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The route to Santiago de Compostela, born in the 9th century, attracts around 200,000 hikers and pilgrims each year in search of themselves and in search of God. France has four historic routes starting from Puy-en-Velay, Arles, Vézelay and Tours. In Spain, several paths converge towards Santiago de Compostela. 

Santiago Compostela hotel accommodation Via Aurelia

Villa Saint Camille welcomes pilgrims and friends of Santiago de Compostela in its Family Holiday Home, with a preferential rate of 45€ for the first night

(evening meal + overnight stay + breakfast upon presentation of the pilgrim's credential).

If all roads lead to Rome, many itineraries also lead to Compostela with an essential stopover at the Villa Saint Camille in Théoule-sur-Mer.





The Tours route Via Turonensis : Paris Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). 960 km, 39 days of walking.

It is also called the “great path of Saint-Jacques”, or the “paved path of the pilgrims”. The Via Turonensis, which the backgammons from the North and North-East of Europe joined, was indeed once very busy. Crowds then went to Tours to bow at the tomb of Saint-Martin, who died in 397.

The pilgrims included famous people in their ranks such as Clovis, Pépin Le Couronne, Saint-Louis, Philippe Auguste, Richard Coeur de Lion.

The Tours route, which generally starts in Paris, has today been rediscovered thanks to the efforts of a few associations. One of their first objectives was to trace a route that would avoid pilgrims using major roads. It was also necessary to initiate a constantly growing network of accommodation.

It is now up to everyone to follow their own route, on foot or by bike, since this route has very few elevation changes. Several possibilities are available to pilgrims, described in different guide books. These generally alternate hiking trails, forest paths and small country roads. Whatever route you choose, surprise and wonder will be there, as the heritage of the regions crossed is so rich.

It is enough to name the cities of Orleans, from Blois, from Towers, of Poitiers, or Saint-Jean-d’Angély, and the municipalities of Melle, Aulnay, or Pons, to be convinced that this path cannot disappoint its pilgrim.

The Vézelay route Via Lemovicensis: Vézelay (Yonne) Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) 884 km (via Bourges) or 923 km (via Nevers), 36 days of walking.

The Vézelay route, called via Lemovicensis because it crosses Limousin and passes through Limoges, is especially known to those who have read the story by Pierre Barret and Jean-Noël Gurgand, Pray for us in Compostela. This is in fact the route that the two journalists traveled in 1977 to the tomb of the Apostle.

Like the three other French routes, it connects places whose prestigious past can be read through heritage: the “eternal hill” of Vézelay, first of all; then the collegiate of Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, the Saint-Martial abbey of Limoges and those of Charité-sur-LoireDéols, Chancelade, Saint-Ferme, La Réole, Saint-Sever, the cathedrals of Bourges, Nevers and Périgueux and many other wonders to discover.

The profile of the stages is quite hilly, offering pilgrims beautiful landscapes. However, the elevation changes are few, the highest point of the route is located in the Ambazac mountains (695 m), right before Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat.

In addition to the richness of this heritage and these landscapes, a specific spirit reigns on this route, founded according to the association of Friends and Pilgrims of Saint-Jacques of the Vézelay route, “on the rigor of the pilgrim approach”.

Indeed, this route turns out to be relatively difficult, in particular because of the length of the stages, calculated according to accommodation possibilities. It should be noted, however, that there are more and more lodgings for pilgrims, most of which are organized by the Jacobean associations found in the eleven departments crossed by this route.

From Vézelay to the Spanish border, two markings are proposed: The GR 654, created by the French Federation of Pedestrian hikers, and the “Historical Route of Vézelay”, created by the Association of Friends and Pilgrims of Saint-Jacques of the Vézelay route.

It is this last route that we will follow here, with its northern branch, the Berrichon path (passing through La-Charité-sur-Loire, Bourges, Issoudun, Déols and Gargilesse) or its southern branch, the Nivernais path (via Saint-Father, Nevers, Neuvy-Saint-Sépulchre),  are both joining at Gargilesse.

Thanks to this constantly improving structure, pilgrims have returned to Vézelay. About ten in 2000, there are currently around a thousand per year and can sometimes hearing saying: (like Barret and Gurgand who opened the road for them) “Pray for us in Compostela” .

The Puy-en-Velay route Via Podiensis : Le Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire) Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). 750 km, 30 days of walking.

The Puy-en-Velay route, or via Podiensis, is the best known of the four major historic routes. It is also the oldest, since it was from Puy-en-Velay that Bishop Godescalc, one of the first non-Spanish pilgrims to have traveled to Compostela, left in 950-951.

Its advantages are numerous. First of all, it offers varied landscapes: the volcanic lands of Velay, the granite massif of Margeride, the desolate high plateau of the Aubrac, the Lot valley, the Quercy causses, then the hillsides and valleys. of Gascony which lead to the Pyrenees.

It also allows you to discover a very rich heritage, particularly in famous places such as Le Puy-en-Velay, Aubrac, Espalion, Estaing, Conches, Figeac, Cahors, Moissac, Reading, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This path, which follows the route of the GR 65, is fully marked by the French Hiking Federation.

