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I should hike the Piemont Route. Change my mind!

Camino(s) past & future
St Jean to Burgos 2017
St Jean to Fisterra 2018
St Jean to Fisterra 2020 or Chemin Piemont
#1
I am considering attempting the Piemont in early Spring of 2020. My second attempt at the Frances was fun, a challenge and I had a blast, but Im looking for a more quiet experience next time. So far I have read through what I can find here and elsewhere and the Piemont looks darn good to me.

I am no stranger to France, I live there for a couple of months every year and am familiar with the culture. Unfortunately my french sucks since I spend most of my time in Brittany and everyone there wants to practice their English... sigh.

So, naturally I have a few questions and concerns.

1. How much of this route is paved vehicle road, how much is trail or rural farm road?

2. As of 2018 are there cheaper lodging options or do I need to plan on hotels? Im open to camping if I need to.

3. My French sucks, but I have 600 days to improve that. Will a smattering of tourist French be enough?

4. This is the hard bit. I want to start in Arles(a town I love) and end up in St Jean. Any planners or books recommendations? I have found many but not sure how to link up several of the routes that are outlined.

5. Do folks along the route know what the hell it is? I know of one church in Brittany where there is a camino shell marker in the sidewalk outside that the priest had no idea what it was or who put it there.

6. Can I please have a cookie?

Thanks all your your input and patience.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
#3
Link below furnished to get you started...French study-wise.:) Not too difficult to follow in French and there is always google translate to assist you. This will help you from Narbonne on.

From Arles you would take the Chemin d'Arles westward. From either Montpellier or Saint Gervais sur Mare you would leave the Arles route and head south towards Narbonne. This is based on my Michelin map of the pilgrimage routes in France.

Disclaimer: I have no first hand experience about these routes.

https://www.pelerins-compostelle.org//pelerinage-compostelle-chemin-piemont-etape-itineraire/

Bon chemin.

Tom
 
Last edited:

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caminka

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
#6
I am considering attempting the Piemont in early Spring of 2020. My second attempt at the Frances was fun, a challenge and I had a blast, but Im looking for a more quiet experience next time. So far I have read through what I can find here and elsewhere and the Piemont looks darn good to me.
you can forego GR653 and from near saint-gilles-du-gard follow canal du sete-a-rhone to sete, then a coastal bike/hikelane to narbonne-plage. I've heard of french pilgrims doing that.

very useful accommmodation list: http://www.compostelle-paca-corse.i...331/hebergementspiemontpyreneen18-07-2017.pdf

a pdf I found: http://www.xacobeo.fr/ZE1.11.Pie_ACIR.pdf: relefant info on connecting montpellier with pyrenéen is from p. 6 onwards.

for some of this route you can see my wikiloc tracks from 2012:
https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-...9-saint-gilles-du-gard-aigues-mortes-21943012
from GR653 I followed a local PR route to the canal and then the canal to aigues-mortes. the cheapest hotel was escale just outside the fortified town.

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/camino2012-070-1-aigues-mortes-perols-21944615
I followed a canal then beaches as much as possible to carnon-plage where I went inland to the last tram stop in pérols and into montpellier to sleep in the pilgrim gîte. carnon was too expensive. the next day I took the tram back to pérols and walked on.

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/camino2012-071-perols-frontignan-21945542
there was only a hotel in frontignan at the time. I was invited to a home of a librarian there! but I asked in the pilgrim gîte in montpellier if I could train back to sleep there again if all else failed and they said it wouldn't be a problem.

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/camino2012-072-frontignan-sete-21945889
a short day along the canal to the only hostel on this stretch of the coast.

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-outdoor/camino2012-073a-sete-somewhere-on-d13-25100384
along the beaches then inland to arles. that last part was on roads. I planned to walk through a natural reserve but it was forbidden. agde didn't appeal for a stay so I pushed on and got a lift to saint-thibéry. here I went to the mairie and they were kind to arrange an empty appartment with shower.
the more sensible way would be to follow canal du midi to béziers, but I wanted to see the medieval mill near saint-thibéry.

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/camino2012-074-saint-thibery-beziers-25102995
I dug out a site with a map of a future connection between montpellier and narbonne and made my description according to that. no waymarks. hotel confort offered a free breakfast to pilgrims.

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/camino2012-075-beziers-narbonne-25104489
the same connection continued to narbonne. very nice youth hostel smack in the centre of narbonne. after that I walked a mish-mash route to sentier cathare and then followed this one to foix.

other wikiloc tracks attempting to make the connection:
https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/cuneo-santiago-12-montpellier-sete-19858218
https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/cuneo-santiago-13-sete-portiragnes-19858605
https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/cuneo-santiago-14-portiragnes-narbonne-19858639

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-...celona-day-33-palavas-les-flots-sete-15828763
https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/walk-fraubrunnen-barcelona-day-34-sete-agde-15828764
https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/walk-fraubrunnen-barcelona-day-35-agde-beziers-15828765
https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-...en-barcelona-day-36-beziers-narbonne-15828766

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/54-etapa-roma-santiago-de-compostela-26202986 montpellier - villeveyrac
https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/55-etapa-roma-santiago-de-compostela-26238704 villeveyrac - béziers
 

caminka

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
#7
1. How much of this route is paved vehicle road, how much is trail or rural farm road?
I would say that the route tries very hard to follow paths and lanes and gravel roads, but there are still some road/asphalt stretches. they are probably all minor roads which are very quiet and traffic free in rural france.

2. As of 2018 are there cheaper lodging options or do I need to plan on hotels? Im open to camping if I need to.
see the above post. seems there are still a lot of pilgrim friendly accommodations.

3. My French sucks, but I have 600 days to improve that. Will a smattering of tourist French be enough?
I would recommend a brush up on french. it will greatly enrich your experience and the converstaions with the locals. it helps if you start a conversation with the apology that your french sucks. :p

4. This is the hard bit. I want to start in Arles(a town I love) and end up in St Jean. Any planners or books recommendations? I have found many but not sure how to link up several of the routes that are outlined.
also see the above post.

5. Do folks along the route know what the hell it is? I know of one church in Brittany where there is a camino shell marker in the sidewalk outside that the priest had no idea what it was or who put it there.
um, generally, it seemed to me in 2012 that they did. at least the tourist offices and people I interacted with.

6. Can I please have a cookie?
there you go. 'gives him a cookie.' :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean to Burgos 2017
St Jean to Fisterra 2018
St Jean to Fisterra 2020 or Chemin Piemont
#8
Thank you so very much for posting all of this information! I am in the middle of getting things ready to head to France for a couple of months and haven't been stopping by to check on the forum.

The work fellow pilgrims are willing to put out for others is truly amazing.

M
 


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