Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Estaing, with its Gothic bridge
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Highlights

  • Discovering Le-Puy-en-Velay an ancient town set within a volcanic landscape
  • Walking the full Le Puy Camino from start to finish
  • Visiting the many gorgeous villages en route
  • Exploring a huge variety of landscapes, from the stark Aubrec plateau to the luxuriant valley of the Lot
  • Local specialities such as Armagnac, fois gras, confit, cassoulet and truffles
  • Arriving in St. Jean Pied de Port at the end of a wonderful journey

Walk the Full Camino Le Puy Way from Le-Puy-en-Velay to St. Jean Pied de Port, where the Camino de Santiago French Way begins. This journey has been a pilgrimage route for hundreds of years and is filled with interest from start to finish.

It is well worth taking on the challenge of walking the full Camino Le Puy Way as on your journey you will pass through many distinct and unique regions and landscapes, from the volcanic terrain of the Velay Mountains, to the stark high plateau of the Aubrec, to the Causses de Quercy and its deeply carved limestone valleys and to the luxuriant valley of the Lot. En route there are constant reminders of an historic past with many references to the thousands upon thousands of pilgrims who walked the same routes in the Middle Ages in order to reach Santiago de Compostela. You will cross ancient bridges that were once traversed by these pilgrims, you will see medieval churches, abbeys and cathedrals dedicated to St James. You will encounter many intriguing places, such as the walk between the villages of Estaing and St Côme d’Olt, locations so valued that they are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

STAGE 1: Le-Puy-en-Velay to Nasbinals

Your journey begins in Le-Puy-en-Velay, a pilgrimage centre since the Middle Ages, set within a volcanic landscape and famed for its rocky peaks that rise up from the valley floor.


Pass through the Velay Mountains and the Margeride plateau, areas of natural beauty, green valleys and rocky landscapes. You will also walk through characteristic villages and past secluded hamlets, ancient stone crosses and pastures hemmed in by stone walls.


STAGE 2: Nasbinals to Conques

This is one of the most intriguing stages of the Camino Le Puy Way as you initially walk through the stark, high plateau of the Aubrec where you will find tranquil landscapes and isolated farmsteads and villages. This is then contrasted with the Lot Valley, your next destination with its ever-changing landscapes of woods, meadows, gorges, cliffs, vineyards and orchards.


The route also takes you from St Côme d’Olt and Estaing in the upper valley, part of which, the Pays d’Olt, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These two villages, where you will spend the night, are also designated as two of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. This stage of the Camino Le Puy Way finishes in Conques, a village that clings to the walls of a steep ravine over the River Lot.


STAGE 3: Conques to Cahors

Throughout this part of your journey you will be crossing the Parc régional des Causses du Quercy, a protected environment and a landscape of deeply-carved valleys, underground rivers, cliffs, caves and depressions.


Of particular interest is encountering the L’Aiguille de Cingle, an unusual octagonal column of rock that supposedly acted as a beacon for pilgrims. The trails are also full of picturesque villages, such as Montredon, Figeac, Cajarc and Cahors, the capital of the Lot region. Sit on the terrace of a local restaurant sampling the delicacies of this region which include saffron, truffles, walnuts and farm-raised Quercy lamb.


STAGE 4: Cahors to Lectoure

Beginning in Cahors, this tour crosses the limestone plateau of the Quercy Blanc and takes you through the Garonne river plain with its green round hills. This area has a rich historical heritage and nowhere is this more apparent than in the well-preserved Abbey Church of St Pierre in Moissac, an important pilgrimage site


Spend a night in the delightful village of Auvillar which has a charming cobblestone plaza and a medieval circular market. This town overlooks the River Garonne and is classified as one of France’s Most Beautiful Villages


STAGE 5: Lectoure to Aire sur l’Adour

This part of your journey takes you through the regions of La Gers and Gascony, cultivated landscapes of Armagnac vineyard’s and countryside well-known for its gastronomy. Not only can you appreciate the fact that you will be in the heart of Gascony with its rolling hills, but you will also encounter the gorgeous terrain of La Gers, which is often called the “Tuscany of France”


Perhaps you would like to savour a glass of floc, the local aperitif based on the same recipe since the 16th century, or relish a great meal of local delicacies such as fois gras and cassoulet. Traditional bastide towns were built in many areas of south west France during the Hundred Years War and Montreal du Gers is one of the these traditional towns and where you will spend a night. 


