from Paris, Vézelay, Arles or Le Puy-en-Velay?

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​​The road from Paris and Tours (in French: le Chemin de Tours, or: la Voie de Paris) 
This road is relatively "new" and still very quiet. You will hardly meet other pilgrims and there are very few facilities for pilgrims. This often means: an expensive trip, unless you bring a tent, or unless you can improvise well in other ways.
Distance: about 935 kilometers from Paris to Irun or Saint-Jean. (Source:  ACIR Compostelle)

The road from Vézelay (in French: le Chemin de Vézelay)
This road has two main versions: 

  • the so-called “historic route” (with a version via Nevers and one via Bourges), and 
  • the GR6542 to Montréal-du-Gers and the connection to the GR 65 from Le Puy 

These routes are signposted (largely) and described (well). Gradually there are more places for pilgrims to spend the night.
Pilgrims from the northern countries (the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) often prefer the "historic route" over the GR 6542.
Some find the way of Vézelay too quiet. Others appreciate just that: they see it as a nice adventure, in which spontaneously offered hospitality can be very important.
Distance: about 1.090 kilometers from Vézelay, via the “historic route” to Saint-Jean. (Source:  ACIR Compostelle)

The road from Arles (in French: le Chemin d’Arles, or GR 653)
This road goes via Montpellier, Toulouse and Oloron-Sainte-Marie to the Somport Pass (in French: le Col du Somport, on the French- Spanish border), to connect to the Camino Aragonés (which connects to the Camino Francés in Puente la Reina).
Another possibility: follow the Chemin d’Arles to Oloron-Sainte-Marie and switch there to the “Voie du Piémont Pyrénéen” (from Narbonne and Carcassone) which goes to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Read more > Lourdes – St-Jean.
The route is very well signposted and described, but also very quiet. (Many pilgrims who “do” this road, walked other Caminos first). Gradually there are more places to spend the night for pilgrims. 
Distance: about 780 kilometers from Arles to the Somport Pass or Saint-Jean. (Source:  ACIR Compostelle)
The road from Le Puy (in French: le Chemin du Puy, or: GR 65)
This road is already many years the most popular pilgrim road to Spain. It passes through some beautiful landscapes and ancient towns, evidence of the rich history of the "Chemin de Saint-Jacques". On the other hand, this route is very popular with groups who often make their reservations well ahead of time. This complicates finding a place to sleep for pilgrims who are traveling day-by-day, without a strict scedule. Another downside is, that prices for accommodation have risen sharply in many places in recent years.
Distance: about 730 kilometers from Le Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean. (Source:  ACIR Compostelle).