History of Le Puy Route

History of Le Puy Route image

Le Puy route, or Via Podiensis as it is known in France, is one of the four main pilgrimages through France heading toward Santiago where the tomb of St. James is said to be.  The route was traditionally used by French pilgrims but also by other nationalities coming through Switzerland and from even further back in Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech and Slovak republics. It joins with the routes from Paris and Vézelay on the French side of the Pyrenees.

Pilgrims have been traveling to Santiago de Compostela for over a thousand years.  Godescalc, Bishop of Le Puy went there in 951AD and is said to be one of the first.  At the height of its popularity in the middle ages over half a million people made the pilgrimage from different parts of Europe each year, many of them walking through the Le Puy route. 

This pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela has been popular ever since the remains of Saint James the Greater were found there.  The most popular era of this pilgrimage was between 1,000 and 1,500AD, even though numbers have dwindled at times due to political, social and cultural factors there has always been a steady stream of pilgrims trudging westward through France and Spain to Santiago. 

The Le Puy route stretches from Le Puy-en-Velay to the Pyrenees talking the pilgrim through hilly regions, over rivers, through lush countryside and through rustic villages. Eventually joining up with the Camino Frances in St Jean Pied de Port, which continues on to Santiago de Compostela.


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Gail Delahunt

Travel marketing executive, originally from Tipperary (as the song goes, it's a long way to Tipperary). Enjoys photography and hiking around the world, visited 5 of the 7 continents. Plans to visit Antarctica very soon.


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