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Planning to walk the Caminos Arles, Aragonès & Le Puy

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
Hi Everyone,
We have been walking the Caminos since 2015 and have completed 9 so far: Paris - Vezelay - St Jean Pied de Port - Santiago de Compostela; del Norte; Finnisterre; Muxia; Primitivo; San Salvador; Portuguese; Via de la Plata; Sanabres.
We're in the planning stages to walk the Caminos Arles, Aragonès & Le Puy in 2020. We have 10 weeks to do it starting early April to late June. Considering the season, we're thinking of starting in Arles and doing it backwards to Le Puy via Aragonès. Has anyone done this before? Any sharing of experience during that time of year on all 3 would be much appreciated, thanks.
Buen Camino! Janette & Alan (Kiwis in Australia)
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Hi Alan & Janette! Sounds like quite a trip! Just so it's clear: you're going to walk from Arles to Somport, then to Puente la Reina, and then back over the Pyrenees (via St Jean Pied de Port) to Le Puy?

The Le Puy is a GR route so it shouldn't be too difficult to walk it 'backwards' (it can be very difficult going in the opposite direction if you only have the camino arrows to rely on - although the path from Puente La Reina is so well-trodden I doubt there's much chance of getting lost).

I counted the Gronze stages and it seems it might take over 10 weeks (I got up to 73 stages), but you'll have a better idea of your capabilities. The only other major concern for me would be the weather: spring can be very wet in Europe (and there will probably be snow at the higher altitudes), and in early April you will have the Mistral to contend with. Also, you might be aware of this, but the Arles route can be very isolated in places. In the Haut-Languedoc, for example, you won't have much access to facilities or resources (including water) for 20-30km stretches. Anyway, I think it's doable, but you'll need to be prepared!
 
Last edited:

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
We walked Biarritz to SJPdP to Pamplona to Sanquesa to Somport to Lourdes. Is your plan to do the reverse of a lot of this? If so, I have plenty to share! Walked in April/May 2019.
 

Dan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013
Le Puy 2014
Pennine Way 2015
Del Norte 2016
Arles Route 2018
Way St Francis 2019
Janette & Alan - read your site - very impressed. We are on the Gold Coast (the one below you!) We did the Arles route last year: 22 March - April - 3 May. Crossed the Somport Pass on 26 April. Beautiful weather. Snow on the ground. But only over the track itself on the final approach to the crest of the Somport. Then had to abandon the track and did the last couple of twists on the road to the top (links to pics available - send a PM). Cold but clear until on the flat in Spain the next day - but as you know, cold is good with a pack.

The Mistral: yes, it hit us from Arles to St Gilles du Gard. Very stiff. Wide open country. But doable. An experience not to be missed really.

The Autan: had never heard of it until we reached Castres (6 April). Made the Mistral feel like a breeze. Google it. We had wind over 100kph (not kidding) on the way to Sante Scholastique (Dourgne). Very tough. But again, it's doable. Wouldn't have missed the experience. Nearly all over by the next day.

We did Le Puy from the north in 2014 - arrived in St Jean pdP on 3 June - beautiful walk. Good weather. We love a cold spring. Just checked the pics - we seem to have had quite a lot of sunny days.
Happy to expand on all this if you wish.

Dan (& Anne - you'll see her enquiring on the Arles route forum about a diversion to Lourdes - we are taking our oldest grandson (he's only 17) from Toulouse to Pamplona next year (avoiding Puente la Reina) - leaving Toulouse about end March. We thought he would find the country from Toulouse to the mountains very interesting, and he can boast to his mates about crossing the Somport in the snow. About 500km should be enough for his first effort. The country out of St Guilhem le desert can be a bit tough for a couple of days for a lad new to the game.
Oloron St M to Sarrance, about to climb to Sarrance
Oloron St M to Sarrance.jpg
Father Pierre at the monastery in Sarrance - don't miss it - very good pilgrim accomodation (it was my 70th birthday!)
Fr. Pierre.jpg
Fr. Pierre's monastery leaving Sarrance for Borce
Monastery Sarrance.jpg
near top of Somport track
near top of Somport track.jpg
where the snow stopped us - became too dangerous a few metres further on
where snow stopped us.jpg
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
We crossed the Somport Pass on May 4th, 2019 in freezing temperatures and snow flurries, but the ground snow and ice was patchy enough to traverse safely. Just goes to show you that you can never be sure of the weather, even in Springtime.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
In addition to the weather schedule, do pull out the calendar for Holy Week/Easter, and the French holidays in May (May Day, V-E Day, Whitsunday) which become long weekends with many walkers on the Le Puy route.
 

