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Starting in Lourdes - Aragonés or Piemont?

b344433

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011
2018
#1
Hi,

I will be starting my second camino in Lourdes next week (7 years has passed since the first!).
Which way do you recommend - piemont (lourdes -> saint jean -> frances), or go with Aragones and join frances in puente la riene?
On my first, I walked from sjpdp to santiago on frances.

Waiting for your advices...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre 2017
#2
In about three weeks I will be starting the Aragones from Somport. Forum menbers who have walked the Aragones have spoken with such enthusiasm for the route, and there are so many remarkable places to see, who could resist!
 

L B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
the french way
#3
Aragones for sure. I lived in Aragon for a while and walked many parts of it - it is absolutely stunning. If you do decide to walk it, take the route through San Juan de la Peña, it is the most impressive monument I had ever seen and the views are amazing, the extra kms are worth it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
#4
Hi,

I will be starting my second camino in Lourdes next week (7 years has passed since the first!).
Which way do you recommend - piemont (lourdes -> saint jean -> frances), or go with Aragones and join frances in puente la riene?
On my first, I walked from sjpdp to santiago on frances.

Waiting for your advices...
I cannot help you choose, but I walked from Lourdes to SJPdP ( and then CF) in September 2009 and enjoyed it immensely. Six or seven days, with very few other walkers and quite adequate pilgrim accommodation. Gentle terrain along the edge of the mountains. And great Basque ewe's cheese!!!
It rained pretty solidly most of the time, but I cannot hold that against the route. ;)
I would like to go another time and walk the Aragones after Oloron.
And I am not sure whether it is helpful, but you don't have to decide until you get to Oloron St Marie. You may meet others as you walk who may sway you one way or the other!
Sadly the old albergue, my all time favourite ever, is not open any more in Eunate, close to where the Aragones joins the CF.
Whichever you chose, Buen Camino!
 

b344433

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011
2018
#5
Thank you all
I am not deciding yet, but just wanting to know the options.
I believe I'll walk to saint jean pied de port, but I will not know until I get to orolon.
 

rappahannock_rev

Anglican Catholic Priest
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes, Burgos & SdeC 77 (by train); Frances 12, 15 & 17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes, Aragones 18
#6
I'd recommend walking south, over the Somport.... It's a remarkable experience.

That said, as I observed in an earlier forum post, while I'm glad that I did the CA this past May/June, I would not do it again.... Once was enough.... It's "feel" is very different from the "feel" of the CF, as other walkers will confirm, I'm sure....

The French section was wonderful, and the French so surprizingly hospitable that I've promised to stop bashing France.... Much nicer treatment received than in jaded SJPdeP! The Somport Pass mountain scenery was absolutely stunning, and the historical sites (especially Jaca Cathedral museum, San Juan de la Pena, Leyre Monastery) were memorable....But I found the CA in Spain less and less rewarding the farther I went -- probably because my increasingly vulnerable old back just found the CA too physically tough....

And it was comparatively lonely -- if you enjoy the "social" side of peregrino life, the CA will disappoint.... I was relieved to finally arrive in comfy old Puente la Reina Gares, with its peregrino hoardes marching down the Calle Mayor....

So: If I were to go back, myself, I think that I might walk on through from Oloron to SJPdeP....

In any event - I'd recommend that you fly into Toulouse, and explore it -- one of the most attractive and liveable modern cities I've ever visited, with many Camino associations! -- and then bus/train to Lourdes -- and then spend at least an entire day exploring that strange-but-wonderful place, before you set off into the west....

Fr J
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#8
When I walked from Lourdes, we walked the Aragones.
Highly recommended!
I, too highly recommend the Aragones. I walked from Oloron Ste Marie to the Somport Pass, to Puente la Reina to Santiago in 2016. Yes, there were some challenges, but I appreciated the beauty of the mountainous countryside and the wonder of San Juan de la Pena. For me, it was a shock to join up with the Frances at Puente la Reina, although I did want to go on to Santiago. But I have never walked the Piemont route, although I saw where it separated from the Camino d'Arles on the way out of Oloron Ste Marie, so I cannot compare the two.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
#10
If you are undecided about taking the Somport or St Jean route to the CF, you may wish to consider making that decision at Arudy rather than waiting until you reach Oloron. The priest with whom many people choose to stay at Arudy has route sheets for both ways, with the opportunity to save a day’s walk to Somport by missing out Oloron altogether + walking directly to Sarrance instead (28kms, maybe less). Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
#11
Aragones for sure. I lived in Aragon for a while and walked many parts of it - it is absolutely stunning. If you do decide to walk it, take the route through San Juan de la Peña, it is the most impressive monument I had ever seen and the views are amazing, the extra kms are worth it!
I wanted to visit San Juan de la Peña in late-April, but I got confused about how to get there when I left Jaca. I saw road signs but no camino markings at a big road junction, so I took the path toward St Clara(?) instead. I had no guidebook to help me, which may have been a big mistake. I saw additional road signs along the route to St Clara(?), but the km distances suggested I’d be in for a much longer walk then than if I’d made the move nearer to Jaca centre.
Is it possible to advise me and others how to make sure not to miss the turning? Thank-you!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#12
Having done both (from Lourdes), I would recommend going via SJPP

The Aragonès after Jaca is very beautiful, and starting at Somport or Canfranc will always be very good options, but the walk up from Oloron to the Somport is often quite uninteresting, and it requires a fair degree of walking on tarmac roads beside heavy traffic -- parts of the Way between Canfranc and Jaca are also a bit meh.

The SJPP alternative is beautiful most of the way (of course nowhere near as spectacular as the Aragonès after Jaca), and it is also shorter, and easier.

The final direct comparison between the two is that the climb itself over the Somport is easier than that over the Bentarte, Lepoeder, and Ibañeta passes between SJPP and Roncesvalles.

If you are undecided about taking the Somport or St Jean route to the CF, you may wish to consider making that decision at Arudy rather than waiting until you reach Oloron. The priest with whom many people choose to stay at Arudy has route sheets for both ways, with the opportunity to save a day’s walk to Somport by missing out Oloron altogether + walking directly to Sarrance instead (28kms, maybe less). Buen Camino!
... but Oloron is quite a nice little town, and the best place to go for any last-minute supplies you might realise were needed after leaving Lourdes.

A great place too to look for a good French regional restaurant lunch, if you felt like one, in a far less rip-off touristy environment than Lourdes (which can be fine too, provided you know how to navigate a French tourist trap without getting trapped).
 
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