The Chemin du Puy, also known as the Via Podiensis, is one of four ancient routes through France that eventually join up with the Camino. Covering an epic 750km, this segment is from Aire-sur-l’Adour to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the former home to the UNESCO Church of St Quiteria and the latter at the foot of the Pyrenean Roncevaux Pass. Walk between 13- 31km per day with views of the snow-capped Pyrenees, pass through medieval villages, visit ancient places of worship and taking plenty of paysan pauses for thought. Stay in small, comfortable accommodation, with your bags transported for you, and enjoy fine French fare en route.
- Camino Le Puy from Aire-sur-l’Adour to French Basque country
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Stelle de Gibraltar
- Navarrenx: the first place in France to be fortified with Italian style ramparts
- Church of Saint-Quitterie
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Day 1: Arrival in Aire-sur-l’Adour
The town of Aire-sur-l’Adour is a quiet market town by the River Adour. A settlement has existed here since Roman times although only a trace of the name that still exists. The Roman name was Atura, which later gave rise to Adour. The town extends south from here along Rue Gambetta and Rue Carnot, where you can find many small boutiques.
- Accommodation: Hotel N’Atura or similar in Aire-sur-l’Adour
Day 2: Aire-sur-l’Adour to Arzacq-Arraziguet | 31km
Your walking day to Arzacq-Arraziguet takes you through lush green countryside with hamlets and ancient buildings such as medieval chapels and wash-houses. Today is a demanding walking day, mainly due to its length rather than the difficulty of the trail. You also get your first view of the snow-capped Pyrenees today. Pass the magnificent 11th-century Miramont-Sensacq church, formerly dedicated to Saint James. From here, you enter the region of Béarn, ending your day in the 11th-century town of Arzacq-Arraziguet.
- Walking for the day: 31km, 7-8h, ↑365m ↓215m
- Accommodation: B&B La Maison d’Antan or similar in Arzacq-Arraziguet
Day 3: Arzacq-Arraziguet to Larreule | 12km
You have plenty of time to take in the magnificent scenery today, with the Pyrenees to the south. The route takes you across rolling hills and past ancient villages such as Louvigny and Larreule, the latter home to a 10th-century Benedictine monastery.
- Walking for the day: 12km, 3h, ↑200m ↓305m
- Accommodation: Gîte L’Escale or similar in Larreule
Day 4: Larreule to Maslacq | 26km
Today your walk takes you to Uzan where you can visit the rural church of Saint-Quitterie. From Pomps to Maslacq, walk through Arthez-de-Béarn, with its distinctive Basque architecture. A few long uphill stretches add a bit of a challenge to this pleasant section of the trail.
- Walking for the day: 26km, 6h, ↑155m ↓205m
- Accommodation: B&B La Ferme de Bicatou or similar in Maslacq
Day 5: Maslacq to Navarrenx | 22km
Your walk today ends with a long descent through a forest which takes you to the lovely walled town of Navarrenx, the first place in France to be fortified with Italian-style ramparts in the 16th century. Navarrenx is also one of designated ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’. Over the centuries, the fortified wall of Navarrenx has retained its main features. From the top of the ramparts, there is a view of the Pyrenees and below, the arches of Pont de Navarrenx.
- Walking for the day: 22km, 4-5h, ↑380m ↓335m
- Accommodation: B&B Le Relais du Jacquet or similar in Navarrenx
Day 6: Navarrenx to Lichos | 13km
Today your walk takes you through woodlands and peaceful countryside before reaching the tiny village of Lichos, where you enter French Basque Country.
- Walking for the day: 13km, 3h, ↑95m ↓120m
- Accommodation: B&B Haïtzpean or similar in Lichos
Day 7: Lichos to Saint-Palais | 24km
Stop at the Romanesque church of Saint-Etienne in Aroue, taking a detour off the path to see the church of Saint-Just in Olhaiby. Note that your accommodation in Saint-Palais is slightly off the main track. Saint-Palais is about 4.5km north of the GR65 long-distance trail, included in your total distance today.
