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Le Puy April 2023 here I come!

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2016 PRIMITIVO 2022 LE PUY 2023
Well I'm back planning my next Camino. I have 10-12 days to walk and have decided to walk the Le Puy route. Some have said to walk the Cele Variant. Does anyone have any advice on how to accomplish this? I walked the Primitivo last year and have heard this is similar in terrain. Thanks in advance
El Lechero
 
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Pafayac

On the way...
Time of past OR future Camino
2021: Le Puy-Cahors. 2022: Cahors-Puente La Reina.
Cele variant ("La Voie du Célé") is very nice, but a bit tough because the way crosses the Célé and goes up and down on the hills of each sides of the river. I went there last summer (2021).
Here are my advices:
  • Before Figeac, in Livinhac-le-Haut, choose the accomodation named "A Chacun son Chemin", because the owner knows very well this variant and will allow you to take pictures of its Miam-Miam Dodo guide if you need.
  • The variant begins just after Figeac, follows the Célé and then join the Lot valley: there are not so many accomodations and they are smaller than in the main way: do not hesitate to book in advance. The "gite municipal" in Espagnac Ste Eulalie and "La Flèche Bleue" in Cabrerets are quite fine.
  • Because the way is along the Célé, it is possible to rent a canoe instead of walking all the way. They will bring the canoe where you want on the river, then take your backpack and wait you at the base. We have done Marcilhac-sur-Célé to Cabrerets by canoe (the base is not far from La Flèche Bleue).
  • If you have time, in Cabrerets, the decorated cave "Pech Merle" is very interesting to visit.
  • After Cabreret, at the confluence of the Célé and the Lot, you will cross the Lot on a railway bridge (there is no more train traffic there). After crossing the Lot, the direct way is right hand. But you should go left hand, follow the towpath, and then walk up to St Cyr Lapopie (and then go down to Bouziès). Both the towpath and the village of St Cyr are worth seeing, you will not regret the detour.
  • Take care that between Cabrerets (or St Cyr if you choose to visit it) and Vers (not so far from Cahors), it may be difficult to buy food.
The Célé variant
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2016 PRIMITIVO 2022 LE PUY 2023
Cele variant ("La Voie du Célé") is very nice, but a bit tough because the way crosses the Célé and goes up and down on the hills of each sides of the river. I went there last summer (2021).
Here are my advices:
  • Before Figeac, in Livinhac-le-Haut, choose the accomodation named "A Chacun son Chemin", because the owner knows very well this variant and will allow you to take pictures of its Miam-Miam Dodo guide if you need.
  • The variant begins just after Figeac, follows the Célé and then join the Lot valley: there are not so many accomodations and they are smaller than in the main way: do not hesitate to book in advance. The "gite municipal" in Espagnac Ste Eulalie and "La Flèche Bleue" in Cabrerets are quite fine.
  • Because the way is along the Célé, it is possible to rent a canoe instead of walking all the way. They will bring the canoe where you want on the river, then take your backpack and wait you at the base. We have done Marcilhac-sur-Célé to Cabrerets by canoe (the base is not far from La Flèche Bleue).
  • If you have time, in Cabrerets, the decorated cave "Pech Merle" is very interesting to visit.
  • After Cabreret, at the confluence of the Célé and the Lot, you will cross the Lot on a railway bridge (there is no more train traffic there). After crossing the Lot, the direct way is right hand. But you should go left hand, follow the towpath, and then walk up to St Cyr Lapopie (and then go down to Bouziès). Both the towpath and the village of St Cyr are worth seeing, you will not regret the detour.
  • Take care that between Cabrerets (or St Cyr if you choose to visit it) and Vers (not so far from Cahors), it may be difficult to buy food.
The Célé variant
Merci beaucoup pour l'information! Combien jours apres Conques tu pense? J'ai 10 ou 12 jours. Je comencerais a Le Puy.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023: Via Francigena, Lucca to Rome
With that amount of time your choices would be:

Le Puy to Conques: Nine to ten days. Add two days to reach Figeac.

Conques to Moissac via La Voie du Célé: Ten to eleven days. Seven to eight days if you end in Cahors.

Both are fantastic, though since most pilgrims bypassed the Célé it felt a bit hors du chemin. It was still wonderful, but ale Puy to Conques would be my recommendation. There's something magical about the morning service in Le Puy, and walking out of the Cathedral and seeing France spread before you. The evening service in Conques is a perfect way to finish a pilgrimage.

I'm not even religious, but I appreciate ritual and tradition. I also like beginnings and endings. You don’t find that in many segments of the Camino.
 
Last edited:

Pafayac

On the way...
Time of past OR future Camino
2021: Le Puy-Cahors. 2022: Cahors-Puente La Reina.
From Conques, here was my experience:
- Livinhac-le-Haut
- Figeac (after Figeac, Célé variant begins)
- Espagnac-Ste-Eulalie
- Cabrerets
- Pasturat
- Cahors
=> 6 days to reach Cahors.
Knowing that I needed 9 days from Le Puy to Conques, if you have 12 days it seems to be a bit short to reach a train station, except if you walk faster than me.

@MichaelC: What do you mean by "hors du chemin" ? Do you think that pilgrims of the XIIIth century followed the GR 65 ? ;-)
 
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EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2016 PRIMITIVO 2022 LE PUY 2023
With that amount of time your choices would be:

Le Puy to Conques: Nine to ten days. Add two days to reach Figeac.

Conques to Moissac via La Voie du Célé: Ten to eleven days. Seven to eight days if you end in Cahors.

Both are fantastic, though since most pilgrims bypassed the Célé it felt a bit hors du chemin. It was still wonderful, but ale Puy to Conques would be my recommendation. There's something magical about the morning service in Le Puy, and walking out of the Cathedral and seeing France spread before you. The evening service in Conques is a perfect way to finish a pilgrimage.

I'm not even religious, but I appreciate ritual and tradition. I also like beginnings and endings. You don’t find that in many segments of the Camino.
Merci mon ami! J'aime bien votre reccomendation!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023: Via Francigena, Lucca to Rome
It was more of an emotional feeling. For non-French speakers, it means “outside the Camino.” I learned the term from French pilgrims. It’s not even a bad thing, just different.

For instance: One night at dinner there were two of us walking, and six who were on a motor tour of SW France. At St Cirq you’re in a tourist town with boutiques and day-trippers. A restaurant had a pilgrim meal, great as usual, but we waited until after the day trippers (who were paying full prices) were gone. It was little things like that.

It was still the Camino, but separate too. And anyone walking the Via Podiensis should 100% consider the variant.
 

Pafayac

On the way...
Time of past OR future Camino
2021: Le Puy-Cahors. 2022: Cahors-Puente La Reina.
It was more of an emotional feeling. For non-French speakers, it means “outside the Camino.” I learned the term from French pilgrims. It’s not even a bad thing, just different.
Indeed, the Cele variant is an historical variant, because the lords of the valley of the Célé protected the pilgrims better than the lords of Cajarc or Limogne did.
I understand that you feel not really on the camino at St Cirq because of tourists. I agree, but it is more or less the same in Conques or in Cahors: there are many tourists. In Conques, the church remember us that it is a master piece of the camino, but you can feel lost among tourists arrived by buses...
On the camino quite often you feel a bit lost because of a crowd: it is the same in Pamplona for instance. However, these towns are on the Camino.
 

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