Here in the Product Department at Macs Adventure we are constantly searching for new and exciting destinations for our guests to explore. Recently one of the areas we have been looking at is the south west of France. As I love France, its culture, language and people (plus the nice weather in the south of course!) and thought of myself as a bit of a connoisseur, I was surprised to find that when delving deeper into this area of France that there was so much more to discover!
Ooh La La!
I do think of myself as a bit of a Francophile and have travelled to France quite a bit. My travels there began when I was 14 years old and did an exchange with a girl from Dole, in the Jura region of France. We kept in touch throughout our adult lives and have gone back and forth to visit, even attending each other’s weddings! I also travelled throughout France when “Euro-railing“ and have been back an infinite amount of times; doing a research trip for a walking tour in Normandy & Brittany, spending a very decadent day in the Loire Valley drinking local wine and having lunch in a chateau (yes, my friends and I went for the day from England!), renting a house in the Poitou-Charentes region, spending quite a lot of time in Paris on various trips (including a week there with my very exotic French boyfriend Jean-Louis when I was 19 years old – ooh la la!) and travelling by car and camping throughout France for 3 weeks when I had finished college.
Camino – Le Puy Way
I was specifically researching the Camino Le Puy Way, a pilgrimage route that begins in Le-Puy-en-Velay and finishes in St Jean Pied de Port, located in the foothills of the Pyrenees and the beginning of the Camino Frances, one route to Santiago de Compostella. I was enchanted to find that the Camino Le Puy Way follows trails through many amazing regions, oozing with natural beauty, incredible history and with fascinating local traditions.
Examples are the Aubrec Aumont region and its limestone plateau, the Parc Régional Causes de Quercy, which is a protected environment and La Gers, which has been named the “Tuscany of France”. Wonderful “bastides” or fortified towns and villages that were built in the Middle Ages and used in defence against the British in the One Hundred Years War…who knew? Walking through the Gascony region is also included which is famous as the place upon which Alexandre Dumas based his novel “The Three Musketeers”. I was also enthralled to learn that the area around Cajarc is famous for growing saffron and they used to export it by barge along the Lot River, that Armagnac is produced in this region and, last but not least, in the French Basque region (which you reach by Stage 6 of the Camino Le Puy Way) that there is a pelote court (a traditional Basque game) in every town and village.
These are gems that you only discover when you explore somewhere in depth and this walking tour along the pilgrimage Camino Le Puy Way certainly comes up with some surprises!!