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General Info For Le Puy To St. Jean

Discussion in 'Le Puy en Velay to Santiago de Compostela' started by iancam, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. iancam

    iancam New Member

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    I walked this route in May and June 2016. Le Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Took me 27 days of walking plus three rest days for a total of 30 days elapsed. Beautiful countryside and charming villages. I walked an average of 27 kilometers a day. A few small points to be aware of:
    1) The starting point of Le Puy-en-Velay is the biggest town on the whole route through France. Consider buying what you need before you set out. Figeac and Cahors also have plenty of services.
    2) The popular route is called GR65. It is close but not identical to the traditional pilgrim route. It is meant less for pilgrims and more for French holiday-makers. It tends to take you on scenic and meandering detours. As a dedicated pilgrim focused on a more distant horizon I found this frustrating at times. You can also follow an original Compostela pilgrimage route with different markings if you wish.
    3) I carried a tent. Opportunities for wild camping are plentiful, as are municipal campgrounds, gites and hotels. I tried them all.
    4) The hours of business for stores and restaurants take some getting used to. Stores are closed on Sunday and possibly Monday. Restaurant hours are difficult to explain or even comprehend. They vary from town to town. Business/bank holidays are frequent. In May 2016 there were five holidays impacting some or many businesses including MayDay, V-E Day, the Monday after Ascension Day, the Monday after Pentecost Day, and I can't even remember what the fifth one was.
    5) I purchased a sim card for my mini iPad and didn't carry a phone. Google Maps is handy. Depending on your language skills, you might find it a relief to be able to book accommodations via email or apps like Booking.Com. However, cell coverage is spotty.
    6) French language skills are a plus, but not essential. My French is mediocre. The French people are always friendly, polite, helpful and in every way civilized. Whatever your skill level, you will get by.
    Bon Chemin!
     
  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ian and welcome to the forum :)

    Thanks for posting the info on your trek from Le Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port – I am sure that others following in your footsteps will find it useful.

    I have met a few pilgrims who have walked this “Way” over the years, one Belgium lad did it on a very tight budget by contacting local parish’s en-route and he was given accommodation (And often fed) by the priests.

    I also see that the Confraternity of Saint James have a guidebook for this route http://www.csj.org.uk/product/le-puy-to-the-pyrenees/

    And there is also a Cicerone press Guide on the route http://www.csj.org.uk/product/the-way-of-st-james-le-puy-to-the-pyrenees/

    I have used the Confraternity of Saint James’s guides many times and always found them incredibly useful and great value, but only used the Cicerone press Guide on my Via de la Plata and found it a bit lacking – So do you have any comments on guidebooks for the route ?
    Thanks and Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  3. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Ian - Welcome to the Forum. Let me just expand a bit on your comments about iPads and SIM cards for Forum readers like myself who travel extensively with iPads. Switching out a SIM card is only necessary if you have an iPad model with cellular data capability. In which case, you definitely do not want to be incurring roaming fees on your home data plan. However, the Wifi only iPad does not have a SIM card and thus there is nothing to switch out. I travel with the later type and due to the increased availability of Wifi, at least along the CF, had no difficulty connecting in most albergues, cafe/bars, or restaurants. When I walked, I was able to find Wifi everyday usually in the albergues although occasionslly I had to seek out a cafe to get connected. The downside of "wifi only" is that you can't sit in a tent in the beautiful French countryside and connect unless you have a hot spot. But, with spotty service as you encountered, that would be a problem even if you had the technology. Glad you had a good Camino from Le Puy!
     
  4. SGCarney

    SGCarney New Member

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    Hi Ian et al,
    I'll (God willing) complete the CF this May, only Ponferrada to SdeC left. I'm already considering which of the various "Caminos" to experience next.
    Le Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port has always been high on my list but getting definitive information on the pilgrim route and services hasn't been easy. I'd prefer to walk as near to the "original" route as possible.
    As an example, the Confraternity of Saint James guide that RJS mentions appear to only cover the GR65.
    And points to where I can get better info. Regards and thanks
     
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  5. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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  6. Josh unçu

    Josh unçu Member

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    We have information at ((( forun )))you may want to check.
    While I am shaping up my French in Chenin
    Good luck-
    j.ç
     
  7. SGCarney

    SGCarney New Member

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    Thank you Rob. My research continues, although it looks like its the GR65 or risk getting lost. Lol
     
  8. SGCarney

    SGCarney New Member

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    My apology for the delayed reply Josh. Thank you for that link.
     
  9. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    There is a Michelin map of this route. It is #161 and available from the Confirmaty of Saint James.
     
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