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Foix - St Girons

peterhore

Peter Hore
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Burgos 2012, Burgos-Muxia 2013, Chemin de la Liberte 2014, Camino Ingles 2016, Rabanal 2017
#1
Does anyone know if there is a pilgrim route over the Pyrenees from Foix or St Girons directly into Spain and NOT via Lourdes, Somport etc?
 

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mspath

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#3
If as julie suggests you did walk from Foix, France, to Berga, Spain, following the Chemin des Bonshommes or Cathars trail at Berga you could continue south ad hoc to Montserrat and then pick up the pilgrim camino Sant Jaume to continue westward towards Logrono and Santiago. Don't miss a visit to the Abbey at Montserrat. What a splendid site and sight it is!
 
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peterhore

Peter Hore
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Burgos 2012, Burgos-Muxia 2013, Chemin de la Liberte 2014, Camino Ingles 2016, Rabanal 2017
#4
If as julie suggests you did walk from Foix, France, to Berga, Spain, following the Chemin des Bonshommes or Cathars trail at Berga you could continue south ad hoc to Montserrat and then pick up the pilgrim camino Sant Jaume to continue westward towards Logrono and Santiago. Don't miss a visit to the Abbey at Montserrat. What a splendid site and sight it is!
Thank you.
If as julie suggests you did walk from Foix, France, to Berga, Spain, following the Chemin des Bonshommes or Cathars trail at Berga you could continue south ad hoc to Montserrat and then pick up the pilgrim camino Sant Jaume to continue westward towards Logrono and Santiago. Don't miss a visit to the Abbey at Montserrat. What a splendid site and sight it is!
Thank you. I first got interested in the Camino when I visited Santiago five years ago on a break from a business trip - and I was intrigued by what bought so many people to the city crowded streets and the cathedral.

Later, when I started to research and write a book about the Marie-Claire escape line in the Second World War, I read scores of reports from the escapers about the routes they had followed into Spain. The Maire-Claire escape line used three routes at different times during. (1) via Sauveterre-de-Bearn (2) via Pau and Oleron and (3) via Foix and Ax-les-Thermes.

Anyway I like to walk the ground when I'm writing history. Not then a caminero but wantign to expericne what it was like I identified (1) and (2) as the pilgrim routes which we use today. I walked from SJPD ... and was drawn on until I reached Santiago and Muxia.

My curiosity was further aroused by a number of churches further east along the Pyrenees which are dedicated to St Jaques. The third route on the Marie-Claire escape line was via Foix, Ax-les-Thermes, etc into Andorra and this was used in 1943. I think this is - at least in part - the Chemin des bonneshommes which Julie has kindly pointed out.

Next month I've going to walk a fourth escape route, the Chemin de la liberte http://www.chemindelaliberte.fr/ in preparation for a full-length Camino later in the year

Interesting to think that in five years of war an estimated 33,000 people used these routes - which as many people as you find in month on the Camino Frances.

Having read J C T Jennings' post about walking from Monserrat, hers is the sort of Camino I would prefer, and inspired by you good people, I'm thinking of switching from the VDLP to the Camino Sant Jaume.

Meanwhile having combined writing with becoming a part-time caminero http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-metaphor-for-life.26582/ , I have a publisher breathing down my neck.


Thank you all for your help.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#5
Peter,

Like yourself I, too, like to walk the ground while remembering history. Here in France I live on the edge of a Marne WW1 battlefield. What memories the land can hold!

On the camino today we can so easily cross the old frontier between France and Spain, but these crossings are heavy with so much history - the battles of Charlemagne, Napoleon and more recent times. In your research of WW2 clandestine escape routes out of occupied France into free Spain and the possibility of eventual freedom have you seen this map depicting the Ligne de démarcation? After the Allied invasion of North Africa (November 8, 1942), the mapped Zone libre/ Free zone would be occupied by the Nazis (November 11,1942) and frontier surveillance increased dramatically.

Have you read about the American journalist, Varian Fry? He helped immensely with refugee escapes from France into Spain. His real story has been told in the 2001 tv movie Varian's War. After the war he was awarded the Croix de Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur and in 1994 he was also honored by Yad Vashem as a "Righteous Among the Nations" for his rescue activities.

His citation in the American Holocaust museum mentions "secret mountain passages". Those passages are these trails we now easily cross in peace. .. May we always remember.

Margaret Meredith
 
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FatmaG

Active Member
#6
Have a look here:

http://vppyr.free.fr/vpp.php

Voie de la Garonne and Voie d'Aure connect southern France and Northern Spain via Jacobean ways before reaching Lourdes. Around Lourdes, there are some other connections you will find at the brilliant web site of vppyr.
The 'Chemin des Bonshommes' isn't a Pilgrims' path, and it is not even a truly 'historical' one. But it was the beautifulest walk I ever made until now.
 

peterhore

Peter Hore
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Burgos 2012, Burgos-Muxia 2013, Chemin de la Liberte 2014, Camino Ingles 2016, Rabanal 2017
#7
Well, I walked the Chemin de la liberte from St Girons in France to Esterri in Catalunia, which was the hardest walk I've ever done. The final pass into Spain at 2,500m+ was closed by snow and ice (in July!) and on the last day we had to make a 2000m descent back into France and take a bus to Esterri to meet our reception committee. However I did have a day to look around on the French side and to visit St Lizier, and, to answer my own question at the start of this thread, there are pilgrim routes north/south through St Lizier and on to Sampol, AND there is a route east/west from St Lizier into Andorra.

Thanks too for your posts - I am inspired by you to try the route via Monserrat next year instead of the Vdlp.

Peter
 


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