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French route and Arles route - connection?

N

norse pilgrim

Guest
#1
I'm flying to Montpellier in June. I'm considering walking the Arles route as Montpellier is located right on the track. But I'm wondering, is this route still in use? Would I easily get lost without a map? Any yellow signs on the way helping me out? I'll be walking alone, so I'm hoping to get in touch with other pilgrims on the way. Should I thus stick to the more travelled route from Saint Jean Pied du Port?

I would still like to take the Napoleon Route across the Pyrenees, though,
because it's supposed to be the most beautiful pilgrim's road across the Pyrenees..... Correct me if I'm wrong!
Any suggestions on how to connect to Saint Jean Pied du Port (train/bus is no hinderance) from the Arles route just before entering the Spanish border will be appreciated.

Have a great summer everyone and enjoy this great site!
 

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#2
norse pilgrim said:
I'm considering walking the Arles route as Montpellier is located right on the track. But I'm wondering, is this route still in use? Would I easily get lost without a map? Any yellow signs on the way helping me out? I'll be walking alone, so I'm hoping to get in touch with other pilgrims on the way.
Yes, the GR653 - generally called the 'Arles route' though it does not entirely correspond to the route in the Codex Calixtinus - is marked right through the city centre as the Camin Romieu, and then on with red/white stripes, not yellow arrows, to Toulouse and the Somport, where the yellow arrows start. It's one of the lesser-travelled routes though.

norse pilgrim said:
I would still like to take the Napoleon Route across the Pyrenees, though, because it's supposed to be the most beautiful pilgrim's road across the Pyrenees..... Correct me if I'm wrong!
Depends on what you mean by beautiful, I suppose. As Pyrenean crossings go, it's rather dull, as it's on tarmac for most of the way up. If you want mountain scenery, you'd be better taking one of the central Pyrenean traverses, though they are all high and so aren't really pilgrims' roads.

norse pilgrim said:
Any suggestions on how to connect to Saint Jean Pied du Port (train/bus is no hinderance) from the Arles route just before entering the Spanish border will be appreciated.
From Oloron, you can use the Chemin du Piemont to connect with SJPdP, which is also shorter than going via the Somport and the Camino Aragones.

See my website for some links for further info.
peterrobins.co.uk/camino/
If you're interested in some of the other Pyrenean passes, use web search for more info; there are some excellent sites with photos of the Pyrenees. I would though stress that the high passes should only be attempted in good weather. They're snow-bound in winter, and in summer electrical storms can be ferocious.
 
#4
Arles Route

The route from Montpellier is the GR653, it is completely marked to
Oloron -Sainte-Marie (south of Pau) in standard FFRP balises. You
can walk to SJPdP from Orloron on the GR10. I am planning to go
from Arles to Santiago via the Somport.
I have done both routes before, I prefer the Somport imho the
actual high level route from SJPdP is probably more scenic but lower
than the Somport however I prefer the route from the Somport to
Puente la Reina to that from Roncesvalles to PlR.
There is also considerably less traffic on this route so the refugios
are not as full.
I would suggest you obtain the guide book "Le Chemin d'Arles"
which even in French is understandable as far as route and
accomodation.
There is also another possibility of getting to SJPdP from
Le Chemin d'Arles, at Maubourget (3 days after Auch) you
are close to Condom on the GR65 (Le Puy route). Alternatively
you could catch the bus from Auch to Lectoure (60 kilometers)
and continue on the Le Puy route from there.
If you have any recent information on the actual trail at
the Somport please pass it on the FFRP no longer supports
the trail from Bedous to the Somport and I am planning on
walking it again in late summer.
Have a good walk.
CU
 

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