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My Camino plan from Mont-Saint-Michel

Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Mont-Saint-Michel to Santiago (one day!)
#1
Hi,

After wanting to do so for many years, I have decided to plan my Camino for 2018. I have decided to start from Mont-Saint-Michel. To reach Santiago by July 25, I plan to begin during the first week of May. I have chosen la Voie de Capitales through Rennes and Nantes. My route is to pass through la Vendée, meet with the Via Turonensis by passing through Saintes, Cognac (a small detour!), cross the Gironde by ferry into Bordeaux then continue to St. Jean and the Camino Frances.

For accommodation in France, I plan to take what I can find between Gîtes d'étapes and what is provided for pilgrims along the way. Of course by then, I want to have good knowledge of French for this adventure (and Spanish).

I will have a few questions for anyone who has walked through this part of the world. Any other pilgrims seen along this route? I would guess hardly any until at least St. Jean d'Angély.

Matt
(my first post...)
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#2
Welcome Matthew. The only information I can give is is that between Bordeaux and Bayonne there are many campsites along the coast. These can offer nightly accommodation in on site tents and chalets as I have seen many times. I have also seen both foot pilgrims and cyclist pilgrims on this section.
Happy planning and Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#3
How marvellous a Camino that would be, from the northern coast to St Jean. Walking in the south west of France is an utter delight, it truly is. Though you might want to cast eastwards after Bordeaux or you will end up walking through Les Landes .. miles and miles and miles of pine forests with almost no tracks so you walk along the main roads, and utterly flat.

After Saintes you will eventually go through Pons and leaving will walk under the arch of the remains of a pilgrim hospital - wonderful! Pons is a lovely little town, very pleasant place to stop.

I used to live to the east, in Dept 17 .. there is a roundabout you will pass when leaving town with a marvellous group of bronze pilgrims on it .... the leader pointing the way. I always wanted to get some supermarket bags, fill them with cardboard and paper and hang them from the arms of the pilgrims because it so looks like the leader as he points is saying "No, listen, I think that we parked over there" :).

pons roundabout.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Mont-Saint-Michel to Santiago (one day!)
#4
Thanks for the welcome and for the advice.

I did think walking through Les Landes would not be a very exciting path to take. Would it be better to go west closer to the coast? Going east would seem more of a detour. I'm not too sure how the best way to avoid the long stretch through the forest. I would like to go through Dax still. I'll need to consider this more closely. Any specific suggestions definitely welcome.

My first idea was to take the Le Puy route, but I have a friend who lives in La Vendée, and I wanted to see Nantes, Brittany, etc., which made me think Mont-Saint-Michel would be a nice starting point for pilgrimage. Also I imagine this route is far flatter than Le Puy. Thanks @David for the encouraging words...makes the decision to take this particular route feel right.

So this will be a surely a most contemplative pilgrimage for the French half of my camino plan, considering the sparse pilgrim encounters by taking this route. Are there any particular churches, saints and other places of interest along this route?

Thanks,
Matt
 
Camino(s) past & future
I live next to the Grand Châtenet section
#5
Hi,

After wanting to do so for many years, I have decided to plan my Camino for 2018. I have decided to start from Mont-Saint-Michel. To reach Santiago by July 25, I plan to begin during the first week of May. I have chosen la Voie de Capitales through Rennes and Nantes. My route is to pass through la Vendée, meet with the Via Turonensis by passing through Saintes, Cognac (a small detour!), cross the Gironde by ferry into Bordeaux then continue to St. Jean and the Camino Frances.

For accommodation in France, I plan to take what I can find between Gîtes d'étapes and what is provided for pilgrims along the way. Of course by then, I want to have good knowledge of French for this adventure (and Spanish).

I will have a few questions for anyone who has walked through this part of the world. Any other pilgrims seen along this route? I would guess hardly any until at least St. Jean d'Angély.

Matt
(my first post...)
Hi Matthew

I live 6km beyond St. Jean d'Angély and 5mins off the pilgrims way. I see maybe a dozen through the year but that's early morning or early evening that I'm out walking the dogs along the path.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Mont-Saint-Michel to Santiago (one day!)
#6
Hi Matthew

I live 6km beyond St. Jean d'Angély and 5mins off the pilgrims way. I see maybe a dozen through the year but that's early morning or early evening that I'm out walking the dogs along the path.
Thanks for that, it is good to know. It will be a most contemplative pilgrimage through France then.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#7
, I want to have good knowledge of French for this adventure
Hi Matthew,

English is very common in Brittany
I have chosen la Voie de Capitales through Rennes and Nantes
We took the inland way via St james , Vitre, Angers etc and

I see maybe a dozen through the year but that's early morning or early evening that I'm out walking the dogs along the path.
We saw 10 people on the path with 8 going to Mont Saint Michel.
It was lonely that way but the people in the villages and on the Gr were very hospitable and warm.

