Taste of Camino Frances is your chance to sample a carefully-selected, three-day segment of the world renowned ‘Compostella Trail.’ Whilst the whole route is a special human experience indeed, the Via Podiensis is by far the most popular of the ‘Four French Ways.’ The most-trumpeted section is from Le Puy-en-Velay to Conques and this 4-night tour lets you taste the best slice of that excellent gateau.
So whatever your reasons are for wanting to join the Camino Club, here is your chance to see what all the fuss is about whilst savouring the ambiance over three extremely varied days of walking and conversing with kindred spirits from the four corners of the human world.
Your common humanity unites you, complemented by your desire to walk moderate distances, sleep in private rooms in welcoming accommodations and feel spoilt by your hosts attention to detail. So cramped conditions and snoring neighbours are out; as too is the obligation to sport a shell on your rucksack and collect the full set of official or un-official stamps on your ‘credencial passport’ to prove you have really been there and duly suffered along The Way.
Taste of Camino Frances sees you doing your Camino your way; meeting whom you wish to meet, spending precious time with people of your own ilk and exploring the memorable countryside in the companionship of new acquaintances who may just become lifelong friends. In a word, Enlightenment.”
- The Enlightened Traveller
What you share in common with everyone else along this section of The Way, pilgrim or not, is the following:
- A journey – alone or in a group of friends of your own choosing;
- Encounters – with other humans [companionship], unique buildings [cathedrals, temples] objects [relics, tombs] and rituals [stories, legends];
- Exploration – experience the different and the new;
- A destination – your own ‘Grand Finalé’,
- Betterment – returning home a changed or ‘enriched’ person.
- Per person based on two sharing a double or twin-bedded room
• Guest-house-led option:
£335.00 Pounds Sterling or €380.00 Euros
• Hotel-led option:
£440.00 Pounds Sterling or €495.00 Euros
- Single person rate
• Guest-house-led option:
£595.00 Pounds Sterling or €675.00 Euros
• Hotel-led option:
£625.00 Pounds Sterling or €710.00 Euros
• Extra nights: On RequestNote: Please contact us to check for the latest Sterling prices. Sterling prices are confirmed at the time of booking.
- Choose between a hotel-led or a chambres-d’hotes-led format to suite your preference.
- Enjoy a slice of the best section of Europe’s Classic Pilgrimage trail.
- Explore the cultural heritage of two of France’s most inviting ancient regions: La Margeride and Aubrac.
- Hike the mythical ‘UNESCO’ World Heritage section from Nasbinals to St Chely across the Aubrac Plateau.
- Finish on the banks of the scenic River Lot.
- 4-night, self-guided, inn-to-inn walking tour through rural France.
- moderate challenge, averaging 12½ miles-20 kms a day over a total of up to 43 miles/69 kms.
- Start any day, beg. April to mid-October.
- Tour starts in Aumont-Aubrac and finishes in either St Come or Espalion.
- 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.
- 4 nights B & B & all local hotel taxes
- Four evening meals [hotel-led option] or one evening meal [Guest house-led option – the latter leaving you free to choose according to taste and budget from the array of local options available.
- Luggage transfers¹.
- 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 ‘Couples’ are entitled to take up to three pieces of luggage, 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.
Solo walkers can bring up to two pieces of luggage, each weighing up to 13 kgs – i.e., no suitcase must exceed 13kgs and the max. weight is 2 x 13 kgs or 26 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 Aumont-Aubrac and from either St Come or Espalion.
- How to get to Aumont-Aubrac
• By transfer: from Le Puy en Velay – please ask for details
• By air: to Paris, Claremont-Ferrand or Bezier
• By rail: from Paris and change for Claremont-Ferrand and onward to Aumont; or Paris/Lyon to Le Puy en Velay + above transfer.
See https://loco2.com/ for train planning
• We can get you transferred back to Aumont-Aubrac [or onto Le Puy-en-Velay] after breakfast on departure day on demand, subject to availability. Please reserve this at the time of booking.
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 it takes approx. 2 hours to go north to Clermont-Ferrand or 3½ south to Beziers.
Alternatively, you can travel east across country by SNCF bus to Mende [the capital of Lozere] followed by onward train to La Bastide-Puy-Laurent and onto Nimes in approx. 5½ hours.
Le Puy-en-Velay is better for those wishing to travel onto Lyon.
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:
- Guest house-led
This option 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 all on the trail itself. Three 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.
All four chambre-d’hotes have something unique to offer to their guests, both in terms of the style and warmth of the accommodation but also in the insight it provides into life at each place the particular stages along the trail.
This alternative option allows you to experience the trail by day whilst focussing 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.
Our commitment is to bring you your preferred accommodation option, Guest house-led or 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. Of course, it goes wthout saying that the more flexible you are with your start dates, the greater chance you have of getting your preferred accommodation type at each stage of the tour.
- 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.
Taste of Camino Frances offers these essential ingredients for the perfect hiking feast: an opportunity to enjoy the best of what the Way of St James has to offer in two accommodation-led formats to suit your preference. What differentiates this trip from other ‘Camino’ tours is the emphasis on accommodation excellence. You only get one bite at the cherry, so here’s your chance to do it in style. And once bitten, we trust you’ll be back for more in the not-too-distant future.
Taste of Camino Frances: 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.
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]
That’s your Lot!
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.
Day 5: Departure day Enjoy your breakfast, bon retour et a la prochaine! Please enquire about our optional transfers to Aumont-Aubrac or Le Puy. Bonne continuation and we hope to see you next year.
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