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Luggage Transfer Correos

Le Puy musings and plannings....

2020 Camino Guides

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
I am planning to walk Sept 2020. I will have my 40th birthday while overseas.

I was to'ing and fro'ing as to which route to take, as I realistically only have two weeks to walk, initially the Frances seemed the natural choice, but for some reason the Le Puy is very appealing to me over the other choices. I am a competent bush walker who completes long day walks as well as multiday walks solo, being entirely self sufficient with my own pack and equipment. The reasons why I walk are to switch off, focus inwards and not 'need' to make others feel comfortable or supported. Sounds rather selfish, but in my professional life (midwife), I give so much of myself to others, that my walking and the introspection it provides really recharges my batteries. I do like some social interaction at some points though, I am not a total hermit...just a partial one ;-) I love hills and forests rather than coastal views and I prefer uneven footing over paved/hard surfaces. I am quite excited at the thought of Le Puy!

I am looking at walking from Le Puy to Conques as that seems a nice part to do in the time I have. I typically prefer to walk at the very least 20km a day as when solo with only my thoughts for company, I seem to move pretty quickly- given that, I feel I could walk further than Conques in the time I have but also don't want to unnecessarily rush the experience, so am open to what others think of my prospective route.


I am contemplating booking my accomodation through an agency, which is very unlike me as I like to be totally independent and budget-conscious ,but in these initial stages it all seems quite overwhelming to plan out. Living in Australia, I have ventured to South East Asia several times and feel confident winging it there....but Europe! Wowsers, that's so far out of my comfort zone.
The quote I have obtained so far as a solo, self guided traveller with breakfasts and luggage (!a new thing for me) transfers included for 13 days via an Australian company from Le Puy to Conques is $2900 AUD. I am awaiting an international company to provide a quote too.

At the conclusion of my walk, my husband will be meeting me so that we may celebrate our wedding anniversary and the following day, my 40th birthday together. We then intend to travel to Zaragoza, Spain and base ourselves there for a few days so that he may spectate at the Moto GP race in Aragon. He is flying into Barcelona and we will both depart via Barcelona. He is assuming he can hire a car in Spain and travel via road to meet me. I assume I am best to fly into Lyon and then catch a train/bus to Le Puy if I do go ahead with that route.

Am I on the right track , pun intended, with my selection of Camino, given my motivations for, and style of walking? Europe is seeming so daunting to me and far more expensive than South East Asia has been in the past. I would genuinely appreciate any guidance or suggestions so that I can get this dream rolling into more of a reality.

If you made it all the way through this long post, well done to you!
 
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Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
The quote I have obtained so far as a solo, self guided traveller with breakfasts and luggage (!a new thing for me) transfers included for 13 days via an Australian company from Le Puy to Conques is $2900 AUD. I am awaiting an international company to provide a quote too.
The average for demi-pension at gites on the Le Puy is EUR40. Add EUR5 for lunch groceries. Add EUR8 for daily luggage transport (if you really want, although it does not seem necessary to me). Makes about EUR 61 per day, or EUR793 (call it 800) for 13 days. Really. (Makes AusD 1280 at today's rate.)
Even in September, a single walker can call ahead from day to day to make reservations. There is no need at all to engage the services of a travel agency for daily lodging on the Le Puy route. Get a copy of MMD and use the email (in advance, to book English-speaking lodgings) or phone (local, a day or two in advance) for reservations.
But ... avoid leaving Le Puy on a Sunday or Monday in early September.

Welcome to the forum, and Bon Chemin!
 
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andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (12-15); Muxia (15); Portuguese, Primitivo (17); Norte, Ingles, VF partial (18), Le Puy (19)
My wife and I just returned from the Le Puy route. It’s a beautiful walk, and that first part, from Le Puy to Conques, is perhaps the most beautiful of all. There’s also plenty of solitude along the walk itself.

However, $2900 aud sounds like an insane amount to pay. Even when we stayed at relatively high end places (so-called chambre d’hotes) we rarely paid more than 80 euros a night for the 2 of us, and that included breakfast and dinner. If you’re shipping a bag, that will cost you about 8 euros a stage.

We also had no problem booking one day in advance. (We started on September 21). If you’re nervous about doing that, then just make all the reservations yourself in advance. The most comprehensive guidebook, with all the places to stay, is Miam Miam Dodo, best ordered from the publisher, Le Vieux Crayon. It’s in French, but easy to figure out. There’s an app. version in English. Gronze.com also has a section on Le Puy. If you open it in Google Chrome, it will be translated iinto English.

I wrote up a guidebook, which should answer most of your questions. It pops up below, under Older Threads on this topic (How to guide to the Le Puy route).

(After writing this, I saw kitsambler’’s post above. As you can see, we’re both giving you the same advice).
 

O Peracha

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago (2014)
Annapurna Base, Nepal (2014)
GR 5 - Holland to Pompey, France (2015)
Lisbon to Finesterre (2016)
Besides the issue of cost raised by the previous posters, which I agree with, it's also a matter of how you want to walk. Sure, you've eliminated any stress of where you're going to stay the night but you are now locked in. If you decide to adjust your pace, deviate from your route, or decide to walk with someone (who is going further or shorter) you are going to have to change your reservations, not just for one night but possibly the rest of your trip. I would always opt for flexibility. I know that this seems overwhelming right now but everything will fall into place once you get started.

