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(First Post) Has anyone done the Arles-CF route and the SJPP-CF that can compare them?

Discussion in 'The Arles route' started by flippinkittin, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. flippinkittin

    flippinkittin New Member

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    Hi!
    I will be doing my first camino this summer. I am trying to decide if I want to start in Oloron or Saint Jean Pied de port. As I understand from the topo map, the France portion is the most climbing that you do on the way. Which route has less elevation change?

    Which route did you enjoy most and why?

    I speak Spanish, but I do not speak French. Should I plan to start in Spain instead?

    Muy amable!
    Buen Camino
    -Kati
     
  2. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    Both cross the Pyrenees, and there is quite an elevation change. There will be fewer pilgrims from Oloron to Puente La Reina. The Camino Aragones is very nice, but hot in the summer. If you want to start in Spain, Pamplona is a good choice.
     
    flippinkittin and Kanga like this.
  3. AJ

    AJ Veteran Member

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    I have walked both and enjoyed both and would agree with Falcon.

    There are FAR fewer pilgrims on the Aragones, which some would prefer. I would hesitate to put one over the other because they are different, so it depends on what kind of experience you want to have. Having said that, if you walk the Aragones and continue to SdC from Puente la Reina, you will have a taste of both worlds which may help you decide what you would prefer to do in the future.

    Be warned though, when you reach Puente la Reina, it will be a shock!!
     
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  4. JabbaPapa

    JabbaPapa "True Pilgrim"

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    I'd actually suggest starting in Oloron, but walking from there to SJPP rather than through the Somport.

    The Somport way is lonelier and some of the sections up from Oloron to the pass can be psychologically difficult (there's no particular physical difficulty, except perhaps in some of the very last few km up to the pass, particularly if you run low on water) -- though the Aragon Way in Spain, especially from Jaca onwards, is very beautiful.
     
  5. BShea

    BShea Active Member

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    Here are three elevation maps. The first shows the route Jabbapapa recommended from Oloron through Saint Jean (Voie des Piemonts). The second shows the route from Oloron through to Puente la Reina (Voie d'Arles). The third shows the route through France that is the "most popular" (Voie du Puy) which is nothing compared to the Frances.
    http://www.chemins-compostelle.com/itineraires/8/la-voie-des-piemonts
    http://www.chemins-compostelle.com/itineraires/6/la-voie-d-arles
    http://www.chemins-compostelle.com/itineraires/10/la-voie-du-puy-en-velay

    It really depends on what you're looking for... the least elevation change vs. the least amount of other walkers. Because I would like to get a couple of days under my belt before tackling the Pyrenees, I am starting in Aroue, France. It is on the Le Puy route and is easily accessible by public bus out of Bayonne. Click on bus 811.
    http://transports64.fr/horaires-interurbains?lang=fr

    On the Voie du Puy, chances are you'll have a slightly easier time being Frenchless. I think they're getting used to more and more non-French speakers. I've heard the Voie d'Arles is pretty isolated.

    Bon chemin!
     
  6. frida1

    frida1 Active Member

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    We are walking the Arles Way, beginning next week. I've done other caminos and understand Arles is much less traveled. Is this what you mean by "psychologically difficult"? Or something else?
     
  7. JabbaPapa

    JabbaPapa "True Pilgrim"

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    No, the Way between Oloron and the Somport is simply tedious as such -- unless you enjoy tarmac in the middle & cliffsides left & right ?
     
    flippinkittin likes this.
  8. frida1

    frida1 Active Member

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  9. flippinkittin

    flippinkittin New Member

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    Thanks for all the thoughtful input! Still haven't made my decision, but I'm sure I'll choose one soon ; )
     
  10. AJ

    AJ Veteran Member

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    I do not agree that it is tedious. There is some fine scenery. However, the road is narrow and may be frightening to those averse to bitumen. I have heard bad things about the path above the river but have no first hand knowledge.
     
  11. JabbaPapa

    JabbaPapa "True Pilgrim"

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    It can be a bit scary in a couple of places, as well as almost impracticably muddy towards the Oloron end.
     
  12. flippinkittin

    flippinkittin New Member

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    Thank you for these elevation maps! They really helped answer my question-if going from Oloron cut out some of the elevation (it doesn't, the big slope is 300 meters higher)

    I think your idea of starting a few days before Saint Jean is a wise one.
     
  13. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    But the bus through the tunnel to Canfranc does cut out all the elevation change...
     
  14. flippinkittin

    flippinkittin New Member

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    Isn't taking a bus cheating?
     
  15. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    No. There is no such thing except getting a Compostela without walking the last 100 km to the Cathedral! :)
     
  16. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Seems to me that if you take the bus and lie about it, that would be a type of cheating whoever you lied to. Otherwise, what are the rules that you would be cheating on?
     
  17. JabbaPapa

    JabbaPapa "True Pilgrim"

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    You're definitely cheating yourself if you do.

    The stage up to the top of the Somport is FAR easier than SJPP > Roncesvalles.
     

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