Walk the second part of France’s important Medieval pilgrimage from Alès – the Cevennes gateway, to St Gilles-du-Gard in Camargue – with a fabulous two-day Camarguaise extension via a Compostella variant and the Canal du Midi a Sete to The Mediterranean Coast. We were the first tour operators anywhere in the world to offer this trip, so purchase yours in the knowledge that you’re in the safe and competent hands of the trail experts. Please contact us if you’d like to complete the full pilgrimage route in one go, – in 14 or 15 nights from Le Puy en Velay. “
S aint-Giles Pilgrimage takes you along the southern section of the Hexagon’s very own medieval pilgrimage trail. Recently-resuscitated and labeled the GR 700, it is a leisurely, 70-mile/103-km walk across a scenic and undulating lowland trail. You follow an ancient Roman path along the Gardon Valley, through classic Mediterranean Garrigues countryside, traverse a series of charming villages on route and stay in the best of stone-built hotels and chambres d’hotes.
Pilgrims have walked this sacred path since the tenth century, but the preceding period was one of Roman dominance and subsequent invasions by Vandales, Wisigoths and Saracens. Charlemagne’s calming influence is writ large across the landscape. The Camisard Rebellion left its scars and more recent history was marked by the Nazi occupation.
Experience a master-class in French history and enter Roman Nemasus [Nimes] by a unique back door. Then stride out across the picturesque Costieres region, with its Roman vineyards, and past the first tall reeds that signal your arrival in the Camargue delta. The ancient port of St Gilles-du-Gard is a fine over-night stay. Signaling for most pilgrims an important staging post en route to the Promised Land or Santiago; for you, it represents the start of a Camarguaise trail that takes you to the perfect finalé, the magnificent walled cité of Aigues-Mortes.
Saint-Giles Pilgrimage is the chance for everyone to enjoy France’s forgotten medieval pilgrimage on a light walking holiday through Garrigues, Costieres & Camargue to a Crusader port on the Mediterranean coast.
- 2017 Prices – Saint-Giles Pilgrimage
- £780.00 Pounds Sterling or €885.00 Euros [per person, shared double or twin-bedded room]
Note: Please contact us to check for the latest Sterling prices. Sterling prices are confirmed at the time of booking.
- What’s Included
- 8 nights B & B [incl. hotel taxes] in a mix of 2-star hotels and charming chambres d’hotes
- You purchase evening meals with your hosts, except in Ales, Nimes, Vauvert and Aigues-Mortes, where options abound. Choose there according to budget and taste. Relevant details are in the dossier and walking notes, along with lunches options en route.
- We carry your luggage from hotel to hotel, with no per person weight limits¹
- Comprehensive walking dossier, walking Insight Notes™ and 1:25,000 scale maps.
- 7/7 Emergency phone support with local native English-speaking back up.
¹ This allows you to take more than one piece of luggage per person, but no sensitive equipment such as computers or business equipment. Please ask us for further details.
- Discover a unique medieval pilgrimage trail with its English-speaking experts
- Enjoy light hiking through the natural regions of Garrigues, Costieres & Camargue to the Mediterranean coast
- Follow a historic Roman trail linking fine villages together along the Gardon Valley
- Stay in Aigues-Mortes, arguably the second finest walled medieval town in Le Midi [after Carcassonne]
- Visit Nimes, capital of Roman Gaul – remarkable arena, perfectly preserved temple, botanical gardens, pedestrianised historic centre
- 8-night, self-guided tour
- Start any day, all year round, with few exceptions – please ask
- Start in Ales, finish in Aigues-Mortes
- A light, inn-to-inn tour
- Good accommodation standard
- We transport your luggage, you just carry a light day pack.
- A mix of welcoming hotels and one or two fine guest houses according to season
- Six or seven 2-star hotels and one or two guest houses according to availability
- En-suite facilities throughout.
- Upgrades available in both Nimes and Aigues-Mortes – ask for details
- Best access is via Nimes airport or SNCF station [4 hrs on TGV from Paris or Lille] with 40 min. onward journey to Ales – please ask for details.
- Other convenient options are via Lyon or Montpellier airports, with onward TGV to Nimes – 60 and 30 minute journeys, respectively.
