Full Le Puy Camino

Stage 1 of 6

729.4km

33 days

Comfort

Popular time

september

Starting from

€3280

Overall

Distance:

10.5 min | 23.5km average | 34.7 max

Ascent:

226 min |575.5m average | 1203 max

Cardio:

2   3.5   5

Follow the Camino Preview Map Trip 681

Starting in Auvergne, famous for its green, dormant volcanoes, the Camino runs through green yet rocky, undulating landscapes. From the high plateau of the Massif Central, pilgrims drop to the valley of the Lot River, following a road connecting a series of picture-perfect French villages. Next, pilgrims cross an expanse of Gascony, an ancient region bordering Spain in the south east with its own unique culture (even in the South of France), before finally arriving in the French Basque Country and the village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Le Puy en Velay

Le Puy-en-Velay

As the starting point for the Le Puy Camino in France, this small city has much to offer. Two unique sites are the cCathedral and the Hermitage Saint-Jean-du-Puy that are perched atop ancient volcanoes and only accessible by climbing the many steps up. The Cathedral of Notre Dame dates from the 12th Century and is widely regarded as one of the most distinctive Romanesque cathedrals in France. Be sure to also save some energy to wander the small streets flanked by tall pastel buildings of the old city. Here you will find many shops and cafes as well as the famed lace makers of Le Puy.

Le Puy aerial view

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

On the Le Puy Camino there are a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage sites dotted across the landscape. Starting in Conques with its Romanesque abbey, then leaving the town on the Pont sur le Dourdou, continuing from Montredon to Figeac is an entire section declared a World Heritage site, as are the sections between Faycelles and Cajarc and Lalbenque to Cahors. The Via Podiensis route has more protected heritage sites than most other Caminos in Europe.

Basque Country

Basque Country

Beautiful Basque villages with typical names like Bastida Xoko, Utxiat, or Bussunaritz welcome you during the last parts of the Le Puy Camino. With their warm red roofs, old houses and green surroundings, they boast a unique ambiance. As the trail is going up and down all day long you can expect great views over these villages as well as the verdant countryside around them.

Full Le Puy Camino

Starting from € 3280

LE PUY EN VELAY

SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT

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Not included: Flights/trains, Insurance, Drinks/Lunch

Itinerary

Day

1

km

LE PUY EN VELAY

Le Puy-en-Velay is the historical starting point of the Via Podiensis, and this is where archbishop Gothescalk departed from, in 950 AD, to become the first ever pilgrim to reach the tomb of the apostle St James in Santiago de Compostela. Le Puy-en-Velay has always been an important sanctuary city as it is home to the mysterious Black Virgin, which has drawn pilgrims from all over Europe since the Middle Ages. But the appeal of Le-Puy-en-Velay goes beyond historical and cultural – 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.

Day

2

22.6 km

LE PUY EN VELAY SAINT PRIVAT DALLIER

Starting at the 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 pilgrim journeys 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.

Day

3

18.5 km

SAINT PRIVAT DALLIER SAUGUES

This is a short enough walk but the regula ascents and descents make it the most demanding stage of this first section. The rewarding side of this walk 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.

Day

4

27.8 km

SAUGUES LES FAUX

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 dating back to the times of the Knights Templars. The Camino then continues to enter the La Lozère département at the Saint-Roch Chapel and we conclude our day in Les Faux.

Day

5

19.9 km

LES FAUX AUMONT-AUBRAC

From Les Faux, we reach Saint-Alban sur Limagnole and its Roman church. Then, it is a steep climb up to Grazieres-Mages. We then start our way down to the tiny village of Les Estrets through peaceful wood and farmlands. Finally, we reach Aumont-Aubrac, gateway to the mythic Aubrac high plateau.

Day

6

25.9 km

AUMONT-AUBRAC NASBINALS

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 a hint of life between the sporadic sleepy villages and farmhouses. The walk ends up in Nasbinals, a charming village with a Romanesque church.

Day

7

16 km

NASBINALS ST CHELY D'AUBRAC

Today, the Camino reaches one of its highest points as we climb up to 1,370m 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 as UNESCO World Heritage site. This section, though challenging, is one of the most unique of any Camino.

Day

8

22.7 km

ST CHELY D'AUBRAC Espalion

Soon after crossing over the Saint-Chély Bridge, we leave behind the typical scenery of the Aubrac to enter chestnut and beech woods. After this, we enter more populated areas and we reach the mediaeval Saint-Come-d’Olt, often claimed to be 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.

Day

9

26.5 km

Espalion GOLINHAC

Along the walk there are many well-preserved treasures from the past, part of the reasoning this whole are is on 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 mediaeval village topped by an 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.

Day

10

20.4 km

GOLINHAC CONQUES

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 Le Puy route, to rest for the evening!

