From Saint Jean Pied de Port or Roncesvalles
Nowadays the starting point of the French Way can be considered both Saint Jean Pied de Port and Roncesvalles, so both options are perfect if you want to do this complete route.
Saint Jean Pied de Port, situated on the border with France, is the second most popular starting point for pilgrims. It’s worth adding an extra day to your trip to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Pyrenees and cross the border in the footsteps of Napoleon Bonaparte himself. The main difficulty of this first stage are the slopes, we will accumulate no less than 1,258 meters of positive slope and 485 meters of negative slope, so it is necessary to have a good physical condition or take the variant by Valcarlos.
In Spanish territory, 24 kilometres from Saint Jean Pied de Port, we find the small village of Roncesvalles (Orreaga). It is one of the great landmarks of the Camino de Santiago and the starting point most used by pilgrims who make this French Camino de Santiago in its entirety. A magical town where time seems to have stopped, which preserves intact the pilgrim spirit and a deep magnetism.
From Logroño to Santiago de Compostela you will travel a distance of just over 600 kilometres, for which you will need approximately 27 days. The stages of the French Route from the capital of La Rioja are characterized by plains surrounded by fields of crops and famous vineyards. With a notable orographic change in the Montes de Oca, already in the vicinity of Burgos.
From Burgos you will go on pilgrimage for 22 days, a total of 488 kilometres until you reach Santiago de Compostela. This is one of the most authentic stretches, which still preserves the purest essence of the Jacobean route. A path for reflection that invites you to lose yourself in the vast plains of cereal fields and solitary landscapes of the Castilian steppe.
León is the perfect city to start the French Way if you have 15 days, in which you will cover 308 kilometres. A fascinating journey through beautiful landscapes such as the Montes de León and the green valley of El Bierzo. With each step you will discover small medieval villages, Templar castles, imposing monuments and cathedrals, until you get into the most authentic rural Galicia.
From O Cebreiro
The small and unique village of O Cebreiro, on the border of Galicia and Castilla y León, is one of the favourite places for pilgrims to start the French Way. From here you can cover the entire Galician section of this Jacobean route in just 9 days, adding up to a total of 150 kilometres until you reach the Cathedral of Santiago.
The stages are characterized by their shady paths, which run through centuries-old forests, small villages and green pastures that show the idiosyncrasy and unique culture of the inhabitants of this Autonomous Community.
The town of Sarria is the busiest place for pilgrims wishing to make the last stretch of the French Way. From this point, you will walk the last 100 kilometres of the French Way, the minimum distance to obtain the Compostela. You will only need one week to complete it.
Sarria is loved and hated in equal parts, and it is from here that the number of pilgrims increases considerably in the summer months. You will find all kinds of services, accommodation, laundries, bars, restaurants, as well as shops and souvenir shops. In short, the atmosphere you will find in these stages is much more lively than in any other part of the French Way.
The perfect route for those who are doing the Camino de Santiago for the first time. It is ideal to meet people and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Galician countryside.