Camino Solo® GR65 is the quintessential solo hiker’s dream tour, affording you the chance to meet other unaccompanied travellers from all over the world along the sacred stones of the French Compostella trails. If your aim is to escape the confines of your current life and meet other free spirits, then this adventure is a must. Our tour, graded a moderate physical challenge, takes you along the most popular section of the classic GR65, from Le Puy en Velay to either St Chely d’Aubrac or Conques.
Camino Solo® GR65 has all the trappings of a special human experience. Everyone you meet will have their own particular reasons for walking the trail; their own critique of modernity, their own ‘take’ on relationships, remedies that have worked, regrets to share. So what about the trail itself? Can thirty-five thousand walkers per annum really be hiking up the wrong path? Surely not! The Way is extremely varied – never boring, always in flux – and is a total immersion in rural France as you traverse the ancient regions of Gevaudan, Margeride and Aubrac in the 7-night tour, and additionally Pays d’Olt and the Lot in the full 11-night tour.
The GR65 addresses your Walk-Life balance and its cathartic qualities are an end in itself: chill out and exchange life’s lessons with complete strangers in ‘the middle of nowhere’ and then re-join ‘normal life’ re-charged and re-vitalised.
All the benefits of person-centered therapy and everyone gets a turn to be both Counselor and Active Listener. All in all you hike in the three modern-day regions of Auvergne, Languedoc-Roussillon and into Midi-Pyrenees. Whilst many leave much to chance and struggle to find a bed in a shared dormitory at the end of each day, you relax in the knowledge that you will be staying in your own, very comfortable private room in a variety of meticulously-selected, top-end accommodations.
Camino Solo® GR65 is the French self-discovery trail ‘par excellence.’ You will experience something unique and ‘ecumenical’ along The Way and return home rejuvenated having done it your way – alone but in good company.
- 7-night single person rate:
£1020.00 Pounds Sterling or €1130.00 Euros
- 11-night single person rate:
£1445.00 Pounds Sterling or €1595.00 Euros
- Discover yourself and make friends along France’s Classic Pilgrimage trail.
- Cross three regions: Auverge, Languedoc-Roussilon and Midi-Pyrenees.
- Enjoy single and en suite rooms in a mix of high-level accommodations: Chambres d’Hotes, Gites du Charme and fine hotels.
- Explore the cultural heritage of some of France’s most enchanting ancient regions.
- Experience the ‘UNESCO’ section from Nasbinals to St Chely and the Aubrac Plateau.
- 7 or 11-night versions to suit you – you average 12 miles-19 kms a day over a total of 134 miles/215 kms [full tour] or 82½ miles/133 kms [7-nighter], with options to shorten or lengthen stages to personalise the tour.
- moderate self-guided tour through the best of rural France.
- Start any day, beg. April to mid-October.
- Tour starts in Le Puy-en-Velay and finishes in either St Chely d’Aubrac or Conques.
- Best access: Lyon airport or SNCF, with onward train to Le Puy via St Etienne, with Claremont-Ferrand as the alternative.
- Carefully-selected and fine accommodation mix averaging ‘superior 2-star standard’ hotels and auberges.
- Optional return transfer to Aumont-Aubrac or Le Puy at tour’s end – please ask us for details.
- We transport your luggage, you just carry a light day pack.
- 7 or 11-nights B & B in single rooms with en suite facilities
- 5 or 9 evening meals, 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 one piece of luggage weighing up to 15 kgs – i.e., no suitcase must exceed 15 kgs and supplements apply for extra or overweight luggage. We accept no responsibility for lost valuables. We advise you not to bring computers and business-related equipment.
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 St Chely or 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.
- By Car: leave your car in the central Le Puy car park – ask us for details.
- 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.
• 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.
- “Matching your needs to meticulously-selected accommodation, based on superior facilities, food, location, service and welcome.”
- The optimum mixture of both guesthouse and hotel accommodation, designed as a ‘best of’ mix that maximises the opportunity to meet other kindred spirits.
- Accommodation standard averages 2-star or higher, with en-suite facilities throughout.
- The human factor and the personal touch is thus writ large. 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.
- Evening meals follow a fixed menu format for all half-board guests and do not include drinks. Most hotel menus provide a meat or fish dish, plus a vegetarian option; whilst chambres d’hotes and auberges tend to function around one common meal of which all guests partake, bar vegetarians, who would have an alternative dish. All showcase ‘produits du terroirs’ typical of the regions through which you walk.
- 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.
Tour Itinerary: Camino Solo® GR65
[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 St Alban.
[20½ miles-33 kms, 8 hrs, +370ms -390ms]
A long but uncomplicat-
ed stage, with modest climbs and descents, so simply make an early start. Visit La Clauze’s 12th century tower before walking the fine Virlange Valley.
Suitably rested and refreshed after lunch at Le Sauvage, climb to the Chapelle de Saint Roche before crossing into Lozere [Languedoc-Roussillon]. Then enjoy the ambiance and facilities in your fine overnight accommodation. Prepare to be spoiled!
Night in St Alban.
Option to shorten this day or walk it in two days – ask for details.
St Alban to Aumont.
[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.
End of 7-night tour or continue onto Day Eight…
St Chely d’Aubrac to Espalion.
[16 miles-25½ kms, 6½ hrs, +245ms -840ms]
The Lot Valley
Climb through several hamlets in Le Pays d’Olt, cross the Cancels and descend through aged vines to the walled village of St Come on The Lot. Then choose between the riverside or the hillside route to Espalion.
Night in Espalion.
Option to shorten this day and stay in St Come – ask for details.
[7 miles-11 kms, 3½ hrs, +455ms -260ms]
Something of a rest day, we follow the left bank of the tranquille River Lot past the Chateau de Calmont before enjoying lunch in the charming village of Armagnac. Then continue onto 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 12: 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:
- The best way to make new friends from all over the world - pre-dates and beats Facebook!
- The optimum mix of excellent accommodation, carefully selected for those opting to travel alone to the tour
- The 'must do' pilgrimmage route.
- A mix of countryside trails and small rural tarmac roads - carry appropriate road-walking footwear!
- Toughish start - the first three 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 carefully-selected and 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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