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Le Puy to Santiago - what time of year

Gumba

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Winter CF2018 Winter CF2019-20
If you walked from Le Puy to Santiago, what time of year did you walk and what were the pros and cons? We will take the full 90 days (less getting to and from the airport). We want to avoid the heat in July and dont mind winter walking. We are planning to walk in a couple of years time and will probably walk around 20km/day tops, depending on availability of accommodation. We also want to walk over the Pyrenees after walking via Valcarlos on the last two CF (starting SJPDP) Thanks
 
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Hi @Gumba How exciting. .We (my husband and I) are planning / hoping to walk Le Puy to SdeC (and on to Finisterre and Muxia) later this year.

I’ve walked the Frances in October 2011 and April 2013 and the Le Puy in April 2014. I am not directly answering your question about the pros and cons of various seasons - both were wonderful - but I can give our reasons for our timing later this year. We’ve sort of worked backwards from when we want to be on the Frances.

We both want to walk the Frances again - having avoided it for the past 10 years and opted for less crowded routes. We think November on the Frances would feel comfortable for us in terms of numbers. We plan to give ourselves around two months plus a bit! So, we expect we will begin from Le Puy in the last week of September (to allow for Cele Variant) so we can get to SJPP before end of October in the hope that we can walk the Napoleon Route again. From Ponferrada, we may take thé Invierno.

So I guess for us the timing has largely worked around when we want to be on the Frances, as well as some other commitments we have in December.

Someone else may come along who can more directly answer your question.

Bon chemin, Buen camino 🇫🇷❤️ 🇪🇸
 
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If you walked from Le Puy to Santiago, what time of year did you walk and what were the pros and cons? We will take the full 90 days (less getting to and from the airport). We want to avoid the heat in July and dont mind winter walking. We are planning to walk in a couple of years time and will probably walk around 20km/day tops, depending on availability of accommodation. We also want to walk over the Pyrenees after walking via Valcarlos on the last two CF (starting SJPDP) Thanks
Just a reminder that the two bolded parts don't go together, as the Napoleon route is closed each winter from 1st November to 31st March.
 
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I started from Le Puy in the middle of June of 2019, the first day I ran into horrible thunder and hail storms followed by a week of an unprecedented heatwave. I ended up taking the baggage transport service for about 5 days until the temps dropped and then I bailed out in Cahors. I took a bus from Toulouse to Bilbao and started walking again in much more favorable weather conditions.
You can not plan a Camino around the weather forecasts, the seasons or whatever the previous past five years brought down from the heavens. You just go with the flow and pray for the best and then plan accordingly day by day.
 
You can not plan a Camino around the weather forecasts,
One 200% correct. I have walked the same caminos at the same time a few years apart and have had 90+F without a cloud in the sky one year and driving rain and high winds in mid 40's and low 50's 3 years later. I am talking about the same exact part of the CF.
Just a reminder that the two bolded parts don't go together, as the Napoleon route is closed each winter from 1st November to 31st March.
Even later in the Spring the Napoleon may be closed so always check with the Pilgrim Office before you go. If the weather is bad in St. Jean you can take it to the bank it will probably be worse after Orisson.

I walked Le Puy in September and October and it was hot early on but never really hot. I had two good friends walk last September and they said it was really hot all the way through. But who knows when you go. Later in the year I would imagine many places would be closed as well as probably getting alot of snow. I am only guessing. I would do some research about this. You are going through lots of villages which probably do not get many tourists to begin with let alone in November or February. Check Gronze, Miam Miam DoDo. I think Wise Pilgrim has an app for Le Puy.
 
Hi @Gumba How exciting. .We (my husband and I) are planning / hoping to walk Le Puy to SdeC (and on to Finisterre and Muxia) later this year.

I’ve walked the Frances in October 2011 and April 2013 and the Le Puy in April 2014. I am not directly answering your question about the pros and cons of various seasons - both were wonderful - but I can give our reasons for our timing later this year. We’ve sort of worked backwards from when we want to be on the Frances.

We both want to walk the Frances again - having avoided it for the past 10 years and opted for less crowded routes. We think November on the Frances would feel comfortable for us in terms of numbers. We plan to give ourselves around two months plus a bit! So, we expect we will begin from Le Puy in the last week of September (to allow for Cele Variant) so we can get to SJPP before end of October in the hope that we can walk the Napoleon Route again. From Ponferrada, we may take thé Invierno.

So I guess for us the timing has largely worked around when we want to be on the Frances, as well as some other commitments we have in December.

Someone else may come along who can more directly answer your question.

