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Detouring to Lourdes from the GR65

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
This summer, I'm excited to be returning to France for another jaunt on the GR65 with a group of my students. This time around, though, we'll be changing things up by detouring to Lourdes before continuing on to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This forum has been really helpful for figuring out how to approach those stages, but I thought it might be useful to others to synthesize my findings. I'll organize it around the stages we'll be following, though there are, of course, lots of other ways to split this up. (Apologies to the admins if it feels like this should be in a different section--I know it overlaps with other routes, but I think it's most relevant to people considering the Lourdes option from the GR-65.)

Part 1: Lectoure to Auch on the GR de Pays “Coeur de Gascogne”

Stage 1: Lectoure to Montestruc-sur-Gers (23km)
>>Route passes through Aurenque (7km) and Fleurance (7km)
>>The most pilgrim-friendly option in Montestruc is Camping En Saubis, a couple of km outside of town

Stage 2: Montestruc-sur-Gers to Auch (28km)
>>Route passes through Puységur (4km), Roquefort (3km), Montaut-les-Créneaux (11km)
>>There is an Accueil Pelerins in Auch, though we'll be staying in the youth hostel Le Noctile due to our size

Part 2: Auch to Maubourguet on the GR-653 (Via Tolosana)

Stage 3: Auch to L'Isle de Noe (24km)
>>Route passes through Barran (16.5km)
>>Accommodation in Gite Moody Blues

Stage 4: L'Isle de Noe to Marciac (31km)
>>Route passes through Montesquiou (8km), Pouylebon (7km), Saint-Christaud (4.5km), and Monlezun (4.5km)
>>We're staying at Gite Laoueillou in Marciac. Pilgrim-friendly accommodation is also possible in Montesquiou (Camping Anjou) and Saint-Christaud (La Grange de Garac).

Part 3: Maubourguet to Lourdes on the GR-101

Stage 5: Marciac to Abbaye Tarasteix (38.5km)
>>I know, I know. We have some long days. We're straining the limits of what we can do this year by adding detours to Lourdes and Rocamadour. The kids can take it
>>Route passes through Auriébat (10km), Maubourguet (8km) (route change from the 653 to the 101 happens after town), Larreule (4.5km), Caixon (4.5km), Saint-Lézer (5.5km)
>>We're staying at the abbey; other pilgrim-friendly accommodation in Maubourguet (Gite l'Eau Vive) and just after it near Lahitte-Toupiere (Happy Coulson)

Stage 6: Abbaye Tarasteix to Lourdes (35km)
>>Route passes through Ibos (14.5km) and Bartrés (17)
>>The walking pilgrim's place in Lourdes is Gite la Ruche. We'll be staying in the Maison Saint Pierre Saint Paul since we're too big for Ruche

Part 4: Lourdes to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the GR78 (Voie des Piémonts)

Stage 7: Lourdes to Lestelle-Bétharram (16km)
>>Route passes through Rieulhes (8km) and Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre (2km)
>>Pilgrim accommodation at the Accueil Notre Dame

Stage 8: Lestelle-Bétharram to Arudy (27km)
>>Route passes through Asson (7km), Bruges (5.5km), Mifaget (3km), and Sainte-Colome (8.5km)
>>Arudy is a detour off-route, but offers pilgrim accommodation in the parish. Asson has two other options

Stage 9: Arudy to Oloron-Sainte-Marie (26.5km)
>>Route passes through Buzy (7.5km), Ogeu-les-Bains (4km), and Ferme Bordes (3.5km)
>>Pilgrim accommodation in Oloron at Le Relais du Bastet

Stage 10: Oloron-Sainte-Marie to L'Hopital-Saint-Blaise (23.5km)
>>Route passes through Moumour (5.5km), Orin (5km), Aren (3.5km), and Préchacq-Josbaig (1.5km)
>>We thought long and hard about diverting from the GR-78 mid-way through this walk and rejoining the GR-65 in Navarrenx, mainly because I like Gite Alchimiste so much. Ultimately, though, we decided to give this route a proper shot
>>Pilgrim accommodation in Gite Pelerin

Stage 11: L'Hopital-Saint-Blaise to Saint-Just-Ibarre (40km)
>>Again: I know, I know
>>Route passes through Capdepont (5.5km), Algare (5.5km), Mauléon-Licharre (6.5km), Garindein (3km), Landrania (4.5km), Ordiarp (2km), Orgambidea (2km), and Evhartsia (10km)
>>We're staying at Gite Etxezaharreta (I copy-pasted that); there's also a gite communal for pilgrims in Mauléon-Licharre

Stage 12: Saint-Just-Ibarre to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (23.5km)
>>Route passes through Plazagaina (1.5km), Ibarolle (2.5km), GR-65 merger (11.5km), and Saint-Jean-le-Vieux (3.5km)

I'll share out how it goes after we get back. We leave Le Puy on 26 June, divert from the GR-65 in Lectoure on 17 July, and arrive in SJPdP on 28 July.