Bon chemin.
 
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Cayou

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Villafranca to SdC 2016 St Jean to LosArcos 2018 Leon to SdC 2019 Le Puy to Conques
Look up Camino Ways and Mac Tours and check their pricing ... Just returned from Le Puy-Conques last month and it was very pretty with friendly people, even with our very limited French. We stayed 2 nights in Le Puy to adjust time and sleep and visited some of the sights.
 

intrepidtraveler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
As for your proposed schedule, you should easily make it to Conques in 2 weeks. Recently I walked this route and reached Conques in 10 days. I am a fairly slow walker and, except for the first 2 days (16-ish kms), walked 20-24 kms per day. I agree with the others about allowing yourself flexibility in scheduling. It's hard to know in advance.where you'll feel inspired to spend more time. Perfect route for a semi-hermit. I found that in August-September the trails were quiet but there were people to socialize with in the evenings, provided that you speak French.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
The Le Puy route seems a good choice. The only downside of this beautiful hike, for some people, is the lack of ability to communicate with the mostly French walkers who predominate.

I have walked all or most of the segments you are considering (Le Puy to Conques) multiple times, and I agree with those who have posted that booking through a travel agency/service is unnecessary and adds expense of little value. Like you, I have travelled extensively in Southeast Asia and if you have navigated Bangkok, Hanoi, or Saigon, you will find France much, much easier.

My thoughts...

You can fly to Paris (CDG airport) and, depending on the timing of your incoming flight, possibly go directly to Le Puy from the airport train station (train transfers will be involved but are not confounding). Flights to CDG are usually cheaper than to Lyon and may not involve an additional airport transfer.

Use the Trainline site to check train departure times and ticket costs. The site can only "look out" 90 days, but you will have a sense of the train timetable -frequency per day and also cost. Trainline has been much more convenient for me than the SNCF site. Link is provided below.

Busy times on this route are May and September. But if you "noodle" around on this forum's Le Puy section, you will frequently come across the recco to reserve ahead. That enables your host to provision and cook for the day's arrivals. It also guarantees a spot for you. You can do so a day ahead and probably secure the lodging of your choice with Easter weekend being the only exception because if it's in May, it will be a very busy time.

Bag transport is easy to arrange, thanks to la Malle Postale. But you've got to know your destination for the morning pickup. So once again a reason to reserve. Link below.

Phone? Several options - get your carrier in OZ to provide some level of service for France. By service I mean calls from your mobile to French landlines and mobile phones so that you can make reservations. Or you could visit the Orange store in Le Puy and buy a cheapie French phone with some minutes. Use Whatsapp, Facetime, or Skype to call home or your husband. You'll have wifi connection almost every day of your walk.

Rental car pickup from Barcelona? Can't comment.

Bon chemin.
 

Carolethecatlover

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2018
HOW MUCH? That is a total rip off. I spent 6 weeks in France including over a week in Paris, and only spent $5000 aussies. I'm in Australia, Sydney too. My average was $45. per day in 2018. I took 4 weeks from Le Puy to Cahors. Slow walk and a couple of rest days. I do speak French (with an awful accent apparently). I did it in JUNE/JULY and it was really empty. I went whole days without seeing another person, lots of cows. I was on my own in the gites. I bought a phone and 28 days connection for $70, and just phoned for the next gite. 'Avez vous un lit pour une femme ce soir? Demi Pension, s'il vous plait." But a lot of hosts speak sufficient English. (As someone who wanted to practise their French, I had to fight off Europeans wanting to practise their English.) Malle Postale is the best!
I also just got on the train under Paris airport Charles de Gaulle to Lyon, a superfast train of 2 and a bit hours,(booked over trainlink from Sydney, go to the station office to collect ticket) then in the same station every 4 hours to Le Puy, but watch out for french train strikes. I would sleep a night in Lyons and eat in one of the Boutain restaurants, delicious and not expensive. (They eat Rabbit!!) Jet lag is a killer. If you pm me, I will give you my MamanDodo guide.
 
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Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - León, Camino Frances (2012 - 2019)
Figeac is 250 km from Le Puy, so doable easily in two weeks, and (in my opinion) nicer than Conques, which is very touristy. Agree with others about the cost. For that money I'd want a Michelin chef every evening! The scenery is beautiful, and the food marvellous. I recommend Alison Raju's The Way of St James as a guide, as well as Miam Miam Dodo.
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
Just finished night shift and reading all these fantastic replies will have me smiling in my sleep as I dream of the incredible adventure I am going to have - on a budget that is within my means. $2900 is a huge amount of money for me to save plus then purchase dinners and lunch.
Feeling so positive that I can manage this, thanks to you all.
I will respond properly when I have slept a little and can work out the forum functions.
You are all wonderful!
 

billmclaughlin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP/Burgos 2012; Le Puy/SJPP 2013; Aumont Aubrac/Aire sur l'Adour 2014; Burgos/Santiago 2016.
Book your first night out of Le Puy, maybe two. That won’t lock you in very much but it will take some stress out of your first days. Looking at my diary that means St. Privat and Saugres.

