French Way

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The four branches of the Way of St. James

The French Way (Galician: Camiño francés, Spanish: Camino francés, literally the "way of the Franks") is the GR 65 and the most popular of the routes of the Way of St. James (Spanish: Camino de Santiago), the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. It runs from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles on the Spanish side and then another 780 km on to Santiago de Compostela through the major cities of Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and León. A typical walk on the Camino francés takes at least four weeks, allowing for one or two rest days on the way. Some travel the Camino on bicycle or on horseback.

Paths from the cities of Tours, Vézelay, and Le Puy-en-Velay meet at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. A fourth French route originates in Arles, in Provence, and crosses the French–Spanish frontier at a different point, between the Pyrenees towns of Somport and Canfranc. This fourth route follows the Aragonese Way and joins the French Way at Puente la Reina, south of Pamplona, in Navarre, about 700 kilometres from Santiago de Compostela.

In 2017 roughly 60% of pilgrims traveled to Santiago de Compostela via the French Way according to statistics gathered by the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago.[1] In 1993, the French Way, along with the Spanish route of the Camino de Santiago was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its historical importance in Christianity as a major pilgrimage route and its testimony to the exchange of ideas and cultures across its length. [2]

Example itinerary[edit]

Though there is no set itinerary for this route, daily stages from major town to major town could be walked as follows:

# km from St-Jean km to Santiago Distance Begins Arrives Passes through Notes
1 0 769 25 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France Roncesvalles   Crosses the border of France and Spain in the western Pyrenees.
2 25 744 21.5 Roncesvalles, Spain Zubiri Burguete, Espinal, Viscarret, Lintzoain  
3 46.5 722.5 22 Zubiri Pamplona Larrasoaña, Trinidad de Arre  
4 68.5 700.5 23.5 Pamplona Puente la Reina Cizur Menor, Uterga, Obanos Joined by the Aragonese Way just before Puente la Reina.
5 92 677 22 Puente la Reina Estella Cirauqui, Lorca, Villatuerta  
6 114 655 22 Estella Los Arcos Villamayor de Monjardín  
7 136 633 28 Los Arcos Logroño Torres del Río, Sansol, Viana Leaving the province of Navarre, entering La Rioja
8 164 605 29 Logroño Nájera Navarrete, Ventosa  
9 193 576 21 Nájera Santo Domingo de la Calzada Azofra  
10 214 555 23 Santo Domingo de la Calzada Belorado Grañón, Redecilla del Camino Leaving La Rioja, entering the Province of Burgos, Castille and León
11 237 532 24 Belorado San Juan de Ortega Tosantos, Villafranca Montes de Oca  
12 261 508 28 San Juan de Ortega Burgos Agés, Atapuerca, Olmos de Atapuerca  
13 289 480 40 Burgos Castrojeriz Villalbilla de Burgos, Tardajos, Rabé de las Calzadas, Hornillos del Camino, San Bol, Hontanas  
14 329 440 23 Castrojeriz Frómista Itero del Castillo, Puente de Fitero, Itero de la Vega, Boadilla del Camino Leaving the province of Burgos, entering Palencia
15 352 417 19 Frómista Carrión de los Condes Población de Campos, Villacázar de Sirga  
16 371 398 39 Carrión de los Condes Sahagún Calzadilla de la Cueza, Ledigos, Terradillo del los Templarios, San Nicolás del Real Camino  
17 410 359 19.5 Sahagún El Burgo Ranero Calzada del Coto, Bercianos del Real Camino  
18 429.5 339.5 38 El Burgo Ranero León Reliegos, Mansilla de las Mulas  
19 467.5 301.5 24 León Villadangos del Páramo    
20 491.5 277.5 28 Villadangos del Páramo Astorga San Martín del Camino, Hospital de Órbigo, Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias  
21 519.5 249.5 20 Astorga Rabanal del Camino Murias de Rechivaldo, Santa Catalina de Somoza, El Ganso  
22 539.5 229.5 32.5 Rabanal del Camino Ponferrada Manjarin, El Acebo, Riego de Ambros, Molinaseca Highest point of trail, 1515 metres above sea level, near Manjarin.
23 572 197 23 Ponferrada Villafranca del Bierzo Cacabelos  
24 595 174 30 Villafranca del Bierzo O Cebreiro Pereje, Trabadelo, La Portela de Valcarce, Vega de Valcarce, Ruitelan, La Faba Crosses from León into Galicia.
25 625 144 36.5 O Cebreiro Sarria Hospital de la Condesa, Fonfría, Triacastela, Samos, Calvor  
26 661.5 107.5 21 Sarria Portomarín Barbadelo, Fereiros The last point at which a pilgrim can start the journey on foot or horseback and still complete the 100 km needed to claim the compostela.
27 682.5 86.5 24.5 Portomarín Palas de Rei Gonzar, Ventas de Naró, Ligonde  
28 707 62 25.5 Palas de Rei Arzúa Casanova, Leboreiro, Melide, Ribadiso da Baixo  
29 732.5 36.5 36.5 Arzúa Santiago de Compostela Santa Irene, Arca do Pino, Monte do Gozo  



  1. ^ "Statistics". Retrieved 2020-03-14.
  2. ^ "Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 4 November 2021.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°09′44″N 1°14′14″W / 43.16222°N 1.23722°W / 43.16222; -1.23722