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Unexpected: booked out gîtes on Le Puy

veganessa

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy
Hello all, I am a newbie here.

Never walked a camino before and planned to go on my first starting on July 6 in Ley Puy. Based on the information I had collected on the lovely internet before I thought it would be fine to book the gîtes on the first couple of stops 1 week or two in advance and then book them along the way every 1 or 2 days before arrival (as we don't need private rooms).

So I sat myself down yesterday and tried to book the first 5 stops or so. Now I am finding myself in a situation where 90% of the gîtes mail back they are already fully booked. How can this happen? I though most people go by booking one or two days in advance?

I am genuinely worried now I won't find accommodation. I am trying to adjust my stages now to whatever gîtes are available, but I am also worried about having to walk longer distances than anticipated and ending up not enjoying the chemin at all.

Does everyone book their Chemin Le Puy month in advance? Do you think it will get better after a certain village as many people only do the first 10 days or so?

I need some support please :) I am thinking of just cancelling my trip.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
Welcome @veganessa.

I can see why you may be worried but don't give up!

I have a motto (just for myself) - "I only need one bar, one bed and one restaurant each day". It doesn't matter if 90% are booked - you need to find one of the other 10%. ;)

Having said that, I have not walked the Le Puy route and others will give you more specific information.

On a general point though, you certainly should not rely on just bo*oking.com as it will generally not have all beds available for a particular property. But I see you do mention emailing. It is certainly always worth making the (not always attractive) effort to contact people personally. Whatsapp/Facebook messenger/email I usually use in that order. But keep at it!

I imagine @Pafayac will be along to help. He is very knowledgeable on this area (and many others).

It has been discussed recently.

See: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...ittle-late-with-my-planning-for-le-puy.86863/

and this .....


and quite a few others. Use the search function on the forum.

And @Pafayac does point out that the early days of the Le Puy, (from Le Puy) are the busiest. See post #33 in the first thread above.

You don't mention what list(s) you have.

Gronze is generally very reliable and remarkably good at keeping up to date.


You will often see people recommending Miam Miam Dodo. I think this site may be connected to them


Others will be along to help, I am sure.

And for what its worth - I am not generally a booker-ahead-er except for the first night, and I have yet to fail to find at least a floor (not absolutely always a bed!) everywhere I have been. And I never camp! Well, I never carry a tent, but I did stay a few times in campsites on the French section of the Via Francigena which kept accommodation available for walkers. May be worth enquring. But on quiet routes - which I generally prefer - I do generally want to know in the evening where I will stay the following evening. Particularly in rural France, you do need to let people know you are planning to come, especially if you need food when you arrive. Once you are underway, your host in the evening is a good resource for advice about subsequent stops.

Tim
 
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France is different from Spain; the daily carrying capacity for lodging is only about 50/day, rather than the 500/day on the Camino Frances. That being said, I'm quite surprised to hear that July is already fully booked out, as usually the summer heat reduces the number of walkers. But - the Paris Olympics are this summer! And that is probably driving a spike in the numbers.

So - first, using Miam Miam Dodo or some other complete list of lodgings (such as Gronze or Rob Forrester's file on Facebook), correspond directly with the gites you have not yet contacted directly. Expect that Le Puy through Conques (first 10-12 days) will be tough.

Second, consider a related route. The walk from Geneva to Le Puy is very nice, as is the Vezelay route. Both are well marked and have guidebooks available.

Third, consider revising your schedule. Could you postpone until September? Or 2025?

Bon chemin!
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
We have booked clients on this Camino and it is always difficult. There is not an abundance of accommodation especially when you want a private room. The French are keen walkers and the Gites are the way they like to holiday. It is the summer holidays July and August in France. Also, an FYI they only take packs of 15kg if you want luggage transfer. From experience, the best way to get accommodation is to ring around or send emails. Buen Chemin!
 
It is sad to think people is booking so in advance, but I am afraid that rumours of overcrowding push pilgrims to book in advance.
@veganessa: yes the busiest part of Podiensis is Le Puy-Conques. After Conques, you will meet less people, and after Cahors even less.
Try to book between major stages, for instance before Saint-Privat, then before Saugues, then in Chanaleilles or Chazeaux and so on...
If you encounter communications problems, I can try to help.
Bon Chemin !
 
I am currently walking this route. I started in Le Puy on May 27 and booked my first 2 weeks months in advance. Since Cahors I am now booking a few days in advance and that has been fine. Others seem to be doing the same and some book the day of.

