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Pilgrimage from Paris to St. Jean

Schmutdo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'll be walking the Camino on July 11th of 2019!
Good afternoon all,

First off I want to say that I apologize that I haven't done enough research for this. I wasn't planning on walking the Camino until June of 2020, but I recently lost my job so I felt like that was a sign to start early. I'm not trying to start a pity party by any means as I'm just trying to explain why I'm not as prepared as I would like.

I will be arriving in Paris on July 11 2019 and I was planning on taking a bus/train to St. Jean, but after reading the Village to Village Guide Camino De Santiago guide I wanted to look into walking from Paris to St. Jean as long as it's not too expensive. I looked online and was quoted around $5200 which is entirely too much for me, so I wanted to see if there were any other options as I would probably just take a bus to St. Jean and start from there.

Are there any other options? I've been looking online and it seems like there aren't any open hostels that are within my price range. I was reading a little bit about people being able to stay in monasteries and places like that, but I'm not sure if that's reserved for people who are priests/nuns/friars, etc...I am Catholic though in case that matters. I also don't speak any French and barely any Spanish as you can only learn so much in a month :/

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I have not walked from Paris, so I will let someone else who has chime in here.
I am not sure where you came up with the figure of $5200, if it was a tour group that is not the way to do it.
My gut reaction is that you will find it more expensive than the CF because it does not have the same infrastructure and support but I know there are hostels and campgrounds all along the way, however your meals will probably be more expensive.
 

Schmutdo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'll be walking the Camino on July 11th of 2019!
Thank you for the quick reply.

The $5200 comes from one of those websites that plan out your trip for you. I figured it was overpriced, but didn't really have the knowledge to dispute it. I wasn't planning on doing it that way either way since I want this to be a more personal experience.

I didn't see any hostels in the smaller towns along the way which was what confused me. I could be looking at the wrong websites though.

I wasn't planning on bringing a tent for campgrounds, but it could be something interesting to consider.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
For stays on the Le Puy route, my experience was around 45 Eur/day average, if that helps. Tours shouldnt be much more than that.
 

Schmutdo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'll be walking the Camino on July 11th of 2019!
For stays on the Le Puy route, my experience was around 45 Eur/day average, if that helps. Tours shouldnt be much more than that.

That's not too bad at all.

Did you stay in hostels, monasteries, or did you camp?
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Did you stay in hostels, monasteries, or did you camp?
No camping; usual mix of gites, chamber d'hotes, auberges. WIth demi-pension as much as possible, of course.
 

Hilarious

Hilarious
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
Good afternoon all,

First off I want to say that I apologize that I haven't done enough research for this. I wasn't planning on walking the Camino until June of 2020, but I recently lost my job so I felt like that was a sign to start early. I'm not trying to start a pity party by any means as I'm just trying to explain why I'm not as prepared as I would like.

I will be arriving in Paris on July 11 2019 and I was planning on taking a bus/train to St. Jean, but after reading the Village to Village Guide Camino De Santiago guide I wanted to look into walking from Paris to St. Jean as long as it's not too expensive. I looked online and was quoted around $5200 which is entirely too much for me, so I wanted to see if there were any other options as I would probably just take a bus to St. Jean and start from there.

Are there any other options? I've been looking online and it seems like there aren't any open hostels that are within my price range. I was reading a little bit about people being able to stay in monasteries and places like that, but I'm not sure if that's reserved for people who are priests/nuns/friars, etc...I am Catholic though in case that matters. I also don't speak any French and barely any Spanish as you can only learn so much in a month :/

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
Welcome to the forum Schmudtdo. I have no experience walking Paris to SJPdP but another forum member Epicamino has recently completed this way as part of his Camino. Although he did quite a bit of camping looking at his posts could be a good resource. In respect of costs re: tour company vs planning yourself I would definitely vote for planning yourself. I compared three companies for the Camino Frances vs booking myself and the money I saved paid for my airfare and comprehensive travel insurance. I live in Australia and have a total hip replacement so the saving at the minimum was in excess of $2.5k in Aussie dollars. Yes, it will take more research time but so enjoyable. Whatever you decide - Buen Camino!
 

pudgypilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
voie de tours 2015
I did part of the Chartres variant in 2015. Yes, it can be significantly more expensive because there is little pilgrim accommodation and even a few people fill that up. For example, in the area between Paris and Chartres, we were only able to stay in a monastery one night. After that, everything was booked solid and we had to stay in hotels, and often my fifth or sixth choice, at that, but then we were traveling in September, which is a very popular walking month, not just for pilgrims, but for everyone who wants to get away, and you are still in the environs of Paris, which affects prices to some extent.

One tip: I did find out that if you are traveling alone and have a sleeping bag, not just a liner, some of the monasteries/parish halls will give you floor space even if all their official accommodation is booked up.

Good luck! I'm envious and sure you'll have a wonderful trip.

ETA Your best bet is to look for the websites of the Amis for each departement you will be passing through. Search for "amis de compostelle" plus the number of the departement, so "amis de compostelle 28" will get you the Eure-et-Loir group, for instance. You can also try just entering "compostellenumber.org" and that will find a lot of the websites directly. Eure-et-Loir is compostelle28.org.

