Sunday, December 19, 2010

Walking via Lourdes

One idea I have for my 'next Chemin' is that I might walk via Lourdes. 

I have now found two different ways to walk there. The first way is via the Voie du Piemont Pyreneen, which runs a bit closer to the Pyrenees than the Arles route, and the photos on the website really inspire me to walk this way...

The second way is a more recently created route, involving a deviation off the Le Puy and Arles routes. I receive a (free) e-mailed French language newsletter 'Les Zoreilles du Chemin'*, and the latest issue has a snippet about this route. I don't guarantee the accuracy of my translation, but as far as I can work it out the facts are these:-
You will be able to download the maps for these routes in pdf form (from January).

1) You can leave the GR65 at Lectoure (Map 56 in the Miam Miam Dodo for Le Puy) and walk to Auch (Map 56 in the MMD for Arles), via the GR Coeur de Gascogne, for 37km. You then follow the Arles route (GR 653) to Maubourguet (Plan 62) for 71 km. A little after Maubourguet you take the GR101 south to Lourdes for 46km, passing through Tarbes.

2) You can also leave the GR65 at Nogaro (Plan 65 of MMD of the chemin du Puy) and head south for 39km towards Maubourguet, where you will find the GR 101 for Lourdes.

They say that the first option lets you walk more on the Chemin paths, but that it's advisable to get hold of MMD for the Arles route for the section between Auch and Maubourguet. The second option lets you quit the GR65 at the last possible moment, but you need to walk more on sealed roads between Nogaro and Maubourguet because this route hasn't been marked.

* (If you want more info about "Les Zoreilles" newsletter, just e-mail me via my blog profile.)

A personal note: I went to Lourdes for several days via train in 2006, and was prompted into quite a bit of religious reflection. (Here's a bit of a diary and here are some reflections.) And when I was walking on the Le Puy route, I was very conscious of Lourdes when I was 'near' it on the GR65. I am not certain about returning -I am pretty much an 'ex-Catholic'- but Mother Mary seemed to 'look after' me last time. Time will tell....


  1. In the last publication of "Les zoreilles du chemin", a french woman who did the the St-James way and then after came to Canada walking one of our "camino" le chemin des Outaouais, is talking about the people in the different villages, she is talking about a Rachel, in Chute-à-Blondeau. Rachel is my cousin and for many years now, she is always there to help and welcome the pilgrims passing by her little village in Ontario.

  2. Ahhhhhh it's a small world! That is a lovely article about le chemin des Outaoais.