750 km long, it represents around a month of walking. It benefits from an important reception infrastructure: it is, therefore, the most frequented. Most often, pilgrims begin their journey at Puy-en-Velay, but some, coming from other countries (Switzerland, Germany, Norway, etc.), have already wandered for several days, even several months, and stop here before they leave.

During busy periods, that is to say in June, July and August, an average of around a hundred pilgrims leave each day on Via Podiensis. During 2009, 12,000 pilgrims, of 63 different nationalities, received the blessing leaving from the Puy-en-Velay cathedral. For all these reasons, this Jacquaire route is nicknamed the “royal route”. A name that is confirmed by the mention of its main stages.

The Arles route Via Tolosana : Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône) Col du Somport (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). 740 km, 30 days of walking.

The Chemin d'Arles, also called via Tolosana (or Toulouse route), has always been a major route. In the Middle Ages, Italian and Provençal backgammons met the “roumieux” there, who came from the Iberian peninsula to go to the tomb of Saint Peter by taking the Domitian route.

Today, pilgrims have the choice between several routes. The route described here follows the GR 653 markings, which begins in Arles and, unlike the three other major French routes, does not cross the Pyrenees at Roncesvaux but at the Col du Somport.

Less frequented than that of Puy-en-Velay (461 pilgrims having taken this route or its Piedmont variant were recorded in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in 2009), it constitutes an interesting alternative to this one. Indeed, it crosses remarkable places, including: Arles,Saint-Gilles-du-GardMontpellier, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Castres, Toulouse, L'Isle-Jourdain, Auch, Saint-Christaud, Morlaàs, Lacommande, Oloron-Sainte-Marie.

The regions traveled, from sunny Provence to the green Pyrenees, also offer a rich diversity of reliefs, landscapes and climates: Languedoc plains, Gers forests, Gascon hills, foothills of the Pyrenees, Aspe valley.

However, you should know that this path has significant elevation changes, even before crossing the Pyrenees. The walker must be prepared for it and be in sufficiently good physical condition to best tackle this route.

The French Camino

The Camino francés (preceded by the Camino navarro and the Camino aragonés), which leads from Puente la Reina to Santiago, was so called because it was mainly traveled by pilgrims coming from beyond the Pyrenees, but also because that many Franks came to settle there. The multiple hospitals, bridges and monasteries that line this road bear witness to its prestigious past.

It is the most popular of the Spanish paths. In 2009, out of 145,877 pilgrims arriving in Santiago, 113,001 took this route. As rich in monuments as in encounters, it leaves an unforgettable memory for those who have traveled it, despite the importance of its attendance.


The Camino Navarro

The Camino Navarro (the Navarrese Path) designates the cluster of paths which cross Lower Navarre (French side) then Navarre (Spanish side).

The most important is the one which originates near Ostabat, at the junction point of three of the major French routes (Puy-en-Velay, Vézelay and Tours routes), and crosses the Pyrenees via the Roncesvalles pass to head towards Obanos, a town located just before Puente la Reina, where the Camino francés begins.

The Camino aragonés

The Camino aragonés (the Aragonese Way) so called because it follows the course of the Aragon river, is located at the extension of the Arles route. 170 km long, it reveals varied landscapes, between mountains and valleys.

Through Aragon then Navarre, it connects the Somport passage to Obanos, near Puente la Reina, where it joins the Camino Navarro. Less frequented than the latter, it reveals a remarkable heritage to the pilgrims who pass through it.

Santiago de Compostela Way

The roads to Compostela and Rome in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

These are the Paths which make the connection between the paths of Italy and the path of Arles.

Voie Aurélienne (Via Aurelia) GR653A Chemin de Menton à Arles

GR653A via Aurelia Hotel accommodation Théoule sur mer Saint Jacques copostelle

The GR653A, which goes from Menton to Arles and which crosses the entire Var department from East to West, is officially part of the Saint Jacques long-distance hiking trails in France, paths of which several sections are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It also constitutes a section of the European trail E12 “Mediterranean Arc” which crosses Italy, France, Spain and Morocco along the Mediterranean.

The Var route, 138 kilometers long, follows the axes of the old Roman road, the Via Aurelia, and crosses the great Var massifs: L'Estérel, les Maures and la Sainte-Baume.

Whether you are a pilgrim or a simple hiker, know that if the Var stages of the path to Santiago de Compostela and Rome are not yet very well known, they are not the least beautiful! As you follow this path you will indeed go from surprise to surprise:
- You will walk through 2000 years of history,
- You will discover an exceptional architectural heritage - Fréjus, Thoronet Abbey or Saint-Maximin, the 3rd tomb of Christianity,
- You will marvel at splendid landscapes.

Menton, La Trinité, Théoule sur Mer, Fréjus, Lorgues, Le Thoronet, St Maximin, Aix en Provence, Salon de Provence, Arles

Villa Saint Camille welcomes pilgrims and friends of Santiago de Compostela in its Family Holiday Home, with a preferential rate of 45€ for the first night (evening meal + overnight stay + breakfast upon presentation of the pilgrim's credentials).

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