There is also Compostelle2000 in Paris, which I would definitely check out for the most up-to-date info on this route, especiallly getting out of Paris:
 
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Trishagale

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Frances (2017)
Hi Biarritzdon
My husband, daughter and I started the Tours route in Orléans a few weeks ago. Our intention was to do some walking and take some trains as time was limited.
Not being a fluent speaker of French I found it difficult to research as many websites did not have English options. We found it expensive as we were unable to source much information about cheaper options for accommodation. And there are no Pilgrim menus so food was expensive.
There are long stretches without food or water so you need to be prepared. Often the Camino did not run close to bus or train routes.
The route through the Loire Valley was beautiful and easy to walk but once we got to Tours it became very difficult for us as we can only walk around 15kms a day and the Camino route, bus and train lines and our ability didn’t always align.
In the end we took the train into Poitiers, then onto Bordeaux and St Jean Pied de Port. My daughter and I have done Camino Frances twice so we started walking that route a week ago, currently in Nájera. Soon we will return to Paris, but have enjoyed Frances where we can walk shorter days if necessary there is cheap accommodation and food.
The whole point of my long-winded post I guess is you really do need to be prepared, understand your abilities, you may very well be able to do longer days than us, and be prepared that it will cost more.
Bon Chemin.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
The French "jacquets" (pilgrims towards Compostela) start usually in Orleans or Tours; but some in Paris proper.
There is a guide with maps (in French, if you intend to walk this way, better get used to do some basic translation). Also a list of lodgings, but (based in my experience in other less known routes) these kind of lists are not always updated, you need to confirm availability and prices.
You will probably be quite alone before Tours, and people will see you as just another hiker. A French pilgrim that went this way told me it was "as in older times" (meaning, scarce dedicated infrastructure, and you have to improvise). On the other side you will know the "real" France, many little villages afar from touristy places -and that is interesting.
 
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Trishagale

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Frances (2017)
Oops, sorry Schmutdo and Biarritzdon, I didn’t look properly at who wrote the original post.
I have to agree with Felipe about the lack of other Pilgrims in France. We saw one guy in Orléans before we started. He had been bitten by a snake and spent 3 days in hospital. On our first day of actual walking we met a pilgrim in the morning, and that was it!
Another thought I had was that Camino markers are sporadic and not reliable through the Loire Valley, on a couple of occasions we were following them and they just stopped and we didn’t know where to go!
After Tours the Chemin was well marked.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I walked from Oloron to Pamplona and had the same kind of experience.
 

Plaisant

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Santiago via CF,
Lourdes - Santiago via Norte y Primitivo
La Plata, Portuguese, Madrid,...
Reading all the previous posts, I would advise you Schmutdo to start your Camino in Le Puy, center of France. Easy to reach by train from Paris. The walk to SJPP is just wonderful and you will find all the accomodations that you need. Many sites and guides to assist you on this via Podiensis. You will meet many pilgrims, but not as many as on the CF highway, from France, Switzerland, Germany and other countries, on this very well marked GR 65 path. You have about 800 kms to SJPP and then another 800 to Santiago. Beautiful landscapes, cities, great food,... I am French, I have been walking over 5 000 kms on Caminos in Spain, which I loved, but the part from Le Puy to Conques (200 kms) through Margeride and Aubrac is by far the most beautiful walk I have ever done. Not speaking French is not an issue at all. In any case I wish you Buen Camino.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
That is what I am doing next week. Le Puy to Cahors, bus from Cahors to Burgos and the the CF onwards.
 

pudgypilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
voie de tours 2015
Not being a fluent speaker of French I found it difficult to research as many websites did not have English options.

You can put any website URL into translate.google.com and it will translate it, more or less.

ETA I forgot to mention that the Paris-Tours route is most popular with cyclists and you will need to be a little careful about that, because the cycling route is a lot longer in most areas. There's a fancy glossy booklet for cyclists which you can pick up at any municipal tourist office and you should grab it for the accommodation info, but they often aren't aware that you don't follow the same path for walking. It's true there are few pilgrims on this route, but even so cyclists probably outnumber walkers about ten to one.
 
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Suzanne H

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Baztan and Frances 2017, Le Puy 2018, Porto 2019
Hi Schmutdo, welcome!
NOT planning in advance ‘can’ be a blessing, but do become familiar with the marking system of the grand rondenee routes of France. Here’s another walker’s website that addresses this with photos. They also address using topo guides — maps with accommodations listings for French walkers. http://walkinginfrance.info/beginners-guide/maps-and-guides/

Also, this blog has some historical info, too. Look at some older threads on topic

My first Camino started on a whim, as well. I planned to start in SJPdP, but once in Bayonne I was convinced to begin from there along the Baztan route. It was great, but I had near null information, did not speak the language, and was not aware of the French GR markings. I found myself lost on the first two days, which does add a lot of stress to the body, ending the day much more weary than necessary.

If you don’t speak French or don’t have time to truly prepare, I think the Le Puy route would give you a nice option to the Paris route as an entry to Caminos. I met many on Le Puy last year going all the way to Finisterre.

