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From Brittany or from Mont-Saint-Michel

Theo

Active Member
To reach the « Tours route » the pilgrims can also start from some less traditional points.

The Mont-Saint-Michel and 4 other starting points in Brittany could fulfil the expectation of many pilgrims thanks to the beauty of their scenic ways and the richness of their heritage and their history linked to the Saint-James pilgrimage :

  • Mont-Saint-Michel : Since their foundation in the High Middle Ages, the Mont-Saint-Michel and Santiago de Compostela are two of the most important pilgrimage shrines of the christian West. During the old times a lot of northern European pilgrims went through the Mont when they were making their way to Galicia.
  • Pointe Saint-Mathieu near Le Conquet : According to the tradition, in the abbey, currently in ruins, at the 9th century, the Saint Matthew’s remains were brought there from Egypt and the place became a Matthew pilgrimage shrine which provided also shelter from storms to boats with Scandinavian pilgrims. It was also a starting point to Galicia.
  • Moguériec near Saint-Pol-de-Léon : Attested as a pilgrim starting point and arriving harbour called Saint-James at the end of the river Guillet estuary crossed by the Saint-James bridge, it keeps still a large, perhaps Hospitaller, old building.
  • Locquirec near Morlaix : There is a legend that calls this small town, 'Breton Compostela' ; it is one of the most important Saint-James centres in Brittany.
  • Beauport Abbey near Paimpol : Founded in 1202, this abbey was a shrine used as a starting point to Compostela and perhaps as a relay for the Saint-James pilgrims coming from the British Isles.
These ancestral Saint-James routes (1500 km in Brittany) have been restored, recognized and waymarked by the Breton Association of the friends of St-James of Compostela :... with the help of the Anjou and Vendée associations beyond Brittany, to the Tours route.

These routes are described in 3 guide books published, only in French until now.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Two maps that might interest you, below:

 

Theo

Active Member
Hi,

HERE a newsletter -- in French, English and Spanish -- released by the French Manche departement about the St-James and St-Michael routes from and to England.

Moreover not to forget the new ferry line -- LD Lines -- between St-Nazaire and Gijon ... so you could reach -- from Mont-St-Michel, on foot -- Santiago in less than a month !

For this ferry line, you can normally only book for cars and lorries.

Send an email to this address :

contact(at)compostelle-bretagne.fr

... to get a phone number to book for the pilgrims ... on foot.

Theo
 

Maddoc55

New Member
Last Year I walked from Mont St. Michel startin with Mass in the Chalpel itself. The route has its problems in that there are relaitvely few herbergements in Britanny and a tent is essential equipment though the route is well way marked. On entering the Vendee the situation is different and one is often accomodated in private house if one eqnuires at the local tourist offices, this was also true south of Nantes and a particulary memorable night was enjoyed courtesy of 'Wigwam Jacques ' on the banks of the Sevres' the local guides produced by the associations of Pelerins de Breton and the Association Vendeene de Pelerins de Saint Jacques (http://www.vendee.compostelle.fr) are filled with useful info about herbergements. The locals are hospitable and regard the walking pilgim with respect, cherry satiety was a problem last year.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I walked the Mont Saint Michel to Surgères stretch last September and found it much as Maddoc55 said. There was only one dedicated pilgrims' hostel (in Antrain), but the mairies in St Médard and Nieul sur l"Autise can locate bunks for you. Given the warm reception I received, I suspect that tourism offices, presbyteries and religious communities could rustle up accommodation in a few mores spots--both Brittany and the Vendée are very Catholic. Major centres (Rennes and Nantes) have youth hostels, as well. Tourisme offices and mairies were extremely helpful and many of them had English-speaking staff.

Pilgrims must rely either on campings or other commercial accommodation-- hikers' gîtes can be found for between €25-40 a night, and camping sites often have cabins or tents available. Otherwise it is chambre d'hote (B&B) or hotel accommodation. The other challenge is that it is either high season when there is much competition for these rooms, or not-high-season and many of them will be closed or their staff and owners on vacation. Advance planning is a good idea.

It is not impossible to manage on English, but you will miss a great deal without French, especially in the countryside and small towns.
 

Theo

Active Member
Hi,

There are more dedicated "pilgrims' hostels" or "gites" than this one used by oursonpolaire in Antrain on the "Voie des Capitales" between Mont-St-Michel and Clisson in Brittany.

The other ones are : Messac, Langon, Redon, Blain, Guenrouet.

With the 2 youth hostels in Rennes and Nantes, 8 accommodations with low prices are available for 14 stages !

For any questions about your walking or cycling in Brittany (click HERE), feel free to send to me a message.

Théo
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
This is good information, Theo, and such contributions show why Ivar's board is golden. Sadly, I only discovered this site after my return. I am not sure if the gite at Messac was open in September--a few days earlier, the tourisme in Rennes was not able to reach anyone by telephone. I had trouble in finding the gite in Blain-- the only person I met who knew about it told me that it was closed that week, and I ended finding a hotel room. With the telephone numbers which can be found in the site Theo commends, others might have better luck than I. As far as accommodation is concerned, it is a route which requires research and planning-- other than that, I recommend it wholeheartedly. People were warm and helpful to pilgrims pretty well everywhere.

I would hope that local pilgrims' groups brief the tourismes in Rennes and Nantes so that they have complete information. I found the tourismes and mairies in smaller places anxious to do everything that they could to be of assistance-- while many of them have English-speaking staff, this is a route where a working knowledge of French would be very useful.
 

Theo

Active Member
....
Because not a lot of pilgrims walk on the Breton St James ways the tourism offices doesn't have accurate information about them.

The best way, in Brittany, to get advice is to ask the Breton Association of the friends of St-James of Compostela about them.

