Compostela Trail - Le Puy to Aumont
All content by World Expeditions
A delightful walk through the volcanic highlands of the Haute-Loire region in south central 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. This itinerary begins at the traditional start of the pilgrim trail to Compostela de Santiago, Puy-en Velay in France. It takes us up into the volcanic highlands of Margeride through traditional granite villages. The presence of stone chapels and the unique crosses are symbolic of the pilgrimage and a continual reminder of the religious significance of the trail.
- Experience the busiest section of the trail - marked by magnificent architecture, crosses, statues and grain silos
- Explore the interesting town of Puy-en-Velay
- 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 between the volcanic plateau of the Velay and the granite plateau of the Gévaudan
Day 1 Arrival in Le Puy en Velay
Own arrival into Le Puy-en-Velay. This is an ancient town surrounded by a volcanic landscape which is dominated by rocky peaks rising from the valley floor. We recommend that you allow at least ½ a day to explore. Take a stroll and visit the Chapel of Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe, built by Godescalc, after his pilgrimage to Santiago in AD951. Warm up your walking legs and climb the 267 steps for views over the town and surrounding area. You can also visit some of the many museums and the Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame.
Day 2 To St-Privat-d'Allier (23km, 5-6hrs)
The Le Puy-en-Velay cathedral is the starting point for your walk. You will ascend rapidly from the Puy Basin. Crossing the Velay Mountains past fields of lentils, you enter the heart of the volcanic chain of the Deves before arriving in the small village of St Privat d’Allier
Day 3 Descend the gorges of Allier to Saugues (17.5km, 4-5 hrs)
Most of the day is spent crossing the valley. You will pass through the village of Rochegude famous for its Saint Jacques Chapel where a decent to the river at Monistrol will follow. It will be a relatively easy walk into Saugues which is famous for its mushrooms!
Day 4 Cross the Margeride plateau to St Alban (Les Faux) (26km, 6-7hrs)
You will complete a very picturesque day as you cross the Margeride Plateau. With vast grassy plains and moors of broom and heather this part of the trail is relatively easygoing. Amongst the most interesting sights are St Roch Chapel or L’Hospitalet du Dauvage Chapel.
Day 5 Descend into the Truyère valley and finish walk at Aumont-Aubrac (20km, 5-6hrs)
From St Alban, the trail descends into the Truyere valley; you then traverse the vast plain of the Margeride to reach Aumont-Aubrac. On the way, admire the Roman church of the Estrets, reworked several times and surmounted by a bell tower wall with three openings supporting a small steeple. Note: this itinerary can easily be combined with the Compostela Trail: Aumont to Conques. Ask our staff for details.
- 4 breakfasts, 3 dinners (no dinner in Le Puy en Velay*): 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.
- 4 nights in guesthouse or hotel, generally with private 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
- Baggage transportation (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.