The French Way or Camino Frances starts in the South of France, St Jean Pied the Port, and stretches across the North of Spain, finishing in Santiago de Compostela. Total distance: 764kms
Total distance: 764kms
Suitable for cycling: Yes
History of French Pilgrimage
In the Middle Age, the Camino Frances or Camino Francés became the main pilgrimage route for those who wanted to go to Santiago to see St James’ grave, moved by their Christian faith. It's also the most popular way to complete the Pilgrim passport to get the compostela. The French route became more popular and important until it was declared the most famous route worldwide, and the most important at an economic and social level. There are a lot of written references to the French Way since 1135. In Códice Calixtino on its Libro V we can find cultural, religious and touristic information about each of the stretches that separate St James’ grave from the main European capital cities of that time.
About the Camino Frances route
Nowadays, the Camino Francés is the most famous worldwide routes to Santiago and the most walked (in 2016 268,000 pilgrims coming from all over the world reached Santiago) It also has the best infrastructures because of its economic potential. It goes through all Northern Galicia, it has 760 kilometers (472.30 miles) and it is divided into 31 stages. The first one starts in a French village called Saint Jean Pied de Port. Since the 11th century, pilgrims arrive in Galicia through Northern Spain.
After 1993, Year of St James, this way increasingly became more popular amongst tourists. It was then declared the Frist European Itinerary of Cultural Interest by the European Council and UNESCO World Heritage. In 2004, the Camino Francés was awarded the Premio Principe de Asturias de la Concordia, because if its diversity and multiple culture exchange, and the development of European Christian roots.
Why choosing the French Way
Since it´s the most popular route, it has the best signposting and the biggest amount of pilgrim hostels (albergues) and services, although in summer it can get quite overcrowded. Knowing this, pilgrims must be quick to book their Camino Francés during the months of June to August.
It is by far one of the most incredible and amazing pilgrimage experiences, as it involves a unique variety of personal, religious and spiritual challenges. The scenery is stunning, with numerous Roman and Gothic style castles, temples, churches, cathedrals and monasteries; and wild nature, from green forests to charming rivers. You can also visit some medieval and Celtic sightings along the way.
Camino Frances Stages
Gothic temple, dating from the 13th century, stands out for the impressive spiers of the towers
Built in the 9th century by order of the monarch Alfonso IX, it was built on Roman vestiges. It is currently a reference center for the study of the Middle Ages in Spain.
Roman Bridge of Puente la Reina
Dating back to the 11th century, it gives the landscape of Gares a unique beauty.
Pallozas in O Cebreiro
They are unique constructions of this municipality designed to safeguard and to conserve foods during the long winters of the zone.
Walking: 33 Stages / 764 km
Cycling: 14 Stages / 741 km
|Stage 1||Saint Jean Pied de Port - Roncesvalles||24|
|Stage 2||Roncesvalles - Pamplona||42|
|Stage 3||Pamplona - Estella||42|
|Stage 4||Estella - Logroño||50|
|Stage 5||Logroño - Santo Domingo de la Calzada||49|
|Stage 6||Santo Domingo de la Calzada - Burgos||72|
|Stage 7||Burgos - Carrión de los Condes||87|
|Stage 8||Carrión de los Condes - León||50|
|Stage 9||León - Astorga||49|
|Stage 10||Astorga - Ponferrada||53|
|Stage 11||Ponferrada - O Cebreiro||55|
|Stage 12||O Cebreiro - Portomarín||62|
|Stage 13||Portomarín - Arzúa||67|
|Stage 14||Arzúa - Santiago de Compostela||39|