Day

11

18.7 km

CONQUES DECAZEVILLE

Once across the UNESCO World Heritage bridge over the river Dourdou, the day starts with a steady climb up to the chapel of Sainte-Foy. We then continue through woodlands and green hills, through the village of Noailhac and Saint-Roch chapel before reaching Decazeville. Here, we will stop to stay the night.

Day

12

29.4 km

DECAZEVILLE FIGEAC

As we leave the Aveyron region to enter Le Lot, we a change in the landscape and feel the influence of the Les Causses high plateaux as we approach Figeac. Between Montredon and Figeac, we also walk on a whole stretch listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our destination for the night is Figeac, which has been recognised as one of the 18 Great Sites of Occitania, a historic region spanning the South of France and parts of Spain and Italy.

Day

13

30.2 km

FIGEAC CAJARC

There are many ups and downs during this long walking day but it also means lots of beautiful views. Leaving the pretty town of Figeac, we quickly go up to the high plateaux. The rocky ground preserves the wilderness of the landscape, and dolmens, shepherds’ stone shelters, and stone crosses are the only regular sights encountered. The leg of the Camino between Faycelles and Cajarc is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. We eventually arrive in Carjac, a pretty village on the banks of Le Lot River.

Day

14

17.4 km

CAJARC LIMOGNE EN QUERCY

Today is a peaceful walk as the Camino runs through the quiet woodland and farmland of La Causse. It is a relatively easy walk where we can take our time to admire the surrounding wildlife and to wander through scattered isolated hamlets. The small town of Limogne En Quercy is our stop for the night.

Day

15

20.9 km

LIMOGNE EN QUERCY LALBENQUE

We continue our way through the natural park of Les Causses, mainly along flat forest tracks. More dolmens and old shepherds’ shelters can be seen today and after a very pleasant and enjoyable walk, we arrive in Lalbenque. When you are looking for a meal in the town, why not try the local delicacy: the highly esteemed black truffle!

Day

16

17.9 km

LALBENQUE CAHORS

Today again, the area covered by the Camino is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. We will come across a good few ‘caselles’, the typical shepherds’ stone shelters and we also pass through a scattered hamlets. As we approach Cahors, we can enjoy great views over the mediaeval town, before reaching the final destination of this section. Cahors is known for its fine gastronomy, including regional specialties of foie gras and truffles.

Day

17

31.1 km

CAHORS MONTCUQ

We first climb up stone steps to Pech d’Angely from where we take a last look at Cahors down in the valley before continuing through the Causses, a limestone plateau. We will then pass through Labastide-Marnhac before reaching the charming village of Lascabanes and its flower-decorated houses. Then, we continue the walk to Montcuq.

Day

18

14.2 km

MONTCUQ LAUZERTE

The route we follow today goes up and down hills all the way to Lauzerte. We start seeing less woodland and more farmland and cultivated crop fields, until we reach the beautiful village of Lauzerte with its ancient raised dovecote and Saint-Sernin church.

Day

19

24.5 km

LAUZERTE MOISSAC

This is one of the easiest walking days as there is no particular difficulty regarding the terrain itself. We walk through the quiet countryside, between crop fields, woodland, and vines. We finish this stage in Moissac, home to UNESCO World Heritage Saint-Pierre Abbey.

Day

20

20.6 km

MOISSAC AUVILLAR

The Camino follows the water all day as we first start walking on towpaths along the Tarn River until the Lock of Espagnolette. We then continue towards the villages of Boudou and Malause, before being back on ancient towpaths, this time along the Canal of Golfech. The last effort of the day, to climb up the steep street when we enter Auvillar, is rewarded by views of the picturesque cobblestone plaza with its ancient circular open hall and arcades.

Day

21

32.4 km

AUVILLAR LECTOURE

Today we leave the Le Lot region to enter Le Gers and its rich agricultural lands. The walk also passes through charming villages such as Flamarens or Miradoux before ending in Lectoure, an old fortified town with an impressive cathedral. We will stop here for the night.

Day

22

31.3 km

LECTOURE CONDOM

Leaving Lectoure, we head down to the river Le Gers which we cross over before continuing through the countryside. We then reach the village of 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.

Day

23

16.4 km

CONDOM MONTREAL DU GERS

Today is a relatively short day. While the first half is mainly spent on dirt tracks through the gently undulating countryside dotted with lakes and streams, the second half brings us into direct contact with history. Indeed, passing by Larresingle (known as ‘the little Carcassonne’), lovers of fold stone buildings will be bowled over. Finally, we arrive in Montreal du Gers and its timber houses, the proud home of the biggest vineyard of Armagnac, the famous brandy in the region.

Day

24

16.6 km

MONTREAL DU GERS EAUZE

From Montreal du Gers, the Via Podiensis heads south towards Eauze. The first 8km 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 the official capital of Armagnac since 1802!