- Walking for the day: 24km, 5-6h, ↑340m ↓310m
- Accommodation: Hotel de La Paix or similar in Saint-Palais
Day 8: Saint-Palais to Ostabat-Asme | 13km
During your walk today, you pass the Stelle de Gibraltar, famous for being the place where all the Camino routes from France meet. Your walk then takes you across rolling countryside before reaching Soyarce chapel where you get amazing views over the Pyrenees. Next, you reach Ostabat, a small village that used to be an important stop for medieval pilgrims.
- Walking for the day: 13km, 3-4h, ↑230m ↓230m
- Accommodation: Gîte La Ferme Gaineko Etxea or similar in Ostabat-Asme
Day 9: Ostabat-Asme to St Jean-Pied-de-Port | 22km
Your last walking day today takes you across rural Basque country before reaching Saint James’ Gate and entering the medieval villages of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, also one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. This village is a small border town on the Rver Nive but is always a hub of Camino pilgrims, as it is the starting point of the French Way to Santiago. The town has traditionally been an important point on the Way of Saint James, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, as it stands at the foot of the Roncevaux Pass across the Pyrenees. The routes from Paris, Vézelay and Le Puy-en-Velay meet at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
- Walking for the day: 22km, 4-5h, ↑200m ↓215m
- Accommodation: Hotel Ramuntcho or similar in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
Day 10: Departure
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before departure. We recommend booking additional nights in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to explore this charming town.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour includes a mix of welcoming B&Bs and simple, comfortable hotels, with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms. Accommodation along the Camino route are usually stopover places, and unfortunately, we sometimes have a limited choice. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. Extra nights can be booked at any of the locations along the way. If you choose a double or a twin room, we will do our best to book this, but it will not always be possible to confirm the requested room type.
Important: We aim to book you into each town listed on the itinerary. However, in case of low availability, we may book you at nearby places.
Click to view default hotels
Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included (usually a simple buffet breakfast/coffee and toast/bread/croissant) on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunches can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. There are many local restaurants available near to hotels for dinners.
Difficulty and terrain
This walk is graded moderate to strenuous and includes walks of up to 31km (7-8h) a day, with some of the walks being fairly strenuous with steeper ascents/descents. A reasonable level of fitness is required. This route can be challenging for those with little walking experience (read more about difficulty grades). Le Puy Camino follows a mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. The route is marked with yellow painted arrows, but please take care at intersections. There are sections on the route where you will divert to follow the red and white stripes of the GR routes. There will often be other walkers around in case you are looking for help. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through unknown and unmarked terrain. We provide you with maps, and you can call our local assistance phone number anytime.
When to go
This trip is available from the beginning of April until the end of October.
The weather in southern France is varied. In general, you can expect a mild warm climate and pleasant temperatures for walking from 19C up to about 26C in summer months. Summers in the south of France are hot, dry and sunny. Late spring and early autumn are less hot but usually still very pleasant and typically warm enough to spend your evenings eating outside.
The flexibility of self-guided walking holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
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Arrival in Aire-sur-l’Adour: Aire-sur-l’Adour does not have a train station but you can take a train to Mont-de-Marsan. From Mont-de-Marsan you can take a bus to Aire-sur-Adour. Be aware, bus departures are every 4 hours.
Departure from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port: From Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port you can take a train to reach Bayonne and on to various points in France or Spain. These are the TER regional trains. From Bayonne you can take a 30 minute bus to the airport in Biarritz and fly to points throughout Europe.
- 9 nights in private en-suite rooms
- 9 breakfasts
- Digital route description and maps (Please note, that the information pack for this tour is digital only and will be emailed to you prior to departure. Printed documents can be delivered to your first accommodation at extra charge.)
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (one piece up to 13kg per person)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
- Additional luggage
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on the spot)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights