Hiking Le Puy to Conques – Le Puy Route, is the finest section of France’s Compostella pilgrimage trail. Forget about trekking all the way across the foggy Pyrenees and into Spain along endless monotone highways and instead enjoy the most scenic slice of The Hexagon’s best-loved hiking cake – the Le Puy Route from Le Puy en Velay to Conques. It is the only section of this historic highway that we choose to promote as it offers the optimum experience and captures the essence of ‘El Camino’ in one two-week chunk.
Hiking Le Puy to Conques – Le Puy Route is special for many reasons: it is the most-popular section, boasting the best countryside and the finest accommodation; so meet like-minded hikers and enjoy the comforts of our accommodation-led tour designed especially for those who like a good hike followed by fine food and home comforts in the excellent company of global peers.
So enjoy the best of the Le Puy Route sliced into bite-sized chunks and revel in the experience of a life-time, at a reasonable pace that allows you to get from A to B, chatter with others along the way and still have plenty of time to admire the views and absorb the heritage-rich ambiance.
Hiking Le Puy to Conques – Le Puy Route also allows you to tailor the accommodation ‘ideal types’ to suit your personal preferences, be they guest house or hotel-based. We will do our very best to maximise your chosen ‘format’ subject to availability bien sûr! If you seek a fortnight’s total immersion in the best of rural France, then look no further than the best section of the Le Puy Route with complementary accommodation.
- Le Puy to Conques – Le Puy Route [Guest house-based]
Price per person based on 2 persons sharing double room:
£1035.00 Pounds Sterling or €1170.00 Euros
- Le Puy to Conques – Le Puy Route [Hotel-based]
Price per person based on 2 persons sharing double room:
£1180.00 Pounds Sterling or €1340.00 Euros
# Please contact us to check for the latest Sterling prices. Sterling prices are confirmed at the time of booking.
• Extra nights: On Request
• The option exists to combine days 4 & 5, thus forming an 11-night tour – please ask us for our advice and the price.
- The finest section of France’s Classic Pilgrimage trail.
- Hike across five historic regions and through Auverge, Languedoc-Roussilon and Midi-Pyrenees.
- Choose from two high-level accommodation-led formats to suit you.
- Fine start – Le Puy en Velay and its World Heritage sites.
- Big Finish: the ‘Unesco’ medieval cité of Conques.
- 12-night, self-guided, inn-to-inn walking tour through rural France.
- moderate challenge, averaging 12 miles a day over a total of 134 miles/215 kms. Options to shorten or lengthen days to suit your agenda.li>
- Start any day, beg. April to mid-October.
- Tour starts in Le Puy-en-Velay and finishes in Conques.
- Convenient access from Lyon or Claremont-Ferrand.
- Carefully-selected and fine accommodation averaging ‘superior 2-star standard’ hotels, chambres d’hotes and auberges.
- Optional return transfer to Aumont-Aubrac or Le Puy at tour’s end – please ask us for details.
- Luggage transfers throughout.
- 12 nights B & B & all local hotel taxes
- 6 gourmet evening meals [Guest-house led] or 11 evening meals [Hotel-led], respectively.
- Luggage transfers¹ and transport integral to the programme.
- Themed dossier, Hiking Insight Notes and 1: 50,000 maps. The Way is very well way marked and we consider this scale map as entirely adequate for this particular trail.
- 7/7 Emergency telephone help-line service with native-English speaking local backup.
¹ You are entitled to take up to three pieces of luggage per couple, each weighing up to 13 kgs – i.e., no suitcase must exceed 13kgs and the max. weight is 3 x 13 kgs or 39 kgs. Supplements are payable for extra or overweight luggage.
Note: we are able to arrange for your excess luggage to be securely stored for the duration of your tour and delivered to the final hotel before your departure. Please ask us for further details of this service if it is of interest to you.
Remaining meals and all drinks and extras;
1: 25,000 scale maps: nine of these would be required to cover the tour, which we are happy to supply at a supplement;
entrances into any optional cultural visits and venues;
hiking, personal and travel insurances;
travel to Le Puy and from Conques.
- Nearest airport or SNCF station is Lyon [3 hrs on TGV from Paris or Lille] with onward train journey to Le Puy via St Etienne.
- Next-best access is via Eurostar to Paris and change for Clermont-Ferrand and then Le Puy. From Paris Bercy to Clermont-Ferrand in 3½ hours and from Clermont-Ferrand to Le Puy in 2 hours.
- Alternative Nimes option is via cross-country train to Langogne and bus to Le Puy. This option takes a whole day’s travel from Nimes, arriving in Le Puy at approx. 17.30 – please ask for details.
