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Le Puy en Velay to Santiago - Sep / Oct

gb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2005 Le Puy en Velay > Santiago; 2012 Seville > Santiago
#1
I am considering doing the pilgramage route Le Puy - Santiago in Sep/ Oct and would welcome some information on:
Weather
State of the route
Whether refugios / albergues are open in Oct early Nov
Whether there are many pilgrims / other walkers doing the route at that time
and any other info that future or past walkers might like to offer, and, indeed whether anybody is considering any or all of the route at about the same time.

(Ivar: you may have quite al ot of info here on the end of the route.)

Graeme
 

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#2
Graeme,

Going from LePuy in September is quite beautuful...it's harvest season for the grapes and nuts in France. There is a renaissance festival Fete des Oisseaux the second week of September in Le Puy.

It is much more difficult, I felt, than walking from St. Jean and even in last year, a holy year, many of the alberques were already closed along the GR 65 after the middle of September after Conques.

The route flattens out a bit after Moissac, but last year the nights were cold and the skies rainy. Not too many pilgrims after Conques, but enough that one was wise to call ahead.

I imagine that getting to St. Jean along the Camino Frances in October is starting to push it...it can be quite cold and rainy in the mountains around I'Bebriero and definitely wet in Galicia.

The good thing is the gites in France are also used by sports people so there is always a friendly faces omewhere and the guites themselves are much nicer than the refugios after Leon. There weren't crowds but remember the days are much shorter, especially in the mountains, and the dinner hours are later. Many places close after mid September or keep shorter hours I was very surprised, again, as I said, in a Holy Year.

Buen Camino and enjoy the peace of a good autumn journey along gorgeous forested tracks. Oh yes, and remember, if you strictly follow the GR65 in France that the route takes you way out of the way in the interest of safety...often many kms to go around fields and to avoid roads. If you can read maps you can plot your course.
 
#3
It's a common misconception that the GR65 from Le Puy is a pilgrimage route, and an extension of the Camino de Santiago. It isn't, and was never intended to be. It was intended as a walking route through attractive country, linking places of historic and landscape interest. Walking it no more implied you were a pilgrim of St James than walking, say, the Sentier Cathare implies that you are a Cathar. It was based on the places listed in the so-called Pilgrim's Guide, but as there are only 3 of those, that gives you plenty of leeway ;-) Particularly in the early stages, it goes up hill and down dale much more than any medieval pilgrim would have done. If you can read French, there's a history of the GR65 and how it's been distorted by modern band-wagon riders at http://www.saint-jacques.info/lepuy.htm

It's a long time since I walked it (in September) and my info on numbers is way out-of-date, but weatherwise it was hot and dry until Sep 25 (which I remember, as it's my birthday), when it turned much cooler and wetter. The gîtes d'étape on the GR are walkers' shelters, no different from those anywhere else in France. They are generally municipally owned and are not specifically for pilgrims. If you want pilgrim accommodation, there's a list of haltes chrétiennes at http://www.webcompostella.com/chret/chretr_00.html
Some of these are religious communities, some private houses.

I have walked the Camino Francés itself in October/November and would recommend it. It has 2 great advantages IMO: numbers are low, and it's much cooler than the summer. The air can also be fantastically clear. The main disadvantage, as Kathy says, is that the evenings are short - a problem if you want to see the sights. These days many if not most of the albergues are open all year round, but few have any heating and nights can be cold - overnight frosts are quite likely as you get into November. Also, snow is quite possible in the higher places.
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
#4
Hi Graeme, welcome to the board!

You have gotten quite a lot of information from the previous posters, and I really do not have much to add.

But in regards to the number of pilgrims, the closer you get to Santiago the more there will be... especially when you hit the 100km to go mark (the minimum distance to get a Compostelana).

I have talked to a few pilgrims this months that did walk from Leon, and they told me that the part they liked the least was the part in Galicia because it was too crowded :( . That's too bad, since I think Galicia has a lot of good things to offer.