STAGE 6: Aire sur l’Adour to St Jean Pied de Port

One of the major attractions of this section of the route is Sauvelade, a Cistercian Abbey located in a tiny hamlet and one of the most impressive sights along the Camino Le Puy Way. This part of your incredible journey also takes you through two distinct regions, the Béarn and the French Basque, with its unique culture, language and traditions. You will be able to view the glorious snow-capped Pyrenees in the distance as you walk towards your goal, St Jean Pied de Port. This fortified town is located only 8km from the Spanish border and is also the beginning point of the Camino Frances (should you wish to carry on to Santiago de Compostela!).

Accommodation

On your 37 night, 38 day Full Camino Le Puy Way self-guided walk in France you will stay in comfortable 1 or 2* hotels. On occasion you may not have en suite rooms.


Alternate accommodation

You might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. If those listed are unavailable the alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome.

How to Book

This trip is available to start on any day from the beginning of May to the end of October.


To make a provisional reservation select "Book". Option & extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.


Because every holiday we book is unique availability changes from day to day and our booking process works as follows:


  • You provisionally book the tour you are interested in for your preferred dates and pay a 20% deposit online or by phone.
  • We confirm availability and book all your accommodation and options
    and send final confirmation as soon as everything is confirmed (max 5
    working days).
  • If we are unable to accommodate you on your confirmed dates/tour or
    an alternative of your choice your deposit is fully refunded.

Time of Year

The Camino Le Puy is best enjoyed from May to October but you can walk at any time of year. You can start on any date that suits your travel plans and you will find up to date availability on our website. Bookings from October onwards are subject to a supplementary charge as an out-of-season bag transfer service is required.


Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

The Camino is available to solo walkers at a single supplement.


Grade & Terrain

This walk is graded moderate and includes daily walks of 15-33km.


The walk is extremely well way-marked and you will also be supplied with turn by turn route notes and detailed maps so you will have no problem following the route each day.


On the Le Puy Camino you will follow a mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The route is marked with white and red painted arrows but please take care at intersections. There will always be other walkers around in case you are looking for help. A detailed information pack including route notes, local information and maps will be waiting for you at your first accommodation.


Baggage Transfer

Baggage transfers are included in the Camino Le Puy trip. Your bags should be left in the reception of your accommodation every morning. Your bags will then be transferred onto your next nights’ accommodation.


Additional Nights

There is so much to see and do along the route that many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the walk either as a rest day or simply to do some extra sightseeing. If you are walking the whole route solo try not to add too many extra nights along the way as you will lose touch with those you have met.


Fewer Nights

It is possible to walk the Camino in less time but we would not recommend this.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable Travel Insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sun screen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Getting to Le-Puy-en-Velay

The closest international airport to Le-Puy-en-Velay is Lyon Airport which is approximately 150km away. Many flights from the UK and other gateways in Europe fly into Lyon. From here you can take a train to Le-Puy-en-Velay which takes approximately 2 and a half hours. Up to date schedule and fare information can be found on the SNCF website.
You can also drive to Le-Puy-en-Velay. Parking is available in an underground car park and costs approximately €17.50 per week.


Getting from St Jean Pied de Port

When departing from St Jean Pied de Port it is possible to take the train to all of the recommended airports. To Pau Airport, take the train to Dax and from Dax to Pau (from here you will need to take a taxi to the airport which costs around €20). To Biarritz Airport you can take a train to Bayonne, then another train to Biarritz and from here a bus to the airport. To Bordeaux Airport you can also take a train to Bayonne, then onto Bordeaux and a bus to the airport. Again for train schedules please check the SNCF website.


To return to Aire sur l’Adour you can either take a taxi, or take a train to Bayonne, to Pau, then a bus.

Getting to Le-Puy-en-Velay

The closest international airport to Le-Puy-en-Velay is Lyon Airport which is approximately 150km away. Many flights from the UK and other gateways in Europe fly into Lyon. From here you can take a train to Le-Puy-en-Velay which takes approximately 2 and a half hours. Up to date schedule and fare information can be found on the SNCF website. 



