Le Puy to Santiago questions


2018 edition Camino Guides

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
#1
I had to delay my Camino for a year, but still have my heart and mind set on it for 2017. And I have my heart, if not my mind, set on starting in Le Puy. I go back and forth on whether to attempt the Via Podiensis + the Camino Francés, or to just choose one. Both look so amazing, and yet so different.

I'm wondering what people's experiences were who did this same route. Was it too much, i.e., were you ready to be finished by the time you cross the Pyrenees? Or, alternatively, do you find that you had settled into a groove by the time you entered Spain?
 

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Davey Boyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Geneva - Santiago via the San Salvador and Primitivo
2015 SJPdP - Santiago and Finisterra
2016 Camino Frances - Finisterra - Muxia via San Salvador/Primitivo then back to SJPdP (in winter)
2017 VDLP April 5th
#2
Hi Michael! The Via Podiensis and Camino Frances is a great combination. France and Spain are both beautiful but totally different! And you will be very fit by the time you tackle the Pyrenees! No it wasn't too much as long as you don't rush. Take your time and enjoy! Do both if you have the time, you will not be disappointed!

Bon Chemin/Buen Camino!

Davey
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid.
#3
I needed to do it in two halves - because after about 6 weeks I feel the longing for home and husband. If he was with me then tackling both would have been fine. So that is a very personal thing and it will depend on your circumstances.

The routes are quite different in feeling. If in doubt, I always recommend the Camino Francés first, particularly if you are going because something is calling you, something more than a desire for a holiday and a long walk.
 

JAL

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Le Puy-St. Jean 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Norte/Primitivo 2016
Via de la Plata 2017
#4
I have also walked both routes, but not in one go. I walked the Frances first, and the LePuy route the following year. The main thing I would say is be prepared for a *major* culture shock after St. Jean. LePuy is kind of "we happy few" and the Frances is…not. I loved both but they are very very different. Different countries, different languages, different food, and very different walking companions. On the LePuy "you walk with the French", and on the Frances "you walk with the world". For what it's worth I walked last year (Norte) with a pilgrim named Franco who has done 27 caminos and he says LePuy was his favorite of them all. "Magnifico!" (He is Italian). Also, be prepared to get blank looks when you try to talk to people about your journey from LePuy to SJPDP. Most will not have heard of it as most folks you encounter are doing the Frances as a first-and-only thing. I am so jealous, both are indeed magnifique and magnifico. Truly. To do both at once will be the trip of a lifetime. Bonne route and buen camino.
 

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jsalt

Jill
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte
#6
I'm wondering what people's experiences were who did this same route. Was it too much, i.e., were you ready to be finished by the time you cross the Pyrenees? Or, alternatively, do you find that you had settled into a groove by the time you entered Spain?
Hi, I walked from Le Puy to Santiago in one go. The idea was that I would do something else in Europe for a month when I got to SJPDP, but when I did get there I just wanted to keep on walking, so I did. Very different caminos, but I had already walked from SJPDP to Santiago the year before, so knew what was coming. Bon Chemin and Buen Camino.
Jill
 

Camino Chris

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#7
I have also walked both routes, but not in one go. I walked the Frances first, and the LePuy route the following year. The main thing I would say is be prepared for a *major* culture shock after St. Jean. LePuy is kind of "we happy few" and the Frances is…not. I loved both but they are very very different. Different countries, different languages, different food, and very different walking companions. On the LePuy "you walk with the French", and on the Frances "you walk with the world". For what it's worth I walked last year (Norte) with a pilgrim named Franco who has done 27 caminos and he says LePuy was his favorite of them all. "Magnifico!" (He is Italian). Also, be prepared to get blank looks when you try to talk to people about your journey from LePuy to SJPDP. Most will not have heard of it as most folks you encounter are doing the Frances as a first-and-only thing. I am so jealous, both are indeed magnifique and magnifico. Truly. To do both at once will be the trip of a lifetime. Bonne route and buen camino.
I plan to walk most of the LePuy route with 2 friends in June 2018. Your post makes me very excited to start the planning process!
 

wonzi

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May-June 2013; Chemin du Puy May-June 2015; Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2015;Camino del Norte Jul 2016 (?)
#8
I had to delay my Camino for a year, but still have my heart and mind set on it for 2017. And I have my heart, if not my mind, set on starting in Le Puy. I go back and forth on whether to attempt the Via Podiensis + the Camino Francés, or to just choose one. Both look so amazing, and yet so different.

