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Pre-St. Jean Walking in France

Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, Frances 2018. Frances 2022
My wife and I walked from St Jean to Santiago in 2017 and again in 2018. We plan to walk the French Way again in 2022 (to celebrate our 70th years) but we would like to start farther into France prior to St. Jean. We want to include an experience in France and with the French people into our Camino. We are asking for suggestions of a well-marked trail/path lasting about 2 weeks (we average about 13-15 miles/day) that provides adequate/reliable housing at the end of the day and food/water support along the trail. A recommendation for a good reference guide would also be appreciated (unavoidably in French we assume). We don't speak French but we'll figure it out as we go as part of the experience. We are both quite "familiar" with Spanish. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you one and all.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
The Puy en Velay route has thé most accommodation, and some lovely walking. What do you like best, woods, hills? If you prefer the seaside then the coastal route from Brest is charming but has fewer accommodation options.
For a guide no, it doesn't have to be in French. Take a look at the CSJ website for some ideas. Though personally I like the. Miam Miam Dodo.
Do you want to start two weeks before St Jean or could it be anywhere?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, Frances 2018. Frances 2022
We like walking in a variety of settings, even across the Meseta. Our thoughts were to start 2 weeks away from St. Jean, but now you got me thinking. We could walk 2 weeks anywhere in France with suitable accommodations, "guideposts", etc. And then train/bus to St. Jean. Suggestions?
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
In that case I have two suggestions. Either the area around Conques and Figeac on the Puy en Velay route or the Northern end of the French coastal route starting at pointe St Mathieu. Both well waymarked but the coastal route would mean staying in mostly bed and breakfast accommodation. It is actually a GR (34 sentier des douaniers) but some lovely walking and a real taste of France. Going more inland and it would be a more authentic Pilgrim route but not as pretty and fewer places to stay. Further south where it coincides with the Veloddysee is good, too, and not so strenuous. The Puy en Velay route has far more Pilgrim type places to stay and good scenery as well as some beautiful small towns.
Bear in mind that most of France is on some sort of pilgrimage route and you can choose any area that appeals to you. The food is good everywhere and most areas are well supplied with B
and Bs and small hotels. The rail network is nearly back to normal so no problem getting to the Spanish border.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
My usual suggested starting points to do a bit of hiking before SJPP are Lourdes, Bordeaux if your plane lands there, Mont-de-Marsan on the Vézelay Way, or indeed somewhere not too far on the Le Puy route, such as Condom or Aire-sur-l'Adour. Or even just Biarritz or Saint-Palais if it's really just a short warm-up pre-hike you're looking for.

Else there's always Toulouse or Pau, Tarbes, Saint-Gaudens or somewhere else easy to get to (though the latter two just lead you to Lourdes anyway).
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
In the spirit of keeping thing to your feet, consider routes that pass by your arrival airport. You could fly into Toulouse or Bordeaux or Lyon and just start walking.

The Le Puy route is lovely.
 

Iriebabel

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Del Norte & part of Lebaniego 2019
For Le Puy route download the miam miam dodo app (Change setting to english ) for apple or android phones and amazon sells the guide of the same name
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, Frances 2018. Frances 2022
These are all wonderful suggestions, but I expected nothing less from all of you. There are any number of wonderful books published from people who have walked the French Way (for example) in Spain. Are there any books (in English) of someone's experience walking the Le Puy routed that you might recommend.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I walked the Le Puy route the whole month of June 2018 as far as Auvillar. A true joy! Hoping to walk again in France next year.
 

Ray Boneski

Ray B
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Bordeaux March-April 2017
I started my Camino in Bordeaux, on the old Via Turonensis. The route is well-marked, with sufficient, inexpensive gites for accommodations. The French people you'll meet are extremely nice, as are the local hositalerros/volunteers but there are very few fellow pilgrims along the Way to the Camino Frances. It is a good walk through Aquintaine to St Jean Pied de Port. You can pick-up a list of gites and volunteer contact telephone numbers at the Pilgrims' Office in Bordeaux.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, Frances 2018. Frances 2022
I started my Camino in Bordeaux, on the old Via Turonensis. The route is well-marked, with sufficient, inexpensive gites for accommodations. The French people you'll meet are extremely nice, as are the local hositalerros/volunteers but there are very few fellow pilgrims along the Way to the Camino Frances. It is a good walk through Aquintaine to St Jean Pied de Port. You can pick-up a list of gites and volunteer contact telephone numbers at the Pilgrims' Office in Bordeaux.
Thanks for the suggestion!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
@Kitsambler, you were so helpful to me when I walked the Le Puy in 2018. Glad to see you are on this thread so others can benefit!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
A Journey of Days Continues by Guy Thatcher chronicles his pilgrimage from Le Puy to Pamplona. It is a sequel to A Journey of Days which chronicled an earlier pilgrimage from Pamplona to Santiago.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
A Journey of Days Continues by Guy Thatcher chronicles his pilgrimage from Le Puy to Pamplona. It is a sequel to A Journey of Days which chronicled an earlier pilgrimage from Pamplona to Santiago.
I sure never realized there were so many books on the pilgrimages in Spain/Europe. I need to start making a list! A very humorous, yet true account, I read a few years ago was "Spanish Steps-travel with a donkey" by Tim Moore...hilarious!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I sure never realized there were so many books on the pilgrimages in Spain/Europe. I need to start making a list! A very humorous, yet true account, I read a few years ago was "Spanish Steps-travel with a donkey" by Tim Moore...hilarious!
I've got 30 on my bookshelf (including Tim Moore's Spanish Steps) and many more in my Kindle library.
 

Redvespablur

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo April/May 2016
Voie Littorale May 2020
We walked the Norte in 2016 and are doing 2 weeks from Le Puy to Moissac next April for 55th birthdays. Several books on Amazon - kindle format - from other pilgrims.

Particularly enjoyed Maggie Ramsay’s book. Description of the landscape and the food was great.

https://a.co/jj4iGzB
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
We walked the Norte in 2016 and are doing 2 weeks from Le Puy to Moissac next April for 55th birthdays. Several books on Amazon - kindle format - from other pilgrims.

Particularly enjoyed Maggie Ramsay’s book. Description of the landscape and the food was great.

https://a.co/jj4iGzB
I walked from Le Puy to Auvillar in 2018 and loved it. I am pleased you have recommended this book. I'm sure it will conjure up many good memories for me!
 

John Holland

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2011;
Camino Portuguese - 2013;
Camino Norte - 2014
Mosel Camino (Koblenz to Dijon so far)
I have walked the full Le Puy route twice - once starting in Koblenz (Germany), the second time in St Gengoux le National (both way back from Le Puy). Then once again starting in Moissac. If you only have two weeks, consider starting in Moissac. Easy to get to by train. If you can go a bit longer, consider Figeac or even Le Puy, the main starting point for the GR65 (Camino to SJPP). It is a superb route with plenty of accommodation etc along the way. The Miam Dodo is an excellent guide, easily readable in four languages, including English. I am an Australian with zero French but had no problems. Depending on what time of the year you are walking you might need to book ahead one or two days in advance. Just ask a French speaking pilgrim or host (at east 80 percent of the pilgrims are French) to ring ahead for you. Enjoy the walk.
 

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