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Duration
5 days
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 4 nights in guesthouses or simple hotels
Meals
  • 3 Dinners
  • 4 Breakfasts

Price

$690USD

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Overview

Trip Code: CT1

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
  • 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, also known as the ‘Way of St James’ winds its way across borders, following in the footsteps of thousands of medieval pilgrims through the beautiful Sierras of Navarre and Aragon. The route passes a multitude of churches and monasteries, resembling a travelling museum of Romanesque art. Four stages of this historic trail are included in our self-guided walking programs.

This section begins in the centre of France, on the Central Massif at Le Puy-en Velay where many trails from across Europe converged enroute 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. 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 short walks in France.

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating

 

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 and your gite.

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, famous for its mushrooms, wooden shoes and a meeting point for all pilgrims coming from the Auvergne.

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 St Alban/Les Faux (26km/16.1mi) or St Alban/Le Rouget (29km/18mi), dependent on availability.

Meals:  B,D

From Les Faux or Le Rouget the trail continues to the town of St Albans then descends into the Truyere valley. You then traverse the vast plain of the Margeride before reaching Aumont-Aubrac. On the way, admire the Roman church of the Estrets, reworked several times and surmounted by a bell tower wall with three openings supporting a small steeple. Trip concludes on arrival in Aumont. Depending on what time you arrive and your onward arrangements, a celebratory lunch may be in order. Note: this itinerary can easily be combined with the next section of the Way of St James - Aumont to Conques. Ask our staff for details. Please do not book your onward travel before 5pm due to luggage transfer arrangements.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

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.


Inclusions

  • 4 breakfasts, 3 dinners (no dinner in Le Puy en Velay): Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 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.
  • 4 nights in comfort guesthouses (chambre d'hôtes), gites or hotels on a twin share basis (discount available for downgrade to simple hotels and guesthouses, generally with ensuite facilities. On occasion facilities will be shared with one or two other rooms)
  • Information pack including maps and walking guide (per room booked)
  • Visitor tax
  • Baggage transportation (max 1 bag of 15kgs per person - additional bags can be transported if supplement paid in advance, max 15kgs per bag)
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Le Puy en Velay and from Aumont-Aubrac
  • Drinks, lunches daily and one dinner
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Tour guide – this is a self guided walking trip
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Excess baggage - arrangements can be made to carry baggage in excess of the 1 bag of 15kgs limit. Please do not tie smaller bags onto your main luggage as they will be treated as extra bags. Excess baggage which has not been pre organised will be refused. A supplement applies for excess baggage. Please ask our office for details.

Grading

moderate  

Daily walks are between 17.5 to 27km on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to mountainous. There are some reasonable hills. This is a well worn path where route finding is straight forward (refer below for further details on self guided walking). 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 and walking endurance to participate fully in this holiday.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Apr to 15 Oct

Want to organise a private group?

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

Total Priceper person from

$690USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Triple room discount (pp) - applies for comfort hotel category onlyUSD$-42
  • discount for simple hotels and guesthouses - twin/dbl/single ppUSD$-23
  • Single SupplementUSD$220
  • Single Traveller SurchargeUSD$230
*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. 

Videos

Walking the French Way of St James Camino with UTracks

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