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
Hi Alan & Janette! Sounds like quite a trip! Just so it's clear: you're going to walk from Arles to Somport, then to Puente la Reina, and then back over the Pyrenees (via St Jean Pied de Port) to Le Puy?

The Le Puy is a GR route so it shouldn't be too difficult to walk it 'backwards' (it can be very difficult going in the opposite direction if you only have the camino arrows to rely on - although the path from Puente La Reina is so well-trodden I doubt there's much chance of getting lost).

I counted the Gronze stages and it seems it might take over 10 weeks (I got up to 73 stages), but you'll have a better idea of your capabilities. The only other major concern for me would be the weather: spring can be very wet in Europe (and there will probably be snow at the higher altitudes), and in early April you will have the Mistral to contend with. Also, you might be aware of this, but the Arles route can be very isolated in places. In the Haut-Languedoc, for example, you won't have much access to facilities or resources (including water) for 20-30km stretches. Anyway, I think it's doable, but you'll need to be prepared!
Hi Jan, thanks for your reply, and yes our plan is to walk from Arles to Somport, to Puente la Reina and on to Le Puy via SJdP. The reason for this is because of the weather at the time we will start 7 April through mid June, approximately 80 days. We usually average 25-30 km a day so should be doable. We've experienced many French GR routes and agree it wouldn't be difficult to walk it backwards with the signage. We lived for a time in the Arles Route area and have definitely experienced the Mistral! Thanks for the tips!
 

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
Janette & Alan - read your site - very impressed. We are on the Gold Coast (the one below you!) We did the Arles route last year: 22 March - April - 3 May. Crossed the Somport Pass on 26 April. Beautiful weather. Snow on the ground. But only over the track itself on the final approach to the crest of the Somport. Then had to abandon the track and did the last couple of twists on the road to the top (links to pics available - send a PM). Cold but clear until on the flat in Spain the next day - but as you know, cold is good with a pack.

The Mistral: yes, it hit us from Arles to St Gilles du Gard. Very stiff. Wide open country. But doable. An experience not to be missed really.

The Autan: had never heard of it until we reached Castres (6 April). Made the Mistral feel like a breeze. Google it. We had wind over 100kph (not kidding) on the way to Sante Scholastique (Dourgne). Very tough. But again, it's doable. Wouldn't have missed the experience. Nearly all over by the next day.

We did Le Puy from the north in 2014 - arrived in St Jean pdP on 3 June - beautiful walk. Good weather. We love a cold spring. Just checked the pics - we seem to have had quite a lot of sunny days.
Happy to expand on all this if you wish.

Dan (& Anne - you'll see her enquiring on the Arles route forum about a diversion to Lourdes - we are taking our oldest grandson (he's only 17) from Toulouse to Pamplona next year (avoiding Puente la Reina) - leaving Toulouse about end March. We thought he would find the country from Toulouse to the mountains very interesting, and he can boast to his mates about crossing the Somport in the snow. About 500km should be enough for his first effort. The country out of St Guilhem le desert can be a bit tough for a couple of days for a lad new to the game.
Oloron St M to Sarrance, about to climb to Sarrance
View attachment 66298
Father Pierre at the monastery in Sarrance - don't miss it - very good pilgrim accomodation (it was my 70th birthday!)
View attachment 66299
Fr. Pierre's monastery leaving Sarrance for Borce
View attachment 66300
near top of Somport track
View attachment 66301
where the snow stopped us - became too dangerous a few metres further on
View attachment 66302
Hi Dan, thanks for your reply and the great photos! Thanks for the tips on the Arles route, so you did it in 6 weeks an average of 23km a day? That sounds great as we usually average 25-30km a day. We're not too concerned about the wind or possibility of snow as we have experienced it before, we lived in the region for a time and yes the Mistral and Autan can be interesting ;) and we lived in Canada running and hiking in snow. We will be prepared for that, but it was more the idea of walking the Le Puy backwards we are thinking about. How long did it take you to do Le Puy and did you start there or further north on the Geneva Route? As we're planning to walk it backwards, we're also thinking of continuing on towards Geneva if we have the time. If you're on FB feel free to link through from our website and send a friend request and we can keep in touch through msgr if you're ever coming up to FNQ you're welcome to come and stay. Cheers, Janette
 
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alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
We crossed the Somport Pass on May 4th, 2019 in freezing temperatures and snow flurries, but the ground snow and ice was patchy enough to traverse safely. Just goes to show you that you can never be sure of the weather, even in Springtime.
Hi Vacajoe, thanks for your tip, yes the weather can be unpredictable in Spring. It will be ineresting to see what it's like when we're there.
 

