From Saint Jean Pied de Port (France) to Santiago de Compostela. 31 stages. 773 kilometers.
From Somport (Aragon) to Santiago de Compostela. 33 stages. 937 kilometers .
The French Way is the best known Jacobean Route, with the greatest tradition and the most traveled by pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela. In it, most of the pilgrimage routes that have existed in Europe since the Middle Ages converge, becoming a route of civilization of great cultural, artistic and social relevance.
Its route, sections, sanctuaries, data on inhabitants and different details are already detailed in the Calixtino Codex, a pioneering “travel guide” of the Camino de Santiago. Saint Jean Pied de Port in France or Roncesvalles in Spain are considered today the starting point of the French Way, which 7 out of 10 pilgrims travel every year. You can also cross the border between Spain and France through Aragon, starting our French Way in Somport.
The French Way is one of the longest itineraries that go to Santiago de Compostela, covering practically the entire north of Spain. There are around 30 stages in which the pilgrim discovers a great variety of landscapes and an extraordinary artistic and cultural wealth that crosses towns of great Jacobean tradition -from Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Astorga- and important cities such as Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos or Lion.
The French Way is the most popular and traditional route in the Jacobean area. The transit of pilgrims over the centuries has turned it into a cultural, artistic and sociological route through which 7 out of 10 pilgrims who arrive at the tomb of the Apostle Santiago circulate, well above the Portuguese Way or the Northern Way. .
Endowed with a very complete network of services and with a large number of public hostels, correct signage and unique hospitality, the French Way is the perfect itinerary for the pilgrim who wants to discover the Camino de Santiago, although it is one of the longest itineraries. Of those who go to Santiago, with about 800 km from the French town of Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela, the pilgrim will discover an extraordinary human, artistic and cultural wealth. It is a total of about 30 stages of the Camino that cross the north of Spain and that are worth traveling once in a lifetime.
A World Heritage Route
The French Way received in 2004 the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, it is a World Heritage Site and the Council of Europe made it the first European Cultural Itinerary. All acknowledgments that realize the importance of this pilgrimage route worldwide.
Active since the 9th century, the date on which the discovery of the Apostle's tomb is dated, the French Way has a route that was fixed, as we know it today, at the end of the 11th century. The French Route aroused such interest in Medieval Europe, that already in 1135 the famous Codex Calixtinus became a pioneering travel guide, collecting all the sections, sanctuaries, data of the local inhabitants and detailed notes of this itinerary that departs from France. .
Four Routes from France
The French Way crosses the Gallic country through four routes: Paris-Tours, Vezelay-Limoges and Le Puy-Conques, which enter Spain through Navarre. The fourth, Arles-Toulouse, crosses the border at Somport and continues to Jaca, starting the Aragonese Way. Crossing the border, the pilgrim will have to face a month's journey on foot, with thirty stages, until reaching Santiago.
Thus, already in Spain, the French Way has two starting points: Roncesvalles if the pilgrim starts in Navarra, or in Somport if he starts his Camino in Aragon. To give you an idea, here is a link where you can locate the French Way on the map.
Puente la Reina is the point of union between the two variants of the French Way: those that arrive from Saint Jean Pied de Port and cross Roncesvalles and Pamplona; and those who come from Somport through the provinces of Zaragoza and Huesca. From this point on, the French Way crosses significant places such as Estella, Logroño, Nájera, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Belorado, Burgos, Frómista, Carrión de los Condes, Burgo Ranero, Mansilla de las Mulas, León, Astorga, Ponferrada or Villafranca del Bierzo.
Through the Bercian region you can access Galicia, to the mythical town of O Cebreiro. From there there is a week's journey through the lands of meigas, legends and green landscapes, until we reach the Praza do Obradoiro and pick up the Compostela.
From Sarria to Santiago
The French Way from Sarria to Santiago is the most popular section among the current pilgrim. It is about the last 100 kilometers of the Jacobean Route, the ones necessary to get the Compostela.
Although it is perfect for people who have only a few days to do the Camino, it is advisable to extend the Route to enjoy the Camino and live the experience deeply.