I'm wondering what people's experiences were who did this same route. Was it too much, i.e., were you ready to be finished by the time you cross the Pyrenees? Or, alternatively, do you find that you had settled into a groove by the time you entered Spain?
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#9
In 2009 when I was first planning to walk, the members of this forum recommended starting in Le Puy. So I did, and had a great experience!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy (2010; 2016), Norte, Primitivo, Muxia/Fisterra (2010), Mozarabe, Via de la Plata, Sanabres (2011), Arles, Aragones, Frances (2015)
#10
Le Puy route and the Camino Francés are both amazing and different! And by the time one has walked for a month, some "groove" definitely settles...
Yet I think it's not really about the path one chooses or the distance or the time, but about what's happening within. It's different for everyone and I found it may even be different for 1 person on different Caminos.

My 1st Camino was 3 months 1/2 and I walked before Le Puy, on the Le Puy route, then through Spain. My heart and mind were set on walking all the way to Fisterra, so I wasn't ready to finish before. I'd even have liked to walk back home...
My 2nd Camino was a bit more than a month. I could/would have walked more, but I felt this Camino was done when I arrived in Santiago.
My 3rd Camino was 2 months 1/2 and I definitely knew before I arrived that I would be ready to return once I'd reach Santiago.

On an end-note, I'd say that if your heart is telling you "Le Puy", that's what you should do first :)
If you're still not sure when the times comes, you can always plan for the whole Way and half Way, then decide what you'll do when walking...


 

Magnara

Maggie Ramsay
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
#11
I had to delay my Camino for a year, but still have my heart and mind set on it for 2017. And I have my heart, if not my mind, set on starting in Le Puy. I go back and forth on whether to attempt the Via Podiensis + the Camino Francés, or to just choose one. Both look so amazing, and yet so different.

I'm wondering what people's experiences were who did this same route. Was it too much, i.e., were you ready to be finished by the time you cross the Pyrenees? Or, alternatively, do you find that you had settled into a groove by the time you entered Spain?
Like JAL we did both. First the Frances and then a couple of years afterwards, with the itch starting again we did Le Puy. I think it would be absolutely amazing to start at Le Puy and end in Santiago. But if you rush it you will probably end up injured, take your time - it's a long way, a camino is really a little life and you should live it at the pace that suits you. And if you get half way and it seems too much to go another 5 or 6 weeks, you can always stop and come back next year to do Part 2 - no shame in that, it's your camino (and your life ;)).
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
#12
Mentally and spiritually 4 weeks is not enough for me. I would plan for Le Puy to Santiago and take it as it comes.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
#13
Wow! I was really expecting a lot of messages urging me to just choose one or the other. Now I feel more energized, that Le Puy > Santiago is a real possibility. And I'm super excited again.

I'm budgeting 75 days, with an 8-day cushion if needed.


If in doubt, I always recommend the Camino Francés first, particularly if you are going because something is calling you, something more than a desire for a holiday and a long walk.
It's funny, if this were just a walking holiday then Via Podiensis sounds much more appealing - but there's something that calls me that I can't really define, and the Camino Francés is part of that call.

But if you rush it you will probably end up injured, take your time - it's a long way, a camino is really a little life and you should live it at the pace that suits you. And if you get half way and it seems too much to go another 5 or 6 weeks, you can always stop and come back next year to do Part 2 - no shame in that, it's your camino (and your life ;)).
I have 75 days in mind, with an 8-day cushion on the end. Hopefully this is enough time to finish. If not, then not. I'm not worried about rushing. I'm easily distracted by shiny objects, I like long lazy lunches, I can lose time day dreaming about nothing ... rushing will not be a problem! And maybe 75 days won't even be enough, the way I travel.

