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Which Route Next? For Camino Frances Lovers

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I'm just doing a bit of long term Camino planning. What else would I do on New Years Day? ;)

My question here is really for those who love the Frances Route, for whatever reason, what other routes would you recommend?

I should firstly explain why I haven't tried other routes yet....and some limitations. Sadly there are some.

I enjoy walking alone, but enjoy the company of others too, particularly in the evenings. I'm happy to walk all day on my own, day after day, but I think after a week, I might start to go a bit crazy. So three weeks without another soul in sight might be pushing it...but who knows......might be fun to try....

I like the infrastructure along the CF, particularly the accommodation options. I prefer not to stay in Albergues, because a) I snore like a train, b) I also don't sleep well with the noise of others (go figure), and c) I do like a bit of privacy. (I spent many years living in Dormitory Accommodation, I'm kind of over it)

That is not to say, that if I lose a ton of weight and that in turn reduces my snoring, I might 'bite the bullet' one day and try Albergues :eek: But for now, B&B (Casa Rural) type options suit me best. With the odd Albergue if 'necessary'........ if it's a deal breaker.

The Problem. I'm also a bit limited in terms of daily distances. Long story, but my training for Camino #1 has left me with chronic Achilles Tendonitis. It's manageable, but distances over 25 kms start to be a real struggle. 30 kms tends to set me back a couple of days in terms of fixing my tendons/feet.... two 30+ kms in a row is kind of risking a 'Camino ending' event in terms of tendons giving out totally. So stages of 20-25 kms are ideal.

Oh, and too much road walking kills the tendons too. The CF was OK, I think that's about 40% road? Sorry to sound a bit 'precious' but it's the reality of walking with this 'condition' :oops:

I realise this creates a limitation already, hence seeking advice.

So.... Camino #1 was St Jean to Santiago alone and I loved it. Just what I had hoped for. The right mix of everything.

Camino #2 was Sarria to Santiago, to give 'she who must be obeyed' a taste of the Camino. (She is not an outdoors type of girl, so it suited her well. Infrastructure etc.

Camino #3 (2018) will be St Jean to Santiago again, with my dearly beloved. She wants to try a longer Camino and again, the CF will give her the infrastructure that she enjoys. And she enjoys being amongst other people. The thought of trekking for days on our own without seeing another Pilgrim would have her in fear of being 'taken' by Wolves or Bears! I'm sure you get the picture :rolleyes:

So post 2018, I'm on my own! :D In terms of Caminos that it! Pat will will go on an extended shopping/eating/family catch up trip to Thailand, whilst I go and play Camino on my own....each year or every other year.

So finally the point..........

For my next solo Camino, which is probbaly 2019.... I wonder what other route I should try? I like to be 'on Camino' for 3-4 weeks at least as I have found that it takes a couple of weeks to really get into the 'zone'... So for me that means 300-400 kms at least. Or combinations of shorter routes?

Any thoughts from those who also love the CF but have tried and enjoyed other routes would be most appreciated.

Sorry about the long winded Intro, but stage distances are the big issue. There is no point in me considering routes that have 30-35 km stages..... just won't work :(

So in summary.

Stages 25 km or less if possible.
Not too much on roads
300 kms +
Some non albergue accommodation options (ie not 100% albergue only)
 
Last edited:
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I walked the Primitivo in 17 days as, like you, I need to ne kind to my feet. Longest day may have been 23, and there were a couple of very short ones, but 20km on average. To make it longer, start with the Salvador and add Fisterra/Muxia.

Walk alone during the day, filled albergues at night. Chance encounter at the few bars and cafes along the way. Same for the Norte which can now be done in reasonable stages as well. At least until Llanes, whichnis what I've walked.

Here is my thread of when I walked the Primitivo.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/primtivo-breathtaking.33950/

Did not like the Portuguese on the Central from Porto other than for the Variante and Pontevedra and also Valenca and tui. So not recommending that. I was told I would like it but no. And solo walking all day, not as social as the Frances. So no social & no views...
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
I'm also a CF fan, it is my fallback camino for all sorts of reasons.

The Primitivo would be too short for me - like you @Robo I need three weeks or more to feel that I am really "in the zone".

