The French Way

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The French Way Itinerary It was fixed in the eleventh century, thanks to the efforts of Sancho III el Mayor, Sancho Ramírez de Navarra and Aragón, Alfonso VI and other Kings of Castile, León and Galicia.

The Camino de Santiago enters the North of the Peninsula (Pyrenees, where the famous Roldan's Song on his withdrawal to France with his uncle Charlemagne), through four routes from France: the via Tolosana (part of Arles), the via Podianense (start in Le Puy), the via Limousine (with origin in Vezelay and scale in Limoges) and the Via Turonense (from Paris and with a stopover in Tours)

Three of these routes: Paris-Tours, Vézelay-Limoges, Le Puy-Conques cross the Pyrenees through Roncesvalles, defining the Camino Navarro. The fourth: Arles-Toulouse does it through Somport and continues to Jaca, which is known as the "Aragonese Way".

The itinerary of the French Way, with a route of 770 Kilometers, is without a doubt the most popular, with more Jacobean tradition and more traveled by pilgrims from one to the other end of the world. Recognized as the first Cultural Itinerary Europe and becoming a World Heritage Route in 2004. The route begins in Spanish territory from the town of Roncesvalles, it crosses Pamplona and joins the Aragonese Way in Puente la Reina (Navarra). Area characterized by its beech and pine forests, its grape smells, as well as its wide and dense plains, reaching the mountains of Galician oak and chestnut trees.

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On our way, historical and legendary cities rise

Estella / Lizarra where Relics of Saint Andrew they deserve special mention and obligatory stop; Logroño, Nájera, with the famous Collegiate Church of Santa María La Real; Burgos, nucleus of great interest of the Camino. Other relevant cities are: Santo Domingo de La Calzada with its famous rooster legend, and Castrojeriz.

Once in the Palentina area, Frómista will delight us with its Romanesque Church of San Martín; Carrión de los Condes, with the spectacular Monastery of San Zoilo (which houses the best Gothic cloister in the world) and finally Sahagún with its vivid Cluniac history.

We arrived in León with the magnificent Gothic style of its Cathedral and the Romanesque frescoes in the Royal Pantheon of San Isidoro.

On the way to Galician lands we reach the city of Astorga where the French Way meets the Vía de la Plata and the footprint, still present from the presence of the pass in the Peninsula de los Romans and the art of Gaudí.

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In Ponferrada, baTemplar stion, we can visit its imposing Castle.

If forces prevent us from continuing our pilgrimage, in Villafranca del Bierzo we will be able to request the indulgence and the Jubilee in the Church of Santiago, since it has enjoyed that privilege since long ago. It is known for the "little Compostela", and in the Holy Year 2021 We will be able to use this privilege.

Before our arrival in Galicia we enter the magical Valcarce Valley, where the mythical Castles of Sarracin and Autares are found.

The entrance to Galicia is made through the mountain pass of O Cebreiro (cradle of the legend of the Galician Holy Grail), where its views captivate us, despite being one of the hardest stages of the French Way from Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro.

From the heights we have "only" 152 Kms to our desired goal, Santiago de Compostela and its Cathedral impatiently await us to welcome us and the long-awaited hug to the Apostle Santiago.

If the entire route of the French Way is of great interest among all pilgrims, the section with the greatest influx and concentration of pilgrims is that of Sarria to Santiago, since the town of Sarria is at the minimum point to prove having completed at least the last 100 km of the Camino de Santago on foot and obtain the much-appreciated “Compostela”At the Pilgrim Service Office.

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