The main thing I would say is be prepared for a *major* culture shock after St. Jean. LePuy is kind of "we happy few" and the Frances is…not. I loved both but they are very very different. Different countries, different languages, different food, and very different walking companions. On the LePuy "you walk with the French", and on the Frances "you walk with the world".
From reading up on both I can imagine that it will be an interesting transition.

Side: After I had to delay my camino I stopped visiting the forum as much ... now that my plans are back on I've been reading up on everything I missed since last summer. It's so nice to be back!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid.
#14
@MichaelC welcome back to the forum. 75 days with an 8 day cushion will indeed give you plenty of time to walk the whole route from Le Puy, taking your time and looking at things along the way. Don't walk past! We all have a tendency to put our heads down on the first Camino, but it is a shame not to see the wonders that you pass. For instance, on the Le Puy, you may want to consider taking a day off at Figeac and taking the train up to Rocamadour and back, or walking the Celé Valley route, looking at the cave paintings at Pech Merle and seeing Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. For the Camino Francés I cannot recommend highly enough to download onto your smartphone or kindle a copy of "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: the complete cultural handbook" by Gitlitz and Davidson - not a book to read beforehand, but to dip into each day as you walk, so that you can read about the places you are going through, the legends and history, what to see inside Burgos Cathedral, how not to miss the retablo inside the church in Navarette, - all marvellous stuff that many people miss.

Having said that - I do understand that for most people the desire to reach Santiago is paramount. And my husband hates churches! But loves car factories, which I don't get at all.
 

Davey Boyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Geneva - Santiago via the San Salvador and Primitivo
2015 SJPdP - Santiago and Finisterra
2016 Camino Frances - Finisterra - Muxia via San Salvador/Primitivo then back to SJPdP (in winter)
2017 VDLP April 5th
#15
Having said that - I do understand that for most people the desire to reach Santiago is paramount. And my husband hates churches! But loves car factories, which I don't get at all.
HaHa! That made me laugh! People can't understand why I photograph local street graffiti, but thats my thing
 

jsalt

Jill
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte
#19
I like long lazy lunches
Oooh, long lazy lunches . . . my favourite. While everyone else is doing boring things like waiting for an empty shower cubicle or doing laundry, I luuuuuuv ordering lunch . . . and taking a couple of hours over it . . . with a glass of wine or two :eek:. And I don’t mind whether I continue walking for another couple of hours (by the time I arrive the shower cubicles are empty and the water re-heated), or look for the nearest bed because it’s pouring with rain outside. It’s all good after a looooong laaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzy lunch :)
Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
#20
I started my first camino at Le Puy. I've since done the Frances twice and the Aragonese, but in my heart, the Le Puy route is the best. It was the hardest, but still the best. I'm back in this section of the forum as I think it may be time to return to Le Puy and do it over again, as a wiser-this-time pilgrim.

Bon chemin!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#21
@MichaelC welcome back to the forum. 75 days with an 8 day cushion will indeed give you plenty of time to walk the whole route from Le Puy, taking your time and looking at things along the way. Don't walk past! We all have a tendency to put our heads down on the first Camino, but it is a shame not to see the wonders that you pass. For instance, on the Le Puy, you may want to consider taking a day off at Figeac and taking the train up to Rocamadour and back, or walking the Celé Valley route, looking at the cave paintings at Pech Merle and seeing Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. For the Camino Francés I cannot recommend highly enough to download onto your smartphone or kindle a copy of "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: the complete cultural handbook" by Gitlitz and Davidson - not a book to read beforehand, but to dip into each day as you walk, so that you can read about the places you are going through, the legends and history, what to see inside Burgos Cathedral, how not to miss the retablo inside the church in Navarette, - all marvellous stuff that many people miss.

