It is not recommended to do the Route between November and February. A lot of the accommodation is closed and the weather can be very unpredictable, and that can be dangerous especially on the Aubrac.
The following recommendations are taken from the guide to discover the Via Podiensis from Le Puy en Velay to Livinhac le Haut produced by the association "Sur les Pas de Saint-Jacques".
- Backpack: 40 litre lightweight hiking rucksack, clothes (see list below), ultralight combi duvet sleeping bag, headlamp, first aid kit (see list below), sponge bag (see list below), sandals, pocket knife.
- Frontpack: equilibre pack, guidebooks, maps, compass, mobile phone, camera, paper, pen, water bottle, food to provide energy.
- Walking gear: walking shoes, breathable shirt, loose-fit hiking trousers, a cap, 2 walking poles.
- Clothing: 2 Trail Raider microfleeces, breathable Trailer t-shirt, breathable sleeveless t-shirt, Trailer trousers, Trailer shorts, Stretch Raider shorts, 2 pairs underwear, T-shirt for night, 2 pairs socks, gloves, woolly hat.
- For the rain: waterproof cape, ultralight rainproof jacket, waterproof overtrousers, poncho, cover bag.
- First aid kit: foot care cream, plasters, 2 sprays.
- Sponge bag: ultralite towel, bar of soap, shampoo, disposable razor, 10 safety pins, toothbrush, toothepaste, paper tissues, toilet roll.
You need to reckon on between €35-40 per day per person.
Groups are strongly advised to book in advance. For individual walkers, it is best to book your accommodation in advance (between 12 and 24 hours beforehand).
During the Fête de la Transhumance festival on the Aubrac (the weekend closest to 25 May) and for the National de Pétanque Contest in Espalion (early August), you are recommended either to book or to make sure that accommodation is available.
A créanciale is issued by the church and a crédencial by associations; they are both types of pilgrim passports. According to tradition, it is an official document issued to a pilgrim doing the pilgrimage to Compostela so he or she can authenticate his or her progress and motivation.
These documents initiate a duty to demonstrate respect and tolerance and enable today's pilgrim:
• to have access to the gîtes reserved for them (the crédencial is compulsory in France and recommended both in France and in other countries),
• to get the Compostela (pilgrimage certificate) on their arrival in Santiago de Compostela.
- Saint Chély d'Aubrac: Tourist Office, rue de la Tour
- Saint Côme d'Olt: Espace Rencontre Angèle Mérici - Route d'Aubrac
- Espalion: Tourist Office – 23, place du Plô
- Estaing: Tourist Office – 24, rue François d'Estaing
- Conques: Reception centre at Sainte Foy Abbey in Conques
You can get your crédencial or créanciale stamped in Tourist Offices, at the Maison de l'Aubrac, in Town Halls but also at the place you are staying and in restaurants.
The Maison de l'Aubrac
Saint Chély d'Aubrac Tourist Office
Tourist information point in Saint Côme d'Olt
Espalion Tourist Office
Estaing Tourist Office
Multimedia library in Estaing
Conques Tourist Office
The GR®65 or Via Podiensis is a clearly waymarked route; the red and white signs have been put in place by volunteers from the FFRP and CDRP Hiking Federations in France.
In the villages on sections of path inscribed on the World Heritage List, bronze studs in the ground help you to follow the path to Santiago de Compostela easily. These sections of path are elements of the Route to Santiago de Compostela inscribed on the World Heritage List. They are testimony to the paths and places that pilgrims wanting to go to Santiago de Compostela used.
Shops are usually open every day except Monday during the low tourist season. They are often closed between 12 noon and 2pm during the week. They are open in the morning on Sundays and public holidays.
- When passing through pastures, you will have to open gates to continue on your way. Please close these gates carefully behind you so that the herds of livestock can't get out;
- Stay on the waymarked paths;
- Respect the crops and animals, the fauna and flora and the boundaries to property;
- Take your waste away with you.
There aren't really any physical dangers related to bed bugs. Their bite doesn't transmit any diseases and is rarely infectious.
Bed bugs can be found in clean environments; very well-kept accommodations have been infected.
To date, there is no totally effective solution nor eradication.
The best solution is to adopt strict hygiene rules, keep a careful eye and use the proper methods of prevention. Among physical solutions, cold (0°C) and heat (+45°C) have a destructive effect on insects and eggs.
It is essential that pilgrims and hikers cooperate:
- immediately report bites sustained before or during the night,
- do not place your rucksacks, luggage and things on beds,
- leave your shoes outside the sleeping quarters,
- regularly machine-wash your things at 60° and shake them outdoors.
These are the years when the Feast of Saint James, which is on 25 July, falls on a Sunday.