The Chemin du Puy is one of four ancient routes through France that eventually join up with the Camino de Santiago. Covering an epic 700km through southern France, cycling Le Puy-en-Velay to St Jean-Pied-de-Port is the complete route, finishing in the famous Basque village. This colossal cycling adventure takes 16 days, staying in small, traditional hotels en route. With your bags transported for you, cycle through the Auvergne, volcanic landscapes of the Velay, wild moorlands of Aubrac plateau, the ancient village of Conques in the Lot Valley, and then some incredible Pyrenean landscapes.
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Puy
- Some of the most beautiful villages in France such as Espalion, Lauzerte, Auvillar, La Romieu, Montreal, Navarrenx
- Church of Sainte-Quitterie, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- St Jean-Pied-de-Port
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Day 1: Arrive in Le Puy-en-Velay
Le Puy Camino starts in the charming town of Le Puy-en-Velay, nestled between the Auvergne volcanoes and the Rhone Alpes valley. You feel you are stepping back in time, wandering the cobbled streets of the old town. Enjoy a walk up to Notre Dame de France for some fantastic panoramic views of the city and the surrounding volcanic landscapes.
- Accommodation: Hotel Le Régina or similar in Le Puy-en-Velay
Day 2: Le Puy-en-Velay – Monistrol-d’Allier – Saugues | 46km
The route begins at the cathedral, before passing through Monts du Velay and then descending into Gorges de l’Allier. Pass through a variety of landscapes and terrain, before ending the day in Saugues.
- Cycling for the day: 46km, ↑1050m, ↓6255m
- Accommodation: B&B La Flore or similar in Saugues
Day 3: Saugues – Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole – Aumont-Aubrac | 44km
The route continues into Margeride and throughTruyère Gorges before reaching the village of Aumont-Aubrac. Cycle past Saint Roch Chapel, the highest point of this stage, with an altitude of around 1,300m. The route continues through Le Rouget-Pers, Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole and Les Estrets before arriving in Aumont-Aubrac, located in the heart of Lozère, an important location on the pilgrimage route. The heart of the old town was formerly surrounded by ramparts. The Place de L’Hotel-de-Ville was at the old gate of the city. The old town has preserved houses from the 16th and 17th centuries, with sculpted stone facades.
- Cycling for the day: 44km, ↑800m, ↓730m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Prunières or similar in Aumont-Aubrac
Day 4: Aumont-Aubrac – Nasbinals – Estaing | 78km
Leaving Aumont-Aubrac, the route heads through pine groves before reaching Aubrac plateau. Just after the village of Nasbinals, you come to the highest point of the Way of Saint James, Col d’Aubrac, with an altitude of 1,340m. Continue to Aubrac village and Saint-Côme-d’Olt, one of Les plus beaux villages de France (an official accreditation in France) along the Lot River. Its old quarter has a distinctive medieval feel. From Saint-Côme-d’Olt, continue to Espalion along the Lot River. Espalion has a fine medieval bridge over the Lot. The final destination for the day is in Estaing.
- Cycling for the day: 78km,↑655m, ↓1,375m
- Accommodation: Auberge Saint Fleuret** or similar in Estaing
Day 5: Estaing – Espeyrac – Conques | 36km
After leaving Estaing and the Lot Valley on a very steep ascent to Campuac, continue towards Espeyrac and Sénergues. From here, the route descends towards Conques, a jewel of Romanesque art and a must-see on the Chemin du Puy.
- Cycling for the day: 36km, ↑680m, ↓440m
- Accommodation: B&B Au Castellou or similar Conques
Day 6: Conques – Saint-Parthem – Figeac | 43km
Start today along the Dourdou de Conques River to Livinhac-le-Haut. From here, the route begins to ascend towards Figeac by the Célé River, which has many popular attractions, including the beautiful medieval church of Saint-Sauveur, Musée Champollion (a small museum celebrating the life and work of Jean-François Champollion, the genius who figured out Egyptian hieroglyphs), and the Templar Commandery.
