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Walking from Vezelay-Santiago

fotina

New Member
Hi,
I need a much information about the French part of the walk. Has anyone walked it on their own?
I am thinking on going late April and I feel a bit nervous.

Was it easy to get to Vezelay from Paris?

I do have a good maps and daily directions, although in French, I can read well enough.

How hard is to find accomodation and how much French do you need to know to get by?
Reading is one thing and speaking it is another.
Did you phone ahead to book the accomodation on a daily basis or do you need to book well in advance?

How much do you think i need to spend per day ? (a rough amount will do)

Was there a lot of others walking at the time. Although I love walking on my own I feel better and more relaxed when I know that someone is close by.
I have walked in Spain before but that is a lot different than the French route.

Did you have any problems with any Animals (dogs/snakes)

I would greatly appriciate any information or any advice that you might want to send me.

Fotina
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Hi Fotina

Do you have the guide written by M et Mde Chassain ? This is published by the amis de la voie de Vezelay association - heres a link to their website:-

http://www.amis-saint-jacques-de-compos ... voie-.html

This guide is very detailed and pretty accurate. We bought it from the UK Confraternity where it costs £24, not cheap but definitely useful.

http://www.csj.org.uk/

fotina said:
How hard is to find accomodation and how much French do you need to know to get by?
Reading is one thing and speaking it is another.
Did you phone ahead to book the accommodation on a daily basis or do you need to book well in advance?

We are cycling the Voie de Vezelay in stages. So far we have reached just south of Limoges. Quite recently I have written another post about the refuges we stayed in, which you should be able to find.
We were there last September and October and found we did not need to make any bookings. we just turned up at the gites and collected the key as instructed in the guide or on a notice on the door. The only time I rang ahead was when the key had to be collected from the mairie and we were obviously going to be too late for it to be open.
In the Chassain guide there are details about lots of possible accommodation along the way. As well as the refuges provided by municipalities or local Amis organisations there are also details of individuals who welcome pilgrims into their homes. They suggest you should ring ahead for these. We only used one of these once, and although my french is very rusty I managed to explain that we were 'pelerins' and 'cherchez un lit pour la nuit,' or similar, and understand the answer at least enough!
We have found that our french has come on lots since we have been making our pilgrimage (we started from home in england ) through Belgium and France. When I was younger I was terrified of speaking, although, like you, reading was easier.but since we have been cycling through small towns and countryside where few people seem to speak much english we've both got much more confident at 'having a go' at making conversation in shops or with little old ladies who sit down beside you to talk about the weather or with fellow pilgrims we share accommodation with! And our comprehension of the spoken language is coming on too. And we are only spending 2 or 3 weeks at a time before going home. If you are walking the whole way in one go, you will find that your French quickly improves enough.

fotina said:
How much do you think I need to spend per day ? (a rough amount will do)

The refuges (gites de pelerins) often suggest an amount for a donation. Anywhere between 10 and 6 euros, from our experience. They almost always had some means of cooking and utensils, so you could feed yourself from supermarkets and local shops as you go along - I suppose a middle of the road amount of 15 euros a day would allow for some nice stuff or an occasional meal out. My probably not very reliable guess, then, is that you should allow 20 to 25 euros a day.

Gareth, how much did you manage on in France? I know you were on a very tight budget?

fotina said:
Was there a lot of others walking at the time. Although I love walking on my own I feel better and more relaxed when I know that someone is close by.

Again, we were in September and October - we met about 10 or 12 other pilgrims, all walkers, after Vezelay. Mostly french men on their own. One or two dutch or german men. A french canadian (man) and on our last day a french group of two women and one man. So not many others. But nothing but friendliness from the locals. Plenty of tourist offices with helpful staff to give advice. I (Bridget) would feel safe walking alone on this route, so long as I had a map so I could work out how far I was from my next bed! Oh, the route marking is excellent, by the way.

fotina said:
Did you have any problems with any Animals (dogs/snakes)

No, none at all.

fotina said:
I would greatly appriciate any information or any advice that you might want to send me.

Do not miss Benevent L'Abbaye and it's refuge. Try to meet Dr Conquet who holds the key and will explain all about how the early celtic christian hermits influenced the design of the abbey and much much more!

Although M and Mde Chassain are clearly extremely knowledgable and wise, should you, as a independent adult with your own mind, wish to follow a slightly different route to the one they give, even against their explicit warnings in their guide, they WON'T know!!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I will be walking this route from mid june-as will jl from adelaide who has a wealth of info which she will probably post on this topic. Getting to Vezelay from paris by train can be found on http://www.raileurope.com.au it's an aussie site but has the info you need. The guide book mentioned is very comprehensive with separate detailed maps. In fact most of the guide is loose leafed so you can take what you want.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Hello Fotina, I think that Bridget has covered most of the information that I know about. I certainly reccomend the guide book she suggests - big and bulky, but both Omar (from melbourne) and I have photocopied it so that we can discard pages as we go. It weighs rather a lot and so even half the pages discarded will lighten the load!

