Compostela Trail - Aumont to Conques
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The "Way of St James", across the Aubrac Plateau in southern France
Traverse the centuries of time and the borders of Europe on the medieval pilgrim trail of Compostela. In the 9th century, the tomb of the apostle St James was unearthed in Compostela. The site became the focus of a pilgrim trail beginning in France, and crossing northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. This journey, also known as the ‘Way of St James’ winds its way across borders, following in the footsteps of thousands of medieval pilgrims through the beautiful Sierras of Navarre and Aragon. The route passes a multitude of churches and monasteries, resembling a travelling museum of Romanesque art. Four stages of this historic trail are included in our self-guided walking programs. Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims who have travelled through this route to Spain for over a thousand years on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Cross the rugged countryside and the Aubrac plateau, the oldest European volcanic massif and walk through picturesque towns, past the roadside crosses, chapels, and looming fortresses that marked the way for the faithful in centuries past. This itinerary can be easily combined with the Compostela Trail: the beginning.
- Experience the busiest section of the trail - marked by magnificent architecture, crosses, statues and grain silos
- Enjoying the camaraderie of fellow hikers and pilgrims
- Learning about the tale of the “Bête du Gévaudan” (Beast of the Gévaudan)
- Viewing the contrasting landscapes and architecture along the walk
Day 1 Arrival in Aumont-Aubrac
Own arrival into Aumont-Aubrac. Set at 1043m the town is in the heart of Lozère and is an important point on the Compostela Trail.
Day 2 To Nasbinals or Recoules d’Aubrac (26.5km, 7 to 8 hrs)
From Aumont-Aubrac in “Terre de Peyre” (land of Peyre which means land of stone), the Way of Saint James crosses some beautiful pine forests before joining the Aubrac plateau – a vast expanse of pastures punctuated by “burons” (in the Auvergne region this is a shelter where the cowherd lives and makes the cheese during the summer grazing on mountain pastures). Here you are in the country of the famous Laguiole knife, an indispensable tool to cut the cheese of the same name. Arrive hotel / guest house in Nasbinals or Recoules d'Aubrac.
Day 3 To Chely d’Aubrac (20 or 17km, 5 to 6 hrs)
This stage takes you through the heart of the Aubrac plateau where the ancestral rite of transhumance is still long-lived (the transhumance fair is usually around the 25th of May). At lunch time, try the regional specialties at a buron or country inn where local dishes are available such as the “aligot” (cheese and potatoes), assorted cooked meats from the mountain or a good crepe omelette. In Aubrac you can see remnants of an ancient “Domerie” (name given to the hospital in Aubrac in the medieval times). Overnight hotel in Chely d'Aubrac. .
Day 4 To Espalion (22km, 6 hrs)
We leave the country of the “Boraldes” (name given to the brooks descending from the Aubrac) to reach the Lot valley. Here you are near St Côme d’Olt, listed among the “most beautiful villages of France”. It’s the ancient name given to the Lot which gave its name to the Olt country. From the past, the Olt country kept the remnants of numerous bridges constructed over the Lot river to make the pilgrim’s crossing easier. Overnight hotel in Espalion.
Day 5 To Estaing (11km, 4hrs)
The walk continues on the Way of Saint James following the stream of the Lot river to the lovely village of Estaing which has carried on the St Fleuret fair tradition since the 14th century - this occurs on the first Sunday of July. On this occasion, a great procession travels through the village and some famous local historical persons dress up as the pilgrims of Santiago. Overnight hotel in Estaing.
Day 6 To Golinhac (16km, 6hrs)
We leave the Lot valley at the village of Golinhac, remarkable for its church. The church preserves the Roman foundations of a Benedictine priory, which was dependent on Conques abbey. At the entrance of the village of Golinhac, there is a stony cross with a small sculpted pilgrim erected on it. In Espeyrac in 960, according to the tale, a pilgrim who became blind after a mugging, recovered sight by making an invocation to the patron saint of Conques. Overnight hotel in Golinhac.
Day 7 Finish walk at Conques (21km, 6 hours)
Conques is very often one of the favourite stages for the pilgrims. The view over this village is breathtaking if you come from the east. While going down into the deep valley of the Ouche, you will arrive near the Dourdou river (which flows into the Lot river, to the north) and discover the village and its pointed roofs from which the three towers of Sainte Foy Basilica dominate. You can also admire the villages portal, a real treasure from the Roman times.
Day 8 Trip concludes
Trip concludes after breakfast. Note: this itinerary can easily be combined with the Compostela Trail: the Beginning – from Le Puy to Aumont-Aubrac. Ask our staff for details.
- 7 breakfasts, 7 dinners: Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad, followed by a chicken, red meat, fish or pasta dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes.
- 7 nights in guesthouses or hotels, generally with ensuite facilities. On occasion facilities will be shared with one or two other rooms.
- Information pack including maps and walking guide (per room booked)
- Visitor tax
- Luggage transfer (max 15kgs per person)
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Wet weather gear, sunscreen, good walking boots / shoes, sun hat and walking poles. A comprehensive gear list is included in the pre-departure information provided on booking.