I made it to Figeac in 13 days, and your experience relative to mine suggests you can do that. Just think how you’re going to fly without a full pack!
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
I cannot believe what a launching point this thread has been for me . The time and knowledge you have each shared with me has allowed me to explore different aspects that I never could have known on my own...or without handing over my hard earned cash to a third party to organise for me!
Now instead, I can focus on paying for my airfares and just saving my spending money. With the money saved from not paying someone else to organise my accommodation, my airfare is nearly covered.

I was indeed planning on starting my walk on a Monday. Thank you for pointing out that is not a good idea. I now see that most places are closed Sun/Mon. Next plan! I would look at the Saturday or possibly even the Friday instead and plan to stock up on lunch time snacks in case I can't get anything on the following days.
New goal is Figeac instead of finishing in Conques. I feel really happy with that idea and think I will have distances that fit with my style of walking and give me a good taster of the trail.

I knew nothing of Lyon but will now definitely stay a night, recover from the loooong trip and eat some amazing food.

Yes, I can't really imagine using a pack transfer company when you all point out that there really is no need. Not only will I not have my tent, stove, fuel cannister etc, I won't be carrying a week's worth of food- so imagine my entire pack weight will be reasonably minimalist any way that I consider it.
Did any of you pack a sleeping bag at all? I have an ultralight down bag (weighs 320grams) that I use in Summer/Spring that I was considering packing.

I will talk to my phone carrier in Oz to see what they can do. They are notoriously bad service providers though, so even if I do set up my existing phone to work in France , I may still need to buy one from Orange once there.

I need to change my profile Future 'Caminos' now that I have a commitment (and utter excitement) about Le Puy. I am so lucky, I can't believe I get to do this! Keep the great info coming,
 

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
Hi Julesy, welcome to the wonderful world of Caminos! Agree with all the other comments, but have a couple of tips. Best to fly into Paris and take the train from there. If you keep your pack light you shouldn't need to have it transferred. We keep ours between 6-8kg. The phone, get an Orange SIM card that will cover your planned usage and just put your Oz SIM in a safe place for when you return home. (We take the Oz SIM out of the phone while on the plane so there's no chance of getting roaming charges) . You should be able to get the Orange SIM at the airport on arrival. Much easier and definitely cheaper than setting up anything with your Oz provider. We only carry a light (-100g) sleeping bag liner just to protect you from possible bedbugs, as the Gites and Albergues always provide a mattress and usually a blanket, pillow and sometimes sheets, also most now provide a throwaway mattress protector. If you plan to stay a night or two in Lyon you can phone or email reservations for Le Puy from there. Then the hosts usually will call ahead for you to reserve the next day. Generally France is slightly more expensive than Spain, but so worth it :) Buen Camino. Cheers, Janette
 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
If you decide to go with Orange for a sim card or a cheap phone, there is a store near the major Lyon rail station. You will need to bring your passport to the store (French security requirement). Being a major city, you can probably find a salesperson who speaks English. Make sure you have that person try out your phone before you leave the store. If you buy a cheap phone with minutes, make sure the salesperson shows you how to use the phone. (There is a locking feature on the one I bought that I was unfamiliar with.)

 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
I am not the most tech savvy person, so that is an excellent point to ask to have supervision to get the phone up and running.
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
alan janette, yes I have seen from my initial research that France will be more expensive than if I were to walk in Spain, I am looking forward to visiting Spain with my husband at the conclusion of the walk, but as you say, France is definitely worth being more costly to explore on foot. The sorts of food provided if choosing DP looks so delicious and wholesome, I am glad to be walking for so many hours each day though or else I would quickly outgrow my clothes I think ;-) Good to know that just a simple liner is all that is necessary rather than sleeping bag. Thanks

Thanks to everyone here, I am now already starting 'ahead of the game' in terms of the funds I will have saved, seeing as I am not paying a third party to book things for me. I love planning trips so much, learning about the places I will visit and day dreaming about the things I will see but this trip has really sparked some seriously intense excitement within me. I suspect I may well get hooked and be planning to go back and finish the Le Puy route as soon as I finish this time...
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
Book your first night out of Le Puy, maybe two. That won’t lock you in very much but it will take some stress out of your first days. Looking at my diary that means St. Privat and Saugres.

I made it to Figeac in 13 days, and your experience relative to mine suggests you can do that. Just think how you’re going to fly without a full pack!
I will do that, I think that will give me time to take some pressure off and adjust to the culture shock I will no doubt experience.
Figeac will be do-able now that I have looked at it. Conques looks lovely, but I think I will be there before I am ready to finish and I have read that it can be a little touristy. I suppose the benefits now of being in charge of my own bookings and having my husband driving to collect me, that I have total freedom to finish up wherever I may happen to. A luxury that I wouldn't have if everything was prearranged for me.

