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Via Garona. New transversal GR / Chemin: Toulouse to SB de Comminges

Felipe

Veteran Member
#1
A brand new GR (marked as 861) has been officialy opened with a walk last July 1st. It goes by 170 km, mostly along the Garonne river; hence the name. It connects Toulouse (in the Arles way) to Saint Bertrand de Comminges (in the Piedmont way). And actually, brave souls can also walk to/from Conques (Podense).
The creators and organizers claim that it is an old and forgotten "Chemin de Saint Jacques"; I was skeptical at first, but images show many churches and altars dedicated to Saint Jacques and archaeological remains. As it is typical in France, this GR was the result of many enthusiastic volonteers, under the auspices and supervision of official institutions: the Fédération française de randonnée pédestre (who has published a guide), the ACIR Compostelle, and the Conseil Départamental de la Haute Garonne.
I have visited some ot the places (as a tourist evidently). As you walk away from Toulouse, this region is "deep France", with many farms, quiet villages and churches in the characteristic Romanesque style. It is flat in the first stages, and topography becomes more "interesting" after Saint Amans, with great views over the mountains.
I add some links (sorry, everyhing in French, for now)

Note in a newspaper
http://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2017/03/12/2534277-via-garona-le-chemin-oublie-de-compostelle.html

Images:

Videos of every stage
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_pUKp9zZcAvW4ONkFeyxTg

Signposting and clearing work, made by volunteers.
(merci, messieurs-dames!)

General map
http://www.ville-carbonne.fr/sites/www.ville-carbonne.fr/IMG/pdf/fiche_25-via_garona-2.pdf

If you type "Via Garona" in Google, you can see many wikiloc maps; sometimes they don't follow all the “official” signposting. The authors comment that some sections will be difficult in the rain session, and propose alternative ways.
I still have not found info about lodgments. It seems the inaugural group chose to camp. If I discover some info, I will add it here.
Bon (new) chemin!
 
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sjeanmarc

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aachen (Aquis Gran - Aix la Chapelle) -Santiago-Finisterre-Porto
#4
Hello
It's an historical way and there are testimonies of pilgrims using it during 7 centuries.
In the XII century, the Santiago cathedral held a place (La Salvetat Saint Jacques) along the Garonne to offer hospitality and the geographer Idrisi described this way in the part about the way to Santiago.
There are then along all the centuries until the French revolution, testimonies of pilgrims (among them the one from Domenico Laffi is the most famous), pilgrims tombs...
This area is also interesting for its strong devotion to Saint James. There were more than 30 Saint James fraternities and in some villages more than 100 pilgrims went to Santiago in the XV and XVI centuries.
There are still not cheap accommodation along this way, but it's possible to find for example in Rieux-Volvestre, Saint-Gaudens, Saint-Bertrand de Comminges...
A link for information about accommodation : http://www.chemins-compostelle.com/hebergeur/voie/203
 

sjeanmarc

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aachen (Aquis Gran - Aix la Chapelle) -Santiago-Finisterre-Porto
#5
In addition, if you look affordable accommodation on this way, there are options of stage like this :
Muret : through a famous platform for renting rooms 21€
Carbonne
: small hotel 35€
Rieux-Volvestre
: gite 16€
Martres-Tolosane
: camping 15€
Saint-Martory
: gite 15€
Saint-Gaudens
: youth hostel 17€
Saint-Bertrand
: gite donativo
 

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