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Questions about the Vezelay Route

lynnmanning

New Member
Hi all! I am having trouble finding maps and info about the Vezelay route. The CSJ site has nothing but a brief description (at least I have had no luck!) and Brierley (sp?) hasn't written anything that I can locate. I'll be in Paris and Chartres for a while, do you think I could locate the publication by Les Amis in either of them when I arrive?

My plan is to start at Finisterre (September 22, 2008) walk to Santiago, take a train or bus to either Roncesvalles or St. Jean PduP and walk to Vezelay. I know it is "backwards" but I am calling it "homeward"! Can I get credentials in Santiago???? If not how should I obtain them? Also, anyone have any idea how I should get from Santiago to Roncevalles or St Jean? I will also ask this on the transportation questions thread!!!

Any other advice, weather predictions, warnings, or other helpful knowledge would be greatly appreciated! How long did it take you to complete the 36 stages? I am 51 and in good shape from regular weight bearing exercise, but not extensive daily walking...(muscle tone and strength, but not so much consistent hiking) I do have awesome lightweight goretex boots that I broke in on a 15-day backpacking trip a year ago, though.

If you had to skip any section of the Vezelay Way which one(s) would you choose, and which ones would you insist on walking because they are too good to miss?

Will I need to make reservations along the way in early October? Are accommodations fairly plentiful or is it fairly tricky to walk far enough to find one each day? How does one find a list?
Thank you all so much for sharing your knowledge and experience!!!
Lynn
 
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jl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Hello Lynn, I have in front of me 2 guides that I brought home from France last year. One is the Topo-Guide GR654 (ref 6542) Sentier vers Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. This guide takes from Vezelay to Periguex and then down to Montreal-du-gers. Very good maps, but all information is in French.

The other is called Guide de pochede randonneur dt du pelerin. Sur le Chemin de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. La voie de Vezelay, La via Lemovicensis. This guide takes you from Vezelay, Limoges Roncevaux. Again - very good maps, but all information is in French.

I have also puchased from CSJ the Itineraire du Pelerin de Saint-Jacques. Voie Historique de Vezelay, 2005 edition. Same thing applies - very good maps, and most information in French. However, purchasing From CSJ means that you can get the edition that has the English introduction (translated by Alison Raju) and a brief list of important words to help you translate the information.

I have noticed that there is a couple of other books that incorporate some of the Vezelay route on the CSJ site, but have not seen them. I have also googled in the names of different departments that the path goes through and you are then able to get the various associations of pilgrims - again all the information is in french.

Hope that helps, Janet
 

jl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Sorry - I forgot to say that each of these guides follows a slightly different path. Elsewhere on this forum I have seen posts about which one is the more historic. That may add further to your dilemma of which guide to use. I am using the "historic" one from the CSJ. Cheers, Janet
 

Paulus

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (May 2005), Norte (May 2006), Vezelay (2007).
Lynn,

There are 2 principal routes from Vezelay to Roncevalles:

1) The one over Nevers-Perigeux-Montreal following mostly the GR654 (south-west)
2) The more challenging and beautifull route crossing the Morvan from Vezelay to ancient Le Puy en Velay and after that with a connection at Montreal. This Route follows the GR13 and GR3.(first south and afterwards west)

You have to decide!!

paul
 

surlechemin

New Member
Paulus said:
Lynn,

There are 2 principal routes from Vezelay to Roncevalles:

1) The one over Nevers-Perigeux-Montreal following mostly the GR654 (south-west)
2) The more challenging and beautifull route crossing the Morvan from Vezelay to ancient Le Puy en Velay and after that with a connection at Montreal. This Route follows the GR13 and GR3.(first south and afterwards west)

You have to decide!!

paul

And then there is a third one, the so-called "Voie Historique", which follows a similar itinerary like your first one with an option via Bourges, but has a somewhat different philosophy and lots of refuges run by the different French "Ami de Saint-Jacques".

Even more to decide :)
 
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Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
jl said:
I have also puchased from CSJ the Itineraire du Pelerin de Saint-Jacques. Voie Historique de Vezelay, 2005 edition. Same thing applies - very good maps, and most information in French. However, purchasing From CSJ means that you can get the edition that has the English introduction (translated by Alison Raju) and a brief list of important words to help you translate the information.


