I am new to warmshowers, and planning my first solo trip through Southern France later this year.
Aiming to go from Geneva South/Westish to Arles/Montpellier and on Chemin d'Arles (part of Camino de Santiago / Way of St James) from there.
I find mixed info on rideability of the Chemin. I have a sturdy touring-like bike, which has been in rough, mountainous terrain before. But definitely no mountain bike.
Has anybody done it and can give me a bit more detailed info / impressions on the Chemin?
We live near Pau in the SW of France. You could stop in our home if you want.
You can take the asphalt road with no problem, paths could be muddy sometimes, it depends of the season. Paths are hilly near Pyrenees, so more difficult mainly with luggages on bike.
In summer, I see many people on the "Camino" (road) in the surrounding area.
it's a good trip to take camino up to Compostella. I did it 2 times from home to Santiago. You need about 8/9 days from Pau to Santiago.
See you soon may be.
thanks for your reply. I will probably end the tour near Toulouse and am hence looking at the stretch Arles - Toulouse. Pau will unfortunately probably be out of my reach. However, I will get in touch in case I make it near there.
Thanks again and best wishes,
Hello Karen, and everyone.
Yes a touring bike is fine for the Caminos in general. We are considering the Camino Francés or the "del Norte", starting from UK, later this year and attended a "Practical Pilgrims'Day" at the HQ of the confraternity of St James last Saturday. There is a mine of information at www.csj.org.uk/ and the pages which flow from it, including route descriptions and recommended guidebooks.
There we met several cyclists who have already done various Caminos, including one who is planning to start at Arles later this year, and confirmed that "tourers" can stick to roads and tracks which are well-marked with Camino signs. You do not have to follow the walkers' route and really should not do so: they don't want cyclists whizzing past them!
(We've crossed the pilgrim routes on two of our rides - see Days 11 and 12 in "Cycling in the Ardeche and Cevennes" and Day 16 in "Cycling Manche to Med", both linked from www.les2cyclistes.talktalk.net/Articles.htm)
Thanks a lot for your long reply, Damian, and the valuable hints.
I had in fact considered cycling the trails rather than the roads and am not so much worried about slopes, but rather ground surface quality / technical difficulty there. I found some information that there are bits that are hard to bike even with MTB. Is the Arles - Toulouse stretch so frequented by walkers that it is not advisable to bike on the walking trail?
I suppose I should clarify that
a) I am pondering the stretch Arles - Toulouse only and
b) that I am wondering about the surface quality / cyclability of the walking trails
Guten Tag Karen
We cycle on roads rather than trails and tracks, so the walkers we met were on roads at the time. I'm afraid that means that I haven't been much use to you. But I seem to remember that there were gates to be opened or stiles to be crossed where the Camino crossed a section of road, so that would delay your progress on a bike.
I too have read that there are stretches of the walking trail that would be impossible for MTB, but I would think that it referred to the Camino Francés, in Spain rather than in France.
The advice we were given about cycling was that walkers, who may have their hoods up to protect them from the weather, may well not hear you nor see you as you approach, particularly from behind. Thus it is frightening and/or dangerous for you both: they may jump in to your path rather than out of your way. Certainly it seems discourteous to pass close to them, not in the spirit of the Camino.