The Arles Way (GR 653), Chemin d’Arles or Voie d’Arles in French or Via Tolosana in Latin #viatolosana, was the route traditionally used by pilgrims from Italy and the South of France on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Although the traditional starting point is Arles in Provence, our first section departs from the lively city of Montpellier, in Languedoc.
This Camino route takes pilgrims from the Languedoc region in Sourthern France to Spain, joining the Camino Aragonés at Somport and the French Way at Puente de la Reina. Along the Arles Way, you will be enchanted by stunning landscapes, rich heritage and culture, as well as delicious food: the vineyards of Languedoc, the Canal du Midi and the breath taking Pyrenees are some of this route’s highlights. Along the Arles Way you will also discover towns and villages of outstanding beauty such as St Guilhem le Desert, Castres, Toulouse, Auch and Oloron Sainte Marie. Read more Arles Way Camino articles on our blog.
This is the complete itinerary for the Arles Way to Santiago (Fr: Chemin d’Arles, La: Via Tolosana), with traditional stages. We have divided the Arles Way to Santiago in five different sections, each with its particular highlights and attractions.
|St Guilhem le Desert||21||The first section departs from the lively and multicultural city of Montpellier on the Mediterranean, capital of the Langedoc-Rousillon region. It is easy to access Montpellier via its international airport and it is a fantastic place to start your Camino. You can enjoy the buzz and nightlife of this lively city, home to one of the oldest Universities in the world. Over 12 days, the Arles Way passes the impressive monastery village of St Guilhem le Desert (UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the prettiest towns in France), heads up to the rugged and rocky Larzac plateau and finishes in the pretty town of Castres.|
|Saint Jean de la Blaquiere||24|
|Saint Gervais sur Mare||25|
|Murat sur Vebre||27|
|La Salvetat sur Agout||21|
|Dourgne||22||Walking from Castres to Toulouse, the second section of the Arles Way of the Camino de Santiago, will take 8 days. Leaving the Languedoc-Rousillon region and its famous vineyards, the Camino then follows the Canal du Midi for three walking days. The Canal is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site for its architectural importance.|
|St Felix Lauragais||17|
|L’Isle Jourdain||25||This section of the Arles Way starts in vibrant, arty Toulouse (also in the heart of France’s rugby region!). Toulouse has been called the Pink City both for its characteristic pink brick buildings but also for its tradition of open mindedness. The route takes pilgrims across the land of the Cathars and you will find many castle remains along the way. The final point of this 11-day holiday is Oloron Sainte Marie, at the foot of the Pyrenees.|
|Oloron Sainte Marie||19||The fourth section of the Arles Way heads from the foot of the Pyrenees, in Oloron Sainte Marie, to the Pyrenees. Magnificent mountain views will reward your effort, as the trail reaches the town of Jaca after crossing the Somport pass. The Somport pass was the most popular and safest route for pilgrims heading to Santiago until the 12th century.|
|Berdún||32||The last section of the Arles Way to Santiago leaves Jaca, former capital of the Kingdom of Aragón, and passes beautiful towns such as Berdún and the Leyre Monastery before finishing in Puente la Reina (20km south of Pamplona) where the routes joins the French Way. Ready to keep walking? Only 800km to Santiago de Compostela!|
|Puente la Reina||31|
The Arles Way from France connects with the Aragonese Way at Somport and with the French Way at Puente de la Reina. The Aragonese route encompasses approximately 170 km (100 miles) and travels through a variety of landscapes, from mountains to river valleys; for the most part it follows the River Aragón. The Arles, known as the Chemin d’Arles in France is also called ” Via Tolosana ” or ” Route de Provence “. This path called Via Tolosana by Aymeric Picaud the author of the first pilgrim guide in the twelfth century .
Throughout this route you will discover stunning towns and villages, picturesque canals, breathtaking mountain ranges and some historic treasures from the 12th to the 16th century.
On your journey you will pass by the beautiful cities of Saint Gilles Vauvert, Castries, Montpellier, Saint Guilhem le Desert to join Lodeve, the Bousquet d’Orb, Murat sur Vèbre, Salvetat sur Agout, Anglès the Rialet, Castres, Dourgne, Revel then plunges south to branch off northwest to 90 °, near Airoux and join Toulouse by Pechbusque Pouvourville and, after crossing the “pink city” route then passes through and then along Coulomiers through a portion of the Bouconne forest before joining the Isle-Jourdain, Auch, Ordan-Larroque, Montesquiou, Tillac, Maubourguet, Morlaàs, Lescar, Pau, Oloron Sainte Marie, Saint-Christau Lurbe to climb rapidly to Sarrance Accous, Cette-Eygun, up to 1631 meters of Urdos Somport pass.
Unesco has classified 71 buildings on French roads in the World Heritage.