Throughout history, from all over Europe, pilgrims have walked to the saint’s tomb at Santiago de Compostela, stopping at shrines and inns along the way. Due to its size and common borders with so many other countries, France was the ideal place for pilgrims to gather for the long journey to Santiago.
Le Puy-en-Velay was one of these cities. Pilgrims would then follow well established pathways and roads towards the Spanish border.
This section of the Santiago pilgrimage has been called “the most picturesque and interesting section in France”, and the hiking trail begins in the historic city of Le Puy-en-Velay. Along the way you visit fascinating churches, pilgrim fountains and come across the legend of the Beast of Gevaudan. You cross the exposed Auvergne Massif and explore St-Come-d’Olt and Espalion, known as “Les plus beaux villages de France” - the most beautiful villages in France. You will sample the regional foods and wines of France.
After a superb walking journey of 210km, you arrive at Conques, an ancient abbey town hidden in the Lot Valley. Here you visit the world-famous abbey-church and its treasury, filled with medieval relics. Also included in this journey is a visit to the once renowned pilgrimage site of Rocamadour, destination for countless medieval pilgrims wishing to visit the Black Madonna of Rocamadour.
This section of the Santiago pilgrimage (also known as the Camino) begins in the historic city of Léon and covers a total distance of 300km to Santiago de Compostela, a classic medieval city with its cathedral as its focus. Along the way you will stay in old towns and villages, cross Roman bridges and climb up to O Cebreiro, a Celt-Iberian village which honours a miracle associated with the Virgin.
You will be entranced by the sweep of history as you visit cities like Astorga, developed by the Romans, and Ponferrada, made famous by the Templars who built their imposing castle above the city. You will visit magnificent Spanish churches, monasteries and the occasional pilgrim refugio. There are rivers to cross, two mountain ranges to cross and many foods and wines to sample. This section of the hiking trail is 300km long. Once you have arrived at Santiago, you have a number of traditional pilgrim duties to perform, such as hugging the Apostle, before you can say you’ve been on the Camino.
‘The Good Walking Books: Camino’ website and eBook were both invaluable in the lead up to my trip to Spain. The history of the pilgrimage route and information about each town were very well documented. This background knowledge gave me a deeper appreciation and a greater insight into the significance of the path I was walking. The lists of tips and ideas of ‘what to pack’ allowed me to be more physically prepared and helped to shaped my expectations for the hike. Overall, my pilgrimage was a much richer and more meaningful experience for having accessed these two great resources. I have recommended them to many friends and will continue to do so until I once again pack my bag and make my way to Compostela.
Natalie Rocca, 2013
I think the information was terrific and it certainly complemented the journey. Personnally I would find it all useful, but I am not a serious walker. The pics were terrific and one really felt that they were on the actual journey.
Les Heitter, 2013
It arrived safe and I love it. I am looking at doing the St Jean to Logrono and then train to Leon and then trek to Santiago. 2015 is going to be my 50th birthday and I am so looking forward to this challenge. - Again thanks for the great book.
Joseph Costello - (2012)
At first sight I wondered why anyone would want to buy this CD Ebook as it covered only two sections of two major routes.
But the quality of the information and the excellent photographs persuaded me that this is a useful tool for those wanting to know more in preparation for their pilgrimage.
Each section contains historical and cultural information, kit lists, height profiles, maps, places to visit and those excellent evocative photos.
As the group depicted (in the Ebook) was walking before 1 April, Refugio Gaucelmo in Rabanal was closed, but I was startled to learn that Aimery Picaud had stayed in the former parish house! (there is no evidence of this and he may well have not existed).
In Part 1: France - there is additional information on travelling via Paris to Le Puy and an add-on trip to Rocamadour from Conques.
In Part 2: Spain - there is a good section on what to do for a few days in Santiago.
Marion Marples, Secretary of Confraternity of Saint James - (2012)
View (and read) it . You will wish you were there !
Maryanne Ofner, Legal Principal and 2010 Pilgrim - (2012)
I purchased Camino Journeys 1 & 2 and thoroughly enjoyed the written word and the quality of the photography. I found this ebook via the Camino de Santiago Forum and being Australian was delighted to see a local publication available to the world.
Susie McCuaig, Camino de Santiago Forum - (2012)
The e-book, Camino Journeys, takes readers on a pilgrimage of the Camino. Simans first did the walk in 1997, then the Le Puy to Conques section in 2005. He revisited the Leon - Santiago section last year (2010) leading a group. "They (the paths) are quite different from each other," he said. "The French section is very picturesque, passing through villages and past churches in the countryside. But the Spanish leg is possibly more important because you get closer to the holy city of Santiago".
Kat Admaski, Lifestyle, North Shore Times - (2011)
Almis Simans has written an E-Book called Camino Journeys based on his walking experiences along two segments of the Santiago Compestela pilgrimage walk. I love the idea of a travel guide that you can download onto your iPhone/iPad. Wow travelling has changed so much since i went 10 years ago and I had to lug about multiple lonely planet guides that weighed more than my clothes!
Danielle - Danielle Butters Photography - (2011)
A fully illustrated guide to the two most popular sections of the historic pilgrimage route across France and Spain. Advice for pilgrims is included. Convenient PDF format for computer or e-reader.
Abbeys Bookshop, Sydney - (2011)
You will experience the freshness of travel, where one is reborn every morning, ready to follow the sun westwards as a simple pilgrim. You become far more aware of the elements, the earth beneath your feet, the need to drink fresh water, the open sky above and the ever-present sun.
We've put together our experiences of life on the Camino to help you plan your journey. Of course, there's nothing like doing it yourself. Camino Journeys includes:
This eBOOK works with any PDF compatible eREADER, including Macs and PCs. Once you order your copy through PAY PAL we send you your copy of the Two eBOOKS on a CD.
You can find all our books on the classic journeys here.
Details about our interactive one day courses preparing you for these journeys across France and Spain.
More information about the 2 most popular sections of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.