Walking the Via Podiensis from Lectoure to Air-sur-l'Adour
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.
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.
From Lectoure to Aire-sur-l’Adour, the 5th section of Via Podiensis brings us deep into lands of tradition and undulating cultivated landscapes. Here, the Camino starts in Le Gers département, both home to foie gras and to vineyards producing the famous Armagnac brandy. Approaching Aire-sur-l’Adour, the landscape gradually changes into crop fields and pinewoods as we enter Les Landes area. Architectural heritage and history are also part of the journey, almost everywhere along the Camino! We have split the walking days so short walks alternate with more demanding ones, so anybody with an average level of fitness can complete them.
Lectoure is a pretty fortified town that keeps history alive and where visitors can take time to visit the old impressive cathedral, the castle of the Earls of Armagnac, the 18th tannery, the archaeological museum and more. Visitors can also treat themselves to the natural spas or simply enjoy strolling around the narrow streets of this market town set in the Gers valley.
Lectoure to Condom (32km, 8h30)
Leaving Lectoure, we head down to river Le Gers which we cross over before continuing through the countryside. We then reach Marsolan and its Romanesque church. It is then a very enjoyable stroll between woodland and open countryside until we reach La Romieu and its UNESCO World Heritage collegiate church.
Condom to Montreal du Gers (17km, 4h25)
Today is a long day and while the first half is mainly spent on dirt tracks through the gently undulating countryside dotted with lakes and streams, the second half brings history to us. Indeed, passing by Condom and Larresingle (known as “the little Carcassone”), lovers ofold stone buildings will be bowled over. Finally, we arrive in Montreal du Gers and its timber houses, proud of being the biggest vineyard of Armagnac, the famous brandy.
Montreal du Gers to Eauze (16km, 4h)
From Montreal du Gers, Via Podiensis heads south towards Eauze. The first 8 kilometres are spent between countryside and vineyards, and the first hamlet we cross is Lamothe. The Camino then runs through the quiet vineyards and countryside of Armagnac. The walk ends up on Place d’Armagnac, in Eauze, another beautiful village and official capital of Armagnac since 1802!
Eauze to Nogaro (20km, 5h)
We continue through the vineyards of Armagnac to reach the pretty town of Manciet, a historical point on the Camino as this is where, in the Middle-Ages, Pilgrims coming from Auch met those walking on Via Podiensis or Le Puy Route. The route then runs through the countryside and at the end of the day, we arrive in Nogaro.
Nogaro to Aire-sur-l’Adour (30km, 7h30)
Today, the Landes influence is more and more obvious as vines become rarer and pine trees start to appear. We start our walking day mainly walking through cereal fields. The day is also punctuated with some of the prettiest villages and hamlets of the entire section with the likes of Lanne-Soubiran and Barcelonne-du-Gers. At the end of the walk, we enter Les Landes département in another charming town rich in history: Aire-sur-l’Adour.
Aire-sur-l’Adour. 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
Option 1 – Toulouse
BA, Aer Lingus and Easyjet fly to Bordeaux from UK & Ireland. Other companies fly from major cities in Europe (can book return flights).
Option 2 – Bordeaux
Bordeaux airport with Aerlingus, Ryanair or Easyjet.
1 – Toulouse. Train to Agen (Approx. 1hr). Then bus to Lectoure (Approx. 45min). Several departures a day.
2 – Bordeaux. Train to Agen (Approx. 15min) then SNCF “T.E.R” bus to Lectoure (Approx. 45min). Several departures a day.
Option 1 – Toulouse
Bus to Toulouse (Approx. 3h30). Bus to Aire-sur-l’Adour (Approx. 3h30). Several departures a day.
Option 2 – Bordeaux
SNCF “T.E.R” bus to Mont-de-Marsan train station (Approx. 45min). Then train to Bordeaux (Approx. 1h20). Several departures a day.