You can also drive to Le-Puy-en-Velay. Parking is available in an underground car park and costs approximately €17.50 per week.



Getting from St Jean Pied de Port


When departing from St Jean Pied de Port it is possible to take the train to all of the recommended airports. To Pau Airport, take the train to Dax and from Dax to Pau (from here you will need to take a taxi to the airport which costs around €20). To Biarritz Airport you can take a train to Bayonne, then another train to Biarritz and from here a bus to the airport. To Bordeaux Airport you can also take a train to Bayonne, then onto Bordeaux and a bus to the airport. Again for train schedules please check the SNCF website


 

Included

  • 37 Nights in either 1 or 2* hotels
  • 37 Breakfasts
  • 37 Dinners
  • Baggage transfers
  • Detailed maps, a guide book and information pack.
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in France and our office

Excluded

  • Travel to Le-Puy-en-Velay
  • Travel from St Jean Pied de Port
  • Lunches, drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance
  • Mountain rescue / emergency assistance

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the holiday
  • Single room supplement if single room is required
  • Solo traveller supplement (if applicable)

Undoubtedly you will have many questions concerning this tour. We hope the answers we provide below will go some way to answering your queries.

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is suitable for people that are in good physical condition. It is rated moderate as there are 36 days of consecutive walking. The average daily distances are between 15 and 33km, but the average daily distance is 20.6km.

What type of trails does the Full Camino Le Puy Way follow?

Towards the end of the tour and as you enter the foothills of the Pyrenees there will be some elevation gains and losses. You will walk through vineyards, rolling hills, hamlets, villages, alongside rivers and streams and over rocky, volcanic landscapes. The terrain will be quite smooth most of the time (except for a few rocky sections), but may be slippery when wet.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as far in advance as possible as the Full Camino le Puy Way is extremely popular. We will always try and accommodate late bookings but realistically you need to book at least 6 weeks prior to departure.

When is the best time of year?

The tour operates between May and October although we recommend travelling in May or June when spring wild flowers are at their peak, or in September/October when the autumn colours are stunning.  July and August can be very hot if you are not used to walking in the heat.

What is the best way to get to Le-Puy-en-Velay?

Lyon Airport is the closest international airport which is accessible to Le-Puy-en-Velay by train. For train schedules please visit the SNCF website.

How do the baggage transfers work?

We arrange for your bags to be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. Baggage transfers are included in the Camino Le Puy trip. Your bags should be left in the reception of your accommodation every morning. Your bags will then be transferred onto your next nights’ accommodation.

What equipment do I need?

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight clothes, waterproofs and a day pack.

When is the best time of year?

I would recommend May when the summer flowers are at their best and September/October when the colours are just lovely. June, July and August can be very hot if you are not used to walking in the heat while the temperatures can fall sharply in the winter with some accommodation closing down for the end of season.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

Public transport and taxis are available, if you are need of support our local partner in Spain will be more than happy to help.

Stage 5-6 Camino Le Puy. Recommended

5

I'm a regular camino walker and Macs Adventure customer. They delivered again with flawless execution, including help from their French representative's support number. This is a nice stretch (I actually hiked for 17 days, from Mossaic to St. Jean Pied de Port) and it was a repeat for me. Nice undulating countryside and views of the Pyrenees in the final week. My favorite stretch of the Camino Le Puy, however, remains the first 10 days from Le Puy to Conques which I've also hiked twice.

NYC Trekker

New York City

true

A Life Trip.

5

3rd Trip with Macs, and will be more to come!

Raul Compostella

Curitiba - Brasil

true

An enjoyable challenge

5

We really enjoyed the walk. Mac's was absolutely brilliant without fail, like having mission control on hand, before and during the walk. Arriving in le Puy the same day as the Tour de France looked like a small disaster but Nicole arranged alternative parking, the info pack was send to NZ and just missed us ( our fault) and a new pack was waiting for us at the first hotel Loosing the list with the holtel for the night...Nicole resend the list without delay. Mac's ( Nicole) were brilliant and we fully recommend this company for your next adventure.

Rapidone

Auckland NZ

true

Full Camino Le Puy Way

5.0 3

100.0

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Macs Adventure - Head Office: Skypark 5, 45 Finnieston Street, Glasgow, G3 8JU, UK

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