Camino de Santiago: The French Manner (Camino Francés)

In recent times the pilgrimage route from St. Jean Pied de Port, in France to Santiago de Compostela, within the North West of Spain, also referred to as The French Manner or Camino Francés, has change into more and more common. Paradoxically most individuals are tackling the Camino de Santiago, not for non secular causes however moderately to check themselves or simply merely to get away from all of it. And the excellent news is that you simply get a certificates exhibiting you’ve gotten accomplished the stroll on the finish.

The “Manner of St James”

Camino pilgrim

Camino pilgrim (c) Rupert Parker

In English, it is named The Manner of St James, because the bones of the disciple are supposedly buried within the cathedral of Santiago, however to the hikers, it’s simply the Camino. In truth, there’s not only one route, however many coming from throughout Europe, and the most well-liked is The French Manner. It climbs the Pyrenees, winds its method throughout Navarre, Rioja, Castile and Leon, earlier than coming into Galicia and arriving in Santiago. With a good wind behind you, it takes simply over a month.

I need to get a style of the route, with out doing the entire trek. In truth, many individuals don’t have the time to do the whole thing, so return 12 months after 12 months to do their lacking sections. Lodging varies from dormitory beds in Albergues, usually costing just a few Euros, to luxurious rooms in Paradors, with quite a lot of selection in between. There’s all the time meals alongside the way in which with most locations providing a three-course pilgrim menu for round ten euros.

Be taught the whole lot it’s worthwhile to know concerning the Apostle St. James the Better right here.

The Pyrenees

The trail climbs steeply because it traverses the Pyrenees and this is without doubt one of the hardest sections of the stroll. It reaches 1050m earlier than dropping into Spain and reaching Roncesvalles, the place there’s an enormous abbey church and the primary in a single day cease. Though it’s April, there are already lots of people on the path, all plodding purposely ahead and, in comparison with me, utterly overloaded.

St Jean Pied de Port

St Jean Pied de Port (c) Rupert Parker

Within the subsequent few days, there are some lovely sections, significantly as I stroll down from Roncesvalles, via beech and oak woods, passing via immaculate Basque villages, homes all in white with purple or inexperienced shutters. However there are a variety of huge cities, like Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and Leon the place the tramp via sprawling suburbs on the aspect of busy highways is barely gruelling.

Burgos Cathedral

Burgos Cathedral (c) Rupert Parker

Nevertheless, the rewards come within the form of magnificent cathedrals, ruined castles and medieval streets, to not say glorious food and drinks.

Stroll the Camino Francés

Frances Follow the Camino

We advocate utilizing Comply with The Camino to help you in planning your strolling vacation on the Camino Frances. Comply with The Camino gives customised itineraries to swimsuit you. You resolve in order for you a guided or self-guided package deal, when to go, what distance you need to cowl every day, and if you wish to journey solo, in a bunch, or with household or mates.


Trials of the Meseta

After leaving Burgos there are the trials of the Meseta, a barren tableland at 800m, with no shade and howling winds. There’s little respite till the town of Leon the place the panorama begins to vary and snow-capped mountains loom on the horizon.

Iron cross

Iron cross (c) Rupert Parker

You start to climb and eventually attain the very best level on the Camino, marked by an iron cross. You’re supposed to depart a stone you’ve carried from house at its foot which, in idea, will absolve you of a few of your sins.


At Sarria, in Galicia, I’m simply 100 km from Santiago and it will get even busier. For individuals who need a certificates, they will begin right here, stroll the final 5 days and nonetheless qualify. It’s a relaxing part of the stroll, via inexperienced rolling hills and broad meadows, the wooded pathways offering loads of shade.

Galicia wooded pathways

Galicia wooded pathways (c) Rupert Parker

I start to sense muted elation among the many pilgrims since they’re close to to reaching their ultimate vacation spot. A few of them seem like conflict veterans, with couples supporting one another as they limp ever additional forwards.

On my final day, I arrive in Santiago simply in time for the noon pilgrims’ mass within the Cathedral. On the finish of the service, eight red-robed males swing the well-known Botafumeiro, an incense burner weighing 80 kg.

incense burners in Botafumeiro

incense burners in Botafumeiro (c) Rupert Parker

It flies via the air meting out holy smoke to the multitude. For these medieval pilgrims, it will need to have been heartening to know you’d halved your time in purgatory by going the space. For me, although, I’m simply glad that I don’t should stroll any additional.

READ ALSO: Camino de Santiago: The Unique Manner

READ ALSO: Camino de Santiago: Finisterre Manner (Camino de Fisterra)

Reality File

Tour operator: Comply with the Camino provides customised/versatile strolling and biking vacation packages on 9 major routes to Santiago and gives comfy non-public en-suite rooms, baggage transfers, 24/7 assist, airport transfers, breakfast & dinners, and different add-ons like meals & wine excursions, excursions, premium lodging and so on.

Fly: Ryanair flies to Biarritz, the closest airport to St. Pied de Port, from London Stansted. EasyJet flies from Santiago to Gatwick.

Disclaimer: this text was sponsored by One Foot Overseas

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