They also told me that when entering Galicia (Camino Frances) they came in to an albergue and found it was full of school children that were on bus trips. The albergue was full and they had to look elsewhere. This said, they did come to the albergue quite late since they were "slow walkers".

Don't know if this was what you were looking for, but thought I would mention it.

Greetings from Sunny and warm Santiago,
Ivar
 

kees

New Member
#5
Le Puy to Santiago in Sept/Oct

Graeme,

You might encounter me,because I am planning to start in Orthez in the Pyrenees Atlantiques in mid September and then finish in very late October.

My experience from earlier years is that the weather in southern France is OK in September,early October, and can be even quite warm,especially after the Massif Central/Cevennes. In Spain it should be fine as well in October, and hopefully not that hot on the Meseta. Around November 1 the weather usually takes a turn with sigificant more rain in Galicia in possibly snow in the Pyrenees, but you will have passed that by that time.

In France it will be reasonably quiet in September, although as some others pointed out, not only pilgrims use the Gites. Most will stay now open at least till early October.
In Spain it should be quieter in October than in September, but of course you will never be the only one. The office in Santiago talks about 50 compostela,s average/daily in October against 100 in September in 2004, but that was a holy year.Hopefully 2005 will be a bit quieter.
Most refugio's are open until late October, but in November surely many will be closed,
Perhaps see you,

Kees
 

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#6
Re: Le Puy to Santiago in Sept/Oct

kees said:
The office in Santiago talks about 50 compostela,s average/daily in October against 100 in September in 2004, but that was a holy year.Hopefully 2005 will be a bit quieter.
where are you getting these figures from, Kees? The official numbers are at http://www.archicompostela.org/Peregrin ... eneral.htm but they still haven't updated them for 2004. The figures I have for 2004 are August, 45,605, September, 22,753, October, 14,556, November, 4,410 which averages out per day at around Aug 1500, Sep 750, Oct 480, Nov 150. 2003 nos av ca Sep 330, Oct 160.

You get an idea of the recent explosion of pilgrim nos when you consider that the 2004 October no is almost as many as for the whole of 1994, and the August daily figure is probably something like 1 every 30 seconds! Nearly 40,000 started in Sarria - more than twice the total no 10 years ago.

PS stats for the accueil in St-Jean-P-d-P are at http://www.aucoeurduchemin.org/spip/aaa ... brique=303
As you can see, only 23% arrived from the Le Puy route; 2/3 arrived by car or train.
 

gb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2005 Le Puy en Velay > Santiago; 2012 Seville > Santiago
#7
To Santiago in Sep/Oct

Thank you all for your replies to my posting: extremely useful background.

Kathy – I think that Sep will be very good in France but acknowledge that in Spain the weather could turn wet towards the end.

Peter – I am having a look at the sites you suggested in both your postings and they are interesting reading (especially as I can cope with both Spanish and French). One site I tried to connect to - aucoeurdechemin – I could not reach (“gateway timeout, couldn’t find server”) but I will have another go on another day unless you have an alternative solution. I am glad you recommend Oct/Nov from personal experience. The numbers of people completing the walk are remarkable.

Ivar – thanks for your comments.

Kees – it’s possible we might meet but, obviously, it depends on start dates, speed of march and other factors, but keep in touch. I have yet to decide my starting date so am flexible at the moment!

Graeme
 
#8
Re: To Santiago in Sep/Oct

gb said:
One site I tried to connect to - aucoeurdechemin – I could not reach (“gateway timeout, couldn’t find server”)
just tried, and it worked w/o problem. Probably some network glitch. Try again. This is the site of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques Amis de St Jacques, who are one of the earliest and most active groups in France. Their website is very good.
 

gb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2005 Le Puy en Velay > Santiago; 2012 Seville > Santiago
#9
Peter - site worked OK this evening; again, of further interest!

Graeme
 

gb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2005 Le Puy en Velay > Santiago; 2012 Seville > Santiago
#10
Le Puy en Velay to Santiago

Kees,

I have now fixed a start date at Le Puy of 25 Aug, so perhaps we will meet.

Graeme
 

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