I liked the Norte, which is long enough (800km give or take) with plenty of opportunities to keep the stages shorter, a reasonable balance of other pilgrims and with lots of accommodation options because it is along a tourist coastline. There is a myth that it is harder than the Frances; I did not find it so. You also have the option of turning onto the Primitivo. The only downside I could see for you would be that if you are not staying in albergues you might find yourself a bit isolated from other pilgrims.

This next April I've been convinced to try the VDLP.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
The only downside I could see for you would be that if you are not staying in albergues you might find yourself a bit isolated from other pilgrims.
Kanga, you make an excellent point, but would't this be true of all Caminos other than the Frances?
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I walked the Primitivo in 17 days as, like you, I need to ne kind to my feet. Longest day may have been 23, and there were a couple of very short ones, but 20km on average. To make it longer, start with the Salvador and add Fisterra/Muxia.

Walk alone during the day, filled albergues at night. Chance encounter at the few bars and cafes along the way. Same for the Norte which can now be done in reasonable stages as well. At least until Llanes, whichnis what I've walked.

Here is my thread of when I walked the Primitivo.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/primtivo-breathtaking.33950/

Did not like the Portuguese on the Central from Porto other than for the Variante and Pontevedra and also Valenca and tui. So not recommending that. I was told I would like it but no. And solo walking all day, not as social as the Frances. So no social & no views...
Just finished reading that thread. It was great. Many thanks. That's one to go on the 'to do' list. I can see I'll have to train myself to like Albergue living if I'm not to miss out ;)

Then I realised at the end, that as you were finishing the Primitivo, I was finishing the CF on the same day! I left Santiago a day ahead of you.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I'm also a CF fan, it is my fallback camino for all sorts of reasons.

The Primitivo would be too short for me - like you @Robo I need three weeks or more to feel that I am really "in the zone".

I liked the Norte, which is long enough (800km give or take) with plenty of opportunities to keep the stages shorter, a reasonable balance of other pilgrims and with lots of accommodation options because it is along a tourist coastline. There is a myth that it is harder than the Frances; I did not find it so. You also have the option of turning onto the Primitivo. The only downside I could see for you would be that if you are not staying in albergues you might find yourself a bit isolated from other pilgrims.

This next April I've been convinced to try the VDLP.
Thanks Kanga. Is it the Norte that has a lot of road walking? If I can sort out my feet and snoring I might get around to the VDLP one day... :oops:
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
On the Norte there is a bit of road walking, but Ian and I did not find it a problem. It is stunningly beautiful - Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia - wow! And the food! Double wow. In May, flowers out of this world.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Just finished reading that thread. It was great. Many thanks. That's one to go on the 'to do' list. I can see I'll have to train myself to like Albergue living if I'm not to miss out ;)

Then I realised at the end, that as you were finishing the Primitivo, I was finishing the CF on the same day! I left Santiago a day ahead of you.
Oh no! It would have been fun to share foot tendon cures in person. o_O
 

VNwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
@Robo, one thought is to have the best of both worlds--mostly the CF and then some different solo variations.
For example--Starting with the Baztanes from Bayonne to Pamplona, to see how you go with solo walking, then continuing on the CF...and then branching off to finish with the Invierno.
I've not walked the Invierno but have seen parts of it from the train--it looks stunning. On my list for sure, maybe this year for all I know at the moment.;)
Other than that, you could connect the Primativo with the Norte or the San Salvador if you wanted a longer walk--thought the SS might be a bit challenging for your tendons.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
@Robo, one thought is to have the best of both worlds--mostly the CF and then some different solo variations.
For example--Starting with the Baztanes from Bayonne to Pamplona, to see how you go with solo walking, then continuing on the CF...and then branching off to finish with the Invierno.
I've not walked the Invierno but have seen parts of it from the train--it looks stunning. On my list for sure, maybe this year for all I know at the moment.;)
Other than that, you could connect the Primativo with the Norte or the San Salvador if you wanted a longer walk--thought the SS might be a bit challenging for your tendons.
I'll certainly check those out. Thanks for the creative thinking :)
 
A

AJ

Guest
Start Leon. Leon to Oviedo on the Salvador, then Primitivo, finishing on the Frances.