I have read some comments that non French speakers felt lonely on the Le Puy route, would that be accurate for any of you who have walked it? I am happy with my own company, but a social exchange over a meal would be nice.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I have read some comments that non French speakers felt lonely on the Le Puy route, would that be accurate for any of you who have walked it?
It was a bit non-conversational in the evenings the first year I walked the Le Puy (Le Puy to Cahors). So the second year (Cahors to SJPP), (both years in September) I used MMD to book lodgings in advance that were indicated as "English-speaking". The thing is, other English speakers (ie, everyone else but the French) also gravitate toward these same establishments, so they tend to book up early.
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
Excellent idea, thank you! I will try that. Even if I only get lucky once every few days with English speaking Gite owners, that should stop me losing the power of speech on my travels- although I suspect my husband would like it if I finished the trip talking a little less than I do now!

I did take French in highschool for 4 years, but I left high school 23 years ago, so my French is non- existent. I am making the effort to practice every day until I go, but am under no illusion that in 9 months, I will have barely enough language skills to make a booking etc rather than hold a conversation.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I will have barely enough language skills to make a booking
No worries. With the strong local accent, even the Parisians have trouble. So do as the rest of us - ask the gite owner to phone ahead for you for the next night. They all speak the same accent, they all know each other, and they will know to ask about store closings, weather conditions, etc.
 

Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Camino(s) past & future
Bike: Mont St Michel-SdC. Budapest-Vezelay. Alicante-Burgos
Walk: Le Puy-SJPdP. Dax-(CF)-SdC.
Hi Julesy!
I walked Le Puy to St Jean in April 2018. I have nothing to add to what has already been shared, except that once you're underway and feeling confident, you might want to leave booking the night's accommodation until lunchtime. That way you know how your legs feel and how far you might want to go. Learning the French for - "I'm an Aussie pilgrim, is there room for me tonight for dinner, bed and breakfast?" wouldn't be too difficult, and will often result in the rest of a phone conversation being in English!

If you wish, I will DM my accommodation list to you with a quick pen-picture of each place. But do post any more Qs you may have; there's a wealth of knowledge and experience on this forum.

Welcome and 'Bon Chemin!"
 

Hansel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
HOW MUCH? That is a total rip off. I spent 6 weeks in France including over a week in Paris, and only spent $5000 aussies. I'm in Australia, Sydney too. My average was $45. per day in 2018. I took 4 weeks from Le Puy to Cahors. Slow walk and a couple of rest days. I do speak French (with an awful accent apparently). I did it in JUNE/JULY and it was really empty. I went whole days without seeing another person, lots of cows. I was on my own in the gites. I bought a phone and 28 days connection for $70, and just phoned for the next gite. 'Avez vous un lit pour une femme ce soir? Demi Pension, s'il vous plait." But a lot of hosts speak sufficient English. (As someone who wanted to practise their French, I had to fight off Europeans wanting to practise their English.) Malle Postale is the best!
I also just got on the train under Paris airport Charles de Gaulle to Lyon, a superfast train of 2 and a bit hours,(booked over trainlink from Sydney, go to the station office to collect ticket) then in the same station every 4 hours to Le Puy, but watch out for french train strikes. I would sleep a night in Lyons and eat in one of the Boutain restaurants, delicious and not expensive. (They eat Rabbit!!) Jet lag is a killer. If you pm me, I will give you my MamanDodo guide.
Hi Carol, I was thinking about walking in September, but might be tempted to swithch to June/ july,
Thanks Bill
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF14(20)
Aussie Camino15
WHW15
CP16
CdelN Fin/Muxia18
GGW StCuthWay HadrWall CotswoldWay19
Thanks very much Carol for the heads up about walking the Le Puy Route in June/July. We are intending to walk the Via Podiensis in 2021. How did you find the daytime temperatures?
Thanks Julesy for posting this thread and asking your questions, which have elicited very helpful advice for anyone thinking about the Via Podiensis.
Bon Chemin
Anne & Pat
 

BlackRocker57

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route 2014; Le Puy route continuation 2016; Le Puy route 2017; Le Puy route 2019 [incl. Célé]
Hi Carol, I was thinking about walking in September, but might be tempted to swithch to June/ july,
Thanks Bill
Bonjour Bill / Hansel! something to think about re walking June / July is the heat ... this year, frankly, it was unbearable and very hot nights [no aircon and no cool breezes] making sleep difficult ... imho best stick with your September plan ... another thing that I noticed but didn’t particularly bother me, was that the numbers of walkers dropped off sharply as soon as the heat arrived ... very few of us in the trail which is fine BUT there is a downside to that ...
 

BlackRocker57

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route 2014; Le Puy route continuation 2016; Le Puy route 2017; Le Puy route 2019 [incl. Célé]
Excellent idea, thank you! I will try that. Even if I only get lucky once every few days with English speaking Gite owners, that should stop me losing the power of speech on my travels- although I suspect my husband would like it if I finished the trip talking a little less than I do now!

I did take French in highschool for 4 years, but I left high school 23 years ago, so my French is non- existent. I am making the effort to practice every day until I go, but am under no illusion that in 9 months, I will have barely enough language skills to make a booking etc rather than hold a conversation.

Bonjour / Bonsoir! I agree wholeheartedly with most of the posts here ... certainly imho the prices quoted by the aussie walking tour companies for pre-booking your accomm. are a total rip-off ... €50 a day [A$80] for them to send an email ... seriously ... and many of the stages they set are ridiculous ... and above-all, as you know, you end up with no flexibility in your schedule to pick and choose your stages and everything else ...

