Get your Pilgrim’s Passport
This is a vital document for anyone setting off on the Way of St James. The ‘credential’ dates from the medieval era and is stamped in the villages all along the trail. In France, it is a way to preserve your memories of the trip, but can also give access to certain services and accommodation along the way (it is obligatory in Spain).
The document is issued by the Catholic Church and is available before departure from the pilgrimage department in your diocese. You can get your passport in Le Puy-en-Velay from the Amis de St Jacques (Friends of St James) association or from the sacristy during the shop opening hours. Otherwise, on the day you leave, you can be given one after mass and an interview with a member of the church.
Le Puy en Velay Cathedral
Amis de Saint-Jacques du Velay
Open from 1 April to 15 October every day from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. in
2, rue de la Manécanterie, 43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Volunteers from the association are on hand to welcome pilgrims every day in the town centre.
April to June: Every day from 10 a.m. to midday and 2 to 6 p.m.
July – August: Every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
September: Every day from 10 a.m. to midday and 2 to 6 p.m.
October and March: Every day from 10 a.m. to midday and 3 to 5 p.m.
November to February: Saturdays and Sundays and every day during the French school holidays from 10 a.m. to midday and 3 to 5 p.m.
Closed in January
After mass and the benediction (see below)
The day before you leave…
In the Camino, the Way of St James pilgrims are welcomed to the Salon des Jacquets, a room specially set aside for the purpose (opening days and times below). The Velay Friends of St James association, with membership consisting mainly of former Way of St James pilgrims, welcomes the new pilgrims who are ready to begin the trail. Here you can find travelling companions, as well as some great tips from people who have already completed the GR65 trail.
In the morning, mass at 7 a.m.
This is one of the great experiences for pilgrims setting off on the Way of St James. The 7 o’clock mass is a time of fellowship and communion and a vital part of your stay. The ceremony takes place every day in the chapel of relics in Le Puy-en-Velay Cathedral. There is a benediction of the pilgrims at the end of the mass. It is also a chance to meet other pilgrims who are starting out on the trail.
Ceremony in Le Puy en Velay Cathedral
On the way to St James
When to go
Much of the specific pilgrimage accommodation is closed in winter. To make the most of the milder weather that is best suited to long hiking trips, it is generally recommended to set off from April to the end of October. The ideal period is in May, June or September, when the colours are glimmering and the weather is ideal!
Watch out for the weather
In Haute-Loire, a region of medium-altitude mountains, the weather is often perfect… but can change quickly. Make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecast on the way.
Your budget will mainly depend on you and the comfort you are expecting during your pilgrimage. If you want to limit your spending, with a bit of organisation, you can enjoy a great trip on 30 euros per day and per person. In line with your wishes, this budget can go up or down!
Where to leave from
The official starting point at Place du Plot will take you directly to the Way of St James. A little yellow sign shows the distance remaining to your destination. Yes, you can do it! For a photo, you should set off from the Cathedral! From the top of the steps, the horizon beckons. This is a little secret that is well worth the experience.