Dave
 
Camino(s) past & future
"Camino from 2013 to 2019" paused for now...

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Hi Dave, very interested in learning how your detour goes, so please keep us updated.

The Arles (GR653) route, with a detour to Lourdes, is on my bucket list, so I guess I would probably walk the GR101 between Maubourguet and Lourdes, and the GR78 between Lourdes and Oloron Ste Marie.

Jill
 

Man in Black

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Finisterre (2017)
Chemin St Jacques (2018)
Rota Vicentina (2019)
I see your pilgrimage takes you thru Oloron St. Marie -- home of a Lindt Chocolate Factory. If you love chocolate this is definitely worth a stop.
 

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Oh, trust me--the students are already well aware of that, MIB!
 

jirit

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
My wife, a friend and myself did the same detour back in 2012
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
Hi Dave I walked the GR101 in 2014, It would be nice if this thread was made a stickie on the Arles route, it's just as relevant, I had difficulty locating info for this route back then and only found Jirit posts afterwards because it never occurred to me to look on the Le Puy threads.

I have stayed at some places you list, you are in for an experience at Edna's, she incredibly hospitable, the Gite is hard to explain, it's bit like a 70's chic bar/ spa which has seen better days.

The distances that you give for Marciac to the Abbaye is 38.5 km, I stopped at the Happy Coulsons about 3 km past Maubourguet, I had to do a little backtracking the next day but my day felt like a 25-27km to the Abbaye, I have seen the distance given as 21km in a couple of places but as 27+ in another, the latter feels more closer to the truth in my opinion.

Hope to follow your posts on this one.

Mike
 

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
The distances that you give for Marciac to the Abbaye is 38.5 km, I stopped at the Happy Coulsons about 3 km past Maubourguet, I had to do a little backtracking the next day but my day felt like a 25-27km to the Abbaye, I have seen the distance given as 21km in a couple of places but as 27+ in another, the latter feels more closer to the truth in my opinion.

Hope to follow your posts on this one.

Mike

Thanks for the feedback, Mike! The online gps tracks pin it around 22km, but those date to before the minor route change out of Maubourguet that seems to have trimmed a bit more. I plan to bring my fancy gps along and get updated tracks for all of these stages, so I should know more then. Regardless, it'll be a long day, but the abbey seems like a nice place to sit around tired--not much else to go see! I am sorry to miss Happy Coulsons, though. Seems like a great spot.

Dave
 

Stacey Wittig

Stand at the crossroads and look
Camino(s) past & future
Leon-Santiago (2005)
Arles-Toulouse (2006)
St. Jean Pied de Port-Burgos (2008)
Lourdes-Santiago (2015)
Le Puy-Santiago (2016)
Camino Primitivo (2017)
Just a little warning: I think it would be VERY difficult to complete your 40km day in that terrain. Take it from someone who lay on the GR-78 crying... and I'm a seasoned pilgrim! Ivar's online bookstore sells my guide, "Spiritual & Walking Guides: Lourdes to SJPP." One of the daily devotionals details the crying episode...
 

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Just a little warning: I think it would be VERY difficult to complete your 40km day in that terrain. Take it from someone who lay on the GR-78 crying... and I'm a seasoned pilgrim! Ivar's online bookstore sells my guide, "Spiritual & Walking Guides: Lourdes to SJPP." One of the daily devotionals details the crying episode...

I appreciate the warning and have your book, Stacey! Our groups are pretty different from a lot of other pilgrims. We train quite a bit in the hills around Portland for months prior to departure. The teenagers are a resilient bunch. (We sometimes have informal soccer or ultimate frisbee matches pop up after the day's walk.) We always try to have a challenging (distance + terrain) day near the end of a pilgrimage, as it tends to be a meaningful experience for the kids, to see how far they've come physically over the course of the trip. Last time around in France, we did 40km on our last day, following the GR10 into Hendaye/Irún, and that was a beast! The students still reflect on it fondly, despite a lot of things going wrong.
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
Hi Dave reading your last post about distances an extra 5 or 6 km on soft woodland trails to the Abbaye shouldn't be a problem, an experience in the mould of Edna's place awaits you there as well.
 

marie Louise

New Member
This summer, I'm excited to be returning to France for another jaunt on the GR65 with a group of my students. This time around, though, we'll be changing things up by detouring to Lourdes before continuing on to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This forum has been really helpful for figuring out how to approach those stages, but I thought it might be useful to others to synthesize my findings. I'll organize it around the stages we'll be following, though there are, of course, lots of other ways to split this up. (Apologies to the admins if it feels like this should be in a different section--I know it overlaps with other routes, but I think it's most relevant to people considering the Lourdes option from the GR-65.)