The Miam Miam Dodo app is a wonderful companion for you to have on this route ... it works like a .gps and you can set the text to english ... it lists most of the accommodation options with prices, a badge to indicate if english is spoken, and a host of other info ... and you can contact places direct from the app ... even though I know this Way very well I twouldn’t leave home without it ...

Best sim card in my experience is Le French Mobile which uses the orange network [equivalent to telstra] but is not a tourist sim which is what they sell in the orange stores in France ... and best of all there is an aussie distributor : Tim at VeloNomad [will post the link]

Something else you might like to consider if you are on FB is to join the private «Way of Saint James Via Podiendis» group where you can access lots of free and comprehensive resources incl. accommodation lists.

with best wishes from fellow aussie and recidivist Le Puy route pilgrim ... happy planning!
 
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KariC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho portugûes (2016)
Thanks, everyone, for this very helpful information - my own trip, starting from Le Puy, is very much in the dreaming phase, not having moved onto planning, so it's great info. A question: everyone seems to assume that making reservations at some point is advisable. My question is whether it's possible on this chemin to just see how far you get in a day and stop there. Secondary question - what times of the year might that be possible (that sweet spot between "so crowded you have to reserve in advance" and "you have to reserve in advance or otherwise they might not even open for the night")? Merci!
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
My question is whether it's possible on this chemin to just see how far you get in a day and stop there.
Theoretically, yes. There is often a space available. But you must be willing to feed yourself without kitchen access, and be willing/able to converse with the French fellow-lodgers. Typically it's the Germans, who do 30-40 km/day stages, who do this. Practically, it's the demi-pension meals that drive the calling-ahead practice. And the few pigs-in-python waves of large groups walking, which take up almost all beds.
Secondary question - what times of the year might that be possible (that sweet spot between "so crowded you have to reserve in advance" and "you have to reserve in advance or otherwise they might not even open for the night")?
The heaviest months on the Le Puy route are May and September. Most gites are only open Easter to All Saints. There is a French school mid-term holiday in late October for two weeks. French vacation period is from Bastille Day to Sept 1. So the end of Sept/Early Oct is one sweet spot. And late April is the other. However, being well into the shoulder season, weather is quite chancy for both these and you will need to pack accordingly.
Another factor to consider is that, quite unlike the Camino Frances, there are not lodgings generally available between towns, and the towns are not closely spaced. So that, although you may feel like walking another 10 km, there's no lodging there.
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
Excellent idea, thank you! I will try that. Even if I only get lucky once every few days with English speaking Gite owners, that should stop me losing the power of speech on my travels- although I suspect my husband would like it if I finished the trip talking a little less than I do now!

I did take French in highschool for 4 years, but I left high school 23 years ago, so my French is non- existent. I am making the effort to practice every day until I go, but am under no illusion that in 9 months, I will have barely enough language skills to make a booking etc rather than hold a conversation.
My french is pretty bad. Well, really bad. I walked from Le Puy to Conques in 2016 in late Sept. I had no problem going day to day and finding food and a place to stay. I walked with some people from Quebec for a few days, and then went off on my own. The tourist offices speak english and are really helpful-- they'll book a place ahead for you, or call a taxi, or find a ride for you. One day I decided to take an alternate route and just asked a youngish guy to call ahead to the village for me in french. Everyone is happy to help. -- You can ship your stuff daily ahead of you-- you don't need someone to plan this out for you. I found the Chemin more ummm... touristy than the camino, and luggage transfer more common. -- I carry my stuff when I walk, but to each her own!

Enjoy the lentils-- ;)


If you have time try walking all the way to Rocamadour!

Bon Chemin!
 
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kelleymac

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
"Another factor to consider is that, quite unlike the Camino Frances, there are not lodgings generally available between towns, and the towns are not closely spaced. So that, although you may feel like walking another 10 km, there's no lodging there."

I ran into this. I ended up slowing down considerably, because if I walked my normal pace I would end up, after a few days walk, having either a very short 8km walk or a 36 km walk in front of me to reach lodging.
[/QUOTE]
 
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Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
Bonjour / Bonsoir! I agree wholeheartedly with most of the posts here ... certainly imho the prices quoted by the aussie walking tour companies for pre-booking your accomm. are a total rip-off ... €50 a day [A$80] for them to send an email ... seriously ... and many of the stages they set are ridiculous ... and above-all, as you know, you end up with no flexibility in your schedule to pick and choose your stages and everything else ...

The Miam Miam Dodo app is a wonderful companion for you to have on this route ... it works like a .gps and you can set the text to english ... it lists most of the accommodation options with prices, a badge to indicate if english is spoken, and a host of other info ... and you can contact places direct from the app ... even though I know this Way very well I twouldn’t leave home without it ...

