Walking the Via Podiensis from Le Puy-en-Velay to Aumont Aubrac
The Via Podiensis or Le Puy Route was taken for the first time in 950 AD when the archbishop of Le Puy-en-Velay walked to the tomb of Saint James, opening the first non-Spanish route to Santiago. Along Via Podiensis, modern walkers enjoy various incredible landscapes and a rich medieval architectural heritage, as the Camino runs through some of the most typical rural French areas, and crossing towns and cities full of history.
For the first section, Via Podiensis links the historical Le Puy-en-Velay to Aumont-Aubrac.
Starting in Auvergne, famous for its green, dormant volcanoes, the Camino runs through green yet rocky, undulating landscapes. This leg may even seem to be more inhabited by grazing sheep and cattle than by man if it was not for its numerous medieval chapels, churches, towers and well-preserved towns that modern pilgrims encounter every day. The mountainous landscape make this section challenging but we have split the stages so they are of reasonable length and feasible for anybody with a reasonable level of fitness. Nature lovers, get ready: this is the perfect walking holiday for you!
Le Puy-en-Velay is the historical starting point of Via Podiensis or Le Puy Route, and this is where archbishop Gothescalk departed from, in 950 AD, being the first ever pilgrim to reach the tomb of the apostle in Santiago de Compostela. Nowadays, UNESCO World Heritage sites in the city remind us of this time. Le Puy-en-Velay has always been a important sanctuary city as it is home to the mysterious Black Virgin, which has drawn pilgrims from all over Europe since the Middle-Ages. The interest of Le-Puy-en-Velay is historical and cultural for sure, but the city also worth a visit for its picturesque location. Indeed, set between the Auvergne dormant volcanoes and the Rhone Alpes valley,the lively old city charms visitors with the great views it offers over the surrounding low mountains. And there is much more to discover about this unique place!
Le Puy-en-Velay to Saint- Privat d’Allier (24km, 6h15)
Starting at Notre-Dame du Puy Cathedral, modern pilgrims feel a certain emotion when walking down the stairs that have been the starting point of thousands of pilgrims en route to Santiago for the last millennium. The day is spent through the rounded green mountains of the Velay massif, offering beautiful scenery all day long, before reaching Saint-Privat d’Allier.
Saint-Privat d’Allier to Saugues (19km, 5h30)
This is a short enough walk but the consequent ascents and descents make it the most demanding stage of this first section. The rewarding side of it is that it offers wonderful views over the Velay massif and the Gévaudan plateau, and we also pass through picturesque villages and hamlets before arriving in Saugues.
Saugues to Les Faux (26km, 7h)
Today, we leave Saugues and its Tour des Anglais to continue up to reach Le Sauvage, a farm domain perched on top of a hill and dating back to the times of the Templars. The Camino then continues to enter La Loz?re département at the Saint-Roch chapel and we conclude our day in Les Faux.
Les Faux to Aumont-Aubrac (19km, 5h)
From Les Faux, we reach Saint-Alban sur Limagnole and its Roman Church. Then, it is a steep climb up to Grazi?res-Mages. We then start our way down to Les Estrets through peaceful wood and farmlands. Finally, we reach Aumont-Aubrac, gateway to the mythic Aubrac high plateaux.
Aumont-Aubrac. End of the Camino
After breakfast, we bid you farewell.
- Great mix of comfortable accommodation in 2-3* hotels or equivalent
- Bed & Breakfast
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
- Our Holiday/ Pilgrim Pack
- 24/7 Customer Service
- Great dinners with local food
- Extra nights
- Upgrade to authentic & luxury accommodation
- Airport transfers
To Le Puy en Velay and from Aumont Aubrac: Lyon airport with Aerlingus, Ryanair or Easyjet (can book return flights).
Second option to Le Puy en Velay and from Aumont Aubrac: Bordeaux airport with Aerlingus, Ryanair or Easyjet (can book return flights).
Third option to Le Puy en Velay and from Aumont Aubrac: Marseille airport with Aerlingus, Ryanair or Easyjet (can book return flights).
There are several options to fly to France with accessibility to Le Puy-en-Velay. Rodez airport is also an option for flying back from Aumont-Aubrac.
To the beginning of the trip: Le Puy-en-Velay
From Lyon: Train to Le Puy-en-Velay (Approx. 2h30). www.voyages-sncf.com
From Paris Orly: Hexair fly from Paris Orly to Le Puy/Loudes airport, from Monday to Friday, twice a day, year round. http://www.twinjet.fr/
Back home from Aumont-Aubrac
To Lyon: Train to Clermont-Ferrand (Approx. 2hrs). Then train to Lyon (Approx. 1h45). www.voyages-sncf.com
To Rodez: Train to to Severac le Chateau (Approx. 1h15). Then SNCF bus to Rodez (Approx. 20min). www.voyages-sncf.com
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