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How to Start the Aragones from Oloron St. Marie, Bedous, or Canfranc Estacion

WanderlustingLawyer

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Aragones (2021); Camino Frances (2018)
For anyone looking to walk the Camino Aragones, which meets up with the Camino Frances at Puente La Reina, I highly recommend starting in Oloron St. Marie or Bedous France and actually crossing the Pyrenees and entering Spain by at Somport. It's remote, stunning scenery, and the Pyrenees crossing is more challenging than the one at Roncesvalles. In this video, I provide detailed instructions for getting to Canfranc Estacion from Barcelona/Madrid, and then continuing on to Bedous and Oloron St. Marie.
 
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biarritzdon

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Thanks, that is very nice video presentation. I did something similar a few years ago, I took the train from Biarritz to Pau and then connected to the train to Oloron. I got there early enough in the day to have and afternoon to explore both towns. The 12th c. cathedral has a very nice vibe about it. I also stayed at the monastery in Sarrance and was feted by the monks who live there.
I would caution anyone who chooses this route to have some Camino experience, it is definitely not one I would suggest for your first time out. I was there in the late spring and I was the only pilgrim on the route between Oloron and Eunate, except for a group of French cyclist I stayed with in Arres.
I regretted not going to San Juan de la Pena, but was fortunate enough to do that years later by car.
PS, you mentioned a dog attack, I had a similar situation with some Alsatians who were guarding their flock of sheep as I was walking along the abandoned train track out of Oloron, thank God I had my pole to repel them.
 
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WanderlustingLawyer

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Aragones (2021); Camino Frances (2018)
Thanks for providing your insight! I too would not recommend this as a first Camino, especially for inexperienced hikers. I saw a few pilgrims, but not tons. I am so so so mad at myself for missing the experience in Sarrance - guess I have to get back! My poles also saved me from the dog - along with my screams, which finally brought the owner running.
 

Paul Davidson

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
For anyone looking to walk the Camino Aragones, which meets up with the Camino Frances at Puente La Reina, I highly recommend starting in Oloron St. Marie or Bedous France and actually crossing the Pyrenees and entering Spain by at Somport. It's remote, stunning scenery, and the Pyrenees crossing is more challenging than the one at Roncesvalles. In this video, I provide detailed instructions for getting to Canfranc Estacion from Barcelona/Madrid, and then continuing on to Bedous and Oloron St. Marie.
Must be one of the most beautiful starts to a Camino.
 

Alan Pearce

Veteran Member
I flew from Paris to Pau, and started my Camino Aragoeese by walking from Pau to Lescar. The next day was a long walk to Oloron, followed by a shorter day the next day to Sarrance where I stayed in the monastery. The next day was a REALLY long walk from Sarrance to Somport I was so tired that night that I could not drink my share of a bottle of wine that we had with dinner.

Be brave. Life is joyous.

Alan
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
I walked from Oloron Ste Marie to Puenta la Reina, then on to Santiago, in the fall of 2016, on my second camino walk. I flew from Calgary to CDG in Paris, bus to Orly, plane to Pau, bus into town then train to Oloron Ste Marie. I had some adventures along the way and met a few other pilgrims at various albergues, in particular, at the wonderful albergue at Arres. I visited San Juan de la Pena by bus from Jaca, and it continues to be my favourite site in all of my pilgrimages. I shall go back one day.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
Great news as I am scheduled to volunteer at the new Albergue in Canfranc mid-September! Afterwards I plan to bus to Oloron St Marie and start the Camino Aragones!
If you start at Oloron Ste Marie, you will be on the Camino d'Arles until you climb up to Somport Pass. That's fine, if that's how you want to do it.
 
Past OR future Camino
Del Norte 2018 & 2019
Camino de Torres 2022
In Early September I flew from Boston into Paris and took the train onto Pau. Stayed in a wonderful Pilgrim supporting B&B in Pau. I then walked to LaCommande and stayed at the tiny 4 bed Hostel there. The next morning I walked to Oloron Ste Marie. Then the next day up the valley to Somport Pass and thence onto the Camino Aragon. Lovely trip until I got to the crowds in Puente la Reina.

Funny, but not so much, was that in France people wouldn't use English with me until they found out that I was a Yankee, then suddenly they discovered they could speak some English. Some grudges are buried not to deeply in this world.
 
