A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement


Buy any book, get free camino shell

Pilgrim accommodations along Vezelay and Arles

edharisson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2013
#1
Hello,

I am looking forward to beginning my first walk on the Camino beginning in early September. I plan to travel the distance to Santiago but I am having a great deal of trouble deciding whether to begin in Vezelay or Arles.

I know that this topic has been addressed in bits and pieces throughout many earlier posts, so I apologize for bringing it up again. However, I'm hoping to gather some information that is perhaps a little more timely. I'm mostly concerned with the state of pilgrim accommodations along the way (availability, specifically). For one, I want to minimize cost (France is intimidating in this way), and for two, I'm looking for as true a pilgrimmage as possible.

So for example, the American Pilgrims website says that pilgrim infrastructure (accommodation) is very minimal on the Arles path:
http://www.americanpilgrims.com/camino/ ... arles.html
But more likely on the Vezelay route:
http://www.americanpilgrims.com/camino/ ... zelay.html

The CSJ information seems to say the opposite, that for Arles "it is possible to walk virtually the whole route using only pilgrim accommodation":
http://www.csj.org.uk/route-arles.htm
But for Vezelay, they seem to say that it's more rare:
http://www.csj.org.uk/route-vezelay.htm

When I travel, I don't tend to plan very much. I prefer just to see what the journey brings. However, this journey is not a short one, and I wonder if there are really significant differences in this way.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#2
There are more accommodations on the Arles route. The guidebook for Vezelay has not been updated recently, I don't think, and a lot of the accommodations require calling ahead to individuals or support organizations that have private homes lined up. Hotels are common, gites less common.

Arles has several good guidebooks in French, and the accommodations are more frequent; a mix of gites and hotels.

We met only a handful of fellow pilgrims in a month on the Vezelay route, but several per day (most days) on the Arles route.

Both are more expensive than the Camino Frances by ten to fifteen Euro per day.

I think a true pilgrimage is in the mind, not on the ground, so I am not sure what you are asking in that regard. Most of the original routes are underneath the roads!
 

edharisson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2013
#3
Thank you for your reply. What I mean by true pilgrimage is that when I read the discussions about Le Puy I get the very strong sense of guesthouse-chic and daytrippers in fashion gear. I am looking for quiet, which is not to say solitude, but don't want much busy-ness. In all other ways, Le Puy sounds spectacular but on this trip I'm concerned about expenses. I was originally planning to walk only the Camino Frances but just recently became intrigued by the idea of beginning further afield in France. However if a minimum budget for France is around 40-50 Euro per day, then I fear that it will be impossible this time. I am a very experienced shoestring traveler, I don't need coffee and don't drink, can feed myself very well from grocery shops and markets, and I honestly prefer spartan lodging. But if pilgrim lodging is either unavailable or not so inexpensive, then I'm just not sure that I can travel both legs on this trip.

And I think Vezelay sounds wonderful but I don't speak French and so I'm wary about needing to make advance arrangements day to day. For this reason, maybe Vezelay isn't the best choice, first time out.
 

Timor

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arles, Aragones and Camino Frances 2013
Hoping / Planning LePuy 2017
#4
Hello,

I just walked the Arles route in May. There were plenty of pilgrim accomodations. Had to resort to a hotel only twice along the way. Not as many as on the Frances but usually more than 1 or 2 options at each stage. Miam-miam dodo guide provided great info on accomodations.

Great camino to mix solitude and some company as desired. Met about 50 or 60 pilgrims in a month. A few each days.

Eric



Timor
 

dalston999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Le Puy/Santiago/Fisterra/Murxia Sept/Oct 2012, Portugues march 2013, Arles April 2013
#5
I walked the Arles route in March/April this year and found a few pilgrims and no shortage of reasonably priced gites, often with cooking facilities. I used the CSJ guide for the route and the Miam Miam Dodo for accommodation, whiich was excellent. It is a beautiful route which passes through some lovely places and I think very easy to discover a real pilgrim feel.

