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12 days
  • self guided walk
  • 11 nights in guesthouses or simple hotels
  • 10 Dinners
  • 11 Breakfasts





Trip Code: USJ

Trip highlights

  • Experiencing one of the prettiest sections of the trail - marked by magnificent architecture, crosses, statues and grain silos
  • Exploring the interesting town of Le Puy-en-Velay and Conques
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of fellow hikers and pilgrims
  • Learning about the tale of the “Bête du Gévaudan” (Beast of the Gévaudan).
  • Viewing the contrasting landscapes and architecture between the volcanic plateau of the Velay and the granite plateau of the Gévaudan

Traverse the centuries of time and the borders of Europe on the medieval pilgrim trail of Compostela. In the 9th century, the tomb of the apostle St James was unearthed in Compostela. The site became the focus of a pilgrim trail beginning in France, and crossing northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. This journey, along the Via Podiensis, the French Way of St James, takes pilgrims from Le Puy en Velay to the Pyrenees at St Jean Pied de Port. The route passes a multitude of churches and monasteries, resembling a travelling museum of Romanesque art. Seven stages of this historic trail are included in our self-guided walking program in France. This section begins in the centre of France, on the Central Massif at Le Puy-en Velay where many trails from across Europe converged en route to the tomb of St James in Spain. The trail ascends the volcanic highlands of Margeride in the Haute Loire before continuing through the traditional granite villages of the Lozere. Continuing through the Aveyron, the final destination is the enchanting town of Conques. The presence of stone chapels and the unique crosses are symbolic of the pilgrimage and a continual reminder of the religious significance of the trail, whilst the pretty villages, rolling countryside and strong gastronomic traditions make this one of the best walks in France.

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Arrive in historic Le Puy-en-Velay, a pilgrimage centre since the Middle Ages. This ancient town is surrounded by a volcanic landscape dominated by rocky peaks rising from the valley floor. We recommend that you allow at least half a day to explore its narrow streets and warm up your walking legs climbing the 267 steps to the Chapel of St Michael d'Aiguilhe. Built by Godescalc after his pilgrimage to Santiago in AD951, you'll have great views over the town and surrounding area. You can also visit some of the many museums and the striking Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame.

Meals:  Nil

The cathedral at Le Puy is the starting point for your walk. As you follow the trail, there are great views over the whole area. Through rural landscapes you'll ascend rapidly from the Puy Basin. Crossing the Velay Mountains past fields of the famous green lentils, you enter the heart of the volcanic chain of the Deves before arriving in the small village of St Privat d’Allier, where you stay tonight. Distance 23km/14.3mi, +572m/1877ft, -376m/1234ft

Meals:  B,D

Most of the day is spent crossing the valley. You will pass through the village of Rochegude, famous for its St Jacques Chapel, where a descent to the river at Monistrol will follow. Whilst the trail is easy to follow, the following ascent is quite sustained (500m over 11km) just beyond Rognac, from where the route leads you to the historic village of Saugues, known for its mushrooms and a meeting point for pilgrims coming from the Auvergne. Distance 19km/11.9mi, +927m/3040ft, -829m/2720ft

Meals:  B,D

Today is very picturesque as you cross the Margeride Plateau. With vast grassy plains and moors of broom and heather, this part of the trail is relatively easy going - although gently ascending most of the day. Amongst the most interesting sights are St Roch Chapel or L’Hospitalet du Dauvage Chapel, founded in 1198 as a hospital for pilgrims and travellers. Overnight in Les Faux (27km/17mi) or further along the way at St Alban sur Limagnole (32km/20mi), dependent on availability. Distance up to 32km/20.2mi,+716m/2350ft, -829m/2404ft It's possible to shorten this stage and stay overnight in Chanaleilles, (in a gite, all rooms have shared facilities) continuing to Les Faux/Saint-Alban the following day. Supplement applies, ask your consultant. Must be requested at time of booking. Walking is approx 11km.

Meals:  B,D

Today is a nice hilly day, crossing small rivers and through forests, by fields and into small villages and a scenic walk on the Aubrac volcanic and granitic plateau. From St Alban sur Limagnole the trail descends into the Truyere valley then traverses the vast plain of the Margeride before reaching Aumont-Aubrac. Along the way you can admire the Roman church of the Estrets. Set at 1043m, the town of Aumont-Aubrac is in the heart of Lozère and is an important point on The Way of St James. There is a statue here of the “Bête du Gévaudan” (Beast of the Gévaudan), the man-eating wolf-dog that terrorised the Lozère area in the late 1700s and as a werewolf has inspired literature and popular culture since the mid 1800s. Distance 15km/9.1mi, +387m/1270ft, -294m/965ft (If you stayed in les Faux last night today is approx 19km/Total ascent: +330m, total descent: -480m)

Meals:  B,D

From Aumont-Aubrac in “Terre de Peyre” (land of stone), the Way of St James crosses some beautiful pine forests before joining the Aubrac plateau, a vast expanse of pastures punctuated by “burons” (in the Auvergne region this is a shelter where the cowherd lives and makes cheese during the summer). Here you are in the country of the famous Laguiole knife, an indispensable tool to cut the cheese of the same name. Arrive at your hotel/guest house in the village of Nasbinals, which dates from the 8th century. Distance 26km/16.2mi, +479m/1571ft, -346m/1135ft (highest point 1256m)