Other routes have (for you perhaps) too much bitumen (Norte) too few pilgrims (Invierno etc.) or too long stages (VdlP). Having said that I thoroughly enjoyed the "unsuitable" routes, but I suffer no bitumen allergy, enjoy my own company and can still handle lengthy stages - but for how much longer?
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
I am one of those people that loved the Portugues. Did walk end of August/beginning of September.
From Vila do Conde till Barcelos there is indeed some roadwalking and cobblestones but after Barcelos I think ratio paved/unpaved is like the Frances.
There were enough pilgrims to interact with of you wanted this. I remember the municipal in Rubiaes was full ( 30 people ).

And a plus for you : good private accomodations and manageable etapas.

Portugues are extremely friendly and also not unimportant : very good local cuisine.

You could prolong this Portugues with a leisurely four days to Finisterra. I walked it this year and because of Semana Santa I prebooked my pensiones/ rooms.

Another shorter Camino is the Ingles : also possible to cut two larger etapas in shorter ones. When I walked that route in April I was all alone but I hear that pilgrims rapidly found this route and that accomodation is now better.

Happy preparations.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Start Leon. Leon to Oviedo on the Salvador, then Primitivo, finishing on the Frances.

Other routes have (for you perhaps) too much bitumen (Norte) too few pilgrims (Invierno etc.) or too long stages (VdlP). Having said that I thoroughly enjoyed the "unsuitable" routes, but I suffer no bitumen allergy, enjoy my own company and can still handle lengthy stages - but for how much longer?
Is that Mont St Michel in your Avatar photo AJ? I was born and raised not far from there, in Jersey.
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
Hi Robo, happy new year.

I second @Anemone del Camino's recommendation for the Primitivo. It's perfect for a combination of solo walking /walking with others and there's a good mix of road and natural surfaces. There's also a growing number of private accommodations, including albergues with private rooms. We walked it in September and mainly in pensions and private albergues. I listed our stages here. Some are longer than your preferred distances, but there are intermediate stopping options.

Adding the Salvador at the beginning, or Finisterre/Muxia at the end would bring the duration up to 3 weeks or a little longer.

Oh, and the food on the Primitivo is a lot better than on the CF!
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
Hi Robo: You should take a good look at the Le Puy route to SJPdP. It was my first introduction to the Camino and I loved it. It seems like it would tick all of your boxes: a reasonable number of people (especially on the first few stages), but not too many; lots of choice for accommodation; beautiful scenery; well-marked. I don't recall too many long stages either. I like to keep mine under 25km per day, and I was able to do that for the most part. Have fun with your planning.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
I'm just doing a bit of long term Camino planning. What else would I do on New Years Day? ;)

My question here is really for those who love the Frances Route, for whatever reason, what other routes would you recommend?

I should firstly explain why I haven't tried other routes yet....and some limitations. Sadly there are some.

I enjoy walking alone, but enjoy the company of others too, particularly in the evenings. I'm happy to walk all day on my own, day after day, but I think after a week, I might start to go a bit crazy. So three weeks without another soul in sight might be pushing it...but who knows......might be fun to try....

I like the infrastructure along the CF, particularly the accommodation options. I prefer not to stay in Albergues, because a) I snore like a train, b) I also don't sleep well with the noise of others (go figure), and c) I do like a bit of privacy. (I spent many years living in Dormitory Accommodation, I'm kind of over it)

That is not to say, that if I lose a ton of weight and that in turn reduces my snoring, I might 'bite the bullet' one day and try Albergues :eek: But for now, B&B (Casa Rural) type options suit me best. With the odd Albergue if 'necessary'........ if it's a deal breaker.

The Problem. I'm also a bit limited in terms of daily distances. Long story, but my training for Camino #1 has left me with chronic Achilles Tendonitis. It's manageable, but distances over 25 kms start to be a real struggle. 30 kms tends to set me back a couple of days in terms of fixing my tendons/feet.... two 30+ kms in a row is kind of risking a 'Camino ending' event in terms of tendons giving out totally. So stages of 20-25 kms are ideal.

Oh, and too much road walking kills the tendons too. The CF was OK, I think that's about 40% road? Sorry to sound a bit 'precious' but it's the reality of walking with this 'condition' :oops:

I realise this creates a limitation already, hence seeking advice.

