Walk the Saint-Giles Pilgrimage, the second part of France’s important Medieval pilgrimage from Vezenobrès – in the Cevennes foothills, to St Gilles-du-Gard in Camargue. Then cross The Camargue to Aigues-Mortes on The Mediterranean Coast. This fabulous walled cité was the point of departure for Crusaders en route to the Holy Land. You get there via a Compostella variant and by following the Canal du Midi at Sete. 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. “
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.
The Saint-Giles Pilgrimage is a master-class in French history. Enter Roman Nemasus [Nimes] by a unique ‘back door’ before striding out across the picturesque Costieres region, with its Roman vineyards. The first tall reeds signal your arrival in the Camargue delta. The ancient port of St Gilles-du-Gard boasts a fine abbey that signalled, 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 grand finale – 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.
- £775.00 Pounds Sterling or €945.00 Euros [per person, shared double or twin-bedded room]
- What’s Included
- 7 nights accommodation in a mix of comfortable 2-star hotels (3-star in Nimes) and charming chambres d’hotes
- 7 breakfasts and one dinner – in La Calmette.
- We carry your luggage from hotel to hotel, with no per person weight limits¹
- Several people transfer are included – see tour itinerary below
- Comprehensive walking dossier, walking Insight Notes™ and 1:25,000 scale maps.
- 7/7 Emergency phone support from 8 ’till late in native English.
¹ This allows you to take more than one piece of luggage per person, but not sensitive equipment such as computers or business equipment. Please ask us for further details.
You purchase evening meals with your hosts, except in 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.
- 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
- 7-night, self-guided tour
- Start any day, April to end of October/li>
- Start in Alès, 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 characterful guest houses according to season
- Five 2-star hotels, one 3-star and one guest house 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.]
Day 1: Arrive in Alès via Le Cevenol train from Nimes. A taxi awaits to take you to medieval Vezenobrès included in the tour fees. Night in Vezenobrès.
Vezenobres to Moussac
[8 miles-12.5 kms, +55ms/-85ms, 5 hrs.]
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. Collection and short transfer to your overnight accommodation.
Night near Moussac or second night in Vezenobrès.
Moussac to La Calmette
[8 miles-13 kms, +65ms/-60ms, 5 hrs].
Short, after-breakfast transfer back to Moussac.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 hrs.]
Bois des Espesses
Wend your way along a fine bucolic Garrigues trail to the Nimes hinterland and the Bois des Espesses. The Roman Tour Magna awaits, the splendours of Les Jardins de la Fontaines and the fine historic centre of Nimes (Nemausus).
Night in Nimes centre.
Nimes to St Gilles
[9½ miles-15½ kms, +60ms/-80ms, 5 hrs].
Chateau de la Tuillerie
Short transfer to the outskirts of Nimes after breakfast. Once outside the 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. Arrive at the Tour de Constance and the perfectly-preserved ramparts of the ancient port of St Louis, Aigues-Mortes.
Night in Aigues-Mortes.
Day 8: 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 for connections – or why not spend a couple of nights in La Grande Motte or Montpellier?
Our articles on:
Other Light tours to consider in the area are…
St Giles Way – Part One
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