- By Car: leave your car in the central Le Puy car park – ask us for details.
• We can get you transferred back to Aumont-Aubrac, Le Puy-en-Velay or onto Figeac for easy onward travel. Please reserve at time of booking. Please ask us for details.
• Aumont-Aubrac lies on the regional railway line that runs north-south connecting Clermont-Ferrand to Beziers. Onward transport leaves here from around 11am and takes approx. 2 hours to go north to Clermont-Ferrand or 3½ south to Beziers.
Alternatively, you can travel east across by SNCF bus to Mende followed by onward train to La Bastide Puy Laurent and onto Nimes in approx. 5½ hours.
• Please check out the rail/bus options at RailEurope or Bahn.com.
We have literally combed the trail and its surrounding villages to find the best accommodation that the St. James’ Way has to offer so that you enjoy the over-night stay as much as the hiking. We are thus delighted to bring you two options from which you can choose according to your own personal tastes:
- Hiking Le Puy to Conques – Le Puy Route [Guest house-led]
Sets out with the express aim of placing our customers in fine guest houses at every stage along the trail.
Bedrooms are all, of course, en suite and comfort levels are high. The objective is to allow you to meet interesting travellers along the Way, who value the same comforts as you, and spend time with hosts who know the area and its history and enjoy sharing it with their guests.
The human factor and the personal touch is thus writ large in this option. Your hosts are accustomed to welcoming Anglophones into their homes although, as with anything in life, your extra effort will be handsomely rewarded and so practicing some French [however rudimentary] is highly recommended.
The homes are either on the Way itself, or your hosts collect you from, and return you to, the trail the next morning. On one day we have two options that may affect the day’s walking length by a couple of kilometres, but we can assure you that you will be richly rewarded.Five of your hosts do not provide an evening meal, simply because the village in question offers a multitude of local options to suit most tastes less than 200 metres away.
- Hiking Le Puy to Conques – Le Puy Route [Hotel-led]
Allows you to experience the trail by day whilst focusing the evenings on you, your family and close companions. You set the social agenda in the welcoming environment of your hotel bar, restaurant or room. Hotels are on the trail and the average standard is 2-star or higher.
Since the star ratings in French hotels were reassessed in 2013, most hotels have found it pretty easy to be upgraded or at least stay the same: one-star hotels are really offering very basic provision indeed.
We have chosen to place you in a 3-star hotel within walking distance of the railway station in Le Puy en Velay to give you maximum flexibility re your arrival time and excellent comfort from the start.
This is the most popular stretch of France’s Le Puy Route and so early booking is advised. Nevertheless, availability is like a moving escalator and things can change from day to day. Our commitment is to bring you your preferred accommodation option, Hiking Le Puy to Conques [Guest house-led] or Hiking Le Puy to Conques [Hotel-led], in its purest form. However, we cannot guarantee that corresponding accommodation will always be available at each stage and so this cannot be a precondition of your booking. Where we are unable to accommodate you in the desired chambres d’hotes or hotel stay on a particular night, you will be placed in the equivalent hotel or guest house, respectively.
- Warm summers; mild and sunny spring & autumn
- Enjoy sub-alpine flora and volcanic plateau to schist valley topography.
- Cross three regions: Auverge, Languedoc-Roussilon and Midi-Pyrenees.
Hiking Le Puy to Conques – Le Puy Route: Tour Itinerary
[All distances, times and elevation figures are approximate]
Day 1: Arrival in Le Puy en Velay. Steeped in Christian history, the monuments and squares of Le Puy merit your attention – get there early, check into your centrally-located 3-star hotel and have a good look around. Night in Le Puy.
Le Puy to St Privat.
[14½ miles-23½ kms, 7 hrs,
+600 ms -300 ms].
Across Haute Loire
Climb out of the Puy basin to the Velay Plateau and its volcanic cones and follow the trail above the Dolaizon river to St Christophe. Cross the Devès, France’s largest basalt Plateau, via a series of charming villages and arrive at St Privat, with its Roman-style church and castle vestiges.
Night in St Privat d’Allier.
St Privat to Saugues.
[12 miles-19 kms, 6 hrs, +600 ms -500 ms].
Beast of Gevaudan
You climb to a majestic belvedere before gaining Rochegude with its fine hillside chapel and castle ruins on the Velay-Gevaudan border. Then descend into the Allier Gorge with its own ‘Pao de Açucar’ outcrop before crossing the Eiffel bridge and climbing up past the semi-troglodyte St Madeleine chapel and into the granite mountains of Margeride. The descent to Saugues is a delight.
Night in Saugues.