So.... Camino #1 was St Jean to Santiago alone and I loved it. Just what I had hoped for. The right mix of everything.

Camino #2 was Sarria to Santiago, to give 'she who must be obeyed' a taste of the Camino. (She is not an outdoors type of girl, so it suited her well. Infrastructure etc.

Camino #3 (2018) will be St Jean to Santiago again, with my dearly beloved. She wants to try a longer Camino and again, the CF will give her the infrastructure that she enjoys. And she enjoys being amongst other people. The thought of trekking for days on our own without seeing another Pilgrim would have her in fear of being 'taken' by Wolves or Bears! I'm sure you get the picture :rolleyes:

So post 2018, I'm on my own! :D In terms of Caminos that it! Pat will will go on an extended shopping/eating/family catch up trip to Thailand, whilst I go and play Camino on my own....each year or every other year.

So finally the point..........

For my next solo Camino, which is probbaly 2019.... I wonder what other route I should try? I like to be 'on Camino' for 3-4 weeks at least as I have found that it takes a couple of weeks to really get into the 'zone'... So for me that means 300-400 kms at least. Or combinations of shorter routes?

Any thoughts from those who also love the CF but have tried and enjoyed other routes would be most appreciated.

Sorry about the long winded Intro, but stage distances are the big issue. There is no point in me considering routes that have 30-35 km stages..... just won't work :(

So in summary.

Stages 25 km or less if possible.
Not too much on roads
300 kms +
Some non albergue accommodation options (ie not 100% albergue only)
Robo:

My response to your criteria would be a Salvador/Primitivo combination. Challenging in places, very little hard surface walking, good mix of Albergues and other accommodation and doable in 25 km stages. This combo can be done in 15 to 21 days based on individual pace.

My second recommendation would be the Norte. There is hard surface walking but it is not on busy roadways and there are lot of alternatives to reduce this type of surface. The views are great food wonderful and accommodation plentiful. That said, I would not walk in peak vacation season. I disagree with Kanga's opinion that it is not more difficult than the other Camino's. Day in and out it is tougher than the Frances. That said, it is very doable by anyone. The first week is the toughest in my opinion with Deba to Markina the most challenging day.

Many people like the Norte/Primitivo combination but then you miss the second half of the Norte.

Finally, which ever one you choose will be the right one. IMO, there are no bad Camino's.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Some good options suggested, thanks Guys.
 
A

AJ

Guest
Is that Mont St Michel in your Avatar photo AJ? I was born and raised not far from there, in Jersey.
Yes. On my route from Winchester to SdC. The water was not as cold as i had expected.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
So do I, but only as far as Bilbao.

I agree it gets less challenging after the first week but I still believe day in and out it is tougher than the Frances.
 

Fritz

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP - SDC - Fisterra - Muxia - SDC September - November (2013)
San Sebastian - Bilbao - October 2016
Logroño - Santiago (with short section Zabaldika - Pamplona) October - November 2016
How about the Arles route? It's on my to-walk list. I think it meets all the requirements -- there are a couple of 30 km day that might need some work-arounds. Meet up with the CF near Puenta la Reina if you like...or modify it to take the Piedmont route through Lourdes and meet the CF in SJPDP?

http://www.csj.org.uk/planning-your-pilgrimage/routes-to-santiago/the-routes-today/the-arles-route/

and in French - a table of the stages and elevations:

http://www.chemins-compostelle.com/itineraires/6/la-voie-d-arles
 

Avian

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Presently walking the Camino
Hi Robo: You should take a good look at the Le Puy route to SJPdP. It was my first introduction to the Camino and I loved it. It seems like it would tick all of your boxes: a reasonable number of people (especially on the first few stages), but not too many; lots of choice for accommodation; beautiful scenery; well-marked. I don't recall too many long stages either. I like to keep mine under 25km per day, and I was able to do that for the most part. Have fun with your planning.
Hi Doogman,I am seriously thinking
Robo:

My response to your criteria would be a Salvador/Primitivo combination. Challenging in places, very little hard surface walking, good mix of Albergues and other accommodation and doable in 25 km stages. This combo can be done in 15 to 21 days based on individual pace.