I like to book early because I don't speak french and need time to email back and forth etc.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Last time I walked from Le Puy in summer (june/ july '22), there were so few pilgrims that some gites even closed down for vacation for a few days because they had no reservations.

I sometimes arrived very late (6, 7, 8 pm) without booking and there were only one or two other pilgrims in the whole gite.

How are you trying to book? Directly via phone / e-mail?

As others said, the part from Le Puy until Conques is usually more busy, but after that, it would be strange if everything is already booked out for july.

Edit:

The way from Cluny to Le Puy is also very nice and usually has much less people walking. Maybe that could be an alternative?
 
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Hello,
You have been offered some good solutions above. I would add that many towns have tourist information offices, and I found them very helpful when I was unable to find a place on my own.

We walked from Le Puy to SJPDP in Aug-Oct 2018. I booked the first five nights several months in advance. Once we were on the trail, I booked just one or two days in advance. This worked out well with the exception of two weekend nights (the folks at the tourist info center found us rooms at the last minute).

Le Puy is a little more challenging as a first Camino mostly because you usually do need to book one day in advance due to meal planning (well worth it - delicious food!) and if you do not speak French, you will probably end up becoming an expert at using your phone translator. However, once you get into the routine, it becomes much easier and everything about the walk is an absolutely wonderful experience.

If you are seriously considering cancelling because of fully booked gites in the early stages, I would urge you to consider starting in Conques (Hotel Saint Foy is lovely and available on July 6 https://www.hotelsaintefoy.fr/) or switching to the Camino Frances which is a much easier first Camino as far as logistics are concerned.

Best of luck to you!
 
Thank you so much everyone for the additional information and encouragement. I have already got my train tickets, so actually cancelling is really not the option I want to go for (also all the excitement and preparation shouldn't be for nothing). I am using the miam miam dodo guidebook and directly emailing the gîtes.

I saw in the guidebook that a few gîtes wrote they are keeping last minute beds, so I was wondering also if they are really booked out or if they are always keeping a few beds for people who don't book?

Anyway, I've had a little more success today than yesterday and will keep trying to find that free 10% (@timr :) ). I was first going for the small in between villages but it seems slightly bigger ones (main stops) are easier nevertheless (at least in some instances, e.g. all full in Montbonnet, but availability in Saint-Privat-d'A.)

I was having the wrong expectations I guess and was a bit disappointed having to let go of the idea to just walk and not think too much... see how I feel the day before next when deciding how far to go.

Hoping it will be better after Conques. And now I worry I added to the rumours of overcrowding with my post and will make everyone who reads it book months in advance ;-)
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hello,
You have been offered some good solutions above. I would add that many towns have tourist information offices, and I found them very helpful when I was unable to find a place on my own.
Oh yes, something I often forget to say, is to recommend in France both the office de toursime and, especially in small towns, the mairie - the mayor's office. Walking down the VF through France they were exceptionally useful and helpful and friendly. Never overlook them.
 
Thank you so much everyone for the additional information and encouragement. I have already got my train tickets, so actually cancelling is really not the option I want to go for (also all the excitement and preparation shouldn't be for nothing). I am using the miam miam dodo guidebook and directly emailing the gîtes.

I saw in the guidebook that a few gîtes wrote they are keeping last minute beds, so I was wondering also if they are really booked out or if they are always keeping a few beds for people who don't book?

Anyway, I've had a little more success today than yesterday and will keep trying to find that free 10% (@timr :) ). I was first going for the small in between villages but it seems slightly bigger ones (main stops) are easier nevertheless (at least in some instances, e.g. all full in Montbonnet, but availability in Saint-Privat-d'A.)

I was having the wrong expectations I guess and was a bit disappointed having to let go of the idea to just walk and not think too much... see how I feel the day before next when deciding how far to go.

Hoping it will be better after Conques. And now I worry I added to the rumours of overcrowding with my post and will make everyone who reads it book months in advance ;-)
That is great. Your perseverance will see you through. Delighted to see how many people joined in to help. It is one of the strengths of this forum. And always good to get away from "bedbugs, blisters and snoring" in the discussion. :eek::)

Do let us know how you get on...... Tx
 
Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
Hi, just want to wish you a wonderful and “bon chemin”.

This doesn’t help you in the slightest now, but just thought I’d mention it.

My sister and I walked from Le Puy en Velay in May 2014. We never once booked ahead, but even back then, 10 years ago, the French people we met, also walking, were absolutely horrified that we had not reserved a bed for the night.