- Alternative access is via Clermont-Ferrand airport or SNCF station [regional rail link with Paris], with onward journey on Le Cevenol to Ales in 4.5 hours – please ask for details.
Departure by train to Nimes [30 mins.] and onward TGV train north or south, or fly from Nimes airport to London Luton by RyanAir[UK]. Montpellier airport is only 30 minutes away from Aigues-Mortes.
- Hot, dry summers; warm spring and autumn and mild winters
- Undulating limestone garrigues plateau and valley; fragile wetlands in the Camargue delta
Saint-Giles Pilgrimage – Tour Itinerary: Garrigues, Costieres & Camargue[Times, distances and elevations are approximate. Option to merge the first two days’ walking into one longer day.]
Day 1: Arrive in Alès – the gateway to Cevennes, via Le Cevenol train from Nimes. Night in Alès.
Alès to Vezenobres
[7 miles-11 kms, +105ms/-110ms, 4 hours.]
Le Centre des Figues
You follow the Gardon river through market garden country to St Hilaire. Thereafter it’s a mix of vine, olive and strawberry tree en route to the Gardonnenque’s finest medieval village.
Night in Vezenobres.
Vezenobres to Moussac
[8 miles-12.5 kms, +55ms/-85ms, 5 hours.]
The Gardon is extraordinarily wide at Ners, with its fine stone bridge; and the fortified hamlet of Lascours has to be seen to be believed. The views over the Garrigue are splendid and the wine a recent AOC.
Night near Moussac.
Moussac to La Calmette
[8 miles-13 kms, +65ms/-60ms,
You continue your journey along the multi-faceted Gardonennque to Dions, with its fascinating geological chasm. Then it’s through vine country to La Calmette with its historic centre or ‘Circulade’.
Night in La Calmette.
La Calmette to Nimes
[10½ miles-16 kms, +85 ms/-130ms, 5½ hours.]
Bois des Espesses
Wend your way along a fine bucolic Garrigues trail to the Bois des Espesses en route to the Roman Tour Magna, the splendours of Les Jardins de la Fontaines and the fine historic centre of Nemausus.
Night in Nimes.
Nimes to St Gilles
[9½ miles-15½ kms, +60ms/-80ms, 5 hours].
Chateau de la Tuillerie
Short transfer to the outskirts of Nimes after breakfast. Once outside Nimes Metropole, the pleasant trail takes you through one of Europe’s oldest wine domains. You arrive in St-Gilles with plenty of time to visit the Abbey and its ‘crypt,’ as well as walk a little of the canal if you wish.
Night in St-Gilles.
St Gilles to Vauvert
[10½ miles-16½ kms, + 82ms/-56ms, 4½ hrs].
The GR 653
Just when you thought your pilgrimage was over, you join the Chemin de St-Jacques de Compostelle [Arles Route] for an interesting day’s hike across the northern Camargue.
Night in Vauvert.
Vauvert to Aigues-Mortes
[13 miles-20 kms, + 56ms/-91ms, 5½ hrs]
Porte des Croisades
Your final day comprises a fine walk along the banks of Le Canal du Rhone at Sete towards the Tour de Constance of the perfectly-preserved ramparts of the ancient port and town of St Louis, Aigues-Mortes.
Night in Aigues-Mortes.
Day 9: Departure day – Breakfast, bon retour et à bientôt. Please return next year for Part One of this fine trail! Short journey by train to Nimes and onward, or why not spend a couple of nights in Montpellier?
Our articles on:
Other Light tours to consider in the area are…
St Giles Way – Part One
Independent testimonials about The Enlightened Traveller can be read here:
- Part Two of the historic pilgrimmage route that helped to shape modern France.
- Stay in a selection of comfortable hotels supplemented by chambres d'hotes du charme.
- We take you further than St Giles and onto the fabulous walled town of Aigues-Mortes on the Med.
- The heat of the Mediterranean lowlands means avoid this trail in July and August.
- The best times to walk the trail [May & September] are the most popular.
A journey across a scenic and varied terrain from the Cevennes foothills to The Med. via Garrigues, Costieres and Camargue."
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