A continuous walk along this famous pilgrim's path from Le Puy to Conques with your baggage transported for you.
See what's planned
- Embark on one of the most historic and famous pilgrimage routes in Europe.
- Encounter ancient reminders passing the same chapels or a shrine by the road side as the pilgrims that came before us.
- Experience medieval Conques, a fitting finale to a great walk, a chance to see rural France at its best.
- Walk with just a day pack, your bags are transported for you.
Stop for a moment to consider that buron stone hut on the Aubrac plateau, or the ancient bridge over the Allier River. How many feet have passed this way through the centuries on their way to Santiago de Compostela? We follow in the pilgrims’ footsteps between Le Puy and Conques, through summer pastures, forests of oak, beech and chestnut, between villages with bread ovens and ancient oxen shoeing stocks. On the way we hear tales of the Beast of Gevaudan, brigands, the hostelries feeding the pilgrim masses, convoluted thefts of relics and countless miracles.
Moving on most days, we stay in small simple hotels. Our bags are transported separately leaving us to carry just our day packs. Daily distances are usually between 10 and 12 miles, with some days being a little longer. If you want to take a day off from walking and travel by road between centres that is easily arranged. Our Holiday Information Sheet has more details.
We start in the distinctive volcanic town of Le Puy with a day to explore and walk to the fortress at Polignac. Setting out on our route we head south west passing through the Allier and Lot valleys. We cross the high Aubrac plateau, a rugged area. On arriving in the village of Estaing, on the banks of the River Lot, it is easy to see why it is considered one of the most picturesque in France. Conques makes a fitting finale to our walk. Beautifully situated above the river Dourdou it rivals Estaing in beauty and character.
The terrain is largely undulating but varies considerably over the course of our walk. Each day brings something new to enjoy, be it the scenery, the history or the company of our fellow hikers. On all levels this is a marvellous walk and it is clear why it is so popular. Note that flower lovers will particularly enjoy our May departure when the meadows explode with colour.
- Return flights from London to Lyon returning from Toulouse
- Airport transfers
- Baggage transfers between hotels
- Half board en suite accommodation
- All local transport costs.
What's not included?
- Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
- Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
- Discretionary tips
- Optional excursions
- Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)
The Route St Jacques starting in Le Puy is one of the four French traditional pilgrim routes connecting with the Camino de Santiago in Spain. It follows the GR65, a well-marked long distance pathway. Being a Grade 6 moderate holiday there are full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent. Our longest day is on day 5 at 28km (17 miles) taking us from Saugues to Faux but by then our legs should be nicely warmed up. The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Some days will be less demanding but equally rewarding. Don't be put off by the ascents and descents as these are spread across the whole day. Our new May departures will also be a good time to see flowers as we make our way along this famous pilgrimage route. The maximum altitude we reach on this holiday is 1,360m.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Hotel in Le Puy
We fly into Lyon and transfer by road to Le Puy-en-Velay, a journey of just over two hours. Our hotel is only a stone’s throw away from the busy and attractive centre of town.
Transfer Time = 2h
Hotel in Le Puy
Le Puy-en-Velay: In the morning we gently ease into “Pilgrim mode” with a pleasant walk to the impressive Fortress of Polignac. All around us are the “puys”, imposing vestiges of the area’s relatively recent volcanic activity. After lunch back in Le Puy, we spend the afternoon exploring the town’s old streets, visiting the 12th century cathedral and the seemingly inaccessible Chapelle St Michel, perched atop a slim volcanic plug. The chapel’s exquisite polychrome frescos make the climb well worth it.
St Privat d’Allier
Hotel in Privat d'Allier
Le Puy to St Privat d’Allier: The picturesque Place du Plot with its weekly food market is the historical starting point of the “Via Podiensis”, the route we will follow all the way to Conques. A conspicuous sign tells us that our final destination is 205 kilometres away – we had better start going! Our route today follows little paths and pleasant tracks winding through pastures and woods. This really is deepest France and apart from “pilgrims” like us, the villages we go through see few visitors.