For accommodation in France,
You will get a good choice of very reasonably priced hotels and gites.
There is the odd accommodation within the church grounds and even the well priced Chateau.
You could struggle a bit when in the Loire as we came across many cyclists in groups that had pre booked the entire village.
This made some stages too long to be enjoyable. Better to have the short day and sight see.
We took the inland route because of Angers , a city well worth visiting.

You will enjoy it mate but come prepared to be solo when walking.
You will be very welcome in the villages up north with your accent.
Bien Chemin
David
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Mont-Saint-Michel to Santiago (one day!)
#8
Thanks David @Thornley,
Oh no, I couldn't imagine walking all that way through the French countryside without any knowledge of French. There would be little point doing that.

Yeah, I think more would be walking towards the Mont than away from it. And I have no doubts about French hospitality :)
I like the idea of having half a pilgrimage in total solitude, then the second half being more of a mix of solitude and socialness.

From what I have read, there seems to be quite enough places welcoming pilgrims, but I will keep your experience of cycling groups in mind. Might be a case of asking around where these groups are staying.

Matt
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#10

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#11
I first started my Camino walking near Saintes where I live part time. I did day trips covering the route between Saintes and Blaye. That was my initial goal to walk the Chemin de St Jacques de Compostelle and reach Blaye. Once I reached Blaye I wanted to take the ferry (Bac) cross the river and continue to the Pyrenees. I used the French Paris Tours route guide.
In 2012 I returned with a good friend to take the ferry from Blaye. The section from there via Bordeaux proved difficult for many reasons. In the end not wanting to walk through Les Landes we took the train to Dax, a bus to St. Palais and started our walk from there to Ostabat. Next day to St. Jean P. de P. We crossed the Pyrenees with a night stop at Orisson (do book) and walked on to Roncesvalles next day in galeforce winds and rain. From thereon we've returned each year to walk the next stage. This year 2016 we walked our final stages Sarria to Santiago and from there to Finisterre. Mission accomplished. I am tempted to return and walk the Voie Littoral to fill in some gaps.

As others mentioned Saintes and Pons are well worth visiting.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#12
Lots to see in Saintes, the amphitheatre, St Eutrop church (pilgrim accommodation is next door) There's the Cathedral St Pierre and Abbaye aux Dames and one can get a cheap room there in the old nunnery. Youth Hostel also there.
Pons as well is steeped in history. It's well worth visiting the ancient hospital for pilgrims.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Mont-Saint-Michel to Santiago (one day!)
#13
The section from there via Bordeaux proved difficult for many reasons. In the end not wanting to walk through Les Landes we took the train to Dax, a bus to St. Palais and started our walk from there to Ostabat
That is an idea to avoid Les Landes while still passing Dax and on to St. Jean PdP. The Voie Littorale is rather much longer, and is not quick to pass through St. Jean which is part of my plan. I could take the train between Bordeaux and get off somewhere like Morcenx - just far enough to avoid the forest section. Avoiding the suburbs south out of Bordeaux is a good idea.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#14
Bordeaux to Dax take the train soon after 08.00 there was one bus on a Saturday morning that went from Dax to St. Palais. Get your credencial stamped there (we didn't). The walk from there to Ostabat is beautiful.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#15
We were total Camino novices and worried about long stretches of forest and not much accommodation. Now that we have more experience I would be prepared to walk through lLes Landes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Mont-Saint-Michel to Santiago (one day!)
#16
Thanks for your comments about Les Landes. I guess it may just come down to how I feel when I reach Bordeaux.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Mont-Saint-Michel to Santiago (one day!)
#17
How common is getting the credential stamped in France? I would imagine the gîtes du pèlerin would have stamps for it, but what about from other accommodations / churches / where-ever else? Also how often do you need to get them?
 