The Camino Frances de Santiago by bike is also very popular. The minimum to get to Compostela, what many pilgrims mistakenly call the Compostelana, is 200 km, so the most used section of the Camino is León-Santiago.
FRENCH WAY THROUGH NAVARRE
FRENCH ROAD THROUGH ARAGON
CONTINUATION FROM PUENTE LA REINA
HOW TO GET TO THE DEPARTURE POINT
The main starting points on the French Way are Saint Jean Pied de Port, Roncesvalles, León, Ponferrada or Sarria (from where you make exactly the 100 kilometers necessary for Compostela).
Here you can read how to get to these main starting points:
- A SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT
How to get to Saint Jean Pied de Port by train: By train, the only direct line that reaches Saint Jean Pied de Port leaves from the French town of Bayonne, with a journey of 1 hour and 20 minutes.
How to get to Saint Jean Pied de Port by bus: Companies such as Conda or Alsa operate routes between Pamplona or San Sebastián and Saint Jean Pied de Port. Itineraries are also available to Roncesvalles, from where you can catch a shared taxi to Saint Jean Pied de Port.
How to get to Saint Jean Pied de Port by plane: The closest airport to Saint Jean Pied de Port is Biarritz (7 Espl. De l'Europe, 64600 Anglet, France) to which various airlines fly from different parts of Europe . From the terminal to Saint Jean Pied de Port there is a little more than 50 kilometers by road.
- TO SOMPORT:
How to get to Somport by train: From Madrid and Barcelona there is a high-speed line to Zaragoza, while Huesca is connected directly to Madrid. Daily regional trains depart from both cities to Jaca, with some extension to the town of Canfranc. From there it is necessary to take a bus or other means of transport by road to reach Somport. All train schedules and frequency can be consulted on the Renfe website (+34 943 61 67 08).
How to get to Somport by bus: The Alosa company (+34 902 210 700) arrives in Jaca from Zaragoza, Huesca and Pamplona. At the Jaca station (Av. Jacetania s / n) there are several daily frequencies to Somport, with schedules to be consulted at the Tourist Office (+34 974 360 098).
How to get to Somport by car: Almost 500 kilometers separate Madrid from Somport, in its shortest journey, which lasts a minimum of 5 hours and a quarter, along the A-2 highway and passing through Zaragoza and Huesca, to the port of Somport.
- TO LEÓN
How to get to León by train: With a great railway tradition, León has two train stations, which operate with cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, in addition to connecting with Galicia and the Cantabrian coast. All schedules and routes can be consulted on Renfe .
How to get to León by bus: The Alsa company provides daily services from the León bus station (Av. Ingeniero Sáenz de Miera) to different Spanish cities.
How to get to León by plane: León airport is located 6 kilometers from the city and has a connection to Barcelona through the Air Nostrum company. To get from its facilities to the urban area there is a bus line and taxis.
- TO ASTORGA
How to get to Astorga by train: There are daily Renfe trains from Madrid, Barcelona, Pamplona, Burgos, León or Ponferrada.
How to get to Astorga by bus: Buses arrive to Astorga every day from different points, operated by Alsa .
- TO PONFERRADA
How to get to Ponferrada by train: From the Bercian capital there are daily Renfe trains to Madrid, to Santiago de Compostela itself and to the neighboring city of León.
How to get to Ponferrada by bus: Coaches arrive in Ponferrada every day from different parts of the Spanish geography, operated by Alsa . An option for those who do not have a direct connection is to take one of these buses in Madrid.
- TO SARRIA
Sarria from Lugo is one of the favorite starting points for pilgrims because from its location the necessary 100 kilometers can be made on foot to get to Compostela.
How to get to Sarria by train: It is one of the most comfortable options, since Renfe operates routes with Madrid and Barcelona. The Barcelona train also allows stops in cities such as Zaragoza, Pamplona, Burgos or León, among others. For older people there is a commuter train with the city of Lugo, the provincial capital.
Credits: The Camino de Santiago with Correos