Hotel in Saugues
St Privat d’Allier to Saugues: After a short and easy climb we arrive at Rochegude and its picturesque Chapelle St Jacques. The view from the chapel plunges down the gorges d’Allier, the route of the Cévenol, one of the most scenic railway lines in France. The local architecture is remarkable, everywhere are huge stone farmhouses built to last forever. Mid-morning, lunch and afternoon stops allow us to refuel and, more importantly for some, the opportunity to collect additional stamps for your Pilgrim’s Passport.
Hotel in Les Faux
Saugues to Les Faux: Our longest day today. Fortunately, the terrain is easy with no steep uphills or tricky downhill’s. Even better, unlike 18th century pilgrims we have nothing to fear from “La Bête du Gévaudan”, a wolf-like monster that killed over 100 people in this area. Most of the time, we feel on top of the world, with wonderful long distance views in every direction. We make the most of our rest stops by sampling “Tarte aux Myrtilles” and “Coupétade”, a local take on bread and butter pudding.
Hotel in Aumont Aubrac
Les Faux to Aumont Aubrac: An easier day after yesterday’s exertions. The pleasantly undulating terrain is not too taxing and we have plenty of time to enjoy our refuelling stops.
Hotel in Nasbinals
Aumont Aubrac to Nasbinals: Another long day made easy by the comfortable terrain. Shortly after our lunch stop, the scenery changes dramatically as we enter the Aubrac, a volcanic and granitic plateau. The area is famous for its eponymous cattle and harsh, long winters.
Hotel in Nasbinals
Nasbinals: A well-deserved rest day in Nasbinals, a small village nested around an 11th century church. Here we can unwind by doing very little or by going on a half day scenic circular walk.
St Chely d’Aubrac
Hotel in St Chely d'Aubrac
Nasbinals to St Chély d’Aubrac: We are on our way again, crossing the last section of the Aubrac plateau and reaching the highest point of our walk, 1368m, 23m higher than Ben Nevis. It is no wonder they have 150 days of subzero temperatures here. From there, our downhill walk takes us to the village of Aubrac, dominated by La Tour des Anglais and a large Romanesque church. Less than two hours later, we have left the high plateau and are in St Chély on the banks of La Boralde.
Hotel in Espalion
St Chély d’Aubrac to Espalion: Today’s mostly downhill walk leads us to the fertile Lot valley, with its rich woods of oak and sweet chestnut. In the afternoon, we reach the wonderful village of St Côme d’Olt, one of France’s official “Plus Beaux Villages”. It is also one of the 104 villages in Europe boasting a church with a twisted spire.
Hotel in Estaing
Espalion to Estaing: A short stage today, from Espalion to Estaing, another “Plus Beau Village de France”, dominated by its castle. On our way, we stop to visit the wonderful Romanesque church of Bessuéjouls and its intriguing upper chapel.
Hotel in Espeyrac
Estaing to Espeyrac: A day of many ups and downs. Depending on the weather, we may briefly leave the Route St Jacques and reach Espeyrac via the scenic GR6.
Hotel in Conques
Espeyrac to Conques: A short morning walk and we reach the end of our journey. By lunchtime, we arrive in Conques, an extraordinary medieval village dominated by the stunning abbey church of Ste Foy. We have the entire afternoon to relax, explore ...and collect our last stamp.
Conques and return flight: A lazy breakfast for some, more exploration for others; around midday, we start our coach journey to Toulouse airport from where we catch our return flight to the UK.
Walks & Excursions
You only need to carry what you need for the day in a daysack as your main baggage is transported for you.
As this is a continuous walking holiday you should walk from place to place with the party. If however, you do not wish to walk on some days but wish to make your own arrangements for transport between centres, you should ensure that the leader is aware of your plans.
One way of travelling between hotels should you not wish to walk is to hop in the baggage transport van. To do this you will need to be ready for 8am and there is no certainty of space. There is also no fixed fee. Some walkers in the past have paid as much as 10 Euro. Another option is Compostel’Bus (www.compostelbus.com) they have a fixed timetable and prices. Either pick up a leaflet from the Tourist Office in Le Puy or check online. Should you require assistance with finding transport your leader will be more than happy to assist.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator.
We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by
us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price,
non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or
additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in France
The currency in France is the euro.
Credit cards are widely accepted. You may be asked to provide ID if you can’t pay by chip and PIN. ATMs are widely available in most towns and villages throughout France.