Best sim card in my experience is Le French Mobile which uses the orange network [equivalent to telstra] but is not a tourist sim which is what they sell in the orange stores in France ... and best of all there is an aussie distributor : Tim at VeloNomad [will post the link]

Something else you might like to consider if you are on FB is to join the private «Way of Saint James Via Podiendis» group where you can access lots of free and comprehensive resources incl. accommodation lists.

with best wishes from fellow aussie and recidivist Le Puy route pilgrim ... happy planning!
I am just learning with this multiquoting business, so hopefully it is not too clunky to read my reply.
I found that FB group and joined yesterday, I am loving looking at the photographs. Very inspiring.

I can see that you are indeed very familiar with this Way. I shall purchase the MMD app closer to my departure, it sounds like it will be invaluable to me. I googled the man who can sell the SIM ahead of time, yes seems very reasonably priced and one less thing to need to think about once I hit the ground in France.

So the end of Sept/Early Oct is one sweet spot.
BINGO! This is when I am going. Luck rather than good management on my behalf. I applied for annual leave in this period almost a year ago as I knew it was my 40th and I also knew it is a hotly contested time to have off my work. I am a midwife and all the Christmas/New Years babies start getting born and work is insanely busy in September and October.

Oh lentils, Kelleymac, my husband will be glad NOT to be on this trip with me. Legumes and I ...hmmm...let's just say don;t like each other once the eating is done
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
Bonjour / Bonsoir! I agree wholeheartedly with most of the posts here ... certainly imho the prices quoted by the aussie walking tour companies for pre-booking your accomm. are a total rip-off ... €50 a day [A$80] for them to send an email ... seriously ... and many of the stages they set are ridiculous ... and above-all, as you know, you end up with no flexibility in your schedule to pick and choose your stages and everything else ...
Ooops missed this in my other multiquote attempt! Thanks to all of you generous more experienced forum members, I can see that it was a bit of highway robbery on the travel agents behalf. It was so overwhelming to even think about the trip at the start, but each little piece of info you have all shared with me is forming the building blocks of confidence. I know I can do this now!

Curious what you meant by the stages being ridiculous as set by the tour companies? Do you mean too long or just not making for the best stops?

One thing I had thought of is had I gone ahead and let them book for me, I may potentially have ended up feeling a bit isolated from the other walkers. In the quote I received, I was getting a single room and no dinner, it wasn't demi-pension they were booking, but breakfast only. I assume I will meet others, even if not English speaking, by sharing a room, or bathroom or dinner table with them.
 

BlackRocker57

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route 2014; Le Puy route continuation 2016; Le Puy route 2017; Le Puy route 2019 [incl. Célé]
Ooops missed this in my other multiquote attempt! Thanks to all of you generous more experienced forum members, I can see that it was a bit of highway robbery on the travel agents behalf. It was so overwhelming to even think about the trip at the start, but each little piece of info you have all shared with me is forming the building blocks of confidence. I know I can do this now!

Curious what you meant by the stages being ridiculous as set by the tour companies? Do you mean too long or just not making for the best stops?

One thing I had thought of is had I gone ahead and let them book for me, I may potentially have ended up feeling a bit isolated from the other walkers. In the quote I received, I was getting a single room and no dinner, it wasn't demi-pension they were booking, but breakfast only. I assume I will meet others, even if not English speaking, by sharing a room, or bathroom or dinner table with them.
Julesy ... you can certainly do it and you are in the best position to take care of yourself cf. a travel agent or walking tour company ... the DP [demi-pension] and the communal meals often with your hosts at the table are a real highlight ...
 

Hansel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
Bonjour Bill / Hansel! something to think about re walking June / July is the heat ... this year, frankly, it was unbearable and very hot nights [no aircon and no cool breezes] making sleep difficult ... imho best stick with your September plan ... another thing that I noticed but didn’t particularly bother me, was that the numbers of walkers dropped off sharply as soon as the heat arrived ... very few of us in the trail which is fine BUT there is a downside to that ...
Bonjour, Blackrocker,
, I have now walked caminos in rain/ hale and tremendous heat, I like walking in shorts and t-shirt , getting the balance can be the hardest bit, around Porto on the coastal route in September this year was almost perfect, quite cool in the morning 13'c warming up to the low 20's in the afternoon.
Merci ,Bill
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
More finer details ponderings:

Keeping an eye on airfare sales and will pull the trigger for the right price, but working out the exact dates has given me a conundrum.
It has been mentioned in this thread and elsewhere to avoid starting walking on a Sunday or Monday, however, what if these days of the week end up being the most suitable to arrive and start?

My annual leave starts on a Monday, buuuut I can sneak in a few extra days of leave if I work my shifts all in the first part of the roster period prior to my leave, so I could actually depart on the Thursday before my annual leave starts, adding a whole four days to my holiday without actually having to ask to take any extra leave. This means I would be hitting the trail before my holidays have even technically started which is exciting.