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FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#18
Pilgrim hostals will stamp the credential. Tourist offices will stamp them and also ask if you are visiting historical sites. Ask in hotels, cafes and bars. I would aim for a daily stamp and maybe a few more. Your credential will soon fill up walking that distance so you'll need to obtain another along the way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
We are walking the "voie de capitales" from mont st michel to santiago. We are the slowest pilgrims only able to do four days a year at the moment ....but taking each beautiful step at at time.
#19
Hi,

After wanting to do so for many years, I have decided to plan my Camino for 2018. I have decided to start from Mont-Saint-Michel. To reach Santiago by July 25, I plan to begin during the first week of May. I have chosen la Voie de Capitales through Rennes and Nantes. My route is to pass through la Vendée, meet with the Via Turonensis by passing through Saintes, Cognac (a small detour!), cross the Gironde by ferry into Bordeaux then continue to St. Jean and the Camino Frances.

For accommodation in France, I plan to take what I can find between Gîtes d'étapes and what is provided for pilgrims along the way. Of course by then, I want to have good knowledge of French for this adventure (and Spanish).

I will have a few questions for anyone who has walked through this part of the world. Any other pilgrims seen along this route? I would guess hardly any until at least St. Jean d'Angély.

Matt
(my first post...)
Hi Matt,
I have just completed the Camino from Gradignan to Dax with my husband, my sister and my brother in law.
It was the most challenging of all of our walks from Mont St Michel, apart from a very long walk along the canal to Rennes!
However each walk made us aware of pushing towards St Jean Pied de Port, and in this way it became rewarding in itself.
We stayed in a gite in Pissos, and used two cars or buses when available.
We have used this method most of the way from Brittany and expect to do so until we reach Roncevalles. Once we cross into Spain, we will leave the cars behind, and continue on the Camino Frances.
We all wish you well. We are all in our sixties and feel as if we are walking our dream.
Mary P and family.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Mont-Saint-Michel to Santiago (one day!)
#20
Hi Matt,
I have just completed the Camino from Gradignan to Dax with my husband, my sister and my brother in law.
It was the most challenging of all of our walks from Mont St Michel, apart from a very long walk along the canal to Rennes!
However each walk made us aware of pushing towards St Jean Pied de Port, and in this way it became rewarding in itself.
We stayed in a gite in Pissos, and used two cars or buses when available.
We have used this method most of the way from Brittany and expect to do so until we reach Roncevalles. Once we cross into Spain, we will leave the cars behind, and continue on the Camino Frances.
We all wish you well. We are all in our sixties and feel as if we are walking our dream.
Mary P and family.
Hi Mary,
Sounds great! So what was your opinion of Les Landes - essential or tedious? How much of the way did you skip walking and why (not being critical here!). I'll manage to do it one day...
 
Camino(s) past & future
We are walking the "voie de capitales" from mont st michel to santiago. We are the slowest pilgrims only able to do four days a year at the moment ....but taking each beautiful step at at time.
#21
Hi Mary,
Sounds great! So what was your opinion of Les Landes - essential or tedious? How much of the way did you skip walking and why (not being critical here!). I'll manage to do it one day...
Hi Matt,
The answer to the first part of your question is both!!
Most of the walks in Landes were tedious, but essential. However we took a flask of tea and cake for our elevenses, and a bottle of wine with bread, pate and cheese for our lunch! We nearly always found a pretty or idyllic place to stop at for a little while. You have no idea how this helped!!!!!
We did miss out two parts of the walk this time, without guilt. The walk from Mons to Pissos began with having to walk along the service road to the A63. We saw no earthly reason to do so, and chose to start at the village of Saugnac. Two days after this, we missed out the walk from Labouyhere to Onesse de Laharie for the same reason.
We don't anticipate doing this on the Spanish Camino, as we will be "carless" then.
Just one more thing Matt.....I think the CSJ site has English step by step guides to St Jean D'Angely now.
We used the Amis St Jacques Brittany guide from Mont St Michel using our basic French and Google Translate.
I won't say just do it Matt.....just start planning.
I will post on how we decided to avoid St Jean D'Angely and used the local amis st jacques guides via their internet site from Surgeres to Puybelliard, and continued to do so all the way to Dax.
Mary P.
 
Camino(s) past & future
We are walking the "voie de capitales" from mont st michel to santiago. We are the slowest pilgrims only able to do four days a year at the moment ....but taking each beautiful step at at time.
#23
But Aulnay, St Jean d'Angeley, La Frediere then to Saintes is a beautiful walk. I walked this alone over three days last June.

