Le Chemin de St. Jacques is a trek and pilgrimage in France leading to the El Camino de Santiago.
In August, 2013, I spent a month walking a French pilgrimage trail, Le Chemin de St. Jacques, which goes from Le Puy-en-Velay in southeastern France to St. Jean Pied-de-Port on the Spanish border. The route follows the GR (Grande Randonee) 65, a French national trail.
Le Chemin de St. Jacques is one of three routes in France which leads to the more famous El Camino de Santiago.
A little history
Pilgrims have been walking to Santiago for more than 1,000 years. The remains of St. James the Apostle supposedly are buried in Santiago in northwestern Spain. St. James had spent some time evangelizing in Spain but was beheaded by the Romans when he returned to Rome.
Miraculously his body was returned to Spain, buried and forgotten. His grave was discovered and authenticated in the ninth century. A cathedral was built over the site of the tomb. A scallop shell has come to symbolize the Way of St. James pilgrimage, probably because early pilgrims brought back seashells as souvenirs from Santiago.
Now over 50,000 people start the trek at Le Puy. This is trekking, about halfway between backpacking and dayhiking. You need to carry everything on your back but you’ll be staying in a gite (hostel), Chambre d’Hote (bed and breakfast) or small hotel every night. So there’s no need for a sleeping bag or tent.
I made two short videos on my trek: aat Le Chemin and one on the .
I blogged about the trail from the time I got to Paris and continue to blog as thoughts came up. You can see all the posts about Le Chemin. My first post was May 7, 2013 when I went to hear a talk at the of the on the Camino.
Ruja, Alison. The Way of St. James: Le Puy to the Pyrenees. Cicerone Guides, 2010.
Miam Miam Do Do: Le Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Published by. You can buy a copy in Le Puy when you start out. I bought my book in advance on the web from the publisher so I could study it and look up words at home.
On the Web
focuses mostly on the Spanish trek but it has lots of general useful information.
Several Facebook groups may be useful. Search for:
Gite sur le chemin de st Jacques de Compostelle
American Pilgrims on the Camino
Here are links to three articles I wrote for.
Le Puy-en-Velay to Cahors 204 miles
Cahors to St. Jean Pied de Port
How can you do Le Chemin de St. Jacques?