If I prebooked the first few days of accomodation as far as Saugues and made sure I had some snack bars/nut butters to make up for no lunch availability on the Sunday and Monday, is my plan below workable? Or should I just stop being such an annual leave system scammer and depart on the Monday of my actual leave thus avoiding having to be concerned about starting on a Sunday or Monday?
There is always the opportunity to get EVEN cheekier and try and leave on the Wednesday before my holidays, but that is possibly pushing the envelope a little too far ;-)

Thursday, depart Sydney
Friday morning arrive CDG, Paris, travel on to Lyon, which seems worthwhile of an overnight stop, to get over the 24 hour flight as much as anything else?
Saturday, travel to Le Puy, overnight there
Sunday walk and over night St Privat-d'Allier.
Monday- Walk to Saugues
 

Moominmamma

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (July 2015)
Chiasso - Le Puy (Jan 2015 - July 2017)
Le Puy - SDC (Summer 2018 -)
Bonjour Bill / Hansel! something to think about re walking June / July is the heat ... this year, frankly, it was unbearable and very hot nights [no aircon and no cool breezes] making sleep difficult ... imho best stick with your September plan ... another thing that I noticed but didn’t particularly bother me, was that the numbers of walkers dropped off sharply as soon as the heat arrived ... very few of us in the trail which is fine BUT there is a downside to that ...
This July was insanely hot, walking past 11am was almost impossible. We ended up kayaking (on the Célé and into Estaing) and even walked at night once.

We planned on having a rest day in Conques but although it was gorgeous it was super touristy so we carried on and had our rest day in Figeac and then visited the caves near Rocamadour.
 

Lleslie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Camino Via Podiensis (2018)
Hi Julsey, I can certainly appreciate how busy these last few months have been in the baby business, I work in NICU in Adelaide:)
A friend and I walked the Via Podiensis in May/June 2018. We left Adelaide on a Wednesday evening flying to Lyon via Paris where we had a rest day to recover from jet lag. We did a 'free' (donation) walking tour of Lyon's old town which was great. We travelled to Le Puy on a train strike day but all went well with a train half way then bus to Le Puy arriving about midday on Saturday. We stocked up with lunch items/snacks for the next couple of days and started walking on sunday after mass at 0700 at the Cathedral. We used the Lightfoot Guide to the Via Podiensis by Angelynn Meya which is in english. It gives short overviews of the towns you go through as well as a detailed direction guide, maps, accommodation etc. The elevation profiles look quite intimidating and we preferred the flatter lines of the MMD guide, which we also had, until we realised the Angelynn ones were more realistic! We walked 14 to 26k/day and got to Figeac on day 13. Our French language skills were very minimal but once we had tried out our few sentances and people realised we were from Australia our mangled 'franglish' was forgiven. Most people had some english with the majority being fluent. It's a great route and the dinners at the gites a treat. I have a day by day blog if you want to look at it - walking500more.wordpress.com
Bon chemin, Linda
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
walking500more.wordpress.com
Great! I shall make a cup of tea and sit and have a read, thank you for sharing your blog link, savouring it now will save me from the pile of washing I was intending to fold.

Ahah you are in the same line of work as me, so you 'get' the annual leave manipulating I am attempting.
Very helpful to know that stocking up on snacks allowed you to start your walk off no matter the day of the week.

Did you enjoy the walking tour of Lyon? I am considering not stopping there and continuing on to Le Puy directly- not sure of the best use of my time as yet.
 

Lleslie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Camino Via Podiensis (2018)
Hi Julsey, yes, managed to 'sneak' in the extra days before my leave started by working them at the beginning of the week/doing more the week before. Emerites airline leaves Adelaide at 2200 so able to work an early on wednesday before going out to the airport. We enjoyed Lyon and the walking tour and wish we had another day. After the walking tour we took the cable car up to the hills behind where Roman excavations are then walked over to the cathedral - magnificant. We stayed at the Away Hostel and cafe which was fairly central and a short walk from the train station. The brochure for the 'free walk' was on the notice board. But an extra day in Le Puy would have been good too, we had the afternoon but felt we were rushing around trying to see as much as possible.
Happy planning, Linda
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
Thanks Linda! All very useful info. The ruins would be mind blowing, I can't even quite get my head around something so old.
Ahah, nice work with working and then scooting off.

I am enjoying your blog immensely. I am up to Day 7. I will have to go and collect my youngest two children from school at some point soon though, so shall have to have a break from reading.
 

Lleslie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Camino Via Podiensis (2018)
Enjoy:) all schools in our area closed today - catastrophic fire danger, 42 degrees and very windy!
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
Enjoy:) all schools in our area closed today - catastrophic fire danger, 42 degrees and very windy!
That was us last week too. I work permanent nights so pointed the kids in the direction of the fridge, told them not to use the oven and wake me only if there was literally a fire I needed to know about. Stay safe, let's hope this weather breaks soon.
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
Okay, so my husband and I have pulled together the latter part of our trip and booked accommodation for Spain to holiday and also to attend the Moto GP race while tripping around.

I am organising my trip myself, not through a travel agent, my husband is supportive and encouraging of my adventure, but states he would be happier if I had a 'plan' so back at home he should know where I should be and when. I understand and respect this and think it is entirely reasonable of him, he will be back at home 'holding the fort' and parenting our children while I walk.

I know many of you would say to let it unfold how it will, but it is a big deal that I am able to do this at my point in life and in any case, when I have done multiday walks before, I actually like having clear goals on where I will be- so planning will not detract from my experience at all. Obviously my plan would change if something unexpected happened, but here it is.

