St James does not (always) mean packing, leaving your partner, children and dog for two and a half months of a breathtaking and spiritual trek. No ! The way of St James can be done step by step, you become Pilgrim for a day.

Buy your Way of St James topographical guide

The legendary GR65: Le Puy-en-Velay to Santiago de Compostella

The Le Puy-en-Velay – Domaine du Sauvage section crosses the Velay hills and part of the Margeride region before continuing on to Conques-en-Rouergue. This signposted GR trail provides hikers with all the peace of mind they need during a pilgrimage.

The atmosphere is filled with light. People enjoy making their way through a setting of woods and pine trees, broom, fern, turbulent streams and aromatic, colourful grass land. On the way, pilgrims can explore the beautiful little streets of Le Puy-en-Velay before going up in the world towards the second basin of Espaly-Saint-Marcel. The trail then leads to Saint-Christophe-sur-Dolaizon and Montbonnet, and then opens out onto the Allier Gorges.

After 24 km, you arrive at Saint-Privat d’Allier, a peaceful and picturesque little village below a volcanic rock, where a Casadian priory and a castle were built. There now remains a castle with only distant memories of its original design and a fine priory church made of red volcanic stone.

The Allier Gorges

Pilgrim for the day or for a longer stay!

The Puy-en-Velay Tourist Office, together with local service providers, now gives hikers the chance to travel along the Way of St James for just one or two days.

Pilgrims around Rochegude chapel

Le Puy-en-Velay to Santiago de Compostella

You will be able to say “I did the first stages on the GR65 trail”. You set off from Le Puy-en-Velay along the number 1 cultural trail in Europe, listed by UNESCO. The hikes go from 17 to 24 km towards Montbonnet or Saint-Privat d’Allier. The trails are fully signposted, and you can set off on your own on the GR65 trail with perfect peace of mind.

You can also continue on to the second stage as far as Saugues, via Monistrol d’Allier, Rochegude, etc.

The stage to Saint-Privat,
in a nutshell

24 kilometres, about a 6-hour walk
Maximum altitude: 1207 m – Minimum altitude: 630 m
The sections:
Le Puy > Saint-Christophe – 8.5 km
Saint-Christophe > Montbonnet – 7.5 km
Montbonnet > St Privat d’Allier : 8 km
Departure: Cathedral forecourt or Place du Plot
Signage: red and white and/or yellow eggshell against a blue background

The stage can begin with the Pilgrim’s Mass in the cathedral, followed by the Pilgrims’ blessing, where the priest asks the pilgrims where they are from and the route they are planning to take. This is a way to get to know the other hikers who will be setting out on the same day as you.

The mass is at 7 o’clock in the morning. After mass, follow the Compostella copper studs on the ground, go to Place du Plot, take Rue Saint-Jacques and then you are on your way.

Pilgrims on their way to St Privat d'Allier

Buy your topographical guide

Book your return shuttle service

Download the Pilgrim for a Day brochure

Before setting out, remember to reserve your return shuttle. The service providers, Compostel’Bus / La Malle Postale, organise a shuttle bus service taking you back to your starting point when your hike is finished.

04 71 02 43 23

04 71 04 21 79

The visit

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