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Pilgrims tips for your road to Santiago de Compostela

Pèlerin au départ du chemin de Compostelle

Where can I find a map for the road to Santiago de Compostela ?

It's quite easy to find the signposts along the route to Santiago, and guidebook usually have very detailed maps for each stage of Saint James' pilgrimage. It is although not compulsery to carry a map with you.
On the via Podiensis, the road to Santiago de Compostela that starts from Le Puy en Velay, you will usually find two kind of signposts :
white and red signpost (two line) from the Federation Française de la Randonnee Pedestre.
A yellow scallop shell on a blue blackground, the logo from the cultural itinerary from European Council.
These signposts are always in the direction of the pathway of the Camino de Santiago.

A map for the route to Santiago de Compostela will be usefull for those you want to draw their own itinerary : French IGN Map 1/100 000 (collection Top 100) and 1/25 000 (collections Top 25 and Blue Serie).

The inescapable IGN Map

Michelin edition print a map dedicated to the road to Santiago de Compostela starting at Le Puy en Velay. It gives distance indication for each stage of Saint Jame's Way (including elevation profile), more details about each stage starting and destination point and about villages along the way of the Camino de Santiago (accommodation, hostal, restaurant, grocery store, km you've done, km you still have to do...).
Captions are in French, English, Deutsch, Spanish, Italian and Dutch.

GPS tracks and elevation profiles

The website Openrunner allows you to visualize your itinerary along the way to Compostela as well as get satellite views or draw your itinerary. You can print your own map of your own Camino de Santiago pilgrimage or download a GPS file.
You can also download elevation profile for all stages of the Camino de Santiago from Le Puy en Velay to Saint Jean Pied de Port here.

Other free map for Saint James' Way

You'll find a track for each stage of the road to Santiago de Compostela from Le Puy en Velay to Conques on online IGN maps on Podiensis website

Which guidebook choose for your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela ?

The French Federation print several guidebooks that gives good advices for your itinerary along Saint James Way as long as you speak few words of French.
There are 3 guidebooks for GR65 : Le Puy-en-Velay / Figeac (ref 651), Figeac / Moissac (ref 652) and Moissac / Ronceveaux. (ref 653)
Each of them includes very detailed maps for each stage of the route to Compostela.

However, if you need instead informations about accommodations, then it will be better to carry the Miam Miam Dodo by L. Clouteau and MV. Cambriel, a real bible about the Camino de Santiago !
Because there are lots of signposts along the GR65 (Via Podiensis from Le Puy to Compostela), a guidebook like miam-miam dodo can be enough for most of the hikers who start the pilgrimage to Compostela.

Should I book accommodation in advance ?

Booking your accommodation is crucial for groups in high season as well as low season. If you make the pilgrimage alone, it's recommanded to book accommodation at least a day in advance. Make sure you've checked the open time of the accommodation you have selected along the way to Santiago de Compostela. Lots of the country lodges are closed during the off season.

Country lodges and pilgrims hostal

They give you the opportunity to meet other pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, and to find them again along the route. They essentially welcome pilgrims of Saint James' Way and are usually very cost efficient. A good option for those you appreciate promiscuity ! Be carefull, lots of the pilgrims hostal are closed during the off season.

Hotels

According to your budget, most of the stage along the Camino de Santiago have proper hotels with affordable rooms. Lots of them are open all year round. They could give you an appreciated comfort for some stage of your hike !

Guestrooms

You'll find lots of chambres d'hôtes (guestrooms) along the road to Santiago de Compostela. You usually get a warm welcome, appreciated comfort, and good table for those that offer diner.

Camping

The best budget option for hikers who prefer the outback experience or who are looking at their expenses. This option will give you more freedom to make your own stage along the Saint James' Way and stop wherever you want. There are lots of camping grounds all along the route to Santiago de Compostela.

Local market along the Camino de Santiago from Le Puy en Velay to Conques

Rural markets along the Camino de Santiago from Puy en Velay to Conques :

In Puy en Velay : Saturday mornings
In Saugues : Monday mornings and Friday mornings
In St Côme d'Olt : Sunday mornings
In Entraygues sur Truyère : Friday mornings + an additionnal productor market all wednesdays in July and August (as from July 15).

Special markets :

In Le Puy en Velay : night market il July and August
In Estaing : night market from July 3 to August 28, Book festival on July 14
In Conques : Flower market

Productor markets :

There are several along the Camino de Santiago but dates are often published later in the year.

Weather forecast

To check weather forcecast during your hike on the Camino de Santiago, you can dial +338 92 68 02 and add 43 for Haute-Loire department, 48 for Lozère department, 12 for Aveyron department and 46 for Lot department.
From mid october to mid april, weather conditions may vary a lot and are sometimes quite rough on the Margeride plateau and Aubrac (snow, fog)

How to organise my return journey from Conques to Le Puy en Velay ?

Get on board of the Compostel'Bus. This bus provide daily ride from Conques to Le Puy en Velay for pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela from April to October. It will stop at each stage of the Camino de Santiago if you want to return before Conques.
You'll get the best prices online, but you can also buy your ticket directly on boad to the driver (please make sure you book by phone before for stops followed by a *)
Check bus timetable for return Conques - Le Puy en Velay