Continuing over Somport and along the Aragones is spectacular and much less busy than the Frances. It was quite a shock to encounter the hordes in Puenta la Reina.
 

Vinnie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arles- Muxia 2010 Sep- Dec
Arles- Muxia 2013 Sep- Dec
SJPP- Santiago 2014- 2015 Dec- Jan
Arles- Muxia 2016 Sep- Dec
#6
I walked the Arles route in September/October 2010, A Holy year and found it beautifully serene. I could count all the pilgrims I saw on both hands and still have fingers left over. I didn't start seeing many other pilgrims till I walked into Spain on the Via Aragones and wasn't really prepared for the mass number of pilgrims when I entered Puente La Reina :shock: I stealth camped almost all the time and when I didn't I never had a hard time finding accommodation. I found the route well marked and relatively easy to follow.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#8
As a demi-pension sort of guy, I was paying 31-33E per day. The bed was typically 15E.
 

edharisson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2013
#9
Thanks again, people. Another question: Do you have any opinions on the Dodo guide vs the Gaches guides? Did you feel you could get by with no guide at all?
 

dalston999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Le Puy/Santiago/Fisterra/Murxia Sept/Oct 2012, Portugues march 2013, Arles April 2013
#10
Personally I found them both invaluable, you need the Miam for lodgings and planning ahead re services etc but the Gaches gives the route and information in English not in the Miam. I don't think it would be feasible without a guide and a proper map would sometimes have been useful.

You could consider the Topo guide if there is one, but it is in French, if your language skills Ae up to it, and the accommodation etc lists are not as comprehensive as Miam.

Mostly the route was well marked, but there are some parts not so good, some variantes and some junctions where it is quite easy to follow the wrong GR. (I did!)
 

billmclaughlin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP/Burgos 2012; Le Puy/SJPP 2013; Aumont Aubrac/Aire sur l'Adour 2014; Burgos/Santiago 2016.
#11
On the same theme as above, I hope to walk from Arles to Puenta La Reina in 2014 and I'm trying to decide when. My agenda starts with avoiding hot weather and that's easy to research. But I'd also like:

(1) to have plenty of company at night, but not hordes
(2) to meet others who are traveling singly like myself
(2) to be in mostly Francophone company because immersion in French is great for my own French
(3) to encounter a mix of age groups rather than the 90% over 55 I encountered on the Le Puy route in Sept/Oct 2013

Just preferences, of course. I'm 64 myself. And just wondering if anyone can suggest why May or June beats Sept or Oct for this odd mix of preferences.

Timor's comment above (about 50 or 60 pilgrims in a month) makes May sound a bit quiet and Vinnie's from Sept/Oct (count all the pilgrims I saw on both hands [in France]) even quieter! Falcon 260 mentions "several pilgrims a day", which sounds more like what I'm looking for, but gives no month.

Thanks.

Bill
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#12
We biked it in early May. It was pretty cold in the Haute Languedoc. Everyone we met (a few each day) was around Bills age, mostly French, with one German group with some guy who seemed compelled to translate the entire menu loud enough for the entire building to hear. Other than that human megaphone everyone was wonderful. Our bad French was used exclusively, it seemed most people did not know a lot of English.
Only one pilgrim we met was solo. We stayed mostly in private Chambre'dHotes, out of a bad habit of going through as much money as possible. They were all good deals with great hosts.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
#13
I walked the first part of the Arles Route in mid September this year and met a few people each day; French, German, Canadian and one lone Japanese.

The weather was fabulous although very hot on a couple of days but did not prevent me walking. Rained on final days.

TIP: Go to Arles if you must, get your credential stamped at the beginning then take the nice train to Montpelier and walk from there. Arles to Montpelier is, frankly, rubbish! Beyond Montpelier is wonderful.

