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Starting in Montpellier May 23rd...

Camino(s) past & future
Past: none
Future (May-June): Chemin d'Arles to Puente la Reina
#1
Bonjour!

I am a solo traveler, excited to converse and connect with you fellow pilgrims! Beginning around May 22nd in Montpellier, I plan to take my time into Spain, leaving space for stopping a day in a town or two if it feels right, but I'm a fast, fit hiker.

I need to eventually find my way into Barcelona by June 23rd for a couple days of decompression before returning to the U.S. Considering chopping off the final stretch from Jaca to Puente la Reina and taking a train to the coast... is that like committing murder? I appreciate any guidance you can offer on how to spend these 30 days on foot while taking time to "smell the flowers" (which in my case translates to eating bon cuisine and encountering new friends).

Also, do the gîtes d'étape / hostels fill up this time of year in south France? Should I begin planning the first leg of accommodations? Any favorite charming gîtes? What towns should I avoid staying in or be particularly careful as a solo-female traveler other than Toulouse? What are your favorite cities or villages you recommend taking a day in to explore? And lastly, anyone else joining me in this journey?!

I am bursting with excitement...

Je parle un peu de français aussi, si plus facile...

I truly appreciate the incredibly supportive community that I see and feel on this forum... Merci beaucoup. Bon Chemin, comrads.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP/Burgos 2012; Le Puy/SJPP 2013; Aumont Aubrac/Aire sur l'Adour 2014; Burgos/Santiago 2016.
#2
You may find that three are surprisingly few other hikers to meet. I managed just a few days of near total isolation before leaving for the Le Puy route.

Good luck!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past: none
Future (May-June): Chemin d'Arles to Puente la Reina
#3
You may find that three are surprisingly few other hikers to meet. I managed just a few days of near total isolation before leaving for the Le Puy route.

Good luck!
Thank you, Bill! I don't mind the seclusion. It will be nice to have a mix of cities at night and walking alone during the day.

I almost decided to take the Le Puy route... How was it? Someday I will walk it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP/Burgos 2012; Le Puy/SJPP 2013; Aumont Aubrac/Aire sur l'Adour 2014; Burgos/Santiago 2016.
#4
I've done the LePuy route twice, once from Le Puy to the border and once abbreviated at both ends so from Aumont Aubrac to Aire sur l'Adour.

Once in spring and once in fall. Totally loved it. I can walk alone or in company but I prefer to dine in company. The route from Montpellier was far too lonely at night for me. And the LePuy route was a great workout for my French, which turns out to be much better than I ever realized when traveling the more traditional tourist sites in France.

This year I'll complete the trek across Spain, but a return to the Le Puy route is sure to follow.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP/Burgos 2012; Le Puy/SJPP 2013; Aumont Aubrac/Aire sur l'Adour 2014; Burgos/Santiago 2016.
#5
and just to note: you'll rarely be in anything like a city at night, rather quiet villages and very small towns. The contrast between your days and nights may often prove slight.
 

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