I am not sure which train to catch from Paris (I am now starting from Bar-sur-Seine and will catch the train to Troyes) but I know that I had terrible problems trying to sort out how to actually get there to Vezealy, as the train does not go to the town itself. I think the town to catch the train to is Sermizelles (I don't have the info in front of me, as I am in our public library). This stop is about 10kms from Vezelay and it is apparently easy to catch a taxi from there to Vezelay. When I had planned to walk from Vezelay I had been thinking that I would actually just walk from there as 10kms is quite manageable and a good way to stretch the legs after such a long flight.

Vezelay has many concerts in the church and so I would suggest that you log onto their tourism page and see if there are any scheduled for the night that you will be there. There is a pligrim blessing after Laudes at 7.00a.m.

I have just discovered that there is a world heritage church dedicated to St Jacques at Asquins with 13 / 15th century frescoes. This town is about 1km north of Vezelay (on the route coming down from Reims) if you want a walk when you get there.

You will also have to make a decision on whether you take the north or south path. The southern path is very beautiful apparently - and also quite hilly, I think the Europeans call it "in nature". The northern path goes down through Bourges and both paths meet at around the town of Eguzon from memory. I am taking the northern path because there are a couple of places I wish to visit and in particular I want to see the cathedral at Bourges.

Hope that is a bit more info for you, regards, Janet

(PS I start my walk on July 6th)
 

Paulus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2005), Norte (May 2006), Vezelay (2007).
jl said:
I am not sure which train to catch from Paris (I am now starting from Bar-sur-Seine and will catch the train to Troyes) but I know that I had terrible problems trying to sort out how to actually get there to Vezealy, as the train does not go to the town itself. I think the town to catch the train to is Sermizelles (I don't have the info in front of me, as I am in our public library). This stop is about 10kms from Vezelay and it is apparently easy to catch a taxi from there to Vezelay. When I had planned to walk from Vezelay I had been thinking that I would actually just walk from there as 10kms is quite manageable and a good way to stretch the legs after such a long flight.

Sermizelles is correct! Train goes further to Avallon and NOT to Vezelay.
From Paris you have to take the train to Auxerre and from there you take the "little" train to Sermizelles.
I think you can cross the river "la Cure" at Sermizelles and than you are very close to the path/GR13 to Vezelay.
Enjoy it!
And IMO........... take the LePuy-route from Vezelay. It's GREAT there!
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Paulus said:
I think you can cross the river "la Cure" at Sermizelles and than you are very close to the path/GR13 to Vezelay.

We cycled past the little station at Sermizelles, and then, via a village called Givry, along the minor road on the east side of the Cure to Asquins, and then Vezelay. Looking at the map again (IGN Carte de Promenade 28) this would be about 10 km. The GR13 would take you along two sides of a triangle (as is the custom with GRs) and over two if not three high points and roughly 20 km.

jl said:
I have just discovered that there is a world heritage church dedicated to St Jacques at Asquins with 13 / 15th century frescoes. This town is about 1km north of Vezelay (on the route coming down from Reims) if you want a walk when you get there.

We crossed the river and the main road at Asquins. We were tired and hungry so did not stop to look at the church.

From Asquins it is a short but EXTREMELY steep climb up to Vezelay. Maybe it would be easier walking with a pack on your back than pushing a laden bike. I suspect it would be better (less steep) to follow the main road south and east round the Vezelay hill and approach from the east. Either way it will be a surprisingly steep climb up to the basilica. We arrived there as the evening sun shone on the west portal. It is special!

I am going to have to get back to filling out our diary of the journey on our blog (see below).
 

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giorgio

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2000), Puy (03), VDLP(04), Arles(05), Paris/London(06), Norte(07),Vezelay(09), Levante(10),Madrid(13),CF(15),CF(16)
Hallo Fotina ,
looks like we might meet on the walk as we will be starting from Vezelay about the 22nd of april
Giorgio and Elisa
 

fotina

New Member
Thank you all very much for your information. I do have the quide book fom CSJ and will follow their directions.
I am looking forward to the walk but I am just a little nervous as well.
The first few stages seem very long and i will try to break up the days a bit. Hopefully, the Gites are not too far away from the path.

Again, thank you all.

Regards, Fotina
 

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