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What would you walk/skip on Le Puy route?

Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013) Frances (2014) St. Oswald's Way (2015) Le Puy (2016) Portugues (2018)
Hello, friends,
I'm trying to figure out what to walk and what to skip, toward the end of the Via Podiensis.

I have heard there's a four-day stretch of flat farmland from Aire-sur-l'Adour to Navarrenx that is especially monotonous. I could walk it anyway and continue on to Saint-Jean-Pied-De-Port -- or I could skip that section (assuming I can get a bus or taxi in Aire-sur-l'Adour) and jump ahead to Navarrenx and continue from there to Saint-Jean and end in Pamplona.

Could anyone advise? It's easiest and cheapest to walk a continuous route, of course, but I missed the stretch from Saint-Jean to Pamplona on an earlier camino, due to snow, and have always wondered what it's like to walk through those mountains. I don't know how tedious the piece after Aire-sur-l'Adour actually is. I welcome your thoughts. Thanks.
 

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (12-15); Muxia (15); Portuguese, Primitivo (17); Norte, Ingles, VF partial (18), Le Puy (19)
That's a tough one, because unlike the Frances, there are no sections that cry out to be skipped, or at least could be viewed as obviously of less interest -- like the Meseta or the final stretch from Sarria, if you hate crowds. The section you mention is somewhat flatter, and there's lots of cornfields, so it might very well be your best bet. But it's far from ugly. Do check out transportation options, because unlike in Spain, you're not following the main axis of transportation. I think Claudine Transport, which does baggage transport in the second half of the Le Puy route, also offers a pilgrim transport. https://m.claudine32.com/

Another thought is just go onto Roncesvalles from SJPDP, which is what the French consider as the end of the Le Puy route anyway, and skip the following two sections into Pamplona. To me, walking by cornfields is at least as pleasant as walking into a big city like Pamplona. That way, you'd still have a continuous walk and you'd get to cross the Pyrenees. And after walking a month, doing the SJPDP - Roncesvalles stretch in one day won't be that great a challenge. If you follow this suggestion, you'd only need to "horde" one day. Maybe you could, for example, hit Le Puy itself on the fly and start walking as soon as you get there (or after taking a quick tour of the town).

Overall, I agree with SYates below.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Another thought is just go onto Roncesvalles, which is what the French consider as the end of the Le Puy route,
The Camino Navarra started at Ostabat on many travel guides/maps at least until a few years ago, so the Via Podienses did not necessarily end at Roncevaux. I don't have a clue what the French "consider," I confess (on this and many other subjects), so I am just nit picking!!:)
 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
I think it was around La Romieu that the Pyrenees became visible if they weren't obscured by clouds. It was exciting for me to see those distant mountains grow larger as my days of walking carried me towards them. As I got closer I scoured the ridgelines for the place I thought the Camino might cross them and lead me into Spain. So I am glad I covered that portion of the Via Podiensis.

On the other hand, I have really enjoyed my four stays in Pamplona, so maybe your notion to skip ahead has merit if it provides a few days in that city.

Life seems frequently to be about tradeoffs, or so it seems to me. ;)
 
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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
If you skipped a portion of the Frances and always wondered what you missed, you would just be replacing that with another portion to wonder about.

My memory of that portion of France is that it was pretty countryside.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
Hello, friends,
I'm trying to figure out what to walk and what to skip, toward the end of the Via Podiensis.

I have heard there's a four-day stretch of flat farmland from Aire-sur-l'Adour to Navarrenx that is especially monotonous. I could walk it anyway and continue on to Saint-Jean-Pied-De-Port -- or I could skip that section (assuming I can get a bus or taxi in Aire-sur-l'Adour) and jump ahead to Navarrenx and continue from there to Saint-Jean and end in Pamplona.

Could anyone advise? It's easiest and cheapest to walk a continuous route, of course, but I missed the stretch from Saint-Jean to Pamplona on an earlier camino, due to snow, and have always wondered what it's like to walk through those mountains. I don't know how tedious the piece after Aire-sur-l'Adour actually is. I welcome your thoughts. Thanks.
We did Via Podiensis in 2018 - and although I would not recommend walking in France in August and yes, there were flat bits through fields of dead sunflower and vineyards, I really would not want to miss a single day of it 😊 My blog on the fine line between pleasure and pain on the way from Le Puy - just in case you want to have a look
Bonne Chemin
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I add my Gallic shrug to the vote pile: whatever you skip over in life, you'll always wonder what you missed/whether it was worth it. There's something to be said for the peacefulness of continuity, however.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
That's a tough one, because unlike the Frances, there are no sections that cry out to be skipped, or at least could be viewed as obviously of less interest -- like the Meseta or the final stretch from Sarria, if you hate crowds. The section you mention is somewhat flatter, and there's lots of cornfields, so it might very well be your best bet. But it's far from ugly. Do check out transportation options, because unlike in Spain, you're not following the main axis of transportation. I think Claudine Transport, which does baggage transport in the second half of the Le Puy route, also offers a pilgrim transport. https://m.claudine32.com/

Another thought is just go onto Roncesvalles from SJPDP, which is what the French consider as the end of the Le Puy route anyway, and skip the following two sections into Pamplona. To me, walking by cornfields is at least as pleasant as walking into a big city like Pamplona. That way, you'd still have a continuous walk and you'd get to cross the Pyrenees. And after walking a month, doing the SJPDP - Roncesvalles stretch in one day won't be that great a challenge. If you follow this suggestion, you'd only need to "horde" one day. Maybe you could, for example, hit Le Puy itself on the fly and start walking as soon as you get there (or after taking a quick tour of the town).

Overall, I agree with SYates below.
I agree with your description of this section (I too agree with Ms. Yates). I loved this section. It gives you a chance to just walk quietly without distraction and empty your brain. My only issue was that it was so lovely and tranquil that I was so relaxed and without thought that I missed a few turns as I had forgotten even to look for markings and just was loving every step of my day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013) Frances (2014) St. Oswald's Way (2015) Le Puy (2016) Portugues (2018)
Thank you, one and all, for sharing your suggestions and experiences.
Since so many of you found the walk after Air-sur-l'Adour pretty, in its own way, I think I will simply walk and not worry about how far I get. At some point, I will run out of time and have to find a way to get back to Paris for my flight. Until then, there is an appealing ease to walking a continuous path and not having to stress about jumping ahead. I am so grateful to each of you -- AndyCohn, SYates, Falcon269, TMcA, NorthernLight, Hurry Krishna, Glenshiro, Kitsambler and It56ny. Many thanks!
Regards,
Rebecca
 

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