The French Way

January 30, 2012
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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), through four routes from France: the via Tolosana (part of Arles), the via Podianense (start at Le Puy), the via limousine (originating in Vezelay and scale in Limoges) and the Via Turonense (from Paris and with stopover in Tours).

Three of these routes: Paris-Tours, Vézelay-Limoges, Le Puy-Conques cross the Pyrenees by Roncesvalles, defining the Camino Navarro. The fourth: Arles-Toulouse does it for Somport and continues until Jaca, what is known by the "Aragonese road"

The French itinerary, at its entrance through Roncesvalles, crosses Pamplona and joins with the Aragonese Way in Puente la Reina (Navarre). Area characterized by its forests of beech and pine trees, its grape smells, as well as its wide and dense plains, reaching the mountains of Galician oaks and chestnut trees.

Historic and legendary cities stand on our way:

Estella / Lizarra where the Relics of San Andrés deserve special mention and mandatory stop; Logroño, Najera, with the famous Collegiate Church of Santa María La Real; Burgos, core of great interest of the Camino. Other relevant cities are: Santo Domingo de La Calzada, Y Castrojeriz.

Once in the Palencia area, Frómista will enrapture us with its Romanesque Church of San Martín; Carrión de los Condes, with the spectacular San Zoilo Monastery and finally Sahagún with its lively Cluniac history.

We arrived to Lion by the magnificent Gothic of its Cathedral and the Romanesque frescoes of the Royal Pantheon of San Isidoro.

On the way to Galician lands we reached the city of Astorga where the French road with the Vía de la Plata and with the footprint, still present of the presence of the passage in the Peninsula of the Romans and of the art of Gaudí.

 

In Ponferrada, Templar bastion, we can visit its imposing Castle.

If the forces prevent us from continuing our pilgrimage, in Villafranca del Bierzo we can request the indulgence and the Jubilee in the Church of Santiago, since it enjoys that privilege from long ago. It is known for the "little Compostela"

Before our arrival in Galicia we enter the magical Valle del Valcarce, where are the mythical Sarracin Castles and Autars.

The entrance to Galicia It is done through the mountain pass of O Cebreiro (cradle of legends), where its views captivated us.

From the heights we are "only" 152 km to our long-awaited goal, Santiago de Compostela.