Walking the Via Podiensis from Aumont Aubrac to Conques
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 varied, incredible landscapes and a rich medieval architectural heritage, as the Camino runs through some of the most typical rural French areas, and crosses towns and cities full of history.
Via Podiensis begins in Le Puy-en-Velay, a city set in a volcanic landscape, 130 kilometres South West of Lyon, in France. It continues through south-western France to the foothills of the Pyrenees, where this Camino joins up with the French Way.
On our 2nd section of Via Podiensis, the Camino runs between Aumont-Aubrac and Conques. The area the Camino crosses is almost legendary on Via Podiensis or Le Puy Route as it goes through the austere high Aubrac plateau, an isolated landscape, home to green and dormant volcanoes. The second half of the walking holiday enters the livelier Lot valley. The many ups and downs during the walk make it demanding but we have split the days in short enough stages so it is feasible for anybody with a reasonable level of fitness. It is also a high rewarding section, with stunning views and beautiful villages!
Aumont-Aubrac is a typical village of the area. You will see the transition between the rounded hills of Allier département and gateway to the high plateau of mythic Aubrac, and its endless austere and inspiring volcanic lands, part of the Massif Central. The town has always been strongly linked to the Camino, as back in the medieval times this is where pilgrims coming from the East on Via Podiensis rested before facing the upcoming stark and isolated lands of Aubrac.
Aumont-Aubrac to Nasbinals (27km, 7h)
As we leave Aumont-Aubrac, we start our way towards the inspiring Aubrac high plateau, walking on walled tracks, with endless flat grassland surrounding us. Typical Aubrac cows grazing there bring life between sleepy villages and farmhouses. The walk ends up in Nasbinals, a charming village with a Romanesque church.
Nasbinals to Saint-Chély d’Aubrac (17km, 4h30)
Today, the Camino reaches one of its highest points as we climb up to 1370metres before walking down to the historic hamlet of Aubrac, a legendary stage on Via Podiensis. The whole walk between Nasbinals to Saint-Chély d’Aubrac is listed at the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Saint-Chély d’Aubrac to Espalion (22km, 5h30)
Soon after crossing over Saint-Chély Bridge, we leave the typical scenery of the Aubrac to enter chestnut and beech woods. After this, we notice a more populated area and we reach medieval Saint-Come-d’Olt, one of the “prettiest villages of France”. It is then a nice stroll, climbing up a bit before getting down to the charming village of Espalion, on the banks of the Lot River.
Espalion to Golinhac (27km, 7h)
Along the walk, the area is home to well preserved treasures from the past, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site list. First, we head to the beautiful Romanesque church of Béssuéjouls and its upper chapel hidden in the 11th century steeple. Then, we reach Estaing, a medieval village topped by its impressive castle. We then continue along the Lot River, before climbing up to Montégut. The Camino then runs through woods and countryside before reaching yet another pretty village, Golinhac.
Golinhac to Conques (21km, 5h15)
Countryside and peaceful woodland will be our backdrop all day long during this easy walk. We have some time to wander around the charming village of Espeyrac on the bank of the river and to admire the old castle in Sénergues. Finally, we arrive in Conques, one of the nicest towns on the whole Via Podiensis or Le Puy Route!
Conques. 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 Aumont Aubrac and from Conques: Lyon airport with Aerlingus, Ryanair or Easyjet (can book return flights).
Second option to Aumont Aubrac and from Conques: Bordeaux airport with Aerlingus, Ryanair or Easyjet (can book return flights).
Third option to Aumont Aubrac and from Conques: Marseille airport with Aerlingus, Ryanair or Easyjet (can book return flights).
Rodez is the best located airport both to get to Aumont-Aubrac and to get back home from Conques. It is also possible to fly to Lyon and then fly back from Rodez airport.lay. Rodez airport is also an option for flying back from Aumont-Aubrac.
To France: To Rodez or Lyon
To Rodez: Ryanair fly from Dublin and London. www.ryanair.com. Air France also fly from Paris. www.airfrance.fr
Lyon: Virtually, every companies fly to Lyon. www.lyon.aeroport.fr
To the beginning of the trip: Aumont-Aubrac
From Rodez: SNCF bus to Severac le Chateau (Approx. 20min). Then train to Aumont-Aubrac (Approx. 1hr15). www.voyages-sncf.com
From Lyon: Train to Clermont Ferrand (Approx 2h30). Then train to Aumont-Aubrac (Approx. 1h45). www.voyages-sncf.com
Back home from Conques
To Rodez: Bus from Conques on mornings, Monday to Friday (Approx. 7€). Or taxi to Rodez Airport (Approx. €50)
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