In the Middle Ages pilgrims often chose their way from sanctuary to sanctuary. Even these days, the start from a famous place of pilgrimage like Lourdes can make your journey to Santiago even more special. It is also a good opportunity to warm up before you cross the Pyrenees.
From Lourdes you can walk in three stages along the Voie du Piémont Pyrénéen to Oloron-Sainte-Marie. There you can choose :
- to continue along the Voie du Piémont to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, with connection to the Camino Francés, or
- to switch to the Chemin d'Arles, which connects -via the Col du Somport- to the Camino Aragonés, which joins the Camino Francés in Puente la Reina.
See the map > alongside.
The distance from Lourdes to Saint-Jean is about 145 kilometers.
There is a new (2013)
guide for the Voie du Piémont, published by Lepère Éditions
. Alternative: the
route sketches and walking directions by the Amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques Pyrénées-Atlantiques ￼> download route sketches
(note: the printing quality of some sketches is not good. You might also use the maps by the Office du Tourisme > alongside, under "Links Voie du Piemont").
Tip: if you don't speak French, you might use the sketches in combination with these maps: “Pau et ses Environs “, scale 1/80.000, by IGN
and “Pau / Bayonne”, scale 1/100.000, by IGN
The Amis also have plotted the route on digital maps > étapes sur carte IGN
> then click "Voie du Piemont" > (7) stages.
More information > alongside: "links Voie du Piemont".
The route from Oloron, through the Somport, to Puente la Reina is well described.
More information > alongside: "links Chemin d'Arles".
The network of accommodation for pilgrims along the Voie du Piémont has improved in recent years, but of course it is not comparable to that along the Caminos in Spain.
> Hébergements sur la Voie du Piémont
. Then click on the link with the same name for the most recent survey, which you can download. Note: at the bottom of the list you will find addresses for the variant Oloron - Col du Somport - Puente la Reina.