The Le Chemin du Puy in France

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Le Chemin du Puy in France

The wonderful Chemin du Puy or Via Podiensis, starting in breathtaking Le Puy-en-Velay in France, is the most popular of the Camino de Santiago from France. It joins up with the Camino Frances, the most popular route in Spain, at Saint-Jean-Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees.

With 736km in length this is one of the longest Camino routes but as with all of the ways it can be broken into short, manageable sections. On average you would need at least 4 – 5 weeks to complete the full walk. Immerse yourself in local French cuisine, speak a few words of French and enjoy the sleepy French towns along the spectacular route.

Starting point Le Puy-en-Velay is the impressive starting point of Le Chemin du Puy. Le-Puy-en-Velay has some stunning highlights like the Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe chapel perched on the top of an 85-meter high volcanic rock, it’s very special Notre-Dame du Puy Cathedral and the Notre-Dame statue overlook the city.

After leaving Le Puy, the route is a fantastic rural hike through areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the volcanic landscapes of the Velay, wild Aubrac plateau, the picturesque town of Conques, the splendid vineyards of Armagnac brandy, and the outstanding Pyrenees Mountains are some of the wonderful sights to enjoy on this route. Le Chemin du Puy in France connects with the Camino Frances at St Jean Pied de Port.

What to see on Le Chemin du Puy

Important sites to see include the cathedrals and abbeys in Le Puy-en-Velay, Conques, Figeac, Cahors, Moissac plus many interesting smaller churches and other historic monuments. The bridges, art and architecture all the way are worth the walk.

Terrain of Le Chemin du Puy

This route has varied terrain with volcanic landscapes and vast green landscapes. This route has some steep ascents to the mountainous Aubrac plateau before enjoying the wooded region of the Lot Valley. After this, you will be treated to bright green hills and numerous picture-perfect french towns, including Conques and Cahors.

Weather on Le Chemin du Puy

The route is available to walk throughout the year but we always advise to keep a close eye on the weather conditions. There is snow in the Aubrac and the Pyrenees in winter and early spring and some parts of the way can extremely hot in summer. When you reach the Basque region you could see a mixture of sunshine and rain in Springtime. April to October are mostly the recommended months to walk this route.

What to Bring on Le Chemin du Puy

As with any Camino trip, it is important to bring the basics for your long walking days. Be sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes or boots, merino wool socks, sunscreen, sunglasses, a small daypack and some comfortable clothing. Depending on the weather and the time of year that you plan to travel you may need to carry a light rain-jacket and some waterproof clothing. You can download our packing checklist here for more details on what to bring for your next trip.

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Route description of the Chemin du Puy

Le Chemin du Puy route passes some of the most beautiful villages in France until it reaches its final point in Saint Jean Pied de Port. There, the most dedicated pilgrims can continue their way to Santiago de Compostela along the famous French Way.

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You will be pleasantly surprised by the varied scenery along this route. From high, empty plateaus to the Lot region with its vast green landscape and abundance of trees. This is a beautiful way of walking one of the four main pilgrimage routes through France. The route is well marked with red and white stripes painted on tree trunks, stone walls and even houses along the route. Some of the mountain ranges along this way are steep but you will find beautiful resting points in historic villages and towns with gothic and Romanesque features.

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Your starting town for this Camino walk is Le-Puy-en-Velay which has some stunning highlights like the famous 12th century Notre Dame Cathedral at the top of an 85-metre high volcanic rock overlooking the city.

After leaving Le Puy, the route is a superb rural hike through the Aubrac plateau, Quercy, Gers (home to the famous Armagnac brandy), and the majestic Pyrenees Mountains. This route leaves from Le-Puy-en-Velay, an area in south-central France near the Loire River. It is used to be said that this route goes through the most beautiful villages in France.

Chemin du Puy to the Camino Frances

Once finished le Chemin du Puy, the most motivated pilgrims continue their way to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino Frances starting their journey to Santiago de Compostela in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

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History of Le Chemin du Puy

The magical Chemin du Puy full route is one of the main Camino trails through France that lead all the way to Santiago de Compostela. Traditionally this way would have been used by French pilgrims and those travelling from Germany and Switzerland. The Bishop of Le Puy, Godescalc, is said to be one of the first pilgrims to walk from Le Puy in 951 AD. Nowadays, this route is popular for its many charming towns, undulating hills and typical French cuisine.

The Le Puy Camino was mentioned by Aymeric Picaud in the Camino’s first-ever ‘guidebook’, the 12th-century Codex Calixtinus. One of the high profile medieval pilgrims to Santiago was Godescalc, Bishop of Le Puy; who went on pilgrimage to Santiago in the 10th century; and is said to have inspired many other French pilgrims to do the same.

Read more about the articles of Le Chemin du Puy on our blog.