Day

25

19.7 km

EAUZE NOGARO

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 theVia Podiensis or Le Puy route and consequently started using the Le Puy trail more regularly. The route then runs through the countryside and at the end of the day we arrive in Nogaro.

Day

26

29.7 km

NOGARO AIRE SUR L'ADOUR

Today, the Landes influence is more and more obvious as vines become rarer and pine trees start to appear in their place. We start our day mainly walking through cereal fields. The day is also punctuated with some of the prettiest villages and hamlets of the entire section, such as 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.

Day

27

33.8 km

AIRE SUR L'ADOUR ARZACQ ARRAZIGUET

As the kick-off to the final section of the Via Podiensis or Le Puy Route, we spend our first day walking through the Les Landes département and its crop fields. Cultivated landscapes are dotted with hamlets with different ancient buildings, from well-conserved stone chapels to washhouses. This first day is demanding, mostly because of its length rather than the difficulty of the terrain.

Day

28

29.7 km

ARZACQ ARRAZIGUET ARTHEZ EN BEARN

The beauty of the route today lies in the lovely paths taken along hillsides from where, from time to time, we can see a steeple reaching up to the sky from the valley below. The route runs through the rounded hills, passing by numerous villages and old churches such as in Luvigny, Larreule, or Caubin.

Day

29

31.2 km

ARTHEZ EN BEARN NAVARRENX

Today is a long day going through the attractive undulating countryside of the Le Bearn area. After crossing over the river Gave de Pau, there are a few long uphill stretches which add some difficulty to this stimulating walk. One of the best rewards of the day comes after the uphill, when arriving in Navarrenx, a beautiful fortified city which was the first bastioned city of France.

Day

30

34.7 km

NAVARRENX SAINT PALAIS

Soon after Navarrenx, we find ourselves walking through the countryside and attractive woodland. Then we reach Lichos, marking the entrance of the Camino into the Basque Country. Passing via the village of Aroue, we continue our way up and down with the Pyrenees getting closer and closer with each step. Finally, we reach the town of Saint-Palais.

Day

31

10.5 km

SAINT PALAIS LARCEVEAU

This is another incredible walk, passing through very few villages but offering beautiful views all the way. Walking through the peaceful countryside, we gradually make our way up to the Chapel of Soyarce with its wonderful views over the Pyrenees. We pass the typical village of Ostabat and continue to Larceveau, our destination for the evening.

Day

32

18.3 km

LARCEVEAU SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT

The last day of the final section of Via Podiensis runs through the hilly countryside of the Basque Country, with its grazing sheep and red-roofed houses. The Camino goes up and down all day long, offering great views over the verdant countryside and passing through villages with typical Basque names like Bastida Xoko, Utxiat or Bussunaritz. The journey ends up in the beautiful mediaeval Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, at the foothills of the Pyrenees and the starting point of the French Way to Santiago de Compostela.

Day

33

km

SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT

After breakfast, we bid you farewell. If you wish to continue and experience crossing over the Pyrenees on the Camino, have a look at the start of our French Way route, from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona. You can also stay overnight in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and explore what this beautiful town has to offer itself.

How to Get There

Fly into France

To get to the start of this Camino, the closest airports are in Lyon or Paris.

Fly into Lyon

Many airlines fly into these airports from Ireland, the UK, and major cities around Europe. Examples include Ryanair and Aer Lingus from Dublin. We can organise airport transfers for you to get you from the airport to your first accommodation, or you can travel on public transport.

From Lyon Airport, make your way to the central train station (Part Dieu). From there, catch a train to St-Étienne Châteaucreux. Then, transfer and catch your next train to Le-Puy-en-Velay. This journey takes about 4 hours.

    Fly into Paris

    From whatever airport in Paris you fly into, make your way to the Paris Gare de Lyon. From there, you can catch a train to St-Étienne Châteaucreux, then transfer for a train to Le-Puy-en-Velay. This journey will take you around 4 hours and 30 minutes.

      Getting home from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

      From the end of this walk, the closest airports are Pau, Bordeaux or Biarritz. We can organise airport transfers for you to get back to the airport at the end of your pilgrimage, or you can travel on public transport.

      Fly from Pau

      The quickest route from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pau is by train with SNCF. From Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, you can head to Bayonne, then change trains to get to Pau. This journey will take around 3 hours and 30 minutes. After this, it’s simple to transfer to the airport.

        Fly from Bordeaux

        Going via train is the best route from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Bordeaux. You will again have to transfer at Bayonne to get to the centre of Bordeaux. This journey takes 3 hours and 15 minutes.

          Fly from Biarritz

          To get to Biarritz Airport, you catch a train to Bayonne. Then, you switch to a bus, leaving from Gare De Bayonne Parvis, to get to Biarritz city centre. Then, it’s a quick journey to the airport. This trip will take around 1 hour and 45 minutes.

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