I have ended up with 16 days of walking time and will arrive in Le Puy a day and a half ahead of when I start walking , to allow rest and a bit of exploration. Some of my distances may not be entirely accurate, but still closeish enough. I don't 'do' stopping still in the one spot well, so threw in some shorter days among it all to still allow me to keep moving, but allow a bit of a break from the longer days. The Cele variante has stumped me a bit with distances, so any feedback there would be great.

Are there stops you would miss on my plan, things you would recommend I reconsider? Throw your experiences and feedback right at me!

1: Le Puy to St Privat D'Allier (22.7km)
2: Saugues (18.6km)
3: Les Faux 27.7km
4:Aumont Aubrac 20.2km
5: Nasbinals (26km)
6:St Chely D'Aubrac (16km)
7:ESpalion (22.8km)
8: Golinhac (26.7km)
9: Conques: (20km)
10:Livinhac (21km)??? Not sure of distance here, consensus seems to be to avoid Decazeville
11: Figeac (25km)
12:Espagnac: (26km)
13: Marcilhac sure-Cele(15km)
14: St Cirq Lapopie (?????km)
15: Pasturat (30?km)
16: Cahors (22km) Meet my husband there and celebrate our wedding anniversary...and my 40th birthday a few days later!
 

zenofmatthew

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
The dimensions of
length and breadth are now unplanned,
depth and time are cast.

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
This might help you with the distances, at least in the Lot, along the Cele especially. The maps and what I might term subway maps are incredibly helpful. I'm seriously considering going between Figeac and Cahors myself.

https://www.tourisme-lot.com/sites/tourisme-lot/files/content/files/170322_guide_saint-jacques_2017.pdf
That is an excellent resource- thanks a bunch! I was typing in different search terms today and didn't come up with anything half as useful as that.
 

Lleslie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Camino Via Podiensis (2018)
Certainly looks achievable, Julsey. I didn't do the Cele route so can't help you there. I print out a calender for the month/s I'm away and map out which town/village I'm likely to be in each night, bearing in mind that things might change but it gives me a rough idea of distances and where we need to be to finish on time. If I have any accommodation booked I add that info on as well and leave a copy with my husband. I also left him with the contact details of the Australian friends of the Camino and this forum so if he was worried he would have a starting point with people who are familiar with the routes. I do stress to family and friends that sometimes they might not hear from me for a day or two in very rural areas but generally the wifi was good enough to at least send a msge. Loading pictures to blogs was slow/unachievable at times.
Bon chemin, Linda
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
It’s quite do-able to book your accommodations from home if that makes life easier for you. The guidebook Miam Miam Dodo gives contact details for gites and chambre d’hotes.

Something in an earlier thread makes me want to say that often the cheap prices in gites are for a bed in a dormitory. Most of these in France are 6-8 beds in a room and no bunkbeds. You get to meet lots of people if you stay in these, and keep the costs down. Many gites with dorms have kitchens so you can prepare your own food - the guidebook shows a symbol of a cooking pot to indicate if there is a kitchen. Some gites are like hostels, some more like b&bs with option of dinner. I always take the dinner if available as the food is so good.

You will want to carry lunch or hearty snacks with you every day. There are few places along the route where you can buy a lunch, until you arrive in the larger towns. The small villages are often deserted during the day. Water sources are frequent (church yards, cemeteries, parks, and just simply there) but you are walking off road a lot so make sure you carry enough.

The route just skirts the northern edge of the town of Decazeville, which gets a bad rap, imho.

Renting a car in Barcelona isn’t a problem. Your husband can drive it into France to meet you. They drive on the right side 🙂. He’ll want small money to pay tolls.

Do attend the morning mass in Le Puy. I got my very first credential in the sacristy there the day before I started walking. The church is special and the priest will bless your feet and bags.

Bon chemin!
 

Julesy McJulesface

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020 Le Puy
I print out a calender for the month/s I'm away and map out which town/village I'm likely to be in each night, bearing in mind that things might change but it gives me a rough idea of distances and where we need to be to finish on time. If I have any accommodation booked I add that info on as well and leave a copy with my husband.
That is exactly what I have got going on, Linda!
It is all in pencil at the moment and rubbed out and re-written as it evolves, once locked in, I will write it up neatly for my husband so he can follow. Have booked and paid for my accommodation in Cahors and will look to book my gites accomodation sometime early next year once everywhere starts to open again.

All the longer walks (and remote daywalks) I have done in Australia I have been able to provide my husband with my expected route, overnight camps etc. I also bought a Garmin Inreach Mini a year or so ago and that allows him to 'ping' me at anytime to make sure I am moving along as expected and it sends and receives satellite text messages/emails as well as having an SOS function. I will take that along with me as well.

It’s quite do-able to book your accommodations from home if that makes life easier for you. The guidebook Miam Miam Dodo gives contact details for gites and chambre d’hotes.
Excellent, a few people have suggested booking ahead is do-able now as well, which makes me really happy as that is my absolute preference.

I am getting some great recommendations and am penciling them on the date squares too so I have a starting point for making reservations. I don't mind the lack of spontaneity deciding ahead of time, I like to know where I am heading at the end of each day.

Talking about the great meals at the accomodations is making me hungry already Northern Lights- I will be glad to be walking so much as it seems I will be eating a lot more than I normally do!
 

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