The tourist offices were wonderful and phoned around for us if we hadn’t found anything ourselves.

July is mid summer, so not a train smash if you have to sleep outside occasionally.

We ended up in a campsite under a tree once and on the verandah of a restaurant another night, a local man bringing us a flask of hot water and tea and coffee satchets when he saw us.

We loved it, have fun, it’s a great chemin!
 
Thank you so much everyone for the additional information and encouragement. I have already got my train tickets, so actually cancelling is really not the option I want to go for (also all the excitement and preparation shouldn't be for nothing). I am using the miam miam dodo guidebook and directly emailing the gîtes.

I saw in the guidebook that a few gîtes wrote they are keeping last minute beds, so I was wondering also if they are really booked out or if they are always keeping a few beds for people who don't book?
Be sure you are only asking for "a bed for one person for one night" and not for "a room", as most gites in France do not have private rooms.

Yes, it is very common (but not universal) to save 1-2 beds for last minute arrivals.
 
Thank you so much everyone for the additional information and encouragement. I have already got my train tickets, so actually cancelling is really not the option I want to go for (also all the excitement and preparation shouldn't be for nothing). I am using the miam miam dodo guidebook and directly emailing the gîtes.

I saw in the guidebook that a few gîtes wrote they are keeping last minute beds, so I was wondering also if they are really booked out or if they are always keeping a few beds for people who don't book?

Anyway, I've had a little more success today than yesterday and will keep trying to find that free 10% (@timr :) ). I was first going for the small in between villages but it seems slightly bigger ones (main stops) are easier nevertheless (at least in some instances, e.g. all full in Montbonnet, but availability in Saint-Privat-d'A.)

I was having the wrong expectations I guess and was a bit disappointed having to let go of the idea to just walk and not think too much... see how I feel the day before next when deciding how far to go.

Hoping it will be better after Conques. And now I worry I added to the rumours of overcrowding with my post and will make everyone who reads it book months in advance ;-)
That’s good to hear @veganessa! Usually, July is not a busy month ... but there are a couple of reasons come to mind as to why this year might be different [including that local / french people have postponed their journeys because of the lousy Spring and early Summer weather]; that said, Montbonnet is a tiny village with four accommodations and it does tend to fill up quickly as it is the ideal distance for the first staging point out of Le Puy ...
------
now that you have secured a bed at Saint-Privat-d’Allier I would stick with your plan and continue emailing accommodations in villages at distances that you are comfortable with. Many of the accommodation hosts also use WhatsApp if that helps you ... look for the phone numbers starting with 06 and 07
------
Once you nail a few reservations that should give you more confidence to continue, at least through to Conques; beyond that you should be fine to reserve a night or two in advance BUT do make use of the offices de tourisme [OdT as I call them] ... good luck and successful planning🙏🏽 It is a beautiful chemin that I will hopefully walk again in September for the 5th time🤣
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Be sure you are only asking for "a bed for one person for one night" and not for "a room", as most gites in France do not have private rooms.

Yes, it is very common (but not universal) to save 1-2 beds for last minute arrivals.
In fact, many of the gîtes on the Via Podiensis do offer private rooms [more than 50 per cent by my rekkoning] and more and more gîtes every year are making them available [based on demand and the demographics of their guests] ...
 
One more thing to add:

If you love the idea of walking without booking everything in advance, and are not averse to the idea of sleeping outside from time to time:

There are countless official campsites on the way from Le Puy (almost every town / village has one) and many gites officially allow to camp in their garden, too (for a reduced fee). Both options include showers, and if you sleep in the gite garden, you can still book their demi pension / meals or use the kitchen!

So if you bring a lightweight tarp / tent or a bivy bag and a lightweight foam sleeping pad, you'll have many more options for finding a place to sleep, and no need to make bookings at all.

Since I dislike making reservations and love sleeping outdoors, that has been my solution for the via podiensis.

Maybe that's not a good solution for you, for whatever reasons, but I at least wanted to mention the option.
 
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Hello all, I am a newbie here.

Never walked a camino before and planned to go on my first starting on July 6 in Ley Puy. Based on the information I had collected on the lovely internet before I thought it would be fine to book the gîtes on the first couple of stops 1 week or two in advance and then book them along the way every 1 or 2 days before arrival (as we don't need private rooms).