Having said that - I do understand that for most people the desire to reach Santiago is paramount. And my husband hates churches! But loves car factories, which I don't get at all.
Hi Kanya,
I am having new thoughts of extending my walk to start from Le Puy. I have 10 weeks from mid August, flying in/ out regional Queensland. First walk and not wanting to be under pressure time wise, Do you feel 70 days would be a comfortable length of time for walk? I would need to squeeze some days for flight travel as well. Any ideas for quickest flight paths/ arrival cities out of Brisbane welcome. Thank Gail
 

BlackRocker57

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route, ‘Sept 2014’; Le Puy route continuation ‘May/June 2016’; Le Puy route, ‘Sept/Oct 2017’
#22
Hi Kanya,
I am having new thoughts of extending my walk to start from Le Puy. I have 10 weeks from mid August, flying in/ out regional Queensland. First walk and not wanting to be under pressure time wise, Do you feel 70 days would be a comfortable length of time for walk? I would need to squeeze some days for flight travel as well. Any ideas for quickest flight paths/ arrival cities out of Brisbane welcome. Thank Gail
Hi Gail.Robyn, I am planning to walk the Le Puy route again from early September. Depending on your airline of choice the most direct route/s to Le Puy are:
1. Fly to Lyon [via Dubai for example] and take the train from Lyon Part-Dieu to Firminy via Saint-Etienne and then connecting bus to Le Puy.
2. Fly to Paris and take direct TGV/ fast train from the airport to Lyon and then connecting train from Lyon as above.

As I understand it, trains are not [for the moment] running directly to Le Puy due to track repairs? but the do run to Firminy and then there are waiting buses from there. This is what I will be doing myself in late August. I also did this in 2014. It is vety straight-forward. You can book you train/s ahead of time via RailEurope and have your hard copy ticket before you leave Australia. Tickets can also be downloaded to your smartphone or tablet for scanning by the train conductor. I have always printed-out and used the hard copy but it is not essential.

Any follow-up questions, please feel free to shoot them through am in Melbourne and happy to respond to you asap ...

Bon chemin!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#23
Thank you how many days do you plan this walk to take please?
I need a power point each night for my sleep apnoea machine, would you foresee any issues? Much appreciated
 

BlackRocker57

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route, ‘Sept 2014’; Le Puy route continuation ‘May/June 2016’; Le Puy route, ‘Sept/Oct 2017’
#24
We are taking quite a long time to complete the GR65 [to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port] mainly because we’re not in a hurry and we are building in regular rest days ... at places such as Conques, Figeac, Cahors and Moissac. So, in the early stages out of Le Puy we will be walking around 18 to 20km each day with only several longer stages; then we bump it up a little to 21 or 22kms. We are also taking the Célé valley variante. In total: more than 45 days.

a propos your sleep apnoea machine: Depending on your chosen accommodation you should have no difficulty finding a power point; the issue will be for you: where is the powerpoint located? Does it need to be next to ur bed? So my next question is: what style of accommodation are you planning to take? and, do you speak French?
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
#25
I'm budgeting 40 days, including Célé, with 3 planned stops at Figeac, Cahors, and Lecteur. Miam Miam also recommends a full stop at Cabrerets on the Célé variant, but that's too close to others stops for me.

My pace starts off similar to BlackRocker57, except that I'm planning on a faster pace the last week. Every single guide I've looked at lists longer stages from Nogaro to St. Jean Pied de Port. If anyone else is planning this route, the stops I see over & over are:
  • Eauze to Nogaro. 19.4 k
  • to Aire-sur-l'Adour. 29.8 k
  • to Arzacq-Arraziguet. 34.5 k
  • to Arthez de Bearn. 30.5 k
  • to Navarrenx. 32.6 k
  • to Aroue. 18.2 k
  • to Ostabat. 24.6 k
  • to St. Jean Pied de Port. 22.8 k

I'm going to trust the experts, even though right now I can't imagine walking 30 km four days in a row.
 