There are banks in some of the places where we stay but they will often be closed by the time we arrive, making it inconvenient (and often expensive) to change Travellers’ Cheques. However, many have ATM machines to enable you to withdraw cash using your credit or bank card. ATM machines are freely accessible at Le Puy, our first centre.
Most of the hotels accept credit card payment for bills.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Your Travel Details
Flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Toulouse (TLS) with British Airways.
Transfers from Lyon to Le Puy (2 hours), Conques to Toulouse (3 hours) and locally will be by road. We walk between centres - our baggage being sent on by road.
Your luggage will be transferred by road between centres. Please note: the baggage allowance is one piece of luggage, weighing no more than 15KG to be transferred per person. This is due to local health and safety regulations, so please ensure that you do not exceed this allowance. Step off the plane carrying only with what you need for the trip, nothing else. Storage of excess baggage not required for the holiday is not possible.
If your luggage exceeds the 15KG allowance, you will be charged locally an extra baggage fee which changes regularly.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport.
Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents
and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to
ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply
with, such requirements.
General travel and destination advice for UK nationals is available from the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office at www.fco.gov.uk/travel
and at www.gov.uk/travelaware.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Each morning there will be a continental breakfast with fresh coffee to set you up for your days walking and in the evening hearty meals to top the energy levels back up again. Lunches are not included and are normally an en route picnic, or sometimes an opportunity to eat in a local restaurant.
In all the centres we stay in local bakeries offer the chance to get freshly baked baguettes and rolls that can be filled with local cheeses and hams to make a lovely packed lunch to keep you going on your pilgrimage.
In the evening your accommodation for the night will supply you with dinner refuelling you for the next days walking.
Our accommodation along this iconic route is equally fitting. Small pensions and alberge's offer a homely stay. Small in size but big in character they are perfect for what is often a one night stay along our trek. Homely welcomes, decor and food perfect of resting up for the next days walking.
A final hotel list will be sent to you along with your final travel documents before departure.
Footwear & Kit List
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
- Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
- Lightweight quick-drying trousers
- Walking T-shirt/shirts
- Walking socks
- Fleece or jumper
- Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
- Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
- Swimwear (if appropriate)
- Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
- Day sack liner
- Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
- Basic first aid kit
- Walking poles (should you find them useful)
- Sit mat
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
- Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
- Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
- Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
- Holiday money
- Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
- Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
- Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
- Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
- Your travel insurance details
- Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
- Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
- A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
- Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about
Electricity in France
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is
filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter
such as a Water-to-go bottle available from
Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go
for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website
at www.watertogo.eu and
enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the
discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us
to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information
Maps, Guidebooks & More
- IGN 1:100,000 TOP100 map 155 Aurillac-St Flour
- IGN 1:100,000 TOP100 map 156 Le Puy-en-Velay
- IGN 1:100,000 TOP100 map 162 Rodez-Millau
A detailed guide to the walk is also available, The Way of St James by Alison Raju (Cicerone Press) ISBN 1852843713
French Tourism: www.franceguide.com
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:
Find out more
Euro; CFP Franc
1.5hrs from UK
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Avg. Rain: 65mm
Avg. Rain: 56mm
Avg. Rain: 55mm
Avg. Rain: 59mm
Avg. Rain: 66mm
Avg. Rain: 58mm
Avg. Rain: 51mm
Avg. Rain: 56mm
Avg. Rain: 66mm
Avg. Rain: 79mm
Avg. Rain: 76mm
Avg. Rain: 74mm
Staying Healthy On Holiday
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility
to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on,
and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure.
Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for France
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to France.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information
on security and local laws for travellers, together with current
passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware.
Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible
precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays
of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches.
Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day,
and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations.
Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence
of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups
not only gives you an up close and personal experience of
your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate
environment. We feel that the most important starting point
to protect the environment is to be out in it.
For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able
to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives.
Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose
aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries
we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long
term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less
developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way.
See our website for more information and details of some of the
projects we support.
Staying In Touch
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature
of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change
to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and
your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your
attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Ramblers Walking Holidays
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
- 9am to 12pm Monday to Friday
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent.
These walks are in more remote areas such as Andorra or northern Portugal.
Similar to Grade 5, but with most of the walks at the upper level of ascent/descent, time and distance.
Discover more about our walking grades