So I sat myself down yesterday and tried to book the first 5 stops or so. Now I am finding myself in a situation where 90% of the gîtes mail back they are already fully booked. How can this happen? I though most people go by booking one or two days in advance?

I am genuinely worried now I won't find accommodation. I am trying to adjust my stages now to whatever gîtes are available, but I am also worried about having to walk longer distances than anticipated and ending up not enjoying the chemin at all.

Does everyone book their Chemin Le Puy month in advance? Do you think it will get better after a certain village as many people only do the first 10 days or so?

I need some support please :) I am thinking of just cancelling my trip.
I did the exercise of commencing next Monday, things are tight but there is a lovely one in Bains , the first day instead of Montbonnet.
Le Gite du Velay.
Why not contact them and see if they can arrange ahead for a few days.
The GR is famous for this way , better than MMDD and that’s the best.
Good luck and you’ll be surprised how much assistance you get , even @ Le Puy before you start.
 
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DEWARNING
I just want to add a small update and say that after the trouble with the first few stops it turned out to be completely fine again around day 4 or 5. There is only a few places booked out and I was able to secure a bed many times even in my first-choice gîte.

I booked until Conques now (and felt like I had a part-time job in the travel department for a while... :) )

I had been thinking about getting a tent, but luckily now I think I will be fine. Thank you for the encouraging words and tons of ideas for alternatives.

After Conques, however, I will take the risk and just book on the go. I want to have at least at little bit of spontaneity back... and who knows if camino even is for me?

Good journey to everyone!
 
I am currently on the Le Puy route, about 10 stages before St. Jean. There’s nothing to worry about with regards to accommodation. I tried to reserve in advance the first few days and got replies that everything was full. I do not speak French and was very worried about being forced to sleep outside. I have not tried to book in advance since then. There’s no problem, I just walk up to a door with a sign that says “GITE” and hope for the best. It has worked with about 90% success on the first try. The times when it fails, I am let into the next place I walk up to. They always let me join the communal dinner provided I get there before 5:30 PM.
 
Not sure if I can be a reference.
But I book at least 4 months in advance. In some cases, 5 or more. But that’s my schedule since I have to plan everything a lot in advance and I like to sleep in my own room.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Thank you so much everyone for the additional information and encouragement. I have already got my train tickets, so actually cancelling is really not the option I want to go for (also all the excitement and preparation shouldn't be for nothing). I am using the miam miam dodo guidebook and directly emailing the gîtes.

I saw in the guidebook that a few gîtes wrote they are keeping last minute beds, so I was wondering also if they are really booked out or if they are always keeping a few beds for people who don't book?

Anyway, I've had a little more success today than yesterday and will keep trying to find that free 10% (@timr :) ). I was first going for the small in between villages but it seems slightly bigger ones (main stops) are easier nevertheless (at least in some instances, e.g. all full in Montbonnet, but availability in Saint-Privat-d'A.)

I was having the wrong expectations I guess and was a bit disappointed having to let go of the idea to just walk and not think too much... see how I feel the day before next when deciding how far to go.

Hoping it will be better after Conques. And now I worry I added to the rumours of overcrowding with my post and will make everyone who reads it book months in advance ;-)

Be aware that the first day from Le Puy to Saint-Privat is a tough walk. It nearly did me in mostly because I hadn't trained carrying a backpack.

Be sure to prepare your body well by training now, with your backpack. or

Be kind on yourself and have your backpack transported the first day.

Le Puy is a fantastic walk but the first parts to Conques and the climb out of Conques is tough. After that, mostly easy as... :)
 
Be aware that the first day from Le Puy to Saint-Privat is a tough walk. It nearly did me in mostly because I hadn't trained carrying a backpack.

Be sure to prepare your body well by training now, with your backpack. or

Be kind on yourself and have your backpack transported the first day.

Le Puy is a fantastic walk but the first parts to Conques and the climb out of Conques is tough. After that, mostly easy as... :)
Write your e-mail in French and increase your possibility of getting a room (I lived in France for 3 years)😜
 
Be aware that the first day from Le Puy to Saint-Privat is a tough walk. It nearly did me in mostly because I hadn't trained carrying a backpack.

Be sure to prepare your body well by training now, with your backpack. or

Be kind on yourself and have your backpack transported the first day.

Le Puy is a fantastic walk but the first parts to Conques and the climb out of Conques is tough. After that, mostly easy as... :)
Montbonnet is a great first day
The second days stop is before the climb , Monistrol D’ Allier
Then Sauges
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).

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