Also, anytime you’re in a town, look for their Touist Information office. They often speak multiple languages and can make reservations for you in hostels along the route. A tent would give you oodles of flexibility.

We all have personal reasons for choosing the routes we walk. Keep in mind that the route from Paris will give you weeks of solitude. The Le Puy and Frances, and other well known routes, will give you pilgrims from around the world whose kind smiles and generosity often help lift you on more difficult days.

There’s often a bus or taxi that can move you to where you need to be.
Just be honest with yourself, and be flexible.
Buen camino~
Suzanne
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
Good afternoon all,

First off I want to say that I apologize that I haven't done enough research for this. I wasn't planning on walking the Camino until June of 2020, but I recently lost my job so I felt like that was a sign to start early. I'm not trying to start a pity party by any means as I'm just trying to explain why I'm not as prepared as I would like.

I will be arriving in Paris on July 11 2019 and I was planning on taking a bus/train to St. Jean, but after reading the Village to Village Guide Camino De Santiago guide I wanted to look into walking from Paris to St. Jean as long as it's not too expensive. I looked online and was quoted around $5200 which is entirely too much for me, so I wanted to see if there were any other options as I would probably just take a bus to St. Jean and start from there.

Are there any other options? I've been looking online and it seems like there aren't any open hostels that are within my price range. I was reading a little bit about people being able to stay in monasteries and places like that, but I'm not sure if that's reserved for people who are priests/nuns/friars, etc...I am Catholic though in case that matters. I also don't speak any French and barely any Spanish as you can only learn so much in a month :/

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
I walked Paris to Saintes then the rains came, so I took a train to Hendaye and walked the Norte from Irùn and the Primitivo the Santiago and Fisterra. There were some hostels, parish houses (and gîtes) along the way, but I also had a tent when there were no accommodations. Do Google searches for accommodations along the various routes going south from Paris. I came up with a list that served me well.
 

Edit

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Way 2007, 8,15 VDLP 2011, Porto-SDC 2015,16,17 Geneva-Astorga 2016 Budapest-Finisterre 2017+
Hi Biarritzdon
My husband, daughter and I started the Tours route in Orléans a few weeks ago. Our intention was to do some walking and take some trains as time was limited.
Not being a fluent speaker of French I found it difficult to research as many websites did not have English options. We found it expensive as we were unable to source much information about cheaper options for accommodation. And there are no Pilgrim menus so food was expensive.
There are long stretches without food or water so you need to be prepared. Often the Camino did not run close to bus or train routes.
The route through the Loire Valley was beautiful and easy to walk but once we got to Tours it became very difficult for us as we can only walk around 15kms a day and the Camino route, bus and train lines and our ability didn’t always align.
In the end we took the train into Poitiers, then onto Bordeaux and St Jean Pied de Port. My daughter and I have done Camino Frances twice so we started walking that route a week ago, currently in Nájera. Soon we will return to Paris, but have enjoyed Frances where we can walk shorter days if necessary there is cheap accommodation and food.
The whole point of my long-winded post I guess is you really do need to be prepared, understand your abilities, you may very well be able to do longer days than us, and be prepared that it will cost more.
Bon Chemin.
Let me ask you: so it means, that THERE IS an actual "Camino" waymarked?
I am thinking about going there in a week, as a result of a sudden change in plans, so I am not very much prepared at all, sorry. I do not even know if there are waymarks? Are there?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Edit yes, there are way marks from Tours for the GR655 - and also the Chemin, which is signposted by local groups and differs slightly in places to the GR. We tended to stick to the GR. There are also some guide books with accommodation suggested, in French but relatively easy to understand. See here for a list. We used GPS tracks on a mobile phone, using the IPhiGenie app (the official French maps from the National Geographic Insitute) and it was absolutely reliable.

We used bed and breakfast accommodation, and hotels. Much more expensive than gités, but my husband refuses to share bedrooms and bathrooms these days.
 

Edit

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Way 2007, 8,15 VDLP 2011, Porto-SDC 2015,16,17 Geneva-Astorga 2016 Budapest-Finisterre 2017+
Dear Kanga,
Thank you for your answer.
Let me summarize it: The Tours way goes on the GR655, sections of which are waymarked by local groups as Camino. But no Waymark between Paris and Tours, right?

I should start at the end of next week, btw. I was on the frances several times, and from Geneva twice. For some reason the Arles is not an option. And I keep thinking which way should I go. I will have like five weeks, so it should be enough for any of them.....
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Edit there are guides from Paris to Tours; we started in Orleans and the GR655, but took detours onto local paths through the Loire Valley until we got to Tours, because we wanted to see some of the chateaux on the way.

I have to say that the route is not my favourite. But that view is heavily influenced by atrocious weather and an unenthusiastic walking companion.
 

Trishagale

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Frances (2017)
My husband, daughter and I walked from Orléans to Tours a few weeks ago. The first few days through the Loire Valley were beautiful. Camino markers were sporadic and sometimes led us somewhere then just stopped. I wouldn’t rely on them. Mostly we followed the cycle route and GR655 and had no problems. The last couple of days were very well marked with Camino markers.
Bon Chemin.
 

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