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When to start?


Active Member
Hi all,

I'm a Canadian and new to the forum, and just have a quick question.

I'm planning to walk from Le Puy to Santiago this summer/fall. I was hoping to mid to late August, but I know France in August can be kind of crazy. If anyone's done this route around that time, would you recommend starting late August and facing the crowds and heat at the beginning, or start in early September and face cold and possibly closed refugios at the end?


Hi Anna-Marie and welcome to the Forum :)
I've walked the Le Puy route twice and it's beatiful but tough. I walked during April/May and that was a busy time in 2005. I heard somewhere that the GR65 wasn't too busy in August so starting mid to late August shouldn't be too bad for accommodation. Regarding heat, while it may have built up through the summer, remember that Le Puy is quite high and you will be walking across the Auvergne plateau at about 1000m for about a week before dropping into the Lot valley. By the way the temperatures can plummet at night on the plateau even in August, as I remember from camping there many years ago.
Regarding September, I wouldn't expect it to be too cold, in fact I would expect it to be quite pleasant walking weather, but you could access weather records for both August and September for the areas you will pass through. Accommodation - the GR65 is popular and well stocked with refugios, gites d'etape, etc so I wouldn't expect that there would be a problem with closures in September. Also, since many people walk in the Spring and others (French and most of Europe) have just had their summer holiday, I think accommodation would be fairly easy to get, ie not crowded. This might also be the reason why I heard that August is not too bad - people on family hols rather than long hikes.
Good luck with your planning and feel free to send more questions.
Buen Camino, :arrow:



Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
Hello everyone! Several friends and I, all 50-somethings from the US Pacific Northwest, are starting to plan our first segment of the Camino for 2009. We are looking at starting from Le Puy, and going as far as Conques or Cahors, in either early May or early September. The small inns and guesthouses look appealing, and while a little rain is fine, we would like to avoid consecutive days of downpours. Any input would be appreciated.

Buon camino!


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)
Hi Anne Marie and others. I walked from Le Puy in 2007 from August 4th. I found that the heat was quite manageable ( the Auvergne Plat. is quite pleasant at that time) Apart from about 2 days of rain we had fine weather. I didn't find the gites too crowded - that is I always managed to find somewhere to stay. I used the Tourist Office as a means of booking accomodation for the next few days and they were superb. Although the trail is "crowded" - believe me it is not a patch on the Camino Frances! I did a rough head count at Mass on the morning of departure and estimated that there were about 50 people setting off on that day. This compares to my calculations at Roncevalles a month later of 200 pluys.

Hope that helps. Janet


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
I know that the Camino Frances gets very crowded in July/August, but I am not sure the same happens in the south of France. In the wonderful "Irish" gite I stayed in in Moissac (Ultreia) they said they got quite quiet in Jul/Aug as most people found it far too hot to walk then. May seems to be the busiest month for people walking on the Le Puy route.
Hi, Anne-Marie,

I suppose there's no crowds in Le Puy during the whole year. But, if you can choose when you arrive in St. Jean or Roncesvalles, is better not to arrive on saturday or bank holiday, because it's then when more spanish people begins the camino. And then this places can be over crowded.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.


New Member
:D I am starting my walk in late April of 2009. Amy idea of how the weather will be?
After some reading I find that thats a dumb question. I have to be ready for any thing.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I walked the lepuy route last year starting late june. I 'forgot' that the initial part climbs pretty high and I had some cold wet days-as I did for the whole length to SDC. My advise to anyone who asks what the weather will be like is it will be: wet,cold,hot,windy,dry,snow,gales,fog and mist-ie weather is not predictable, prepare for all eventualities!


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Ditto to what omar said. In April 2008 I experienced snow some days, and coped with 30C other days. Anything could happen!

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