Are you looking for your next Camino challenge? Maybe one of the Camino de Santiago routes in France will get you excited. The routes in France vary in length, scenery and the degrees of difficulty but they are all historical routes taken by pilgrims who were making their way of the Santiago de Compostela. These stunning trails have less pilgrims walking then you can expect on the main Camino trail but they offer time for reflection, peaceful walking and a unique Camino experience.
The Le Puy Camino route would take you an average of 4 – 5 weeks to complete the whole way. It is one of the four routes from France mentioned in the 12th century Codex Calixtinus, also known as the first ever guidebook for the Camino. One of the high profile medieval pilgrims to Santiago was the Bishop of Le Puy who walked to Santiago in the 10th century and encouraged many other pilgrims to do the same. When walking this route you will be greeted by spectacular landscapes and striking architecture along the way. Each section of this way is well marked with red and white markers. More experienced walkers may enjoy this route as there are frequent mountains to climb.
Length: Up to 32 nights/736 kms
Highlights: Villages with fairytale features, the peaceful Aubrac plateau, the Medieval bridge in Espalion, the village of Conques and the Saint Pierre Abbey.
This is a stunning walking route, starting in the South of France. Beginning in the city of Montpellier, the whole way can be divided into 4 weeks. You will finish this route in the charming city of Puente de la Reina before joining the start of the French Way. The terrain is more remote but it is very well marked with Camino signs throughout. Along the way you will be passing through the Haut-Languedoc region where you will encounter majestic views of the Pyrenees. It is not advisable to walk some parts of this way in the winter months as it can experience a lot of snowfall. Spring and summer are perfect seasons for traversing in the South of France.
Length: Up to 34 nights/771 kms
Highlights: Visit the shrine of Saint-Gilles, Canal du Midi, charming french villages of Castres and Jaka.
Historically used in the past by pilgrims coming from France, Germany and Belgium, this route takes pilgrims by the famous vineyards of Burgundy and through the valleys of the Périgord region. Périgord is renowned for it’s cuisine, especially the fois gras and duck produce. It was one of the main battlegrounds of Hundred Years’ War between the French and English in the 14th and 15th centuries. You will also visit the medieval city of Limoges where you have time to explore its rich heritage and enchanting cathedral. Enjoy walking peaceful terrain through the Landes region of France before finishing your journey on the Vezelay Way at St Jean Pied de Port. Here you will meet plenty of pilgrims embarking on their Camino journey.
Length: Up to 39 nights/892 kms
Highlights: Visit Vezelay’s UNESCO listed abbey, Taste the local french delicacies, Explore the hills of the Limousin region and the valleys of Périgord
Starting in the historical town of Cluny this way takes you over the Beaujolais hills and winds through the stunning French vineyards. This Camino route takes just over two weeks to complete. This terrain is dotted with some steep ascends and descends, making it ideal for walkers looking for a bit of a challenging trail. Forest trails and rural tracks along the Forez mountains take you from village to village. As you embark on your last few days of this trail you will enjoy breathtaking views in the Loire Valley. If you really want to test walking skills you can continue on your Camino journey as the end of the Cluny Way is also the start of the Le Puy Way in the beautiful village of Le Puy en Velay.
Length: Up to 16 nights/304 kms
Highlights: Forest trails, the 16th century castle in Tramayes, the views at Mont Saint-Rigaud, vineyards, the 9th Benedictine abbey in Charlieu, Loire Valley.
Each of these routes offer historic sites, quaint villages and rural trails. If you have been thinking about starting your Camino journey these routes are worth learning about. For more information about the Camino de Santiago routes in France you can contact one of our travel specialists.