Ultreïa.
 

dalston999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Le Puy/Santiago/Fisterra/Murxia Sept/Oct 2012, Portugues march 2013, Arles April 2013
#14
I walked it April/May this year and saw a few lone French, couple of New Zealanders and an Australian, a québécois Jesuit priest and a French woman with whom I walked from Montpellier to Toulouse, and between Pau and Puenta la Reina three French men, two travelling together, and three solo German woman. Certainly not crowded! All probably over 50.

It certainly wasn't crowded!
 

FatmaG

Active Member
#15
I walked from Montpellier to Castres in July 2012. I mostly met Frenchspeaking people, quite few, and average age around 40-55, I'd say.
Except for 2-3 very hot days, time was perfect.
I was a single walker, but met on the first days 2 other single French walkers; although we did most of our walking alone, we spent the evenings together.
 

karenhypes

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (09), Chemin Le Puy (10/11), hospitaleros (11), Chemin Arles (Apr 13), Caminho Portuguese (15).
#16
I walked from Montpellier to Castres in July 2012. I mostly met Frenchspeaking people, quite few, and average age around 40-55, I'd say.
Except for 2-3 very hot days, time was perfect.
I was a single walker, but met on the first days 2 other single French walkers; although we did most of our walking alone, we spent the evenings together.
Hi. My wife and I walked from Montpellier to Puente la Reina in Apr/May 2013, 35 straight days. We went to Arles and started walking in Montpellier in order to walk with a friend we had met on the Le Puy route. Met only a handful of pilgrims for first week or so. More pilgrims after Toulouse. A lot more pilgrims from Somport on, but not overwhelming. The majority starting in Somport were Spanish.

Accommodations were no problem and varied; gites, small chambre d'hotes and occasionally a small hotel. Miam Miam Dodo invaluable. We had a little French but usually had the hospitalero/owner call ahead for us day to day. Worked well and they were always helpful. We reserved some online. Used the CSJ guide as well. Didn't have a 'proper' map and had no problems, of course we had used the MMD on the Le Puy route and their 'sketch' maps worked well. All in all very well marked. Only got off track once when GR routes crossed. Cost about 30-40€ a day. Not as many shops and bars along the way as there are on Camino Frances. More French groups along the Le Puy route.

We experienced cool, cold, wet, MUDDY and occasional snowy weather but it's a Camino....you persevere in whatever comes your way. The Le Puy route has more quaint, pretty villages and towns but the Arles route has it's own character. We don't have any experience on the Vezelay route.

Whichever route you choose, as was mentioned above, you determine how your Camino goes, not the route. You will have a wonderful experience. Dayton
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy
#17
Great info here - thanks. I will walk this route in May 2014, and was waffling on whether to start in Arles or Montpellier, but this decides it for me. Oh, and Bill, I'm under 55 and agree that it's nicest when there's a good range of age and nationality of other hikers - I was lucky enough to find that on the Le Puy route, but I know younger hikers are in the minority.
 

FatmaG

Active Member
#18
@Mlle Mercredi (btw very nice forum name)
One argument in favour of starting in Arles rather than in Montpellier might be to profit from the rather flat terrain before Montpellier. Just one stage and a half after Montpellier, you will be in very sporty walking conditions and the few days before might be a good introduction to the camino.

But, in fact, I started in Montpellier as well... ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP/Burgos 2012; Le Puy/SJPP 2013; Aumont Aubrac/Aire sur l'Adour 2014; Burgos/Santiago 2016.
#19
I'm uncertain about choosing to start in Arles or Montpellier. Above someone said that section was "rubbish", which tells me he hated it but doesn't describe it.

Mind you, I enjoyed hiking into Burgos though Brierley et al. make it out to be torture. If I hadn't hiked that stretch, I wouldn't have experienced the support of the two drivers, one in a car and the other in a truck, who honked and waved encouragement as I smiled back through the drizzle.

And a relatively easy start sounds good. And I just remembered there's a great church to see outside of Arles. Maybe I just decided!

