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No albergues for 24 km on the first stage?

Jens Petersen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances this year
I want to walk the camino frances this year. However im nervous about the first stage that is 24 km Long. There are no albergues or hostels between the two first towns. What if im only able to walk less than this? Are there Any other accomodations along the first stage so that I Can break the stage into two stages?

BR Jens
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
If you mean the stage from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles then it is not true that there are no intermediate options. There are albergues at Orisson on the Route Napoleon about 8km from SJPDP and at Valcarlos on the lower level alternative route. As far as I know the longest stretch of the Camino Frances without some accommodation is approximately 18km long and is after Carrion de los Condes - closer to the midpoint of the route.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Refuge Orisson is 8 km from St Jean Pied de Port. This first 8 km is perhaps the steepest on the entire Camino Frances, so it's nice to complete it, spend the night at Orisson and continue fresh in the morning for the remaining 17 km or so.

Another option is Express Bourricot's Mountain Shuttle. You walk partway the first day, and then they pick you up and take you back to St Jean. The next morning they drive you back to where you left off.
Screenshot_20190803-075500_Firefox.jpg
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I do not know your age, fitness level, physical condition or whether or not you have any medical conditions that hinder your walking, but assuming your are moderately fit and able to walk say 10 km's at least in a stretch with no problems you can easily walk from Saint Jean to Roncesvalles in a day, assuming you leave Saint Jean before 8am, and assuming the weather is cooperative that day. It is not that bad a walk for those in moderate to good physical condition. A great deal of it is on paved roads and you can take a break and refill with water at Orisson. Most pilgrims walk the full 24km that day.
Do not mind the threads on here that make that section of the Camino appear as though it is scaling the east face of Everest.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I want to walk the camino frances this year. However im nervous about the first stage that is 24 km Long. There are no albergues or hostels between the two first towns. What if im only able to walk less than this? Are there Any other accomodations along the first stage so that I Can break the stage into two stages?

BR Jens
From SJPdP to Roncesvalles there are 5 options for overnight stay on Route Napoleon:
- Gite La Coquille Napoleon
- Gite Antton
- Gite-Chambre d'hotes in Huntto (albergue and rooms, approx 5km after SJPdP)
- Gite Kayola (a bit before Orisson, run by same owners)
- Refugee Orisson (approx. 8km after SJPdP).

And 5 more options (1 albergue in Valcarlos) on the lower Valcarlos Route:

Buen Camino!
 

Jens Petersen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances this year
I want to walk the camino frances this year. However im nervous about the first stage that is 24 km Long. There are no albergues or hostels between the two first towns. What if im only able to walk less than this? Are there Any other accomodations along the first stage so that I Can break the stage into two stages?

BR Jens
Thank you for all the replies. What a fantastic community
BR Jens
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019

Mahuri

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Oct 2016
Oct 2019
I want to walk the camino frances this year. However im nervous about the first stage that is 24 km Long. There are no albergues or hostels between the two first towns. What if im only able to walk less than this? Are there Any other accomodations along the first stage so that I Can break the stage into two stages?

BR Jens
Orrison is an excellent stop (Alberge) 8km from SJPD. It might not seem far, but it's all up hill, and the next 8km is uphill too, then 8km down hill.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Hello fellow pilgrim,

there are some on the way. The most used is Refuge Orrison.
After Orrison there will be no Albergue until Roncesvalles if you walk the Route Napoleon.
If you walk the Route Valcarlos you will have several oportunities to choose. Arneguy or Valcarlos offers more gite or albergues on the way. If it snows or storms you should take the Route Valcarlos for security reasons.

Have fun!
 

mikebet

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
It's an unfortunate fact that the very first day is probably the hardest day of the entire route (in terms of altitude gain/loss) if you go all the way to Roncevalles. It would be nice it it arrived later when the pilgrim is better conditioned, but such is life. For those in good walking shape who get an early start from SJPdP it is doable, if not very enjoyable for the last few kilometers. My group stayed overnight at Orisson -- we had a late PM start -- but even so my knees were sending me nasty messages on the steep downhill to Roncesvalles. If you are not young and fit plan on Orrisson. The walk is so beautiful that you should be grooving on the scenery, not your aching legs. You can pick up the pace on subsequent days.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
The more gentle descent by road down to Roncesvalles from Col de Lepoeder is only 400 metres longer than the steep downhill route through the woods, and takes you past the Ibañeta chapel.

