The French Camino / Chemin de St. Jacques
16 days / 15 nights
11 days of walking
June 26 - July 11, 2022
The Via Podiensis is one of the most ancient pilgrimage routes in Europe.
First walked by the bishop of Le-Puy-En-Velay in 951, this route passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes in southern France.
We will walk through ancient stone villages, cross pastoral plateaus,
pass through mossy forests, and enjoy the cuisine of the region.
This rigorous route will challenge the walker.
Hilly terrain and rustic paths lead between equally rewarding
vistas and amazing history.
Although the route is physically demanding, you will gain a
sense of accomplishment
that you were able to complete it.
Preparation is key so fitness and nutrition coaching are included in the price of this excursion.
Meet us in beautiful Paris!
Make your way to our classic Parisian hotel near the Gare de Lyon for a wine reception and welcome to France. Get a good night's sleep in your own, private room.
Train to Le-Puy-en-Velay.
We will depart from the Gare de Lyon and travel south via TGV to Le-Puy-en-Velay, the historic departure city for the Chemin St. Jacques. We will settle in to the 18th century Grand Seminaire St. Georges, a pilgrim lodging just a stone's throw from the main cathedral. Enjoy the late afternoon and evening familiarizing yourself with the town and having dinner where you like.
We will start the day by taking a walking tour of the town with a local guide. Then, participants can spend the day visiting the dramatic, hilltop statue Notre Dame de France with sweeping views over the town and surrounding countryside. Climb to the ancient Chapel of St. Michael built in 969, and explore the old city. Tonight we will enjoy a welcome dinner where we will orient you to the walk and initiate you into the pilgrim experience.
Day #4 9 miles / 14.5 km
Le Puy-en-Velay to Montbonnet
The journey begins with the traditional, not-to-be-missed pilgrim mass in the 11th century cathedral of Notre Dame. We will exit the cathedral in the company of other pilgrims via the 134 steps that pilgrims have used to begin their journey since the 5th century. We will walk up and out of the town, through green countryside, and climb steadily for much of the day.
Take a break at the 11th century chapel of St. Roche and
meet other pilgrims in its park-like surroundings.
Tonight's lodging is a gite where we will share a
home-cooked, four-course dinner with
pilgrims from many countries.
Day #5 8 miles / 12.8 km
Montbonnet to Monistrol
This is an idyllic, yet challenging stretch of the Via Podiensis. The
route will take us through forests, 12th century hamlets, and past 1000 year old
roadside chapels. We will sleep at an inn that is well known for their use of local ingredients at their restaurant where we will have dinner together.
Day #6 7 miles / 11.2 km
Monistrol to Sauges
Today we will make a steep climb to sweeping views
where we can turn around and see how
far we have come. Although we are deep in the
French countryside, our lodging for the night
will be a beautiful in-town hotel with
Michelin-rated food and good company.
Day #7 14 miles / 22.5 km
Sauges to La Roche-sur-lago
The color of the day will be green as we enjoy moss and ferns, fields and forests. We will pass by the 13th century Le Tour de la Clauze and a farm that sells their own, homemade cheese - the perfect snack when paired with a crispy baguette. We will walk through gently rolling countryside and sleep in a pilgrim inn.
Day #8 15 miles / 24.1 km
La Roche-sur-lago to Aumont Aubrac
Today's walk will be challenging but also full of reward. We will climb and descend on rustic paths but also see misty forests, small French towns, ancient roadside chapels, and picturesque farms. Our hotel for the night was chosen for it's particularly comfy beds and welcoming staff.
Day #9 14 miles / 22.5 km
Aumont Aubrac to Montgros
The vistas will completely change today as we walk across the Aubrac High Plateau. There will be few trees, open views for miles, interesting rock formations, and few houses or cars. Our lodging for the evening is a very special place that we know you will enjoy.
Day #10 11 miles / 17.7 km
Montgros to St. Chely d'Aubrac
A shorter walk today that will take us through
the town of Nasbinals with its UNESCO listed
church and more open vistas as we complete
our crossing of the Aubrac Plateau. Our pilgrim
lodging is tucked into a small village that sits on a
river running through the forest.
Day #11 10 miles / 16.1 km
St. Chely d'Aubrac to St. Come d'Olt
After a day of walking through villages, fields, country lanes, and farms we will arrive at the ancient town of St. Come dolt with its famous, twisted church tower. We will stay in a traditional convent that has hosted pilgrims for centuries.
Day #12 7 miles / 11.2 km
St. Come d'Olt to Estaing
A shorter day of walking today. The day begins following the river Lot with a stop at the stunning Eglise de Perce and its well-preserved 11th century frescoed ceilings. It will be a day of magical villages and stone bridges. Sleep in Estaing,
one of the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" designated
for its beauty and the efforts the town has made to
Day #13 15 miles / 24.1 km
Estaing to Senergues
This will be our final LONG day
of walking characterized by
rolling green hills with clusters
of ancient oaks. Our reward
at the end of the day will be a
quiet pilgrim gite in a quaint
Day #14 6 miles / 9.6 km
Senergues to Conques
Today we arrive to the final stop on our pilgrimage, the magical
village of Conques and its breathtaking cathedral. Tucked into a
verdant valley we will have time to relax, explore the town, enjoy a
farewell dinner, and get a good night's sleep in comfortable accommodations before making our way back to Paris tomorrow.
Day #15 0 miles / 0 km
Conques to Paris
Today is all about working our way back to where we started. We will be transported back to Le-Puy-en-Velay where we will board the train and head north to the Gare de Lyon in Paris. We will once again have rooms in the same hotel where we started our journey two weeks ago.
***What is included in the price?
15 nights **accommodation starting and ending in Paris
All breakfasts, ten dinners, and selected packed lunches
Welcome dinner and farewell dinner
Walking tour of Le-Puy-en-Velay
Train travel from Paris - Le-Puy-en-Velay - Paris on the TGV high
Ground transportation from Conques to Le-Puy-en-Velay on
Daily baggage transfer
Fitness and nutrition coaching to prepare you for the walk
***What is Not included in the price?
Selected lunches and dinners
Souvenirs and other incidentals
A non-refundable deposit of $500 USD will hold your spot.
The balance is due by March 31, 2022 and is non-refundable.
**Accommodation consists of a private room in Paris and shared accommodations with single beds the rest of the time. This is a pilgrim experience!