Bill
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
#20
I'm responsible for the"rubbish" comment, so should explain. The towns and villages between Arles and Montpellier are OK but in between there is much road walking or through poor quality agricultural land. I have found in Fance, which I love, that towns and villages are often surrounded by extended areas of uncared for land and vast amounts of rubbish (trash); this proved to be the case on the Arles Way in September and I don't enjoy long road walks or rubbish heaps. Beyond Montpellier this improves. Just my obsertion.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#21
villages are often surrounded by extended areas of uncared for land
The Romans and then the gentry allotted land, which was often neatly divided by stone fences. For hundreds of years the parcels were tended by the town folk who left the village in the morning to tend flocks or cultivate the soil. Then World War I came along and as many as three generations of men died. Look at the memorial in every village; son, father, and grandfather may be listed. The surviving women did what they could, but the fields began to lie fallow, and trees invaded. Today the plots are useless for anything but animal forage, and modern machines cannot maneuver the fences and trees, so agriculture is limited to acreage that admits farm equipment. I view the abandoned plots as a memorial to the past, not an eyesore. That may just be me.

I do view the closed bakeries in the small towns as an eyesore. They are the victims of the automobile and Carrefour, not misguided war!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Starting April, 15, 2017
#22
I walked the Arles route in March/April this year and found a few pilgrims and no shortage of reasonably priced gites, often with cooking facilities. I used the CSJ guide for the route and the Miam Miam Dodo for accommodation, whiich was excellent. It is a beautiful route which passes through some lovely places and I think very easy to discover a real pilgrim feel.

Continuing over Somport and along the Aragones is spectacular and much less busy than the Frances. It was quite a shock to encounter the hordes in Puenta la Reina.
How was the weather at that time of year? Also one of the websites breaks the Arles into stages but a lot of them are 30 kms or so. Too far apart for me. So my question is are there enough accomodations along the way say every 15 kms or so? Don't much care what kind of accomodation, just a place to crash without doing a ton of mileage... hey, I'm old. LOL
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
#23
If you don't already have it get hold of a copy of the Miam Miam Dodo guide for the Arlesey Route. It is in French but mostly icon driven and really easy to use and lists a whole load of information about accommodation, cafés, restaurants, ATMs, shops, public transport, etc. It really is useful and worth having but do try to get the latest edition - I find the Amazon France site a good source. Do remember though that places close between compilation and publication but new ones open too.

It's a lovely route, do stay at the Carmel in St Guillemot let Desert, and I'm certain that you don't need to do 30kms a day - I'm old too and have knackered knees. Try to look at the profile of the days ahead of you so that you can plan to keep the hard days short and go longer on the flat. Good Luck.

Ultreïa
 
Camino(s) past & future
Starting April, 15, 2017
#24
If you don't already have it get hold of a copy of the Miam Miam Dodo guide for the Arlesey Route. It is in French but mostly icon driven and really easy to use and lists a whole load of information about accommodation, cafés, restaurants, ATMs, shops, public transport, etc. It really is useful and worth having but do try to get the latest edition - I find the Amazon France site a good source. Do remember though that places close between compilation and publication but new ones open too.

It's a lovely route, do stay at the Carmel in St Guillemot let Desert, and I'm certain that you don't need to do 30kms a day - I'm old too and have knackered knees. Try to look at the profile of the days ahead of you so that you can plan to keep the hard days short and go longer on the flat. Good Luck.

Ultreïa
Thanks Six Wheeler I just ordered the CSJ guide (two of them) and was hoping to forego the miam as it is a bit pricey but will probably save me a lot of hassle. I really want to go slow out of necessity and choice , I have plenty of time. I guess my biggest fear is that I get caught between towns too tired to go on and no immediate lodging available. I do have an ultralight , tent and gear and may take it along for that reason and even stealth camp if necessary. Do you think this to be a good idea? I will be starting around April 15th of this year. Where can I find weather updates or get an idea of Spring weather along this route?Thanks for y'alls help.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Starting April, 15, 2017
#25
If you don't already have it get hold of a copy of the Miam Miam Dodo guide for the Arlesey Route. It is in French but mostly icon driven and really easy to use and lists a whole load of information about accommodation, cafés, restaurants, ATMs, shops, public transport, etc. It really is useful and worth having but do try to get the latest edition - I find the Amazon France site a good source. Do remember though that places close between compilation and publication but new ones open too.