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el guapo 123

El guapo
Past OR future Camino
2014 2016 2018
For anyone looking to walk the Camino Aragones, which meets up with the Camino Frances at Puente La Reina, I highly recommend starting in Oloron St. Marie or Bedous France and actually crossing the Pyrenees and entering Spain by at Somport. It's remote, stunning scenery, and the Pyrenees crossing is more challenging than the one at Roncesvalles. In this video, I provide detailed instructions for getting to Canfranc Estacion from Barcelona/Madrid, and then continuing on to Bedous and Oloron St. Marie.
Found that really interesting and video presentation so much better. Agree about crossing the Pyrenees. Next June I plan to take the Valcarlos route which in 3 Caminos. I’ve never taken. Then bus to Pamplona and shared ride BlaBlaCar to Jaca. Bus to Canfranc Estacion and walk from there to Punta La Reina. Who knows I make Finisterre for the first time. Keep the videos coming.
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Past OR future Camino
.
Just chipping in as I'm totally in love with this part of the world and can't resist it..
Basically after leaving Oloron you are following the river Aspe up-stream. As you proceed, the mountains grow on either side, and then you are walking up and up the valley, eventually reaching Somport.
I'd just add that if you are fit, familiar with mountain hiking and walking July to mid-September and, have time to be adventurous, there's some amazing hiking to be had on either side of the valley. On the right side you can head up to the high plateau - type Cirque de Lescun into yr browser's image search. From there you can go up onto the ridge and follow GR11 and HRP to Somport, via the wonderful mountain refuge at Lac d'Arlet.
On the left side you can head off at Etsaut along the famous Chemin de la Mature, cut in to the rock face, on the GR10. This eventually takes you to the equally wonderful refuge at Ayous, from where it's less than 3 hrs easy walking across to Somport. Both routes go over 2000m which is why it's best to wait until July to be sure the snow has melted from the paths.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
My personal view of the relative difficulty in walking over the Pyrenees on the Frances and on the Aragones is different from that of the OP. I walked the Frances for my first camino, from SJPdP to Santiago, at the age of 67, over the Pyrenees with a night at Orisson. The next year I walked the Aragones from Oloron Ste Marie to Santiago, joining the Frances at Puenta la Reina. The OP's comment that the walk up to Somport was more difficult than that to Roncesvalles on the Napoleon does not agree with my experience. I walked from SJpdP to Orissson, then on the next day to Roncesvalles, and found the two days' walk strenuous and challenging, with a short, steep uphill walk on the first day and a longer day with a slippery downhill on the second. From Borce I walked over the col de Somport to the albergue just past the col, in one day, and found that day easier than either day on the Frances: not so steep uphill as the first, nor ending with a steep downhill before I arrived at my accommodation on the second day. My comment may well be a misunderstanding of the comparison, but I would not want pilgrims to avoid the Aragones on the grounds that the walk up to Somport was more difficult that the walk from SJPdP on the Napoleon to Roncesvalles.
 

sharon w

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
We restarted our Chemin d’Arles at Toulouse. Even though the walk wasn’t the best out of Toulouse, the rest of the Chemin was wonderful. We were the only ones in the Gite that night who had walked out of Toulouse. Many take the train to the edge of the city.
Toulouse is very easy to get to, transport wise.
 
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Flog

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021, 2022
My personal view of the relative difficulty in walking over the Pyrenees on the Frances and on the Aragones is different from that of the OP.

I would not want pilgrims to avoid the Aragones on the grounds that the walk up to Somport was more difficult that the walk from SJPdP on the Napoleon to Roncesvalles

Our mood, our energy, the other pilgrims we encounter, the weather etc..
We each experience and reflect on the same path differently, and each have our own opinion, but should yours be the definitive one?
 

anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
It’s not important … but I often read on forum posts and elsewhere that the Aragones joins the Frances in Puenta la Reina. I’ve walked the Aragones twice and the path joined the Frances in Obanos. Puenta la Reina is 2-3 kms further west. Unless I went the wrong way … twice! I only add this because if pilgrims are coming from the Aragones, they have the option to stay in Obanos or walk on to PlaR.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
It’s not important … but I often read on forum posts and elsewhere that the Aragones joins the Frances in Puenta la Reina. I’ve walked the Aragones twice and the path joined the Frances in Obanos.
From Santa María de Eunate there are two ways to go forward on the Francés. One goes to Obanos and the other to Puente la Reina via the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Arnotegui. There is a thread on this.
 
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Pilgrim9

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
My personal view of the relative difficulty in walking over the Pyrenees on the Frances and on the Aragones is different from that of the OP. I walked the Frances for my first camino, from SJPdP to Santiago, at the age of 67, over the Pyrenees with a night at Orisson. The next year I walked the Aragones from Oloron Ste Marie to Santiago, joining the Frances at Puenta la Reina. The OP's comment that the walk up to Somport was more difficult than that to Roncesvalles on the Napoleon does not agree with my experience. I walked from SJpdP to Orissson, then on the next day to Roncesvalles, and found the two days' walk strenuous and challenging, with a short, steep uphill walk on the first day and a longer day with a slippery downhill on the second. From Borce I walked over the col de Somport to the albergue just past the col, in one day, and found that day easier than either day on the Frances: not so steep uphill as the first, nor ending with a steep downhill before I arrived at my accommodation on the second day. My comment may well be a misunderstanding of the comparison, but I would not want pilgrims to avoid the Aragones on the grounds that the walk up to Somport was more difficult that the walk from SJPdP on the Napoleon to Roncesvalles.

Thank you for your contribution to the dialogue, Albertagirl. I enjoy and try to learn from the interplay of various opinions and information sources, especially in this case as I am still researching the Aragones.

I had tentatively put this route aside as being too challenging but having now read your comments, I have re-instated it as a candidate for my next pilgrimage.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
Our mood, our energy, the other pilgrims we encounter, the weather etc..
We each experience and reflect on the same path differently, and each have our own opinion, but should yours be the definitive one?
I look forward to hearing your experiences and opinions on these and on other pilgrim routes which you have walked. This is how we can assist one another in deciding on and preparing our own walks.
 

Flog

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021, 2022
I look forward to hearing your experiences and opinions on these and on other pilgrim routes which you have walked. This is how we can assist one another in deciding on and preparing our own walks.

Indeed.. I have walked both these routes, more than once.
And I do like to offer opinion and advice... when it's asked for.
 

anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
From Santa María de Eunate there are two ways to go forward on the Francés. One goes to Obanos and the other to Puente la Reina via the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Arnotegui. There is a thread on this.
Oh thank you. That explains it.🙏

I’m just going to have to walk the Aragones again 😎
 
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