Search over 55.000 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Camino Masks
12 different designs, shipped world wide from Santiago.

Starting in Southern France.

I've a feeling that a pilgrim could walk the entire Camino Frances across Spain without having a single word of Spanish. It's well sign-posted, the refuges are easy to find, and if in doubt you could follow other pilgrims.
For someone starting in Southern France, where there are said to be less pilgrims, and so less support infrastructure, would it be necessary to speak some French?
 
Holy Year Credential
Get the HOLY YEAR Camino Credential (Passport) here.
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

newfydog

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
It is never necessary mto know the language. We traveled from Prague without knowing any Czech. For that matter, you don't even need to read---I've done just fine in places like Viet Nam, Japan, Thailand where they don't use our alphabet.

That said, it sure helps. I would say one would find French very useful in the more remote areas, but even there, the availability of English speaking people is far greater than it was 20 years ago. Every decent sized town has a tourist office where they speak English. The need for Spanish on the Camino and French in France is roughly equal. Don't learn it out of need, but to enrich your experience.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I walked from Toulouse to the Somport pass in 2005 along with a monolingual Ozite (hi! Janet!)—she found the French hospitable and happy to jump hoops to somehow assist us- - they seemed to find it a source of delight to help out an Australian (and a Canadian!). Even so, my ability to chat away merrily in French was very helpful in matters of detail and just to socialize with people. Local people are very sociable and friendly, and treat cycling and hiking pilgrims with respect and hospitality—the greater your ability to connect with them, the more you will enjoy yourself.

Every tourisme office in each town or village had English-speaking staff, who were cheerfully helping out with information, reservations at inns etc. I keep hearing horror stories of Parisians furious at anyone trying out their basic French but I did not see this at all on the Camino from Toulouse to Spain. While I would urge prospective pilgrims to have enough French to find a place to stay, follow basic directions, and get some food, and carry on a basic conversation, it can be managed without. Remember to smile, be grateful for assistance, and enjoy the walk.
 

Hamilton

New Member
Hi folks,

I've walked the route many times and never had any problems the first few years. I didn't know any Spanish or French then but have picked up a little since.

As has been said already, the people will go to great lengths to help you out so never worry.

There's a great little free Spanish phrase ebook here if you are interested, may help.

http://digg.com/d31IPPv

Buen Camino!
 

Similar threads

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.7%
  • March

    Votes: 60 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 207 15.0%
  • May

    Votes: 336 24.3%
  • June

    Votes: 100 7.2%
  • July

    Votes: 27 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 29 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 398 28.8%
  • October

    Votes: 171 12.4%
  • November

    Votes: 19 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 10 0.7%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top