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Le Puy Route In Winter

Discussion in 'Le Puy en Velay to Santiago de Compostela' started by ChristopherX, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. ChristopherX

    ChristopherX New Member

    Oct 4, 2017
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    North East UK
    Hello everyone,

    Having completed the Camino Frances last winter, I am contemplating walking the Le Puy route this December / January and then continuing onto the Frances. I know, I know: there may well be snow but I am not deterred by that: were it to be deep snow, I would simply take a detour along the roads. Is there anyone on this forum who has walked the Le Puy route in winter recently that could help me with some advice?

    Question 1:
    I am concerned about the availability of accommodation and food shops. On the Camino Frances, there were just enough albergues open to make the route walkable, although some days were quite tiring. However, I've heard rumours the winter situation on the France routes is much worse. So any up-to-date information?

    Question 2:
    Some information on the web suggests that the 'culture' on the Le Puy route is more 'recreational walking' rather than 'pilgrimaging / spiritual endeavour'. Has anyone found this to be the case?

    Thanks in advance for any comments.
  2. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2016
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    Pennsylvania, USA
    Christopher, I walked it in late May/June, so can't help with the winter part other than to say that it was a tough hike even in early summer and known to be one of the harder Caminos. You probably knew that and your plan to take the roads is wise. The red line area in Miam Miam Dodo after Espalion was brutal for about an hour and all along the way there are steep descents on very rocky trails that were very slippery. The Cele variant was worth taking for the views of the granite cliffs. There were some breathtaking views of the Aubrac Plateau, also on the way out of St. Come d'Olt, and I wouldn't have missed staying at the Abbey in Conques for anything. I did a mix of gites and hotels and monasteries. MichaelSG did a blog about his time on the Arles early in season last year and he and his wife had some trouble finding lodging and services, and I'd think that some of the tinier areas (it's already considered a remote area of France) would be hard to find lodging in. I can give you some lodging recommendations between Aumont-Aubrac and Cahors if you like.

    Yes, that's accurate about the "culture" on the Le Puy. I met wonderful people and a few who wanted my French to be better although I can get what I need accomplished and have little contextual conversations fairly easily. For some reason, the French want and expect that you speak fluently, it seems. Many English speakers who do the LePuy don't speak much at all and do fine. I don't know if you speak it, but an intermediate level of French, some recent practice with someone who speaks it well, and good ability to understand directions in French helps.
    I didn't meet anyone who said they were walking it as a spiritual endeavor, but the monasteries/convents might suit.

    If I can help, let me know. It was a good experience overall to do it. Then I went down to do a few coastal days on the Norte and then the Primitivo. All the best!
    UnkleHammy and James Orrock like this.

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