Walking the Via Podiensis from Air-sur-l'Adour to Saint-Jean
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 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.
From Aire-sur-l’Adour to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the 6th and final section of Via Podiensis will surely bewitch you. It starts in Les Landes and hikers quickly enter the French Basque Country. Charming French villages, beautiful forests, great scenic views, history: this section combines it all as you get closer to the Pyrenees, never far ahead in the distance. Finally, you reach their foothills in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, both the end of Via Podiensis and the beginning of the Camino Frances, to Santiago. This walk can be physically demanding and requires a reasonable level of fitness. However, it’s a highly rewarding walk including numerous cultural highlights.