05 Aug 20

Indulge your senses on Le Puy Camino

Sue Chater Camino

Le Puy Camino is arguably the most beautiful of all the Camino routes in Europe and one that truly indulges the senses.

Also known as the Via Podiensis, the Le Puy Camino is a 730km quiet and stunningly beautiful trail through rural south-west France that starts in the historic pilgrimage centre of Le Puy-en-Velay.

After passing over the mystical Aubrac plateau, it enters the valleys of the upper reaches of the Lot River – the location of several small medieval villages deemed the ‘Most Beautiful in France’. Among them are Saint-Chely-d’Olt with its quaintly twisted church spire, Espalion and the picturesque pilgrim bridge, Estaing dominated by a huge chateau, and the impossibly enchanting fairytale village of Conques, a jewel of Romanesque art.

Continuing through constantly changing landscapes, the Le Puy Camino passes through the limestone valleys of the Quercy, the rolling hills of Gascony, superb vineyards of Armagnac and finally arrives in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (Basque country) at the foothills of the Pyrenees, to connect with the Camino Francés.

Along the way, the cuisine changes regularly reflecting the regional agricultural produce. Indulge in fine food and wine in the areas through which you pass. Potato and cheese aligot from the Aubrac, black truffles in the Quercy and the wine and brandy of the Armagnac. Duck and goose, and foie gras, feature heavily in the Lot and Gascony.

From fortified hilltop villages and ancient Roman roads to pilgrim shrines and intact medieval villages, there are delightful surprises every day. And each town you pass through has a unique story to tell, including the stone cats of La Romieu (sculpted by Maurice Serreau) and the legend of the devil and the famous 14th-century stone arched bridge Pont Valentré in Cahors (considered one of the most remarkable bridges in the south of France).

Sometimes you will overnight in the larger towns, with time to explore and delight in the experience the culture and history. At other times you stay at B&Bs in the tiniest of villages sharing a traditional home-cooked meal, warm hospitality and friendship with your welcoming hosts.

Every day brings new discoveries, new companions and a new adventure!

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