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Walking the Camino from Paris to St Jean

Kits

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September/October 2016)
I hope to walk the route from Paris in the future
Hi there, last year I walked the Camino Frances but I'm interested to walk from Paris to St Jean next time. Has anyone here done this? I'm interested in what the experience is like walking through France in comparison to Spain. Are there still many people who walk it, would I be likely to see many people along the way, does it feel as safe as the Camino Frances, is accomodation as easy to come by, what is the food situation like, and any other comparable tips would be really appreciated, thank you!
K xx
 

Kits

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September/October 2016)
I hope to walk the route from Paris in the future
An extra question... on the route between Paris and St Jean, are there still yellow arrows guiding you along the way like there are between St Jean and Compostela? And is there a better time of year than others to walk it?
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Hi Kits. This is my opinion only. A few years ago I checked out walking from my home to Santiago via Paris - SJPdP and the more I read convinced me to change my mind. I ended up starting in Geneva instead and walking via Le Puy. The reason is according to my research the Paris/Tours route is flat a lot of the time, on tarmac a lot and has very little pilgrim infrastructure (like gites), so it is expensive too. Now, this route is doable, but remember out of the four main routes through France, the other three (Vezelay, Arles, Le Puy) are far more popular. For a reason! In the last two years I have walked for 11 months 'on camino' and have met only two people that walked this route, though this may be only coincidence. And those I did meet said they enjoyed it, but never met another pilgrim.

Have a look at the website for the Confraternity of St. James (UK), they have some guide books for this route.
http://www.csj.org.uk/

I don't mean to put you off at all my friend, just my observation.

Bon Chemin!
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I'm interested to walk from Paris to St Jean next time
Is walking through France very different from Spain? Yes, a higher standard of living (= more expensive).

Would you be likely to see many people along the way [also walking]? No.

Is it as safe? Yes.

Is accommodation as easy to come by? No. And when you find it, it’s expensive.

What is the food like? Fantastic, incomparable!

If money was no problem I would love to walk from Paris to St Jean Pied de Port :(.

Jill
 

Kits

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September/October 2016)
I hope to walk the route from Paris in the future
Hi Kits. This is my opinion only. A few years ago I checked out walking from my home to Santiago via Paris - SJPdP and the more I read convinced me to change my mind. I ended up starting in Geneva instead and walking via Le Puy. The reason is according to my research the Paris/Tours route is flat a lot of the time, on tarmac a lot and has very little pilgrim infrastructure (like gites), so it is expensive too. Now, this route is doable, but remember out of the four main routes through France, the other three (Vezelay, Arles, Le Puy) are far more popular. For a reason! In the last two years I have walked for 11 months 'on camino' and have met only two people that walked this route, though this may be only coincidence. And those I did meet said they enjoyed it, but never met another pilgrim.

Have a look at the website for the Confraternity of St. James (UK), they have some guide books for this route.
http://www.csj.org.uk/

I don't mean to put you off at all my friend, just my observation.

Bon Chemin!
Thanks, this is really helpful to know. It helps me realise I probably wouldn't see many other pilgrims along the route. I don't mind the terrain you describe, though it doesn't sound like the route caters for pilgrims too well in terms of accommodation. One of my concerns was how easy it might be to get lost or feel uneasy. One of the things I loved so much about the Camino Frances from SJPP to Santiago de Compostela was how carefree I felt knowing that there is always somewhere to stop, always a helpful yellow arrow somewhere and all I needed to focus on was walking. I was never afraid to walk alone. It sounds as if the route from Paris may require more contingency planning. Thanks for your help x
 

Kits

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September/October 2016)
I hope to walk the route from Paris in the future
Is walking through France very different from Spain? Yes, a higher standard of living (= more expensive).

Would you be likely to see many people along the way [also walking]? No.

Is it as safe? Yes.

Is accommodation as easy to come by? No. And when you find it, it’s expensive.

What is the food like? Fantastic, incomparable!

If money was no problem I would love to walk from Paris to St Jean Pied de Port :(.

Jill
This is very interesting to know too, thank you! Decisions, decisions! I feel better knowing that it's as safe. With accommodation, would you say it's likely I'd need to camp?
 

Kits

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September/October 2016)
I hope to walk the route from Paris in the future
This is very interesting to know too, thank you! Decisions, decisions! I feel better knowing that it's as safe. With accommodation, would you say it's likely I'd need to camp?
Also, how long did it take you to walk it?
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Yes it is safe, just expensive and not as pretty as the other routes. Both pilgrims I met who walked it camped out also a lot. There are a few municipal campsites on the route (or just off it) apparently, and these tend to be cheap. And freecamping is an option and not frowned upon if you keep the place clean, don't light fires and leave in the morning. Not sure how long it would take. Bear in mind also, that if you walk this route you also have the option of going to Irun and walking the Norte instead of going to SJPdP.

