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What are the different routes to Santiago de Compostela?

You have decided to follow one of the routes or several paths for Santiago de Compostela, but do not yet know which one you will leave on foot, backpack on your shoulder and the famous scallop shell. Jacques attached to its strap, emblem of your future journey. There are a large number of French roads to get to the holy city or get closer to it. Here are some examples that can help you choose the one you think is best suited for your project.

The Puy-en-Velay route

Starting from Puy-en-Velay, you can get to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in thirty to thirty-five days of walking. The total distance is 732 km. The path from Auvergne to Le Puy is called the Via Podensis. It was the bishop of the city who was the first to leave as a pilgrim in the year 950. The route of Le Puy is one of the four largest routes of Santiago de Compostela and it remains today the most used. As you progress, you will discover architectural treasures, but also an enchanting landscape. You will cross part of Gévaudan as well as the Landes. You can discover the magnificent medieval village of Conques as well as the beautiful city of Cahors. You will find many stopover lodgings to rest. The Puy route is essentially made up of the GR 65 which is signposted over its entire length.

The way to Arles

If you wish to leave for Santiago de Compostela by paths further south, the Arles route will meet your expectations. This route was formerly called the Via Tolosana. Unlike the other three main routes, the via Tolosana does not arrive at Ostabat, but it has a junction at Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the Pyrenees allowing you to cross the mountains at the Col du Somport. The way to Arles is the GR 633. You will pass through remarkable places such as Arles, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Castres or Toulouse. You will pass between Camargue and garrigue to reach Languedoc and the Canal du Midi. You will find many guides in the trade on the way to Arles to best lead your pilgrimage. To go from Arles to the Col du Somport by this path, it takes between 28 and 35 days of walking for a distance of 769 km.

The Vézelay route

The Vézelay route is very symbolic for pilgrims. It starts from the basilica where the relics of Saint Mary Magdalene are deposited. The Vézelay track extends the tracks coming from the north. This route is naturally taken by pilgrims coming from Germany, the Netherlands or even Belgium, Champagne, the Ardennes or Lorraine. It includes two distinct branches passing through the south of Nevers or the north of Bourges then Limoges and Périgueux. You will be able to admire spectacular landscapes, as there are the volcanic landscapes of Velay, the plateaus of Aubrac, the Causses of Quercy, the Lot and its magnificent villages as well as the hillsides of Gascony. To reach Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port by way of Vézelay, it takes 32 to 40 days of walking for a route of around 900 km.

The Tours way

The Route de Tours or Via Turonensis is a historic route that has been little used for a very long time. Today, it is better known, because it is more used by pilgrims. The Tours route leaves from Paris. Two routes are possible via Orléans or Chartres. This route is certainly the richest in Romanesque sites. It is easier than the others thanks to its low relief and the presence of paved paths. You will pass through the major cities of Orléans, Blois, Tours and Poitiers. To travel the route from Tours to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, it takes 35 to 40 days of walking for a distance of 667 km.

The Via Arverna

Via Arverna circulates in the Massif Central. It starts in Clermont-Ferrand and crosses the Cantal mountains up to 1,700 m altitude. It joins via Podiensis in Rocamadour. On the way, you will discover magnificent and very varied landscapes such as the volcanoes of Auvergne, the Sancy massif, the Alagon valley, the Cère gorges, the Dordogne valley and the banks of the Lot. You will pass through many villages with medieval historic hearts and along your route you can admire castles rich in history since the Middle Ages.

Way from Bergerac to Rocamadour

If you only want to do part of the route to Santiago de Compostela because you don't have enough time or you lack training, you can choose a shorter route. Thus, the one rallying Bergerac to Rocamadour is 180 km long and is practiced over 9 to 10 days of walking. You will cross the hills and vineyards of Bergerac to reach the Ouysse valley. The path from Bergerac to Rocamadour dates from the Middle Ages. It passes through Cadouin where you can admire a magnificent abbey. You can still visit the beautiful medieval city of Domme. This path is still a junction between the route of Le Puy and that of Vézelay.

Reach Santiago de Compostela by the Spanish roads

Once you have passed through Spain, you will be able to continue your itinerary by one of the routes of your choice, as several routes are available to you. The Camino del Norte or
Chemin du Nord runs along the entire Atlantic coast from France. The Camino del Norte leaves from the Basque border after Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Galicia. You will follow rugged paths crossing mountainous regions while passing along the ocean and beautiful creeks by the sea. Throughout your journey, you will discover fabulous monuments with pre-Romanesque architecture and can reach Saint- Jacques-de-Compostelle if you want to go to the end of your journey.

There are still many secondary roads to lead to Santiago de Compostela. If you want to start from the Great St. Bernard Pass, you can still take the via Francigena crossing Italy from Rome. From Avignon, there is still the Urban V route leading you to the City of the Popes. In any case and whatever partial or total route you choose towards Santiago de Compostela, know that you will live the unique experience of your life and will have magnificent memories that will fill your head. be a believer or not.