Great Taste of Camino Frances 2024
So whatever your reasons are for wanting to join the Camino Club, Great Taste of Camino Frances 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.
Great 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-based option:
£580.00 Pounds Sterling or €660.00 Euros
• Hotel-based option:
£635.00 Pounds Sterling or €730.00 Euros
• Extra nights: On Request
- 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.
- Best access from Claremont-Ferrand by train.
- 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 comfortable accommodation with all local hotel taxes
- 4 breakfasts and 4 evening meals.
- 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 You are entitled to take one piece of luggage per person weighing up to 13 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: three 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.
These details are non-contractual and subject to change.
the TER Site here.
How to get to Aumont-Aubrac – Great Taste of Camino Frances
• By air to the following airports: Paris, Claremont-Ferrand, Lyon, Bezier or Montpellier. Nimes or Rodez are options if coming from the UK.
• By rail
- Best access is from Claremont-Ferrand for onward SNCF train or bus to Aumont-Aubrac. Aumont-Aubrac has an SNCF station.
- From Nimes via Mende with onward SNCF bus to Aumont-Aubrac.
- From Montpellier gare SNCF to Millau by tramway and SNCF bus (90 mins), for onward SNCF bus to Marvejols (65 mins).
- From Bezier, there’s one direct morning train to Aumont-Aubrac in as little as 3.30 mins.
- From Lyon via Saint-Etienne-Chtx and Clermont-Ferrand to Aumont-Aubrac.
- From Millau to Aumont-Aubrac.
- From Clermont-Ferrand gare SNCF to Aumont-Aubrac.
- From Millau Gare SNCF to Aumont-Aubrac.
Example – from Clermont-Ferrand gare SNCF: dep at 10.50 by SNCF coach, arrive in Aumont at 12.32; or dep at 13.03 by train, arriving in Aumont at 15.53.
Example – from Nimes gare SNCF: depart at 12.22 by train, change at Mende and arrive in Aumont-Aubrac at 16.48 (4 hrs 26 mins).
Example – from Montpellier: depart on SNCF bus at 12.05 from tramway at Mosson stop (Lines 1 & 3), arriving in Millau at 13.35; onward SNCF bus departs Millau at 15: 05, arriving in Marvejols at 16.10 – we can transfer you by taxi from here.
From Bezier gare SNCF: dep at 09.37, arrive in Aumont at 13.10.
Example – from Lyon-Part-Dieu gare SNCF: depart at 09.24 by train. Change at Saint-Etienne-Chtx for SNCF bus to Clermont-Ferrand, followed by train to Aumont-Aubrac arriving at 15.52 (6 hrs 28 mins).
Example – from Millau gare SNCF: depart at 11.29 by train direct to Aumont-Aubrac arriving at 13.10 (1 hr 41 mins).
• By bus:
This service is run by Autocars Lozère and the SNCF and there are three services each day:
Example: departure from Clermont-Ferrand gare SNCF at 10.50 by SNCF coach, arriving in Aumont at 12.40 (not on Sundays or National holidays); departure from Clermont-Ferrand gare SNCF at 13.03 by SNCF coach, arriving in Aumont at 15.52 (not on Sundays or National holidays) or departure at 16.50 by Autocars Lozère coach, arriving in Aumont at 18.45.
There is one SNCF bus per day, departing from Millau at 08.40, arriving in Aumont-Aubrac at 10.29.
• 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 to find the best accommodation that the Camino has to offer so that you enjoy the over-night stay as much as the hiking. Great Taste of Camino Frances is thus delighted to bring you two options from which you can choose according to your own personal tastes:
- Guest house-led
Great Taste of Camino Frances sets out with the express aim of placing our customers in two fine guest houses 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 Great Taste of Camino Frances. 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 on the trail itself. Depending on your dates, one may not provide an evening meal, simply because the village in question offers a multitude of local options to suit most tastes less than 100 metres away.
Both 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.
Please note that as a result of COVID-19, there is no longer a suitable chambres d’hotes in Nasbinals nor St Chely. We thus place you in centrally-located two-and three-star hotels respectively.
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.
You stay in two 3-star hotels and two 2-star hotels.
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, Great Taste of Camino Frances places in the equivalent hotel or guest house, respectively, with an adjustment to that night’s fees. Of course, it goes without 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.
Great 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.
Great Taste of Camino Frances: Tour Itinerary
[All distances, times and elevation figures are approximate]
Day 1: Arrival in Aumont-Aubrac. Train from Claremont-Ferrand or Nimes, with a transfer option from Le Puy en Velay. 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
(guest house-led tour)
[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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