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
In addition to the weather schedule, do pull out the calendar for Holy Week/Easter, and the French holidays in May (May Day, V-E Day, Whitsunday) which become long weekends with many walkers on the Le Puy route.
Will do, thanks.
 

Dan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013
Le Puy 2014
Pennine Way 2015
Del Norte 2016
Arles Route 2018
Way St Francis 2019
Hi Dan, thanks for your reply and the great photos! Thanks for the tips on the Arles route, so you did it in 6 weeks an average of 23km a day? That sounds great as we usually average 25-30km a day. We're not too concerned about the wind or possibility of snow as we have experienced it before, we lived in the region for a time and yes the Mistral and Autan can be interesting ;) and we lived in Canada running and hiking in snow. We will be prepared for that, but it was more the idea of walking the Le Puy backwards we are thinking about. How long did it take you to do Le Puy and did you start there or further north on the Geneva Route? As we're planning to walk it backwards, we're also thinking of continuing on towards Geneva if we have the time. If you're on FB feel free to link through from our website and send a friend request and we can keep in touch through msgr if you're ever coming up to FNQ you're welcome to come and stay. Cheers, Janette
Just saw this Janette - be in touch soon - kids here for the weekend.
Dan
 

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
We walked Biarritz to SJPdP to Pamplona to Sanquesa to Somport to Lourdes. Is your plan to do the reverse of a lot of this? If so, I have plenty to share! Walked in April/May 2019.
Hi, no, we'll be on the Arles Route, Aragones and Le Puy-Geneva. :)
 

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
Hi Everyone, thanks for your tips and shared experiences, much appreciated. We have decided to start in Montpellier and follow the Arles Route to join the Aragonès, then from PLR will head back to SJPdP and continue (in reverse) towards Le Puy and Geneva. At 25 km per day it should be do-able as we now have confirmed 81 days to do 2020 km ;)
 

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
Hi again, Yesterday we ordered the 2019/2020 Miam Miam Dodo for the Arles and Aragonès Routes from CSJ in UK as they were the only online where the book appeared to be in stock, but just received a msg from them saying that they are out of stock as well. They've offered to order it in from the France publishers, but I'm thinking it's out of stock with them too. We're waiting to hear back, but meanwhile in case we can't get it, does anyone have a copy they would be willing to loan or sell to us? Thanks in advance :)
 

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
Just saw this Janette - be in touch soon - kids here for the weekend.
Dan
How was the weekend? We've decided our route for 2020 (thx to all the tips and sharing from everyone). So we will start in Montpellier April 6/7 and walk the Arles Route and Aragonès, then Puenta la Reina back to STPdP and onto Le Puy/Geneva (in reverse). We have 81 days so 25km a day should do it :) Any chance we'll meet up on the Way? Maybe we'll be close to Toulouse when you start? How are your plans going?
I just put a post up re the Miam Miam Dodo Arles Guide which seems to be out of stock, did you use MMDD and if so where did you get it? We used MMDD on the Vezelay-SdC and really liked it, particularly good for when in France.
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; lisboa-muxia; norte+bayonne; vdlp; le puy; voie d'arles+aragones; geneva to ales
I'm reading this totally out of context, as I'm just surfing the website this evening, but I can say that the Arles-Somport-Aragones-Puente La Reina route was one of my very favorites. I did it between September and October last year, and other than the very beginning between Arles and Montpelier, it was a dream. I also walked over Somport the year before (deviating from the Le Puy at Navarrenx) and loved it (fortunately, I had great weather). Happy trails!
 

alan janette

Raw Runners
Camino(s) past & future
Paris-SDC 2015; Norte, SSalvador, Primitivo, Muxia, Finnisterre 2016; Vdl Plata, Portuguese 2018
I'm reading this totally out of context, as I'm just surfing the website this evening, but I can say that the Arles-Somport-Aragones-Puente La Reina route was one of my very favorites. I did it between September and October last year, and other than the very beginning between Arles and Montpelier, it was a dream. I also walked over Somport the year before (deviating from the Le Puy at Navarrenx) and loved it (fortunately, I had great weather). Happy trails!
Thanks for your input, we've decided to start in Montpellier as we've lived in the Arles-Montpellier region in a past life (loved it at the time especially the Camargue) but we have time restraints for what we want to do so shortening the Arles Route accordingly. Lots of people say that it's their favourite, we're really looking forward to it :)
 

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