I've messaged details to Matt.
This is a lovely problem we have Fleur! There are so many unmissable parts of the Camino. We will have to try snippets of each one if we ever finish our current marathon!
I have just received an example of a beautiful part of the Camino in Tuscany!!! Message to self .....finish the Camino Frances first Mary P!!
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#24
PhotoGrid_1497799931792.jpg


Mary , just a few pictures from those three days.
I know, there's never going to be enough time to walk all these lovely paths and old routes.
 
#25
Hi, After wanting to do so for many years, I have decided to plan my Camino for 2018. I have decided to start from Mont-Saint-Michel. To reach Santiago by July 25....Matt (my first post...)
Bonjour, Matt.
How will you be travelling to Mont-Saint-Michel?

If you have time, there is a lovely 3-4 day hike from St Malo to Mont-Saint-Michel following le GR34. In August, 2014 I took a ferry from Portsmouth, England to St Malo. I made enquiries at the tourist office in St Malo then set off :

*St Malo – St Coulomb : I walked the GR 34 along the sea front, then, at a signed turn-off followed a road to St Coulomb.

Shops, Information.

https://www.campingdeschevrets.fr/

*Concale - Le Vivier-sur-Mer :The next day I hitched a ride to Concale then followed the GR34 to Le Vivier-sur-Mer.

Enquiries at le Mairie. I slept at a local convent.


*Le Vivier-sur-Mer – Mont-Saint-Michel : the GR34 passes along an old polder (Digue) as far as Chapel-St- Anne then by mudflats and along board walks until one reaches M-St-M. The approach is awesome.

Happy planning
Lovingkindness

_DSC5522.JPG
 
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Camino(s) past & future
I live next to the Grand Châtenet section
#26
Hi Matt,
The answer to the first part of your question is both!!
Most of the walks in Landes were tedious, but essential. However we took a flask of tea and cake for our elevenses, and a bottle of wine with bread, pate and cheese for our lunch! We nearly always found a pretty or idyllic place to stop at for a little while. You have no idea how this helped!!!!!
We did miss out two parts of the walk this time, without guilt. The walk from Mons to Pissos began with having to walk along the service road to the A63. We saw no earthly reason to do so, and chose to start at the village of Saugnac. Two days after this, we missed out the walk from Labouyhere to Onesse de Laharie for the same reason.
We don't anticipate doing this on the Spanish Camino, as we will be "carless" then.
Just one more thing Matt.....I think the CSJ site has English step by step guides to St Jean D'Angely now.
We used the Amis St Jacques Brittany guide from Mont St Michel using our basic French and Google Translate.
I won't say just do it Matt.....just start planning.
I will post on how we decided to avoid St Jean D'Angely and used the local amis st jacques guides via their internet site from Surgeres to Puybelliard, and continued to do so all the way to Dax.
Mary P.
AND WHAT IS WRONG WITH ST JEAN-D'ANGELY? It's my local town. :)
 

Alisoun

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonensis, Voie de Tours (2017)
#28
Hi Matthew
Looks like you're well underway with your planning. I used to live in Les Landes and agree with some of those who have posted that the northerly part is rather tedious. I've heard from other pilgrims that it's also very solitary walking depending on the time of year. The coastal path is likely to be swarming with tourists and cyclists from end of May onwards as it's a popular spot. There are some nice stretches from Morcenx down to Dax on the inland route with a nature reserve at Rion des Landes where the cranes overwinter. I haven't checked out the actual chemin, but know that the roads through from Rion via Boos and Laluque are very quiet most of the year. Dax is certainly worth seeing, and Sorde L'abbaye, as is the rest of the route onwards to St J P de P. Do check for the state of the rivers on that part. There have been lots of problems in some areas when there has been heavy rain.

Contact me when you reach Pons and I'll reserve you a stop here (Mirambeau) but I think you know that and are already following the place on fb.

From March onwards there are usually two or three pilgrims passing my front door every day, although it does depend on the weather so I'm sure you'll meet up with others. I don't think speaking French is essential, the young Mexican lad who came through last year could only manage the absolute basics and got on very well.

Bon courage.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2), Chemin du Puy, Portuguese, Via de la Plata
#29
Hi,

After wanting to do so for many years, I have decided to plan my Camino for 2018. I have decided to start from Mont-Saint-Michel. To reach Santiago by July 25, I plan to begin during the first week of May. I have chosen la Voie de Capitales through Rennes and Nantes. My route is to pass through la Vendée, meet with the Via Turonensis by passing through Saintes, Cognac (a small detour!), cross the Gironde by ferry into Bordeaux then continue to St. Jean and the Camino Frances.

