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Seven days in France

#1
My son and his wife intend to visit France in July 2018 and will have seven days to walk a section of the Camino. Although my wife and I have done several Caminos, these were all in Spain and we do not know the Camino routes in France very well. We know that there are many peregrinos out there who have extensive experience walking in France and who will be able to provide good advice. Please help? Thank you, Izak.
 

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Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
#2
Hi Izak, there are routes in France that join up with all of the main Spanish camino paths, normally named after their points of origin. For example the Chemin de Vezelay which begins in Vezelay (Latin name Via Lemovicensis), the Chemin de Tours (Via Turonensis), or the Chemin de Arles (called the "Via Tolosana" as it passes Toulouse).

The most popular by far is the Le Puy Camino (Via Podiensis), which starts in Le Puy-en-Velay near Lyon and joins up with the Camino Frances at St Jean Pied de Port. Unlike the Camino in Spain, there aren't as many pilgrim hostels, although there are "gites" all along the way (a lot more expensive than the albergues Spain, around €30 per night). It is recommended that you book in advance; the route is very popular especially with French groups. You can find lots of information about the Le Puy route on this forum.

Otherwise, this website is in Spanish, but they have information about all the stages and accommodation: https://www.gronze.com/camino-santiago-le-puy
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#3
The Le Puy route would be my suggestion. The best thing would be to start at Le Puy but I'm not sure 7 days will take you to somewhere you can leave easily. Perhaps for ease of entering and leaving by train, with 7 days between, Figeac to Condom? That is just a guess, I'm not sufficiently familiar with the French rail network to suggest other starting and stopping points.

The whole route is lovely - you can't really go wrong. I don't like Decazeville much, but it is only one town of about 30 minutes, and on one day I walked to Aire Sur L'Adour the fields were being sprayed with chemicals which was not too pleasant. Otherwise it was all really, really lovely.
 

kayagee66

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Le Puy - Roncesvalles (2016)
Figeac - Cahors (2017)
Stevenson Trail (2018
#4
Figeac to Cahors on the GR65, 5 days.
Figeac to Cahors via the Célé variant route 6 days. Train stations in both towns.
 

caminka

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
#5
there are many lovely and beautiful parts on french routes.

- a week on via podiensis starting in le puy will get you into the valley of the lot river, perhaps even as far as estaing. you cross the spectacular aubrac plateau and visit some lovely historic towns. there is a daily pilgrim/hiker mini van transport to and from le puy as far as conques. you need to arrange the transport in advance (they also do backpack transport). it is advisable to book accommodation a day in advance on this part, because the stretch from le puy to conques is the most popular.

- a week on the beautiful célé variant of via podiensis from figeac to cahors. don't miss the pech merle cave paintings (reserve well in advance), chemin du halage and st cirq-lapopie. trains at both ends, and in between a sncf bus. reservations very advisable, as there is roughly one gite per town and it's not very big.

- on via tolosana perhaps the part between montpellier and castres that includes a big town, a beautiful gorge, a devil's bridge, two abbeys, and lots of hills. there is accommodation every day but the capacities were pretty small when I was there in 2009, so call ahead. both on the train line.

- perhaps a section on voie du piemont pyrenees between carcasonne and saint-lizier or saint-larry. I dont' know the first part, but later you walk through the amazing cavern of mas d'azil, sleep in an original pilgrim hospice, and can visit several frescoes of st jacques. this requires calling ahead to alert people you are coming. carcasonne is on the train line, but getting back requires a research for buses.

- and, even it's not a camino, a part of spectacular sentier cathare? I would recommend starting in tuchan or padern and going as far as a week takes you. reservations are recommended. and this definitely requires a research for buses. if you are interested, I can give more detailed info (from 2012).
 

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FLEUR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#6
The Baztan from Bayonne to Pamplona would fit well with a 7 days walk.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#7
From Aumont-Aubrac to Figeac will get you through Conques. Train connection to Aumont-Aubrac from Paris-Bercy. Train connection from Figeac arrives at Paris-Gare-d'Austerlitz.
 

Doogman

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
#8
My suggestion would be to start in Le Puy and just see how far they can get. Seven days would not likely get them to Conques, which is a highlight, but it is such a good route that they will likely to go back at some point and do more. At noted above, they would need to do some research to make sure they can leave easily.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
#9
I agree with Kitsambler. Get off the train in Aumont Aubrac. I took the train down from Paris and arrived after 9:30 PM. So I spent the night in the hotel (Chez Camillou) 150m from the station and started out the next morning. I stayed at the hotel because I arrived late and the gites, I thought, might be already closed. This is a very nice hotel and if you communicate with them ahead of time you may be able to get a meal even if you arrive late. If you arrive earlier and dine there, you won't be disappointed.

Why this part of the Le puy route? You say you are starting in July. It's going to be, on average, hot. As you leave Aumont Aubrac you'll be on the Aubrac Plateau - elevation 3,000 - 4000'. That may relieve the heat a bit. And you'll pass through 3 of the most beautiful villages in France: Estaing, Saint-Come d'Olt, and Conques. Take the bus from Conques to Decazevile, stay there and walk to Figeac, another lovely town.

Then train back to Paris from Figeac. I have walked the segment I have described twice and the rest of the Le Puy route as well. It's a beautiful stretch and offers both inexpensive and more upscale options.

Tom
 
#10
Thank you very much to everyone who replied, your comments and suggestions have been very interesting and helpful. There are now excellent alternatives to consider and to further research. Regards, Izak.
 

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