Hike on St. Jacob's Way

A Hike on St Jacob’s Way: The French Countryside

A Hike on St Jacob’s Way was the perfect walking holiday for my break away from life. Like many people, I started to really feel the urge to break away and complete a long-distance walking holiday.

After looking around at various options, I decided to walk the last third of the St. Jacob’s Way, which started in Chavanay and ended in Le Puy-en-Velay.

My Basic Trip Details

Since the hike on St. Jacob’s Way only takes eight days, it was perfect for a week off work. I booked my flight to Lyon from Dublin, then my train from Lyon to Vienna, and could not wait to start on this exciting adventure.

One of the reasons that I choose to embark on this leg of the St. Jacob’s Way was because that it was not too challenging of a hike. Most of my holiday was spent walking on gradual hills through grassy fields. Part of the hike did include a walk around the mountains of Pilat; however, most of the tour was spent on easier ground.

I was also really excited to try the local French cuisine, especially in the more remote parts of the country. When it came time for me to embark on my trip, I could not be more excited to see the beautiful country-side, eat the delicious food and explore the unique terrain.

Day by Day Hike on the St. Jacob’s Way

The trip started out in Chavanay, where I got to try the famous Rhone wines from that area. Since I always love the chance to sit back with a bottle of wine, I enjoyed my short stay in Chavanay, especially since the countryside provided amazing scenery.

The first day of actual hiking occurred on the second day of the trip, when I left Chavanay and headed towards the mountains of Pilat. Walking along the foot of the mountains provided me with a bit of a challenge, but the sites were worth it, especially getting to see the Croix de Sainte-Blandine. The day ended in Bourg Argental, where I took my much needed break after hiking over 25 km.

By far, the most difficult hiking happened on the third day of my walking tour. I only ended up hiking for four hours, but the hilly terrain provided me with a bit more of a challenge. Once again though, the scenery and beauty of the French countryside made it all worth it!
I spent the night in Les Setoux, and since the hiking on the fourth day was much easier and shorter, I spent more time relaxing in this quaint village, recovering from the previous day. Once I left Les Setoux, I hiked for several hours through the relaxing countryside. Then I reached Montfaucon-en-Velay, where I spent the rest of my day exploring.

After spending the night in Montfaucon-en-Velay, I left and spent the day strolling through Tence. A majority of the day we spent hiking up to St Jeures, but it was by no means a challenging walk, especially since I could hike at my own leisurely pace.

Getting to the end

One of my favourite days of the walking holiday was the sixth day. The hike was not only easy, but this leg of the trip included walking through a variety of smaller villages. I loved getting the chance to see the more rural, traditional French lifestyle. The climax of the day’s hike was when I reached the top of the volcano. I had a breath-taking view of the French countryside. Afer, I finished taking in the view, which I can’t say I had enough of. Then, I hiked back down to St Julien Chapteuil, where I spent the night.

The last day of the hike on St. Jacob’s Way was bittersweet, because I did not want the trip to end, but the scenery just became more beautiful. I left St Julien Chapteuil in the morning and began my walk to Le Puy en Velay. Along the way, I soaked up the sights and enjoyed the change in trail. Instead of hiking through the countryside on grassy hills, this trip was different. This leg of the trip spent a lot of time on country roads. By the time I reached Le Puy en Velay, I was ready to sit back and take in the splendour of the city.

If you want to learn more about any part of St. Jacob’s Way or other walking holidays throughout France, you can read more here.

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