What is the Arles Way?

The Arles Way, GR 653 (Fr: Chemin d’Arles or Voie d’Arles, La: Via Tolosana), was the route used traditionally by pilgrims from Italy and the South of France on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Although this Camino starts in Arles (Provence), our first section of the Arles Way starts in the bright and chic city of Montpellier on the Mediterranean Coast. This Camino route takes pilgrims from the Languedoc region in Sourthern France into Spain across the magnificent mountain landscapes of the Pyrenees.

map-camino-arles-way

Itinerary

This is the complete itinerary for the Arles Way to Santiago (Fr: Chemin d’Arles, La: Via Tolosana), with traditional stages. Please note that “splits” have not been included in the table.

Sections Town Km Section Summary
Section 1 Montpellier
St Guilhem le Desert 20 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, enjoying the buzz and nightlife of this lively city, home to one of the oldest Universities in the world.arles-way-st-guilhemOver 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 25
Lodeve 14
Joncels 23,5
Saint Gervais sur Mare 23,5
Col du Ginestet 13
Murat sur Vebre 12
La Salvetat sur Agout 21
Angles 20
Boissezon 20
Section 2 Castres 15
Dourgne 22 Walking from Castres to Toulouse, the second section of the Arles Way of the Camino de Santiago, will take you 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.
Revel 21
St Felix Lauragais 16
Avignonet-Lauragais 28
Beziege 28
Section 3 Toulouse 25
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.
Gimont 25
Auch 28
Montesquiou 31
Marciac 24
Maubouguet 18
Section 4 Pau 18
Oloron Sainte Marie 20 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.
Bedous 30
Urdos 19
Canfranc Estacion 19
Section 5 Jaca 19
Berdun 30 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!
Leyre 30
Sanguesa 15
Monreal 26
Puente la Reina 31

Comments

  1. By Maria

    Hi Dale, sections 1 and 2 of the Arles Way are definitely spectacular. Section 1 from Montpellier to Castres http://caminoways.com/ways/arles-way-chemin-arles/arles-way-section-1 takes you through wonderful countryside and natural parks in the Languedoc region, as well as the picturesque town of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert; if you have time to do Section 2 also from Castres to Toulouse you will be walking along the UNESCO-listed Canal du Midi, and Toulouse is a fantastic city: http://caminoways.com/ways/arles-way-chemin-arles/arles-way-section-2. Let us know if you need any additional information!

  2. By Maria

    Hi Arianna, for your first Camino we would probably recommend the Camino Frances, being the most sociable and popular of all the routes. You will encounter many other pilgrims, from all over the world… Le Puy is another fantastic trail with wonderful landscapes, food and culture but not as popular as the Camino Frances. Let us know if you need any additional advice: http://caminoways.com/ways/french-way-camino-frances

  3. By Arianna

    Planning my first camino and I’m stuck in deciding which one to take… It’s between this one, Le Puy, and the Camino de Frances. Ideally something with plenty of international travelers to meet but not too much foot traffic, lots of culture, tasty food, variety in landscape, and general safety (being a woman trekking alone).

  4. By Dale knapp

    We are preparing to walk 1or 2 sections of Arles way in September 2013. But which two sections are best to walk. Most historic, villages. Etc. we do speak ok French.
    Many thanks
    Dale

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