My second recommendation would be the Norte. There is hard surface walking but it is not on busy roadways and there are lot of alternatives to reduce this type of surface. The views are great food wonderful and accommodation plentiful. That said, I would not walk in peak vacation season. I disagree with Kanga's opinion that it is not more difficult than the other Camino's. Day in and out it is tougher than the Frances. That said, it is very doable by anyone. The first week is the toughest in my opinion with Deba to Markina the most challenging day.

Many people like the Norte/Primitivo combination but then you miss the second half of the Norte.

Finally, which ever one you choose will be the right one. IMO, there are no bad Camino's.

Ultreya,
Joe

Hi Robo: You should take a good look at the Le Puy route to SJPdP. It was my first introduction to the Camino and I loved it. It seems like it would tick all of your boxes: a reasonable number of people (especially on the first few stages), but not too many; lots of choice for accommodation; beautiful scenery; well-marked. I don't recall too many long stages either. I like to keep mine under 25km per day, and I was able to do that for the most part. Have fun with your planning.
Dear Doogman, I noted that you walked the Le put route. My husband & I are very keen to walk the Le Puy to SJdPD route in October this year but I am having difficulty finding any information about this Camino. I would be very grateful if you have any tips as to where I can source some information. With many thanks Anne
 

ncdcamino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 - Camino Frances - St Jean PdeP to Santiago to Cee
2018 - Via Podiensis - Le Puy en Velay to St Jean PdeP
Hi Doogman,I am seriously thinking





Dear Doogman, I noted that you walked the Le put route. My husband & I are very keen to walk the Le Puy to SJdPD route in October this year but I am having difficulty finding any information about this Camino. I would be very grateful if you have any tips as to where I can source some information. With many thanks Anne
Hi we are intending to do this route in April/May 2018. We are using the Lightfoot Guide at present and keenly following conversations here on the forum. Thanks Neil
 

Avian

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Presently walking the Camino
Hi we are intending to do this route in April/May 2018. We are using the Lightfoot Guide at present and keenly following conversations here on the forum. Thanks Neil
Hi Neil,
Where do you purchase the Lightfoot guide? I haven't come across this. Many thanks Anne
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
Hi Doogman,I am seriously thinking


Dear Doogman, I noted that you walked the Le put route. My husband & I are very keen to walk the Le Puy to SJdPD route in October this year but I am having difficulty finding any information about this Camino. I would be very grateful if you have any tips as to where I can source some information. With many thanks Anne
Hi Anne:

I thought the Le Puy route was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. There was beautiful scenery, pretty towns/villages, lots of history, etc. I am not sure what information you might be looking for, but here are a few thoughts:

1. Look through the sub-section on this Forum that is specifically about the Le Puy route. I am sure that you will find lots of good information/advice there.

2. I used the Cicerone guides by Alison Raju. There are two guides for the entire route. There are very detailed route descriptions in these guides, but I found that the path was so well marked that I rarely ever needed to refer to the guides. There is also some other information in the guides, although limited, about the towns, sites, facilities, etc. The route follows the GR 65, so there are other guidebooks available for this, such as FFRandonee.

3. There are also two Miam Miam Dodo guides that cover the route. These are in French, but they are very easy to decipher for the non-French speaker. In addition to maps, these list all accommodation (hotels, private gites, municipal gites, etc.) and facilities (boulangeries, restaurants, banks, etc.) along the route.

4. I did the entire route over three stages in three different years. Each time it was during the July-August months. On the first stage, from Le Puy to Conques, there were quite a few others on the route - maybe 30-40 each day. Some of these dropped off before Conques, but Conques seemed to be the destination for most. When I returned in subsequent years for the second and third stages (Conques to Lectoure; Lectoure to SJPdP) I was surprised that there were very few others. I was told that the earlier and later months are busier, as the summer months are considered too hot by many. Although it was pretty hot on some days - getting up into the high 30s - I did not find it much of a problem. There were generally enough places to stop, enough places to fill water bottles, etc.

5. There are some good ups and downs on the route. But there was nothing I feel a person with average fitness could not do, albeit with some huffing and puffing. I would just take it nice and slow going up some of the steeper sections.

6. If you are going to do a section of the route, my personal opinion was that the first section I did (Le Puy to Conques) was the best part. I also really enjoyed the last few days into SJPdP, although the entire route is very good.