For accommodation in France, I plan to take what I can find between Gîtes d'étapes and what is provided for pilgrims along the way. Of course by then, I want to have good knowledge of French for this adventure (and Spanish).

I will have a few questions for anyone who has walked through this part of the world. Any other pilgrims seen along this route? I would guess hardly any until at least St. Jean d'Angély.

Matt
(my first post...)
I am in Lesperon now and have walked 30 days from Cherbourg to here. Connected with Camino Tours in St. Angely. Always a bed and a meal waiting. There are many friends of the Camino available to help although no Pilgrims until St. Jean de Angely
 
Camino(s) past & future
We are walking the "voie de capitales" from mont st michel to santiago. We are the slowest pilgrims only able to do four days a year at the moment ....but taking each beautiful step at at time.
#30
Fantastic Matt....we chose a gite and public transport. We will arrive in SJPP this year starting at Dax and then on to Orisson and Roncesvalles. We started with one walk from Mont St Michel to see if we would commit to it. It has been wonderful ....a week at a time, due to child m8nding responsibilities. Hoping to do a month to finish.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#31
If you're at St Jean dAngely it's a lovely 36km walk to Saintes . Soon after St. Jean d'Angely you could contact Tuesday wild child.

I broke that stage and stayed in a fabulous B&B in a converted watermill close to La Frediere where they only take pilgrims. At Saintes there's a pilgrim hostel next door to the St. Eutrop church, a Youth Hostel by the Abbaye aux Dames and many any other options.

Lots of things to see and do in Saintes also the next stage at Pons.

@Matthew Fitzhenry in my opinion Cognac isn't worth the detour.
 
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FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#32
Sadly pilgrims are no longer accommodated a L' Abbaye Royale in St. Jean d'Angely
 
Camino(s) past & future
Geneva to Irun then Norte to SDC 2015, Piemont Pyreneen 2018
#33
Hello Mathew
I just came upon this thread as I am contemplating a walk starting in Mont-St-Michel in 2019. This year I walked the Piemonts-Pyrenees and arrived in StJPdP with almost two weeks remaining before my flight back to Canada so like any lover of walking I thought "where can I go for 10-12 days that will be different from what I have just done" and I came up with taking the train to Bordeaux then walking north to just before Poitiers. Now I would like to walk south from MSM to where I left off.
What time of year did you walk? As I discovered this year that in Sept. and Oct. a lot of the accommodation was either closed or not staffed and I had to call to have someone come and open the gite.
I look forward to hearing how you got on - if you did?
bon chemin
 
Camino(s) past & future
We are walking the "voie de capitales" from mont st michel to santiago. We are the slowest pilgrims only able to do four days a year at the moment ....but taking each beautiful step at at time.
#34
I recently found a wonderful link on the Amis de Saint Jacques Bretagne site. Just type Voies de Capitales into Google. It should come up. It is for anyone wishing to begin their walk from Mont St Michel. They have interactive maps and GPX tracks. Very useful for pilgrims who cannot speak french.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2), Chemin du Puy, Portuguese, Via de la Plata
#35
Hello Mathew
I just came upon this thread as I am contemplating a walk starting in Mont-St-Michel in 2019. This year I walked the Piemonts-Pyrenees and arrived in StJPdP with almost two weeks remaining before my flight back to Canada so like any lover of walking I thought "where can I go for 10-12 days that will be different from what I have just done" and I came up with taking the train to Bordeaux then walking north to just before Poitiers. Now I would like to walk south from MSM to where I left off.
What time of year did you walk? As I discovered this year that in Sept. and Oct. a lot of the accommodation was either closed or not staffed and I had to call to have someone come and open the gite.
I look forward to hearing how you got on - if you did?
bon chemin
Hi: I just walked this summer from Ireland to Santiago via MSM. There are a few routes. I used one I got from Netherlands Camino site that was pretty much straight south to St. Jean de Angely passing just east of Rennes and Nantes via Clisson. I was alone the entire time if you don’t mind that. A possibly better option might be to take the route through LeMans to Tours. Both of these kites can be downloaded onto your Smartphone. Feel free to contact me directly if you have questions.
 
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