Saugues to Le Sauvage
[12 miles-19½ kms, approx. 5½ hrs, +350ms -40ms]
The hamlet of La Clauze is dominated by its 12th century tower perched atop a vast granite outcrop. Further on, the walk along the Virlange Valley is a treat and the climb up through the Ranchoulet woods never dull. Say hello to the friendly ‘wild horses’ before descending to Le Sauvage for refreshments and your transfer.
Second night in Saugues – it’s nice not to have to pack that case and enjoy real home comforts!
Le Sauvage to St Alban
[8 miles-13 kms, approx. 3½ hrs, +20ms -350ms]
Designed as a rest day, we start by returning you to Le Sauvage. From there you climb to Hospitalet col and visit the Chapelle de Saint Roche before crossing into Lozere [Languedoc-Roussillon] and descending to St Alban and its Romanesque church. Then enjoy the ambiance and facilities in your fine overnight accommodation. Prepare to be spoiled!
Night in St Alban sur Limagnole.
The option exists to combine days 4 & 5 – please ask our advice.
St Alban to Aumont-Aubrac.
[9 miles-14½ kms, 4 hrs, +280ms -185ms.]
You finish crossing the granite Margeride and enter volcanic Aubrac. A short day full of fine and varied trails and boulder-speckled scenery.
Night in Aumont-Aubrac.
Aumont-Aubrac to Nasbinals
[16½ miles-26½ kms, 7½ hrs, +340ms -190ms]
Today takes you to La Chaze de Peyre, with its splendid communal oven, then onto the charming Chapelle de la Bastide. Soon the forest gives way to enormous expanses of rolling green and cattle–laden pastures.
Night in Nasbinals.
Nasbinals to St Chely d’Aubrac.
[10½ miles-17 kms, 4½ hrs, +135ms -490ms.]
Le vieux pont
This World Heritage-rated walk is blessed with fabulous rolling hillsides before you descend to the village of Aubrac itself, a fine lunch-spot. Then descend into the Lot Valley and enjoy your over-nighter in charming St-Chely.
Night in St-Chely.
St Chely d’Aubrac to
[10 miles-16 kms in 4½ hrs with +200ms -650ms]
St Chely d’Aubrac to Espalion – hotel-led tour
[16 miles-25½ kms in 6½ hrs with approx. +245ms -840ms]
The Lot Valley
Cross the Unesco bridge and climb through several hamlets in Le Pays d’Olt before crossing the Cancels and descending through aged vines to the first glimpses of the delightful walled village of St Come on The Lot.
Night in St Come-d’Olt or push onto Espallion via either the riverside or the hillside route.
St Come-d’Olt to Estaing
[12½ miles-20½ kms, 5 hrs with approx. +460ms -500ms]
Espalion to Estaing
[hotel-led option at 7 miles-11 kms, 3½ hrs, with approx. +455ms -260ms]
Choose between the high or the low road to Espalion. We traverse Le Rouergue along the left bank of the tranquille River Lot, pass the Chateau de Calmont before enjoying lunch at the charming village of Armagnac with its fine domaine. Then continue the oenology lesson upon arrival in Estaing, home to the once powerful Valery-Giscard and its Wine House and Museum.
Night in Estaing.
Estaing to Golinhac
[10 miles-16 kms, 5 hrs,
Chemin des Croix
Enjoy a prolonged meander along the banks of the enchanting Lot before climbing Le Chemin des Croix to your comfy overnight resting place.
Night in Golinhac.
Golinhac to Conques
[13 miles-21 kms, 6½ hrs, +200ms -600ms]
Continue along Le Chemin des Croix before descending into the Ouche and Dourdou Gorges towards the medieval cité of ‘Concha’, a fine finish to a to a memorable tour.
Night in Conques.
Day 13: Departure day Enjoy your breakfast, bon retour et a la prochaine! Please enquire about our transfers to Aumont-Aubrac, Le Puy or Figeac. Bonne continuation and we hope to see you next year.
Independent testimonials about The Enlightened Traveller can be read here:
- Arguably the best way to meet real people in France
- Choice of two types of excellent accommodation to meet your preference
- If you only ever walk one pilgrimmage route, this has to be the one to do!
- A mix of countryside trails and small rural tarmac roads - carry appropriate road-walking footwear!
- Toughish start - the first two days are the most challenging
- Don't blame us if you end up meeting your next partner en route!
The quintessential pilgrimmage in its 'best of' format with a choice of excellent accommodation to boot. So much more than just a hiking trail, all human life is found here, wandering happily in the same direction, each with their own reasons for doing so. Meeting them along 'The Way' is integral to this special experience. "
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