BlackRocker57

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route, ‘Sept 2014’; Le Puy route continuation ‘May/June 2016’; Le Puy route, ‘Sept/Oct 2017’
#26
g’day Michael ... and neither can I! Am sure it is do-able but hard work methinks ... I am just planning this section of my walk now [last night in fact] and looking at longer days but still absolute max. of 23 or 24kms ... there is still some challenging topography in these here parts! Can you work-in an extra day and bring these numbers back a touch? In the interests of your feet and legs? I guess it does depend on how fit you are ...
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
#27
g’day Michael ... and neither can I! Am sure it is do-able but hard work methinks ... I am just planning this section of my walk now [last night in fact] and looking at longer days but still absolute max. of 23 or 24kms ... there is still some challenging topography in these here parts! Can you work-in an extra day and bring these numbers back a touch? In the interests of your feet and legs? I guess it does depend on how fit you are ...
I've worked out so many variations for this section! It's a challenge, because I have no idea what shape I'll be in after 4 weeks of walking. Maybe long days will be easy and natural by then. Maybe I'll just be over it & not want to ever walk past noon. There's no way to tell now. I'm only making advance reservations through Célé and Lot; it sounds like France is more developed (and there are more frequent options) after Cahors.

In the end I have a week-long cushion after my estimated finish in Santiago - so there won't be much stress if I'm slower. My fantasy schedule gives me rest days on Saturdays in Figeac, Cahors, Lectoure, Logroño, León, and Santiago; and rest days on Fridays in St. Jean and Burgos.

But, like I said, this is my fantasy schedule. I'm a planner by nature, and profession, but my plans never go as planned. It doesn't stop me from making them!
 

BlackRocker57

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route, ‘Sept 2014’; Le Puy route continuation ‘May/June 2016’; Le Puy route, ‘Sept/Oct 2017’
#28
take your point MichaelC ... how about this then:
1. instead of Nogaro, which is one of the least-pleasant stops on the Way, walk on a few kms to Arblade-le-Haut where there is excellent, very comfortable and hospitable accomm. at Arbladoise [that’s the same of the accommodation ...]
2. Arblade-le-Haut to Barcelonne-du-Gers [3kms before Aire-sur-l’Adour], basically just across the river = 24.0km, and excellent accomm. options
3. Barcelonne-du-Gers to Miramont-Sensacq = 21.0 or 22.0km
4. Miramont to Louvigny or Moundy = 22.0km
5. Luovigny to Arthez-de-Bearn = again around 22.0km

Depending on the season, some of these places can get busy and advance reservations a day ahead can ease the pain of not securing accomm. after a very long day of walking

I like ur fantasy schedule btw ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#29
Hi Michael! The Via Podiensis and Camino Frances is a great combination. France and Spain are both beautiful but totally different! And you will be very fit by the time you tackle the Pyrenees! No it wasn't too much as long as you don't rush. Take your time and enjoy! Do both if you have the time, you will not be disappointed!

Bon Chemin/Buen Camino!

Davey
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#30
Hi Michael,
I have 9 weeks starting from late August 2017, how long did you comfortably need to do the Via Podiensis and Camino Frances please? Thank you Gail
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
#31
Hi gail.robyn - I'm doing my first Camino this coming August, so this is all just planning for me. But: I'm budgeting 80 days from the day I arrive in Le Puy to the day I leave Santiago, and this is at a moderate pace. I personally couldn't do it in 9 weeks and feel relaxed.

But others on here have done this in under 60 days.
 

BlackRocker57

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route, ‘Sept 2014’; Le Puy route continuation ‘May/June 2016’; Le Puy route, ‘Sept/Oct 2017’
#32
Thank you how many days do you plan this walk to take please?
I need a power point each night for my sleep apnoea machine, would you foresee any issues? Much appreciated
Bonjour gail.robyn! something I had intended to add to my other comments appropo powerpoints and ur sleep apnoea machine ...

if you are planning to stay in gite d’étapes you may not always find a powerpoint next to the bed, or even in the room ... at several places we stopped [in 2014] and we were looking to charge our phones, the nearest powerpoint was on the landing ... not such an issue for phones but might be an issue for ur machine ...

so, what to do? you may need to request [possibly in French] a bed next to or very close to a powerpoint or ask for an extension cord. If you will be staying in chambres d’hôtes this may be less of a problem but I remember specifically having problems finding accessible powerpoints in some of the rooms I’ve stayed ... all that said: where there’s a will there’s a way and necessity was always the mother of invention
 

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