House overlooking Pointe du Millier—sheltered from the worst of the ocean winds and away from the prying eyes on passing walkers 🙂 What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
There are several SOS points along this section of the coast where it is possible to get back to the main road from the GR 34 path. I’m sure their main purpose is safety and rescue access but it also makes this area easy perfect for day walks if you’ve arrived by car or bicycle. […]
An hour or so after leaving Douarnenez, near the hamlet of Keriéré, and it’s rocky coastline in all directions! What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Back street in Douarnenez. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Arriving in Douarnenez where the brightly coloured buildings and awnings add a cheery note to an otherwise drab day. Unlike many other coastal ports which were badly damaged during WWII, Douarnenez retains many of its older buildings such as this row of mismatched terraces which provide an interesting contrast to the modern, concrete port buildings […]
GR paths often take a rather boring and, let’s say, visually unappealing wander through industrial zones as they approach larger towns. The path into Douarnenez, however, passes through a forest filled with ferns and wildflowers. If only they were all this pretty! What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
First views of Douarnenez – glistening like slivers of a rainbow despite the gloomy skies. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
So far the walk along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques du-Puy has passed through many delightful villages. Most have been quite small and wandering around without getting lost has not been a problem. By comparison, Espalion is a large, busy town with several grocery stores, pharmacies, banks—and restaurants to choose from. And if you are following […]
One of the highlights of a walk along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques du-Puy is a visit to the tiny hamlet of Bessuéjouls and the church of Saint-Pierre. Inside, the simple white-washed walls offset colourful carvings and paintings of Christ and the apostles. Mass is held once each month as the local priest rotates through the […]
Day 5 on the long-distance walk from Martel to Rocamadour brings us to Autoire – the fourth of the six ‘most beautiful villages’ on this walk – just in time for lunch! Established in Roman times, Autoire was devastated during the Hundred Years War with the English during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. All that […]
Life is about the journey, not just the destination—or so they say—and the sight of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois perched high on a hill overlooking the Burgundy Canal demonstrates beautifully that the anticipation is often just as delightful as arriving. Visible for several kilometres as you walk along the canal, the stone turrets and fluttering flags of the […]
Between Aumont-Aubrac and Figeac, the Chemin de Saint-Jacques passes though three of France’s most beautiful villages. The first of these is Saint-Côme-d’Olt which, if you are following my suggested itinerary, you’ll reach around lunch time on the third day of walking. Call in to the Tourist Office and ask for a map of the village. […]
Twelve days of walking—and cycling—is all it takes to make your way from Migennes to Saint-Jean-de-Losne following the length of the Burgundy Canal. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to visit seven châteaux, eleven churches, an abbey and three of France’s most beautiful villages—all within easy walking distance or a shuttle bus ride from […]
Nine hundred years ago, in the eleventh century, Cluny monks built a monastery in a small clearing near the Dordogne River. A village soon developed around the abbey, a château was built next door and high walls protected the occupants. Today, this slice of medieval history, known as Carennac, is classified among France’s ‘most beautiful villages’. […]
It’s lunchtime on the third day of walking from Martel to Rocamadour. If you are following my suggested itinerary, then today is a long day—27 kilometres (17 miles)—and Curemonte is a little over half way, the perfect place to stop for a break. Classified as one of France’s most beautiful villages, Curemonte developed around three châteaux […]
Consisting of barely more than a church, a hotel and a few dozen houses, the village of Espeyrac is filled with quaint alleys and is a delightful place to stop for the night on a long-distance walk along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques du-Puy (see my suggested itinerary from Aumont-Aubrac to Figeac). The hotel offers half-board […]
For many walkers, arriving in Saint-Privat-d’Allier marks the end of the first day’s walk along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques du-Puy. And as the GR 65 path approaches the village, the view of the château and church steeple perched high on the ridge is a most welcome sight—and a sure sign that a cold drink is […]
Each time I visit Le-Puy-en-Velay, I find something else about it to love and it is now one of my favourite places to visit in France. Although the town sprawls over quite a large area, the historical heart is a charming mixture of quaint alleys, colourful houses and more than enough cafés and shops to […]
Day 2: Montbonnet to Monistrol-d’Allier (14.5 kilometres, 9.1 miles) For an hour or so after leaving Montbonnet, the GR 65 wanders through rolling, green fields – it’s easy walking, with only gentle hills for the next few miles. Soon after, the path descends through the forest towards the hamlet of Le Chier and our sturdy […]
Day 1: Le-Puy-en-Velay to Montbonnet (16 kilometres, 10 miles) The 1,522 kilometre (almost 1,000 mile) walk along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques du-Puy, from Le-Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in southern France and then on to Santiago in northern Spain, starts here on the steps of Cathédrale Notre-Dame du-Puy. The first pilgrim to make the journey was Bishop […]
With rolling green hills, wind-swept plateaus and ancient stone chapels, this ninety-kilometre (fifty-six-mile) section of the GR 65 Chemin de Saint-Jacques (also known as the Way of Saint James) from Le-Puy-en-Velay to Aumont-Aubrac delivers everything you could imagine a long-distance walk through quintessential French countryside will bring. And, although there are some challenging hills to […]
If you are keen to dip a toe in the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll need to continue along to Lorient. Lorient has long been a busy and strategic port for France, so much so that during WWII it was occupied by the Germans and used as a submarine base. An unfortunate consequence of this, was that […]
Thursday morning is market day in Hennebont and the town boasts one of the largest weekly markets in Brittany. As well as the usual fruits and vegetables, local cheeses and honeys, there are dozens of clothes, handicraft and artisan stalls—time for some last-minute souvenir shopping! What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Approaching Hennebont and the end of our walk. Hennebont is where the towpath ends. The River Blavet is navigable from here to the ocean at Lorient and there are no more locks for boats to pass through. It is possible to walk from Hennebont to Lorient but the path will take you through industrial zones […]
Écluse 26 Grand Barrage lined with beautifully preserved mill buildings—and looking even better, perhaps, than it did in the day! What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Somewhere between Lochrist and Écluse 26 Grand Barrage. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Reflections dancing on the water on the edge of Lochrist. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Écluse 25 Lochrist. Just visible beyond the lock is a group of school students, kayaks huddled in a tight bunch. I was wondering how they would change levels on the canal, since the force of the water filling the lock would topple any kayak, and arrived in time to see the last one dragging his […]
Boats moored near Pont Neuf. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Somewhere between Écluse 20 Mané-er-Ven and Pont Neuf. But this photo could have been taken at any of a thousand places along the canal. Although the canal is lovely and lush and green, there is a sameness to the scenery and as I walked, it felt as though there was a long way to go […]
Somewhere between Pont Augan and Écluse 19 Minazen. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Light rain falling over Pont Augan. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Somewhere between Écluse 18 Sainte-Barbe and Pont Augan. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Back on the Blavet Canal—somewhere between Saint-Nicolas-des-Eaux and Écluse 10 La Couarde. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Stone calvaire beside the church in Saint-Nicolas-des-Eaux. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Church door in Saint-Nicolas-des-Eaux. Like most churches along the canal, this one was locked and we just have to peek through the keyhole to see inside! 🙁 What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Thatched cottage in Saint-Nicolas-des-Eaux. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
It seems that everything in Saint-Nicolas-des-Eaux is up the hill from the canal but when the streets are this pretty, who’s complaining? What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Arriving in Saint-Nicolas-des-Eaux. There are a few options here for accommodation or, if you find yourself here in the middle of the day, there are several cafés and a park to while away an hour or two and rest your feet. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?
Stone calvaire in the grounds of the chapel of le Gohazé. What’s up ahead? Where have we been?