Meals:  B,D

This stage takes you through the heart of the Aubrac plateau, where the ancestral rite of transhumance is still practiced (the transhumance fair is on the Sunday nearest 25th of May). At lunch time, you can try the regional specialties at a buron or country inn, where local dishes are available such as the “aligot” (mashed potato with cheese and garlic), assorted cooked meats from the mountain or a good crepe omelette. The highest point of the whole 750km between Le Puy-en-Velay and St Jean Pied-de-Port (1366m) is just before Aubrac. In Aubrac there are remnants of an ancient “Domerie” (name given to the hospital in medieval times). Continue to St-Chely d'Aubrac, where you can enjoy a drink at the main square Place de la Mairie. Distance 16km/10mi, +224m/735ft, -588m/1929ft (highest point 1366m)

Meals:  B,D

The trail leaves the country of the “Boraldes” (name given to the brooks descending from the Aubrac) and descends to the superb Lot valley. Here you are near St-Côme d’Olt along the Lot River, listed among the “most beautiful villages of France”. There are remnants of numerous bridges constructed over the river which made the pilgrims' crossings easier. Leaving the Aubrac region and entering the Rouergue, walk to Espalion and your hotel. Espalion has a picturesque medieval bridge over the Lot and a lovely river front: the buildings with characteristic wooden balconies were once tanneries. The Friday morning market is reputed to be one of the best in the area. Distance 22km/13.67mi, +227m/745ft, -675m/2214ft (highest point 922m)

Meals:  B,D

Today’s walk continues along the Lot Valley, where many more beautiful sights await. The beautiful Chapelle Saint Pierre of Bessuéjouls is one of the oldest along the route. Your day ends in Estaing, with its impressive castle welcoming pilgrims from the distance. Strolling its quaint medieval streets you’ll feel like you are back in time. The annual St Fleuret fair has been held here since the 14th century (on the first Sunday of July). On this occasion, a great procession travels through the village in period costume. Overnight in Estaing. Distance 12/7.45mi, +210m/689ft, -255m/837ft (highest point 490m)

Meals:  B,D

Today is a straightforward walk along paths and quiet tarmac roads. There is a steep climb early on where you'll be rewarded with great views across the hills as you reach the plateau heading to Golinhac. At the entrance of the Golinhac village there is a stony cross with a small sculpted pilgrim. The church dedicated to Saint Martin preserves the Roman foundations of a Benedictine priory, which was once dependent on Conques abbey. Overnight in Golinhac. Distance 14km/8.8mi, +586m/1922ft, -256m/840ft (highest point 660m)

Meals:  B,D

The walk into Conques is often a favourite for pilgrims as the view over the village is breathtaking coming from the east. While descending into the deep valley of the Ouche, you will arrive near the Dourdou river (which flows into the Lot river, to the north) and discover this medieval village with pointed roofs over which the towers of the Romanesque Abbey-Chruch Sainte Foy dominate. You can also admire the village's portal, a real treasure from Roman times. Relax in one of the many bars to experience the atmosphere of this lovely town. Distance 21km/13mi, +398m/1305ft, -749m/2457ft (highest point 677m)

Meals:  B,D

The trip concludes after breakfast. We can assist with booking an extra night on request, or you can continue on the next stage of the Way of St James to Cahors.

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 11 breakfasts, 10 dinners (no dinner in Le Puy en Velay): Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 2-3 courses, usually starting with a salad, followed by a chicken, red meat, fish or pasta dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes or cheese.
  • 11 nights in a combination of cosy guesthouses, B&Bs and 2-3 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities. Optional hotel upgrade (with pool) at Aumont available - supplement applies
  • Digital information pack: navigational App (can be used offline) with route notes & maps.
  • Luggage Transfer, 1 piece maximum 13kg, supplement applies for excess
  • Visitor tax
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Le Puy en Velay and from Conques
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide – this is a self-guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room.
  • Entrance fees not listed as included
  • Transfers not listed as included
  • Transfers by taxi or public transport if you need to skip a stage
  • Excess luggage
  • Items of a personal nature



Daily walks are between 11 to 29km on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to mountainous. There are some reasonable hills and part of the route is on paved surfaces. This is a well worn path where route finding is straight forward (refer below for further details on self guided adventures). The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure.

Departure dates

Daily from 1 Apr to 15 Oct


Transhumance festival is held between 25-29 May in different villages between Aumont Aubrac and Saint Chély and there may be limited availability.

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Optional hotel upgrade Aumont - twin share pp halfboardUSD$17
  • Optional hotel upgrade Aumont - single room halfboardUSD$50
  • extra luggage (1 bag, max 13kg)USD$140
  • Single supplementUSD$530
  • Solo traveller supplementUSD$560
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews

Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 


Walking the French Way of St James Camino with UTracks

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