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Arles Way – Montpellier to Castres 1/5

Walking Section 1 of 5

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The first section of the Camino de Santiago along the Arles Way heads from cosmopolitan Montpellier, on the Med, to the beautiful town of Castres. This route starts in the Languedoc region and takes walkers to stunning St Guilhem le Désert, officially one of the most beautiful towns in France. The Arles Way also crosses the Larzac plateau, before entering the mountainous Monts d’Orb a few miles from the spa town of Bédarieux. After St-Gervais-sur-Mare, in the heart of the Regional Natural Park of Haut Languedoc, the Camino meanders between the ridge of the Espinouse and the Monts de Lacaune. The Camino trail then arrives at the ‘Plateau des Lacs’ (Plateau of the Lakes: Salvetat sur Agout and Angles) before reaching Castres.

*You start this Camino holiday from Montpellier but please ask our team if you wish to start in Arles.

Trip highlights

  • Explore the cosmopolitan city of Montpellier
  • Admire St Guilhem le Désert, one of France's most beautiful towns
  • Indulge in delicious local flavours
  • Get inspired at the Goya Museum in Castres

1 Montpellier

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Montpellier is the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region and one of the few large cities in France without any (Gallo-)Roman heritage. Some of the places you should visit in Montpellier: Place de la Comédie, the Opera Comédie built in 1888, and the University of Montpellier, founded in 1160 and one of the oldest in the world.

2 Montpellier to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert - 21km

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5h | +500m
Take the bus to Montarnaud to skip the suburbs of Montpellier city. You will start your walk in the picturesque countryside heading towards the mountains and the enchanting village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While you are in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert visit the sculpture museum containing stone work from the Abbey of Gellone.

3 Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert to Saint-Jean-de-la-Blaquière - 24km

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6h30 | +428m / -362m
From Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert the way continues upwards. Climbing steadily your walk becomes more hilly. The landscape is in fact going to change and you will weave your way through seemingly impassible rock. This is a steep incline and decline on the other side.

4 Saint-Jean-de-la-Blaquière to Lodève - 14km

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4h30 | +458 m / -457m
At Usclas-du-Bosc, you can see many graves of medieval knights, hospitalers and pilgrims. Today is a short day so you can pay a visit to the former Priory of Grandmont along the way. There are beautiful views of the Haut Languedoc mountains and the Valley of Lergue as you descend into the town of Lodeve.

5 Lodève to Joncels - 23km

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6h | +1013 m / -788 m
Today you will walk across forests of beech, white oak and holm oaks. Admire the light and colour of the ‘Lac Salagou’, an artificial reservoir turning the hills around it into peninsulas. When you arrive at Joncels, make sure you visit the 7th Benedictine abbey.

6 Joncels to Saint Gervais sur Mare - 25km

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7h | +688 m / -745 m
Short transfer to the Séguinerie. This stretch will require a little more effort. You will walk in the Monts d’Orb to Saint-Gervais-sur-Mare. Saint-Gervais-sur-Mare is a lovely town with little alleys and staircases, passageways and pretty houses dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

7 Saint-Gervais-sur-Mare to Murat-sur-Vèbre - 27km

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7h30 | +810 m / -609 m
Today, you will enter the Regional Natural Park of Haut Languedoc. The most visible signs of Mediterranean landscape gradually fade to make place for an increasingly mountainous habitat. Forests become more dense, with conifers everywhere. The way is marked with crosses adorned with shells and you will find relics such as the Chapel of St. Eutropius. At the foot of the summit of the Espinouse (1124 m), the Col du Ginestet marks the border between the regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénees.

8 Murat-sur-Vèbre to La Salvetat-sur-Agout - 21km

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5h30 | +450 m / -605 m
The Candoubre Castelsec dolmen stands about the village and further away you will find two more megalithic standing stones. Today, you will also pass Villelongue on your walk which is located beside the lake of Laouzas.

9 La Salvetat-sur-Agout to Angles - 19km

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5h30 | +555 m / -489 m
Today you leave the Plateau of the Salvetat lakes following the Agout River. You will walk by vast forests dotted with villages and isolated houses. Half way, you will leave the department of Herault for the Tarn.

10 Angles to Boissezon - 20km

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5h30 | +340 m / -799 m
Today’s stage takes into the forest at La Taverne which guides you to the village of Boissezon. Boissezon is a small village which retains some remains of its medieval walls and a Romanesque church.