The Napoleon route is not 'technically' difficult, it's just very long and the first 8 km are the steepest. The route has actually been modified in the past few years to replace the steepest bit with a switchback path.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
There is no "first day" on the Camino. Starting the journey by walking over a mountain pass from St. Jean is a modern invention that is extremely costly in many ways, to many people. It is totally NOT "traditional," nor is it required in any way, by anybody. If you have second thoughts about your fitness, or the additional financial burdens of starting in France, do what thousands of Spaniards do -- start in Pamplona! Your camino is YOURS alone. The St. Jean people are no more legitimate than you are, and your knees will thank you for miles.
 

GaryAus

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF December 2017
Consider the Valcarlos route regardless of the time of year. I had to go that way because it was winter and Napoleon route was closed, but I think pilgrims need to consider it as a viable option all year round. It was really scenic, beautiful little towns and a great little Albergue in Valcarlos with cooking facilities. Lovely people there too in the Bar and grocery store. You can break SJPP to Roncesvalles into 2 days and avoid the big first day (it’s a marathon not a sprint). About 13kms to Valcarlos and next day about 14kms to Roncesvalles. I know why Napoleon route attracts all of the comment, but Valcarlos route is truly a viable alternative in its own right especially for anyone who thinks the 28kms on day one might be a step too far for them, and given it’s often hard to get a bed at Orrison. It’s different to the Napoleon undoubtedly but no less interesting, and I dare say you can start your Camino in a gentler way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
Be sure to book your lodging choice in Orisson at least several weeks ahead
(Prefatory not quite off topic note) A number of people seem to think it's "required" to stay at Orisson. We didn't do that. (We did sit down and rest a bit on the side of the trail in a couple of places.) The other day I told a lady who is thinking she might do the Camino that there are no rules to the Camino, except one: if you want to receive a Compostela, you have to personally walk the last 100 km. (Bike is 200.) Other than that, whether you make short days or long, stay in albergues exclusively, pensiones and hotels exclusively, or a mix is up to you.

Now, to the topic: Once you make it to Orisson, you're gone 1/3 of your way and all of the steep uphill is done. Orisson has a cafe/bar/whatever you call it and they sell coffee, soup sometimes, and French-style sandwiches. (No mayo, mustard, pickle relish or what have you, in other words, just the meat and cheese.) We didn't check but they probably have wine, too. Also they will put a stamp on your credencial.

I live on the coastal plain, pretty flat, and we got from St Jean Pied-de-port to Roncesvalles monastery about 4 pm. We had left town about 7, and we were not used to climbing. Assuming you don't have big health issues, you can do it.
 

Old Kiwi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
Camino Frances 2019
SdC to Muxia and Fisterra 2019
Camino Portuguese "2021"
On my first Camino, I stopped the night at Orrison, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The next day I arrived at Roncesvalles at mid-day and had to wait for hours until the albergue opened. There is not much to see in Ronsecvalles to fill in the time. On my second Camino I stopped at Orrison for a coffee and to top up the water bottle and arrived at Roncesvalles at 4;00pm which seemed about right. I am 76 and made it OK and so should you.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Folks who overnight in Orisson and Valcarlos could consider walking beyond Roncesvalles to one of the next villages. It would alleviate the bed shortage in the busy season.

There's really no requirement to stay in Roncesvalles. Pause to visit the church, have a coffee or snack and stroll onward.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
If you are worried about the length of the walk between SJPP and Roncesvalles and don't want to (or can't) stop at Orisson or Valcarlos may wish to consider the use of a taxi and an extra night's stay in SJPP. The idea is to walk a section of the route the first day and taxi back to SJPP for the night. Then, the next morning, you taxi back to where you left off and continue. There are several taxis that are used to doing this. You will have plenty of choices for albergues after the first day's walk and you will still be walking the whole distance between SJPP and Roncesvalles.
 

Vicki Brian Miller

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Consider the Valcarlos route regardless of the time of year. I had to go that way because it was winter and Napoleon route was closed, but I think pilgrims need to consider it as a viable option all year round. It was really scenic, beautiful little towns and a great little Albergue in Valcarlos with cooking facilities. Lovely people there too in the Bar and grocery store. You can break SJPP to Roncesvalles into 2 days and avoid the big first day (it’s a marathon not a sprint). About 13kms to Valcarlos and next day about 14kms to Roncesvalles. I know why Napoleon route attracts all of the comment, but Valcarlos route is truly a viable alternative in its own right especially for anyone who thinks the 28kms on day one might be a step too far for them, and given it’s often hard to get a bed at Orrison. It’s different to the Napoleon undoubtedly but no less interesting, and I dare say you can start your Camino in a gentler way.
I agree. We couldn't go the Napolean route as it was too dangerous. It's a lovely little village and met some wonderful pilgrims that we bumped into all along the Camino. We then stayed in a camping ground a bit further along from Roncesvalles
 


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