a mountain range but it is not as difficult as the ranges on the Norte and Primitivo plus there are more gites along the GR65 than there are albergues on the Norte and Primitivo; that info translates as you have more options to walk lesser distances per day in France.
I thought all three of those routes had difficult areas, one no worse than the other...just different. Here are my friends on the Le Puy. 😅
Screenshot_2019-08-10-10-27-11.jpgScreenshot_2019-08-10-10-28-43.jpg
 

Happypilgrimgirl

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (from Pamplona), Camino Portuguese (from Porto)
Hi Intrepid....I am leaving tomorrow and also want to do both paths. Have you researched getting from SJPP to the Norte? I haven't. I am sure I can find out when I get there.....just wondering you or anyone else know this.
Hi, Allyson! We also wanted to combine Camino Frances and Camino del Norte this fall. But can't find direct way from SJPP to San-Sebastian. So we decided to walk to Pamplona, then go to San Sebastian by bus and walk on Camino del Norte )))
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Hi, Allyson! We also wanted to combine Camino Frances and Camino del Norte this fall. But can't find direct way from SJPP to San-Sebastian. So we decided to walk to Pamplona, then go to San Sebastian by bus and walk on Camino del Norte )))
I think that you can walk from SJPDP to Irun. I have found several resources.



 

Simon Shum

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Oct 2013, Porto, San Salvador & Primitivo 2014. Norte 2016, VdLP & Via Francigena 2017
Yikes! Praying for dry weather...
I walked both and just walked the Le Puy route in May/June this year. We had slight rain in the first few days out from Le Puy and you do have to be very careful with your footings! I remembered the Norte being a bit hard but the footing is always quite solid and stable, whereas the Le Puy, especially the first few days up and down the mountains -- lots of loose stones that you could slide on or trip up.

We heard that two middle aged peregrinas fell and broke something, and we met another younger peregrina from Netherland broke her arm tripped up going up hill. So keep your eyes on the footings -- and some area would have warning signs posted to advice you to take the road in the rain instead of the path!
And walking sticks are very helpful for the Le Puy route for me, and I never needed the sticks for the Norte!

Both routes are very beautiful. For the Le Puy route, you would do well with the MiamMaimdodo guide when making reservations (yes you do need some French or ask for fellow pelegrins that are bilingual for help!)
We also took the Cele and Rocamadour variants, not to be missed! Enjoy the beautiful medieval villages, and fantastic home cooked meals!

Bon Chemin!
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
This is a question for those who have walked both the Chemin Le Puy and the Norte. The first week of the Norte I found to be challenging. Lots of up and down with rocky trails. I feel like I'm hearing the same sort of description for the beginning part of the LePuy route. Did you find one to be more challenging than the other or are they fairly comparable with respect to terrain/hilliness? Thanks for taking the time to reply.
I found the first 8 days of the Le Puy route comparable to the first 5 days of the Norte.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
When the going gets tougher than you think you can handle, look to either side and find an easier path..... there is always an easier way.
Hi Dan, We do that whenever possible... there is "usually" an easier path, but not quite always. ☺
 

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