It's a lovely route, do stay at the Carmel in St Guillemot let Desert, and I'm certain that you don't need to do 30kms a day - I'm old too and have knackered knees. Try to look at the profile of the days ahead of you so that you can plan to keep the hard days short and go longer on the flat. Good Luck.

Ultreïa
Thanks Brother. I got the Miam/arles from amazon france and saved about $40 compared to the same thing from the CSJ. Good show mate.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Starting April, 15, 2017
#26
I
If you don't already have it get hold of a copy of the Miam Miam Dodo guide for the Arlesey Route. It is in French but mostly icon driven and really easy to use and lists a whole load of information about accommodation, cafés, restaurants, ATMs, shops, public transport, etc. It really is useful and worth having but do try to get the latest edition - I find the Amazon France site a good source. Do remember though that places close between compilation and publication but new ones open too.

It's a lovely route, do stay at the Carmel in St Guillemot let Desert, and I'm certain that you don't need to do 30kms a day - I'm old too and have knackered knees. Try to look at the profile of the days ahead of you so that you can plan to keep the hard days short and go longer on the flat. Good Luck.

Ultreïa
In case anyone is interested:

Miam-Miam-Dodo 2016-2017 Arles (Arles to Puente la Reina)
Sold by Amazon EU SarL
EUR 18.01
Subtotal of items: EUR 18.01
Shipping : EUR 13.03
Total amount of the order: EUR 31.04
USD 34.80 *


PS I live in the USA and this is with some type of priority shipping. they now have the 2016-17 edition put out in Dec of 2016 I believe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Starting April, 15, 2017
#27
If you don't already have it get hold of a copy of the Miam Miam Dodo guide for the Arlesey Route. It is in French but mostly icon driven and really easy to use and lists a whole load of information about accommodation, cafés, restaurants, ATMs, shops, public transport, etc. It really is useful and worth having but do try to get the latest edition - I find the Amazon France site a good source. Do remember though that places close between compilation and publication but new ones open too.

It's a lovely route, do stay at the Carmel in St Guillemot let Desert, and I'm certain that you don't need to do 30kms a day - I'm old too and have knackered knees. Try to look at the profile of the days ahead of you so that you can plan to keep the hard days short and go longer on the flat. Good Luck.

Ultreïa
Any suggestions on how to get from CDG to Arles will be appreciated.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Starting April, 15, 2017
#30
I orederd
If you don't already have it get hold of a copy of the Miam Miam Dodo guide for the Arlesey Route. It is in French but mostly icon driven and really easy to use and lists a whole load of information about accommodation, cafés, restaurants, ATMs, shops, public transport, etc. It really is useful and worth having but do try to get the latest edition - I find the Amazon France site a good source. Do remember though that places close between compilation and publication but new ones open too.

It's a lovely route, do stay at the Carmel in St Guillemot let Desert, and I'm certain that you don't need to do 30kms a day - I'm old too and have knackered knees. Try to look at the profile of the days ahead of you so that you can plan to keep the hard days short and go longer on the flat. Good Luck.

Ultreïa
I ordered my Miam book and just noticed the delivery date is cutting it tight. should it not make it here on time can you purchase a copy in Arles?
 

OLDER threads on this topic




A few items available from the Camino Forum Store




Advertisement

Booking.com

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 9 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 4 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 35 4.6%
  • April

    Votes: 112 14.6%
  • May

    Votes: 188 24.5%
  • June

    Votes: 54 7.0%
  • July

    Votes: 15 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 12 1.6%
  • September

    Votes: 228 29.8%
  • October

    Votes: 93 12.1%
  • November

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.7%
Top