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Walking the le Puy route
& French for the Camino
Discover the path,culture and language for an unforgettable journey
Embarking on the historic Le Puy route is more than just a walk;
it's a foray into the heart of French heritage, a physical and spiritual adventure intertwined with the culture, language, and landscapes of France.
Our e-course is carefully designed to prepare you for this iconic pilgrimage, ensuring that you don’t just travel through France, but truly experience and appreciate it in its full essence.
We lovingly crafted the course to equip you with the knowledge, cultural insights and linguistic skills, to embark on the Le Puy Camino with confidence and joy.
INTRODUCTION TO THE VIA PODIENSIS
The Via Podiensis, also known as the Le Puy Route, is a 750 km (or 466 miles) pilgrimage trail that stretches across southern France. It officially begins in the town of Le Puy-en-Velay and ends in St. Jean Pied-de-Port, where some pilgrims choose to continue walking through Spain to Santiago de Compostela.
The route passes through charming villages, some designated “les plus beaux villages de France”, the most beautiful villages in France, Conques, Lauzerte and Auvillar to name but a few.
It also goes through old medieval towns such as Estaing, Moissac, Figeac, and Cahors and visits pilgrim shrines including Conques and Rocamadour.
The landscape is extremely diverse, filled with scenes of natural beauty: serene forests, wooded hillsides, meandering rivers, gurgling streams, rolling hills, deep gorges, the breathtakingly beautiful plateau of the Aubrac, and flower strewn pastures.
The route has 2 principal variants, equally enchanting: the Célé Valley and the Rocamadour variant.
The trail is well-curated and lovingly maintained, designated as a so-called GR (or Grande Randonnée / National Trail) number 65. The way marking is excellent for the whole length of the trail, making it easy for pilgrims to follow.
This unique journey will take approximately 32-35 days on average to walk. It has a few notable steep inclines but is accessible to people of all abilities.
The walking season begins late April and extends through October with the most popular months being May and September, followed by June and October. Many people also walk in July and August even if it is somewhat hotter; it’s also less busy.
The Via Podiensis has been a pilgrim route since the 10th century , when Bishop Godescalc of Le Puy walked to Santiago. Its old churches, medieval cathedrals, abbeys, ancient stone bridges, castles and other symbols are testament to a rich pilgrim past.
You will find regularly spaced accommodation all along the way …from private gîtes ( family owned homes adapted to welcome pilgrims), parochial gîtes and community-run gîtes, they all offer a diverse and enriching experience. Many also offer the option of “demi-pension” (breakfast and dinner included) where you will get to share taste great French food, prepared with local ingredients with your fellow pilgrims, and experience the Camino Spirit.
The majority of people walking this route are French so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some basic French to enrich your experience.
If you're looking for a unique and fascinating pilgrimage experience, the Via Podiensis is the one to walk!
With our detailed curriculum, you’ll be well-prepared to:
Appreciate the importance of the historic town of Le Puy and the amazing Camino send-off at the cathedral.
Navigate the route with an understanding of way-marking and stage planning using Rob's Guide.
Discover the "gîte experience" : your "French home" away from home.
Find the services you need : boulangeries, cafés, pharmacies, banks, bag transportation etc... Know how to use them and the opening hours.
Be familiar with the French way of life, food and culture.
Ask questions, get directions, interact with locals and fellow pilgrims in French.
Meet Kate, your Camino guide.
Hi, I'm Kate.
I'm half-French and half-British.
I've lived most of my adult life in Paris, France, where I was a drama teacher and a mind-body therapist.
I also had a company "Les Passe-Partout pour l'Europe", specialized in teaching languages through drama, play acting and conversation.
I now live in the USA, in South Carolina .
In September 2014, after going through a very difficult time on a personal Ievel, I woke up to a beautiful day with the inspiration to walk a camino.
Little did I know that my camino would be my path of transformation.
I wasn’t sure what route to choose and I stumbled on Robert Forrester’s Facebook group dedicated to the Le Puy route.
Waking the Le Puy Camino Route totally opened me to the “rapture of feeling alive” as Joseph Campbell puts it.
It was a path of healing -naturally- just by walking and being in nature, going through some of the most beautiful villages of France…
It helped me become conscious of some deep inner wounds and start caring for myself as a mother would for her beloved child.
I can honestly say that my Camino opened me to Love.
It instilled in me a sense of awe, beauty, inner strength and freedom that continue to influence and enrich my daily existence.
Thanks to this Camino Route, I met the love of my life, Robert Forrester, and together we've walked many Camino routes in France, Spain and Portugal . We now live and explore “a Camino Way of life”.
This is a life centered on the lessons of the Camino like simplicity, human connection, and a deep appreciation for the journey itself.
It's about embracing challenges with courage, finding joy in the present moment, and continuously seeking personal growth through the Camino's enduring teachings of resilience and gratitude.
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