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Lunas to St-Gervais-sur-Mare - Take care with GR markings!

2020 Camino Guides

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Hi all, just back from a couple of weeks on the Chemin d'Arles. I went armed with nothing but Gronze and Google maps, and for the most part I didn't need anything more. Overall, the GR635 marking were really great - frequent, intuitively placed, and freshly painted. Which is why the two 'glitches' I am about to mention here were really unexpected. Especially on one of the most notoriously difficult days of the entire Chemin... (And although I was relatively unprepared, I met up with a couple of pilgrims that evening who had all the latest tech, GPS, and guidebooks, and yet they had made exactly the same mistakes as I had. So if you're planning on doing this section in the future, please take note!)

I have attached a screenshot of the stage overview provided by Gronze.

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The first problem was on the descent from Col de Serviès. So... at this point you've been following a farm-like track for many, many kilometres, and there is (apparently) no indication to leave this track. I dutifully continued along it, until realising I was actually descending to the town of Graissessac. After I backtracked (about 2km!!), I realised that I had missed a GR marker on a tree to the right. I have attached a photo. Can you see it?
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The next problem was where the track comes out onto the D163, at the Col de la Font. Here is a screenshot from Google Maps, although it's from 2013, so doesn't show the 'new developments' - that is, signs in both directions of the road with big red and white "Xs" on them, indicating that you should not proceed in either direction. Given that you can't go left or right, the only logical option would be to cross over and continue on the track straight in front of you. Right?

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Wrong!! This track leads precisely nowhere....

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This mistake was potentially dangerous, as the 'track to nowhere' runs along a sizeable apiary, and there were literally swarms of bees everywhere. So not a mistake you want to be making.

Actually, despite the "X", you DO need to turn right onto the road, and keep going along it (it becomes the D52 at the Aveyron border), until you see another track to the left indicating a path down to Mècle.

Overall, I probably added another 5km to a day that already felt close to impossible (especially during the "canicule"!) It was incredibly gruelling. So just thought I'd share, as I really don't like the idea of anyone else making the same mistake!
 
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hecate105 The Arles route 3
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Any pilgrim accommodation in Lunas?

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