11 Boissezon to Castres - 16km

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4h30 | +374m / -467m
This is not a difficult stage of the journey and you can enjoy the views out over vast green, french landscapes. After the village of Noailhac, the route takes you into Occitane to the town of Castres which is well known for its rugby culture.

12 Castres

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Castres is a nice town to finish this section of the Arles Way. It has grown up around the Benedictine abbey of Saint Benoît, which is believed to have been founded in AD 647. Nowadways, it hosts the important Goya Museum of Spanish painting.

Hotels & country cottages have been carefully selected for their location, comfort, character, food, and friendliness of the staff. They are subject to availability and if the hotel described is not available, we will provide you with one of the same standard of comfort & price. Please note: Accommodation is subject to availability.

Montpellier - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

St Guilhem le Desert - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

St Jean de la Blaquiere - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Lodeve - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Joncels - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Saint Gervais sur Mare - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Murat sur Vebre - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Le Salvetat sur Agout - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Angles - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Boissezon - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Castres - Standard / Superior

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.
Superior Collection: Stay in the best hotels on the Camino de Santiago: we have selected luxurious 4 and 5-star hotels, boutique guesthouses, relaxing country homes and stunning heritage ‘Parador’ hotels so you can feel pampered.

Montpellier Average Temperature & Rainfall

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Castres Average Temperature & Rainfall

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Flying IN and OUT

How to get to Montpellier:
Best Option: Montpellier airport
Ryanair and easyJet offer international flights from/ to Montpellier, e.g. from/ to Birmingham (seasonal), Leeds (seasonal) and London (Luton and Gatwick) in the UK and Frankfurt (Hahn), Brussels (S. Charleroi) in Germany/ Belgium. AerLingus flies directly from Dublin. For other airports, you may have good connections via Paris (Orly and Charles de Gaulle). See www.skyscanner.com.
Alternative option: Béziers airport (77km)
Ryanair operates in Béziers, serving connections from/ to London (Luton), Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh in the UK and Dusseldorf (Weeze) in Germany, respectively. See www.skyscanner.com.
How to get back from Castres:
Best option: Toulouse airport (80km)
Aer Lingus offers flights from/to Dublin. London (Gatwick) is served by easyJet, London (Heathrow) by British airways. Jet2 offers flights from/ to Manchester and Edinburgh. EasyJet also has many other routes from/ to Toulouse, e.g. from/ to Paris (Orly and Charles de Gaulle), Milan (Malpensa), Rome (Fiumicino), Madrid or Porto. See www.skyscanner.com.
Alternative option: Castres (Mazamet) airport (8km)
The airport in Castres is a small one. Airlinair serves flights from/to Paris (Orly), where you cna get connecting flights. See http://www.airlinair.com.

Transfers to and from Airport

How to get to Montpellier:
Best Option: Montpellier airport
The shuttle bus serves the way between the airport and the city centre (stop: Place de l’Europe).
Alternative option: Béziers airport (77km)
Between the airport and the town Béziers, a shuttle bus exists (departures depend on the arrival/ departs of the flights, bus line 210). Then bus to Montpellier (1h).
How to get back from Castres:
Best option: Toulouse airport (80km)
You can get from the airport to the station by shuttle bus (“AERO”, departing every 20 min, taking approx. 40min). See http://www.toulouse.aeroport.fr. The stop is Toulouse-Matabiau (train station). There is a regular train connection between Toulouse-Matabiau and Castres (10 times/ day, 1h10 travel time). See http://www.voyages-sncf.co.uk/.
Alternative option: Castres (Mazamet) airport (8km)
Unfortunately, it is necessary to take a taxi between Castres and Castres airport, since there is no public transport (the distance is about 8km).

More Info on getting to Montpellier

Please select from our available tours below and proceed to booking. Contact the team if you have any special requests.


Select your trip

1. Tour options - Select your trip type

  • Stay in our hand-picked accommodation, all rooms en-suite. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €1629
    Double/Twin Room
    €1312

2. Select Date

3. No. of rooms

  • Single (1 bed)
  • Twin Rooms (2 beds)
  • Double (1 large bed for 2)

What's Included

  • Luggage transfered from hotel to hotel
  • Rooms en-suite
  • Half Board
  • Holiday pack: inc. notes & map(s) & pilgrim passport, what to bring, useful information

We also offer

  • Airport Transfers, Hotel Upgrades (where available)