Thank you oursonpolaire to have told what went wrong when you were walking in September. We'll improve that for the next season.

I repeat : everybody, preparing to come on the Breton ways, has to feel free to send to me -- or to our association -- any questions.

You can also use our forum.The posts can be written in English.

Théo
 
Last edited:

Theo

Active Member
Hi,

This guidebook :

http://www.editions-sudouest.com/nos-editions/rando-editions/610-les-chemins-de-saint-jacques-en-bretagne.html

... is now obsolete for the St James Ways in Brittany. It's replaced by 3 new guidesbooks :

http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/guide-et-chemin/voie-de-la-pointe-saint-mathieu
http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/guide-et-chemin/voie-de-locquirec-ou-mogueriec
http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/guide-et-chemin/voie-de-l-abbaye-de-beauport

A 4th new guidebook for a Way starting in Mont-St-Michel is also available :

http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/guide-et-chemin/voie-des-capitales

All these guidebooks can be bought directly on this web site :

https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Compostelle+Bretagne&type=

Those printed in black and white are cheap !

The GPS files are available at the right bottom of each map like this one :

http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/cartes/C01-Etape-Pte-St-Mathieu-Ste-Anne-Portzic.html

If you need more information about the Ways in Brittany, don't hesitate to send me an email.

Théo
 
Last edited:

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Great information, very helpful Théo.
 

Matthew Fitzhenry

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Mont-Saint-Michel to Santiago (one day!)
Hi,

After wanting to do so for many years, I have decided to plan my Camino for 2018. I have decided to start from Mont-Saint-Michel. To reach Santiago by July 25, I plan to begin during the first week of May. I have chosen la Voie de Capitales through Rennes and Nantes. My route is to pass through la Vendée, meet with the Via Turonensis by passing through Saintes, Cognac, cross the Gironde by ferry into Bordeaux then continue to St. Jean and the Camino Frances.

For accommodation in France, I plan to take what I can find between Gîtes d'étapes and what is provided for pilgrims along the way. Of course by then, I want to have good knowledge of French for this adventure (and Spanish).

I will have a few questions for anyone who has walked a similar route. Any other pilgrims seen along this route? I would guess hardly any until at least St. Jean d'Angély.

Matt
(my first post...)
 

Peterthefox

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
none
....
Because not a lot of pilgrims walk on the Breton St James ways the tourism offices doesn't have accurate information about them.

The best way, in Brittany, to get advice is to ask the Breton Association of the friends of St-James of Compostela about them.

Thank you oursonpolaire to have told what went wrong when you were walking in September. We'll improve that for the next season.

I repeat : everybody, preparing to come on the Breton ways, has to feel free to send to me -- or to our association -- any questions.

You can also use our forum.The posts can be written in English.

Théo
Hi,

This guidebook :

http://www.editions-sudouest.com/nos-editions/rando-editions/610-les-chemins-de-saint-jacques-en-bretagne.html

... is now obsolete for the St James Ways in Brittany. It's replaced by 3 new guidesbooks :

http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/guide-et-chemin/voie-de-la-pointe-saint-mathieu
http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/guide-et-chemin/voie-de-locquirec-ou-mogueriec
http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/guide-et-chemin/voie-de-l-abbaye-de-beauport

A 4th new guidebook for a Way starting in Mont-St-Michel is also available :

http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/guide-et-chemin/voie-des-capitales

All these guidebooks can be bought directly on this web site :

https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Compostelle+Bretagne&type=

Those printed in black and white are cheap !

The GPS files are available at the right bottom of each map like this one :

http://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/cartes/C01-Etape-Pte-St-Mathieu-Ste-Anne-Portzic.html

If you need more information about the Ways in Brittany, don't hesitate to send me an email.

Théo
 

freescot

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
La Plata (2010) Portuguese from Coimbra(2010) Levante (2011) La Lana (2013) Francés from Roncevalles to Molinasaca then the Camino de Invierno (2014)
Hi,

After wanting to do so for many years, I have decided to plan my Camino for 2018. I have decided to start from Mont-Saint-Michel. To reach Santiago by July 25, I plan to begin during the first week of May. I have chosen la Voie de Capitales through Rennes and Nantes. My route is to pass through la Vendée, meet with the Via Turonensis by passing through Saintes, Cognac, cross the Gironde by ferry into Bordeaux then continue to St. Jean and the Camino Frances.

For accommodation in France, I plan to take what I can find between Gîtes d'étapes and what is provided for pilgrims along the way. Of course by then, I want to have good knowledge of French for this adventure (and Spanish).

I will have a few questions for anyone who has walked a similar route. Any other pilgrims seen along this route? I would guess hardly any until at least St. Jean d'Angély.

Matt
(my first post...)
How did it go Matt? I'm thinking of starting tomorrow.
 

freescot

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
La Plata (2010) Portuguese from Coimbra(2010) Levante (2011) La Lana (2013) Francés from Roncevalles to Molinasaca then the Camino de Invierno (2014)
I started from Mont. St Michel two weeks ago and was surprised how good an infrastructure it has.

The GPS maps or a link to them with track download in various formats to click at the bottom of the maps can be found here:

https://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/guide-et-chemin/chemin-du-mont-saint-michel#hebergement.

They are listed in the direction towards Mont St. Michel, from just south of Nantes because many people make the pilgrimage to Mont. St. Michel itself.

A current list of pilgrim accomodation, 2017, is here:

https://www.compostelle-bretagne.fr/index.php/12-toutes-langues/francais/del-35/245-hebergement-35-vc

This will get you started. If you choose acceuil pelerins the hosts will point you onwards as will people in the Brittany villages who seem very willing to help.

Generally the walking is easy and flattish. I have only walked to just after Rennes. I can't over-exert myself at the momment and this was an excellent training ground.

I've put a bit of an account here.
 

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