7. I was able to get to Le Puy by train fairly easily from Paris. (It was 3 trains actually). It was all done in a day.

8. When I finished in SJPdP, since I was already in relatively decent walking shape, I took the opportunity to add one more day and take the Route Napoleon over the Pyrenees into Roncesvalles. I then took a bus back to SJPdP. The weather was perfect, and it was a great way to cap off my journey.

Let me know if there is anything further you would like to know. Glad to help if I can.
 

Avian

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Presently walking the Camino
Hi Anne:

I thought the Le Puy route was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. There was beautiful scenery, pretty towns/villages, lots of history, etc. I am not sure what information you might be looking for, but here are a few thoughts:

1. Look through the sub-section on this Forum that is specifically about the Le Puy route. I am sure that you will find lots of good information/advice there.

2. I used the Cicerone guides by Alison Raju. There are two guides for the entire route. There are very detailed route descriptions in these guides, but I found that the path was so well marked that I rarely ever needed to refer to the guides. There is also some other information in the guides, although limited, about the towns, sites, facilities, etc. The route follows the GR 65, so there are other guidebooks available for this, such as FFRandonee.

3. There are also two Miam Miam Dodo guides that cover the route. These are in French, but they are very easy to decipher for the non-French speaker. In addition to maps, these list all accommodation (hotels, private gites, municipal gites, etc.) and facilities (boulangeries, restaurants, banks, etc.) along the route.

4. I did the entire route over three stages in three different years. Each time it was during the July-August months. On the first stage, from Le Puy to Conques, there were quite a few others on the route - maybe 30-40 each day. Some of these dropped off before Conques, but Conques seemed to be the destination for most. When I returned in subsequent years for the second and third stages (Conques to Lectoure; Lectoure to SJPdP) I was surprised that there were very few others. I was told that the earlier and later months are busier, as the summer months are considered too hot by many. Although it was pretty hot on some days - getting up into the high 30s - I did not find it much of a problem. There were generally enough places to stop, enough places to fill water bottles, etc.

5. There are some good ups and downs on the route. But there was nothing I feel a person with average fitness could not do, albeit with some huffing and puffing. I would just take it nice and slow going up some of the steeper sections.

6. If you are going to do a section of the route, my personal opinion was that the first section I did (Le Puy to Conques) was the best part. I also really enjoyed the last few days into SJPdP, although the entire route is very good.

7. I was able to get to Le Puy by train fairly easily from Paris. (It was 3 trains actually). It was all done in a day.

8. When I finished in SJPdP, since I was already in relatively decent walking shape, I took the opportunity to add one more day and take the Route Napoleon over the Pyrenees into Roncesvalles. I then took a bus back to SJPdP. The weather was perfect, and it was a great way to cap off my journey.

Let me know if there is anything further you would like to know. Glad to help if I can.
Thank you so much for your reply- I truly appreciate it especially all the effort you put into your answers. You have helped me considerably and made me feel a lot more settled about the idea. So much in fact that we have gone ahead & booked our return flights to Paris from Sydney so now we are committed. I have also ordered both the Mia Mia's guide & the Alison Raju . Do you speak French? & if not, was it a problem eg booking accomodation.
With many thanks Anne.
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
Thank you so much for your reply- I truly appreciate it especially all the effort you put into your answers. You have helped me considerably and made me feel a lot more settled about the idea. So much in fact that we have gone ahead & booked our return flights to Paris from Sydney so now we are committed. I have also ordered both the Mia Mia's guide & the Alison Raju . Do you speak French? & if not, was it a problem eg booking accomodation.
With many thanks Anne.
That is wonderful. I think you will really enjoy it. I can speak a tiny bit of French, so that was a bit of a help, but not enough to carry on a conversation. I can usually ask a question, but often do not understand the answer. The Miam Miam Dodo books provide information as to which languages are spoken at each listed accommodation, so that may help guide you a bit, at least at the beginning. Also, in most cases, each night's accommodation or other pilgrims you meet can help you call ahead if needed. As always, you would probably get the most out of it if you try to learn the very basics. A lot of the pilgrims that you meet will likely be French (at least that was my experience), but I also met others that spoke little or no French, and everyone seemed to be getting by just fine. I hope you have a great trip!
 

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