If you do walk it let us know how you get on!

Davey
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
With accommodation, would you say it's likely I'd need to camp?
Well, if there are campsites along the way (I don’t know, you would have to research that), and you are prepared to carry camping equipment, then it would be possible. (It is not for me to advise “wild camping”.) I have tried camping in a French campsite by pitching my poncho with a hiking pole at each end, but it was late in the year and I was very, very cold. I would try it again in mid-summer, but then I wouldn’t want to be walking in mid-summer :eek:
Jill
 

Kits

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September/October 2016)
I hope to walk the route from Paris in the future
Well, if there are campsites along the way (I don’t know, you would have to research that), and you are prepared to carry camping equipment, then it would be possible. (It is not for me to advise “wild camping”.) I have tried camping in a French campsite by pitching my poncho with a hiking pole at each end, but it was late in the year and I was very, very cold. I would try it again in mid-summer, but then I wouldn’t want to be walking in mid-summer :eek:
Jill
I must say, I'm a useless camper so it probably wouldn't be wise for me :/ I don't mind paying slightly more for accomodation overall but it sounds like it's not easy to find accommodation necessarily. I had heard that during certain months a number of villages in France can be completely deserted also. Thanks! x
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy (2010; 2016), Norte, Primitivo, Muxia/Fisterra (2010), Mozarabe, Via de la Plata, Sanabres (2011), Arles, Aragones, Frances (2015)
French Caminos are very quiet compared to the CF. I'd even say that beside the Le Puy-Conques-Cahors stretch on the Le Puy route, is close to being solitary, or blankly solitary. The Paris-Tours route is not so popular, so you'll meet very few pilgrims.
Yet it's very safe. As it's not as touristy as the CF, it may even be safer in some way.
No yellow arrows on French paths, but red and white "GR" stripes and various signs from local Camino associations. Lots of European yellow scallops on blue background too.
You'll find accommodation and food just fine, but you may want to get a guide, even if you'll most likely find only French ones. Here's a webpage with basic info and existing guides for that route.
Bon Chemin!


 
Camino(s) past & future
Geneva to Irun then Norte to SDC 2015, Piemont Pyreneen 2018
Hello Kits
First of all, I haven't walked the route but approx. 20 years ago my son rode the route or I should say routes as he went from Hamburg to Lisbon and at the time was not aware of the Camino de Santiago but knew he was on some sort of designated path because he kept seeing these funny yellow arrows. Ignorance can be bliss. He camped nearly all the way in farmers fields and on private house lawns (with permission of course).
Then two years ago when I reached the sea at Hendaye after walking cross country from St. Palais off the Le Puy route the first person I met was a fellow my age with a pack on his back and I blurted out "where have you come from?" and he answered "Brussels" He had walked the Tours route through Paris.
On my return from Santiago I got off the train in Tours because I wanted to visit Clos-Luce in Amboise where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life and walking through the town (Amboise) I met a family walking the Paris route (not all the way to SdC though). Back in Tours that evening at a restaurant I sat next to a fellow who was riding from his home in Holland to SdC on the Paris route.
Finally, the next day on the local bus from Tours to Chartres I saw a number of yellow arrows at various crossroads and made a comment to the driver, who said he had walked from Paris to St. Jean a number of years earlier. In Chartres, which has an official office of the Chemin there were a number of people in and around the cathedral who were walking.
Now, it was July, so I may have been getting a false picture of the real total numbers but it seemed that every where I turned there was someone else walking or maybe it's that I was acutely tuned in after three months and I was able to pick out the pelerins through the crowd and just gloss over the "tourists".
Let us know what you decide.
Take care
Bon Chemin
 

Littlesthobo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
This is my first
Is walking through France very different from Spain? Yes, a higher standard of living (= more expensive).

Would you be likely to see many people along the way [also walking]? No.

Is it as safe? Yes.

Is accommodation as easy to come by? No. And when you find it, it’s expensive.

What is the food like? Fantastic, incomparable!

If money was no problem I would love to walk from Paris to St Jean Pied de Port :(.

Jill
I'm doing it right NOW
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I walked this route in 2011 and loved it. Yes it will be expensive my first hotel out of Paris was 60euros. I did find the occasional refuge (most of which were of a high standard)...one refuge was operated by the marie and it was lucky I was alone as it was a tiny room and one fully made up bed and a shower. I also stayed in chambres d'hote which added to the charm and opportunity to practise my dreadful French. What I wanted to emphasise is that you pass through some beautiful cities..orleans, Tours,Poitiers,Bordeux and the last stretch is through the mostly wooded,and isolated,Landes region. I did the Camino Frances as part of the Le Puy route and didn't like the crowds and mania to get to the next albergue first..and that was 13 years ago!
 

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