Part 1: Lectoure to Auch on the GR de Pays “Coeur de Gascogne”

Stage 1: Lectoure to Montestruc-sur-Gers (23km)
>>Route passes through Aurenque (7km) and Fleurance (7km)
>>The most pilgrim-friendly option in Montestruc is Camping En Saubis, a couple of km outside of town

Stage 2: Montestruc-sur-Gers to Auch (28km)
>>Route passes through Puységur (4km), Roquefort (3km), Montaut-les-Créneaux (11km)
>>There is an Accueil Pelerins in Auch, though we'll be staying in the youth hostel Le Noctile due to our size

Part 2: Auch to Maubourguet on the GR-653 (Via Tolosana)

Stage 3: Auch to L'Isle de Noe (24km)
>>Route passes through Barran (16.5km)
>>Accommodation in Gite Moody Blues

Stage 4: L'Isle de Noe to Marciac (31km)
>>Route passes through Montesquiou (8km), Pouylebon (7km), Saint-Christaud (4.5km), and Monlezun (4.5km)
>>We're staying at Gite Laoueillou in Marciac. Pilgrim-friendly accommodation is also possible in Montesquiou (Camping Anjou) and Saint-Christaud (La Grange de Garac).

Part 3: Maubourguet to Lourdes on the GR-101

Stage 5: Marciac to Abbaye Tarasteix (38.5km)
>>I know, I know. We have some long days. We're straining the limits of what we can do this year by adding detours to Lourdes and Rocamadour. The kids can take it
>>Route passes through Auriébat (10km), Maubourguet (8km) (route change from the 653 to the 101 happens after town), Larreule (4.5km), Caixon (4.5km), Saint-Lézer (5.5km)
>>We're staying at the abbey; other pilgrim-friendly accommodation in Maubourguet (Gite l'Eau Vive) and just after it near Lahitte-Toupiere (Happy Coulson)

Stage 6: Abbaye Tarasteix to Lourdes (35km)
>>Route passes through Ibos (14.5km) and Bartrés (17)
>>The walking pilgrim's place in Lourdes is Gite la Ruche. We'll be staying in the Maison Saint Pierre Saint Paul since we're too big for Ruche

Part 4: Lourdes to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the GR78 (Voie des Piémonts)

Stage 7: Lourdes to Lestelle-Bétharram (16km)
>>Route passes through Rieulhes (8km) and Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre (2km)
>>Pilgrim accommodation at the Accueil Notre Dame

Stage 8: Lestelle-Bétharram to Arudy (27km)
>>Route passes through Asson (7km), Bruges (5.5km), Mifaget (3km), and Sainte-Colome (8.5km)
>>Arudy is a detour off-route, but offers pilgrim accommodation in the parish. Asson has two other options

Stage 9: Arudy to Oloron-Sainte-Marie (26.5km)
>>Route passes through Buzy (7.5km), Ogeu-les-Bains (4km), and Ferme Bordes (3.5km)
>>Pilgrim accommodation in Oloron at Le Relais du Bastet

Stage 10: Oloron-Sainte-Marie to L'Hopital-Saint-Blaise (23.5km)
>>Route passes through Moumour (5.5km), Orin (5km), Aren (3.5km), and Préchacq-Josbaig (1.5km)
>>We thought long and hard about diverting from the GR-78 mid-way through this walk and rejoining the GR-65 in Navarrenx, mainly because I like Gite Alchimiste so much. Ultimately, though, we decided to give this route a proper shot
>>Pilgrim accommodation in Gite Pelerin

Stage 11: L'Hopital-Saint-Blaise to Saint-Just-Ibarre (40km)
>>Again: I know, I know
>>Route passes through Capdepont (5.5km), Algare (5.5km), Mauléon-Licharre (6.5km), Garindein (3km), Landrania (4.5km), Ordiarp (2km), Orgambidea (2km), and Evhartsia (10km)
>>We're staying at Gite Etxezaharreta (I copy-pasted that); there's also a gite communal for pilgrims in Mauléon-Licharre

Stage 12: Saint-Just-Ibarre to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (23.5km)
>>Route passes through Plazagaina (1.5km), Ibarolle (2.5km), GR-65 merger (11.5km), and Saint-Jean-le-Vieux (3.5km)

I'll share out how it goes after we get back. We leave Le Puy on 26 June, divert from the GR-65 in Lectoure on 17 July, and arrive in SJPdP on 28 July.

Dave
I followed the first part of this route, starting from Toulouse on the Voie d'Arles route up till Maubourguet. Then I diverted on to the linking route towards Lourdes. The Abbey of Tarastaix is the highlight here. Do not miss. Try staying there on a Sunday if possible, with Mass and communal lunch. Pere J. C. Mercieca is a character worth spending time with.
 

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