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Considering the Paris and Tours Route

Cjhubbs97

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Summer and Fall 2016
#1
So really quickly before I ask some questions. I already mention this in another thread but I'll quickly overview just to add some back story. I'm a highschool junior whom is looking to take a gap year in between my highschool graduation and entering college so that I can walk the " El Camino". I have been talking amongst my peers and have found that a few of them have a similar desire to walk it as well. We have been looking at the different routes for the Camino throughout Spain and France and have really been struck by the Paris and Tours Route. I understand from the limited reading I have done that this was one of the medieval starting points for the Camino but that most of the trail has been covered over by highway, infrastructure and such over the years. I have read in some places that this route is not advised for first time pilgrims, I was wondering if you all think it would be a good idea for first time pilgrims many of whom will be 19 years old to walk their first Camino starting with this route? We are trying to stress the point that while my peers and I will help each other fundraise so that we are able to walk the Camino we are not going to be bound to always walk with each other for the whole entire trip. I was wondering if you think this route would be a little difficult for those withe little backpacking experience or if you think it would be manageable? Lastly, are any remaining markers for the Camino on this trail from Paris, part of the trail, or is the trail no longer 'well kept' with markers and such? Thanks for the help!
 

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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#2
I also had romantic notions about walking from Paris because that is where many medieval pilgrims congregated. They actually started from their homes, wherever that was. But I have to say that of all the Caminos we have walked, this was the route I enjoyed the least. Not that it was not enjoyable, just not as pleasurable as others. It may have been because the weather was so horrible but I think not. The infrastructure and accommodation options are limited. Much of the way we had to plot our own path. We did not come across a single other pilgrim until after Poitiers, and one of the finest things about pilgrimage is meeting others who are also walking to Santiago. IMO you do not get the pilgrim experience you get on the Le Puy route. The Paris to Poitiers part of the route feels just like a walk anywhere in France.

In short, it does take a lot more thinking and planning than the route from, for example, Le Puy.

Having thoroughly dished this route I'm sure if you do take it you will be fine and thoroughly enjoy yourselves!
 

Cjhubbs97

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Summer and Fall 2016
#3
Thanks so much for the reply Kanga. I was thinking just as much when it comes to the lack of pilgrims coming from Paris. It kind of intrigues me to be one of the few people to complete a pilgrimage from Paris to Santiago in modern times, but can see that the lack of other pilgrims could kind of deter from the overall message of the pilgrimage especially with it being our first. I'm thinking with it being our first Camino and having limited experience backpacking that it may be a smarter idea to try a different route. We still would like to start further out from Santiago into France seeing that we essentially have half a year to spend walking. I'm intrigued... how long did it take you to walk the Paris and Tours Route vs the Le Puy Route? Thanks for the help :)!
 

pudgypilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
voie de tours 2015
#4
Hi, Cjhubbs. One thing to take into consideration is time limits. Since you say "high school" I'm guessing you're from North America and we're limited by the Schengen rules to 90 days out of every 180 in the whole Schengen group of countries, which includes both France and Spain. So aside from whether or not it's a nice route to walk, there's the problem that you either have to do everything in 90 days or split it up into more than one trip. I personally couldn't do the whole thing in that amount of time, but you're a lot younger than I am. But it's still something to consider in your plans. If you follow the stages in the Guides LePere, they take 39 or 37 days to St Jean (depending on whether you go via Orleans or Chartres), and that includes some really long stages. Then you'd have to add on the time on the Frances, plus getting to and fro. Just something to take into account when you plan your trip.

I saw someplace that you were interested in camping, and LePere generally doesn't recommend this for France, except in regular camp grounds:

"Attention au camping sauvage ou vous pourriez vous retrouvez nez a nez avec un sanglier, un essaim d'abeilles, ou pire...un proprietaire en c0lere."

Having said that I think a couple of people here who've walked that route have camped out some.

FWIW, I do plan to walk from Paris via Chartres myself. Was hoping to do the walk at least to St Jean this fall, but will have to postpone it. There is more interest in this route in France lately, it seems, although it's still the least walked of the major routes.
 

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Cjhubbs97

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Summer and Fall 2016
#6
Thanks so much for your response pudgypilgrim, I really appreciate it. I have heard of the Schegen rules but it didn't click that I should look into those, so doubly thank you for bringing this up (thank you everyone for your responses, you are all so helpful and gracious to us newbies to "El Camino"). Having looked up the Schegen rules it doesn't appear that I will easily be able to circumvent them unless I applied for a long term visa in France which lasts for 12 months and allows for unrestricted access to the Schegen zone during that time. I don't think that will be necessary though because the longest we planned to be in the area was 4 months. Funny enough, when I mapped out the time it would take us to walk from Paris to Santiago was 89 days (leaving Paris on April 7th and getting to Santiago on July 5th, and included two rest days per week). Technically this fits us into the restrictions but I'm not comfortable going that close to the deadline and would have to amend our final schedule if we walked from Paris. I am curious do you think it would be more feasible to walk the Le Puy route connecting to the Camino Frances and getting to Santiago within the 90 day time-frame?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#7
It is about the same distance from Le Puy to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port as from SJPDP to Santiago de Compostela. We haven't walked it on one stage - did the Camino Frances a few times from SJPDP to Santiago, theme went back to walk Le Puy to SJPDP. I'd think 75 days should do it. Any views from those who walked it in one go?

It is a lovely way. Really lovely.
 
A

AJ

Guest
#8
I was wondering if you all think it would be a good idea for first time pilgrims many of whom will be 19 years old to walk their first Camino starting with this route? ...I was wondering if you think this route would be a little difficult for those withe little backpacking experience or if you think it would be manageable?
When I was 19 I was immortal. I hitchhiked from Britain to Greece. I did all sorts of things I would not contemplate doing now. Do it while you can!!
 

Silverton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2003-2004, 2006-2011, 2013-2016), Portugués from Porto (2012), from Tui (2014), Sanabres (2010), Aragon (2007) Carríon de los Condes to ?? (April 2016)
#9
CJ,
Could your avatar just possibly be Mt Thielsen?? It seems to jog a memory from my Oregon past. If you are from the Pacific NW, you might easily find a copy of (Spokane) Fr Kevin Codd's excellent book 'To the Field of Stars'. It's a superb account of his own experiences, walking through France and the Camino Francés (maybe that's why you're thinking of the Paris route?) Keep reading and planning--and maybe lots of peanut butter to build the bulk! You've plenty of time to work on routes and gear with your friends, and the camino is a great goal for all of us, young and old(er).
Ultreya!
 

Cjhubbs97

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Summer and Fall 2016
#10
My avatar actually is a picture of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, my home-state. I have some friends from the Pacific North West though. I'll definitely have to keep a look out for that book, I recently just started my first permanent part time job (all my previous jobs were seasonal) so once I have some money saved up I'll have to go buy a few of the books you all have been suggesting. Hopefully the peanut-butter will help, I like peanut-butter so that shouldn't be too hard for me to consume tons of.
 

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