Lynn

We are using this guide (by M and Mme Chassain) to plan our journey this September (14 more sleeps) which will take us from Reims through Vezelay and along the Via Lemonciencis. It is VERY informative. It has the maps for both the northern route (through Bourges) and the southern (through Nevers) which join up at Gargilesse and then go on via Limoges, Perigeux etc to SJPDP. It has masses of information about places to stay, not just pilgrim accommodation, but also hostels, gites d'etape, chambres d'hote, camping sites. It also says a bit about every village and town, where there are shops for food, tel numbers for everything....

Talking about the route - we considered going south from Vezelay to La Puy and had a broad outline route suggested by someone, but have decided to leave all that for another time. But have you looked at KiwiNomad's blog of her La Puy to SJPDP journey? Somehow to me it feels like it would fit better with your pilgrimage TO Vezelay, even though the La Puy north section would be a bit less well trodden and defined. By then you will have loads of confidence and experience and your french will be well brushed up (if it needs it).You'll be able to buy the IGN 1:100,000 maps as you go along. (You'd need 28, 36,43 and 50) They have the long distance paths, the Grandes Randommees , marked on them. The Morvan, where Paulus lives, would be your final stage - remote and beautiful, I believe.

lynnmanning said:
My plan is to start at Finisterre (September 22, 2008) walk to Santiago, take a train or bus to either Roncesvalles or St. Jean PdP and walk to Vezelay. I know it is "backwards" but I am calling it "homeward"! Can I get credentials in Santiago???? If not how should I obtain them? Also, anyone have any idea how I should get from Santiago to Roncevalles or St Jean? I will also ask this on the transportation questions thread!!!

I am wondering about you getting a credential or pilgrim passport if you are doing the journey backwards, not with the aim of getting to Santiago. What do others think? I am not making a point about the purpose of your journey, myself, but I wonder if others might?

In France you would not be so dependent on it for accommodation, anyway.

About the journey from Santiago to SJPdP - do consider trains or buses, rather than air travel, if you can. A chance to look out of the window and get a sense of the geography and people and everything - a part of the adventure!
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
I don't think that going 'backwards' in France would be an issue, as the gites are generally designed for 'randonneurs' (walkers) not just for pilgrims, and you do meet others doing other GR trails/local trails etc along the way. I did meet someone who had walked 'backwards' in Spain, then caught the train to Santiago from Roncesvalles. He seemed to have managed to talk his way into albergues along the way back, but he could not talk his way into a compostela, as that was seen as something you got for going 'to' Santiago. (He solved that problem by returning to Sarria and finishing again from there!)

The only issue you might need to consider walking in France so late in the season is that many gites are only open for the 'season' which is roughly Easter to All Saints.
Margaret
 

lynnmanning

New Member
WOW! I have been so anxious about this journey--deciding alone,planning alone, walking alone--I am just overwhelmed with gratitude that all of you are so generous with sharing your experience and information.\ :D ! I am encouraged about the possibility for finding the maps and guides--thanks especially for the map #'s--that is SO helpful!!!! Luckily I can make my way through french text--my accent is abominable, but I can still read pretty well!

I will read KiwiNomad's blog about Le Puy--sounds intriguing!--and then be back with more questions!!! In the meantime, any info you have about either route (Paulus--I'd love to hear you rave about the Morvan valley that claimed your heart!) would be most welcome!

I feel you have all buoyed me so much by your responses that my journey is "pre-blessed"! Merci mille fois!!!
Lynn
 

lynnmanning

New Member
Talking about the route - we considered going south from Vezelay to La Puy and had a broad outline route suggested by someone, but have decided to leave all that for another time. But have you looked at KiwiNomad's blog of her La Puy to SJPDP journey? Somehow to me it feels like it would fit better with your pilgrimage TO Vezelay, even though the La Puy north section would be a bit less well trodden and defined. By then you will have loads of confidence and experience and your french will be well brushed up (if it needs it).You'll be able to buy the IGN 1:100,000 maps as you go along. (You'd need 28, 36,43 and 50) They have the long distance paths, the Grandes Randommees , marked on them. The Morvan, where Paulus lives, would be your final stage - remote and beautiful, I believe.

Well it is decided! Bridget your intuition spoke to me, and I am so grateful for your suggestion to read KiwiNomad's blog. What an inspiration! And I cannot resist the scenery. . . Of course there are compromises. Since I don't have nearly enough time, I will skip from Santiago (after the walk from Finisterre) to Cahors, then to Le Puy en Velay and up to Vezelay. I am very excited and much encouraged by the kindness from Janet, Bridget, Paulus, et al and the inspiration from KiwiNomad and her fabulous blog! Great info, links and those photos are wonderful!
Much gratitude to all!
Lynn
 

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