Bon chemin, Buen camino 🇫🇷❤️ 🇪🇸
I have been on most or some of the CF on my last 3 caminos. Walked from Pamplona in 2019. DId the VDLP and had to go to Astorga because of closed albergues in 2021 on the Sanabria. Started in Puente La Reina after doing the Aragones. (Wonderful camino the Aragones) in 2022. There are of course a lot less pilgrims. You have plenty of opportunity to walk with solitude and beauty if you choose. Last year was a really, really big year and many more albergues were closing that normally stayed open because owners were just tired. I never had a problem finding an albergue to sleep but on many nights they were almost always full or close to it. The other two years there were more albergues open so more nights were in less crowded albergues but some nights it was still close to full.
 
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Funnily enough, I was not thinking about the actual weather conditions when I asked the question! I know we cant plan for these things and certainly not a couple of years in advance. I was thinking more about the views in Spring compared to Autumn (yes I know, can be weather dependent), or possible crowds - or anything else that I havent thought of yet. My comment around winter walking was along the lines of I dont mind if there are less options for shops/accommodation as I am used to walking with few options. I dont mind starting when its warmer and finishing up 3 months later when it is colder (or vice versa) as long as I can time it right to cross via the Napoleon route (at least a couple of weeks before it closes).

We met up with a French couple in Santo Domingo who has started from Le Puy at the beginning on November and they had no trouble with accommodation. Of course, they spoke the language and this was pre-covid (2019).
 
I was thinking more about the views in Spring compared to Autumn

These comparison photos come to mind. Something magical about both seasons. I've only walked the Le Puy in April so can't provide any comparison there. But it is a glorious path, with wonderful landscapes, towns and villages - and food!
 

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If you walked from Le Puy to Santiago, what time of year did you walk and what were the pros and cons? We will take the full 90 days (less getting to and from the airport). We want to avoid the heat in July and dont mind winter walking. We are planning to walk in a couple of years time and will probably walk around 20km/day tops, depending on availability of accommodation. We also want to walk over the Pyrenees after walking via Valcarlos on the last two CF (starting SJPDP) Thanks
Hi Gumba,
In 2013 I started in Le Puy on April 2nd. Until we were over the Aumont Aubrac, the path underfoot was extremely wet and muddy, often with streams running down the path. The weather was chilly but there was a fair amount of sun and we did run into a few inches of fresh overnight snow for a couple of days. See pictures. However it was wonderful and as soon as we made it off the plateau spring had definitely arrived. It would be amazing to see the Aumont-Aubrac plateau in bloom which likely starts after the end of April. In another post someone commented that three weeks later the streams and puddles were all dried up. The weather for the rest of the hike was mixed but perfect! The grass was startlingly green and flowers were abundant. I guess for season preferences it's at least partially a matter of going in the spring with all of the spring flowers, or going in the fall when the harvest makes for spectacular food! My. personal preference is for the spring flowers but when I'm on the camino I'll eat pretty much anything and everything available!le Puy - wet path .jpgle Puy-water running .jpgle Puy-Aumont-Aubrac .jpgle Puy-snow on Aumont Aubrac .jpg
 
I left from Le Puy August 17, 2022. Arrived Santiago October 23.

There were a handful of hot days in August that were tough, but overall the weather was great. By the time I finished in Santiago it was rainy and cool.

It's sort of a balancing act. Leave Le Puy earlier, and you will probably have a warmer ending in Santiago. Leave later to avoid some heat, but then it's cooler at the end. I was happy with my choice, but I think it all works. Don't over think it. Go with what works for your schedule.
 
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I've been thinking about Le Puy to SJPDP, mostly thinking about a fall trip, but those who posted the spring pictures are making me rethink, even if it might be a little (lot?) muddy. Maybe I need to do it twice, once in spring, once in fall!!
 
I left from Le Puy August 17, 2022. Arrived Santiago October 23.

There were a handful of hot days in August that were tough, but overall the weather was great. By the time I finished in Santiago it was rainy and cool.

It's sort of a balancing act. Leave Le Puy earlier, and you will probably have a warmer ending in Santiago. Leave later to avoid some heat, but then it's cooler at the end. I was happy with my choice, but I think it all works. Don't over think it. Go with what works for your schedule.
Hi! I was planning on walking the Podiensis around the same time of year, and was wondering how you found the accomodation situation along the route. Did you end up booking in advance, and if so, how early?
 
Hi! I was planning on walking the Podiensis around the same time of year, and was wondering how you found the accomodation situation along the route. Did you end up booking in advance, and if so, how early?
August is the busiest month, since that's vacation month for most French residents. Even so, it's a lot less busy than the Camino Frances. That said, I think booking during that timeframe is necessary.

I snore, and so tried to get private rooms, so I booked several weeks in advance. I don't think that's necessary, I believe most people booked a couple of days in advance. FWIW... booking on the Le Puy route is more common than other routes, I believe, because hosts like to know how much food to prepare. (And the food is great!)
 
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