- Cycling for the day: 43km, ↑430m, ↓740m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Le Quatorze*** or similar in Figeac
Day 7: Figeac – Bouziès | 54km
Today’s cycle begins by following the river, stopping at multiple villages along the way, such as Boussac, Sainte-Eulalie or Brengues among others. Discover the 13th-century church of Saint-Sulpice in Espagnac-Sainte-Eulalie and the Benedictine Abbey ruins in Marcilhac-sur-Célé. From here, follow the Lot River once again before crossing the bridge into Bouziès.
- Cycling for the day: 54km, ↑80m, ↓150m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Les Falaises*** or similar in Bouziès
Day 8: Bouziès – Saint-Cirq-Lapopie – Cahors | 35km
This morning’s ride follows a route cut into the rock on the edge of the Lot Valley, to reach Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. From here, the route begins a steep ascent towards Flaujac-Poujols before eventually descending to the medieval town of Cahors.
- Cycling for the day: 35km, ↑540m, ↓550m
- Accommodation: Brit Hotel Le France*** or similar in Cahors
Day 9: Cahors – Lauzerte | 39km
Cycle out of Cahors via Valentré bridge. The route continues along small tracks and roads to Lascabanes, which had a pilgrim hospital in the 15th century and the tiny church still offers a pilgrim blessing every day at 18.00. After a few kilometres, you come to Tarn-et-Garonne, then follow the road up to Lauzerte, located on a hill overlooking a landscape of vineyards and green valleys. This is a great place to take a break, wandering through the village with its medieval architecture, ramparts and town square.
- Cycling for the day: 39km, ↑285m, ↓185m
- Accommodation: Hôtel du Quercy* or similar in Lauzerte
Day 10: Lauzerte – Moissac – Auvillar | 47km
From Lauzerte, the route descends into Moissac, at at the confluence of the Garonne and Tarn Rivers and the Canal de Garonne. Its abbey is also worth a visit. Continue through Beaumont-de-Lomagne as far as Auvillar, an historic market town.
- Cycling for the day: 47km, ↑245m, ↓370m
- Accommodation: Hôtel de l’Horloge or similar in Auvillar
Day 11: Auvillar – Lectoure – Condom | 59km
The route leaves Tarn-et-Garonne and enters Gers, passing through the villages of Flamarens, Miradoux, Lectoure, Marsolan and La Romieu. Condom is located on the Cèle and Baïse Rivers and is home to the Gothic-style Cathédrale Saint-Pierre.
- Cycling for the day: 59km, ↑555m, ↓590m
- Accommodation: B&B Les Angelots or similar in Condom
Day 12: Condom – Éauze – Aire-sur-l’Adour | 79km
Today’s route passes through Montréal-du-Gers, one of the ancient walled towns of Gascogne and home to the biggest vineyard of Armagnac. The route continues to Eauze, the capital of Armagnac. In AD3, the city became the capital of the Roman province of Novempopulania and it’s worth checking out the archaeology museum in the heart of Eauze, to discover the trails of the ancient city of Elusa. The day comes to a close in Aire-sur-l’Adour, home to the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Aire and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Église Sainte-Quitterie. The accommodation this evening is just outside of Aire-sur-l’Adour, in Barcelonne-du-Gers.
- Cycling for the day: 79km, ↑220m, ↓240m
- Accommodation: Chambre d’hôtes La Bastide du Cosset or similar in Barcelonne-du-Gers
Day 13: Aire sur l’Adour – Maslacq | 67km
This morning’s route follows a quiet road, passing farms and cornfields, as far as Béarn. The scenery gradually begins to change as the route reaches the Pyrenees-Atlantiques before coming to Arzacq-Arraziguet and the village of Maslacq. From Pomps to Maslacq, you pass through Arthez-de-Béarn, with its distinctive Basque architecture.
