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Auvergne: the starting point of the Way of Saint James

Starting in Le Puy-en-Velay, the Way of Saint James continues from the Auvergne across France and Spain. The first stages of this famous pilgrim route are among the best preserved. Discover these authentic, legendary, symbolic and sacred locations, listed as World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Experience the simplicity and excitement of this history-laden hike, guaranteed to recharge your batteries and help you unwind.

It was in 950 with one of the first pilgrims, Gotteshalk, bishop of the diocese of Le Puy-en-Velay, that the Via Podiensis entered the history books as one of the four pilgrim trails leading to Santiago de Compostela. It is the oldest and most authentic of the four trails.


Le Puy-en-Velay in Haute-Loire
Le Puy-en-Velay in Haute-Loire

The GR 65 trail: 134 km in the Haute-Loire

The trail being in Le Puy-en-Velay, listed as World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO for certain parts of its route and for the cathedral and Hôtel-Dieu. As you leave Le Puy, discover the castle of Polignac. Further on the amazing view over the Allier valley from Rochegude, combined with the impressive size of the Saint-Jacques chapel and its panoramic viewpoint is another high point along the trail.

Your arrival in Saugues, a small town built around a natural basin, is another key stage of the journey. Overlooked by its imposing Tour des Anglais, the village also has an excellent indoor market. For your last stop in Haute-Loire, stay in the

Domaine du Sauvage, without a doubt this is one of the finest stopover gîtes along the trail. This former Knights Templar farm looks forward to welcoming you in a stony and almost desert-like setting. A place of wisdom and contemplation where you can recharge your batteries.

Along the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim trail
Along the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim trail

A few tips before heading out on the Way of Saint James

- Accommodation : for groups, reservations are necessary year-round. For individuals, it is reccommended to reserve 12 to 24 hours in advance.

- Stages : ranging from 25 to 35 km per day, don't forget to take into consideration the altitude differences. Most hikers find their rhythm in 3 to 5 days. In the summer, it is best to begin hiking early in the day.

- Training : it is sensible to train with a full pack before undertaking the hike. Other solutions are available: there are companies that can transport your luggage for you. .

- Hiking maps and guides : the GR 65 trail is divided into three guides published by the FFRP (French Hiking Federation). Le Puy-en-Velay / Figeac (réf 651)

- Equipement : Make sure to wear broken-in, hi-top shoes that support your ankle that are light, water-resistant and breathable with slip-proof soles. Choose your socks wisely as well. The type of backpack needed depends on the length of the hike as well as the size and capability of the wearer: between 10 and 12 kg for a man and 8 to 10 kg for a woman.


More information


For a no-hassle walk along the trail, take advantage of the Compostel'Bus, with daily stops along the Way of Saint James, from Le Puy-en-Velay to Conques (April to October). Start or stop where you please!


Tour Operators

Discover the Way of Saint James with a specialized tour operator:

La Pèlerine / Ramblers Holidays / Sherpa Expeditions / World Walks

Find out more on the website of the Puy-en-Velay tourist board
Map of the Way of Saint James
Map of the Way of Saint James

See also

Tourisme en Auvergne

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