- Cycling for the day: 67km,↑710m, ↓790m
- Accommodation: Gîte d’étape La Halte or similar in Maslacq
Day 14: Maslacq – Navarrenx – Saint-Palais | 48km
Today’s route takes you into Basque Country and the Pyrenees. After passing the ancient fortified village of Navarrenx, the first place in France to be fortified with Italian-style ramparts in the 16th century, you cross Gave d’Oloron River to reach Saint-Palais.
- Cycling for the day: 48km, ↑380m, ↓415m
- Accommodation: Hôtel de la Paix*** or similar in Saint-Palais
Day 15: Saint-Palais – Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port | 34km
The last cycling day begins in the Basque Country, passing traditional white and red half-timbered houses. Cross Col des Palombières and, after taking in the view, begin the descent into Saint-Jean-le-Vieux. The last few kilometres lead to Saint-Jacques Gate, at the entrance to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.This village is a small border town on the Nive River but is always a hub of camino pilgrims, as it is the starting point of the Camino Frances to Santiago.
- Cycling for the day: 34km, ↑385m, ↓255m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Ramuntcho** or similar in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
Day 16: Departure
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before departure. We recommend booking additional nights in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to explore the town.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour includes a mix of small, locally-owned hotels, B&Bs and traditional guesthouses. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. Accommodations are located close to the route of the Camino, and usually have private rooms with en-suite bathrooms (this may vary as there are limited options available in some locations along the route). 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 other nearby locations.
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. Eleven dinners included, excluding days one, six, eight and fifteen. 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. Where no dinner is included, you can have your dinner at nearby restaurants.
Difficulty and terrain
This trip is graded moderate to strenuous and includes cycling routes of up to 40-80km a day, with steep ascents/descents on some days. A reasonable level of fitness is required. This route can be challenging for those with little cycling experience (read more about difficulty grades).
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 to warm climate and pleasant temperatures for walking between 19C-26C. Summers in the south of France are hot, dry and sunny. Late spring and early autumn are less hot but 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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Our recommended arrival airport for this tour is Lyon. The alternative airports are Paris Orly and Paris Charles de Gaulle. The recommended departure airport is Biarritz. An alternative departure airport is San Sebastian in Spain.
By train or bus
Arrival in Le Puy-en-Velay: You can get to Le Puy-en-Velay by train, from Lyon airport. You can also fly to Paris with an onward connection by air or TGV (high-speed) train to Lyon, where you change for Le Puy-en-Velay. For timetables and further information, check the website of SNCF-Connect.
Departure from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port: From Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, you can take a train to reach Bayonne and from here you can reach various points in France (Pau, Bordeaux, Paris) or Spain (San Sebastian). From Bayonne, you can also take a 30mins bus to the airport in Biarritz.
- 15 nights in private en-suite rooms
- 15 breakfasts
- 11 dinners (not included on days 1, 6, 8 and 15)
- Digital route description, maps, guidebook and navigation app (Please note, that the information pack for this tour is digital only and will be emailed to you prior to departure. Physical documents can be delivered to your first hotel for an additional fee)
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (one piece up to 13kg per person; each additional piece should be paid)
- Tourist city tax
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, drinks and snacks
- Dinners on days 1, 6, 8 and 15
- Additional luggage
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- 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
- Additional luggage transfers
- Hybrid or e-bike rental
In case you would like to rent a bike from us, we can offer hybrid or e-bikes. All bikes are equipped with a lock, helmet, bag and a puncture repair kit. Sample pictures attached below, note that the exact models may differ depending on the availability, but the standard will be the same.
- Type: Hybrid
- 24 Speed Shimano Drive Train
- Integrated Cable Routing
- Integrated Dynamo Power LED Lights
- Sizes available: Extra small – small – medium – large
- Type: Hybrid
- Lightweight Aluminium Frame, Carbon Forks
- Hydraulic brakes
- Shimano 20-Speed or 18 Speed
- Sizes available: Extra small – small – medium – large
Cube Electric Hybrid
- Type: E-bike
- Hydraulic Brakes, Shimano Altus 9-speed
- Front suspension: Suntour NEX
- Bosch Drive Unit Active Plus GEN3 (50Nm)
- Sizes: Small – medium