The Way of St James:
the Chemin du Puy from Figeac to Cahors
- A walk along the GR®65, a trail that is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO
- A great hike covering a total of 90 km
- Figeac and Cahors, 2 towns with the "Grand Sites Occitania South of France" label
- A rich and varied heritage
BEFORE YOU SET OFF
Soak up the legendary atmosphere of the GR®65, the "Puy Way"
All hikers have dreamed of leaving their footprints on the mythical Way of St James and of taking part in a wonderful human adventure that is now over 1,000 years old.
The GR®65, also known as the "Voie du Puy" or "Via Podensis", is probably the best-known trail on the Way of St James.
"The Way" has been listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 1998. It will take you from Figeac to Cahors through some remarkable heritage. An unforgettable journey and 4 days of freedom...
WHAT TO TAKE IN YOUR PILGRIM'S BAGS
Lasting values and useful things
When UNESCO officially recognised the Way of St James, along with the architecture on the way, it took into account the incredible immaterial aspect that is the pilgrimage's living foundation. The traditions, stories and legends conveyed by the Way, the solidarity and hospitality expressed on the pilgrimage route, the feeling of surpassing oneself and fullness often emerging on the journey to Santiago de Compostela : all this makes the Way of St James a lasting and lively heritage at the heart of humanity.
Along the Way of St James, meeting people is easy, there are fulfilling exchanges and it is always enjoyable to share a story, a tip or an interesting find!
YOUR STARTING POINT
Figeac, the merchant city
Don't set off before taking the time to visit Figeac, a town with an exceptional harmony! Start at the top on the Puy terraces for a great view over the town. Then go down to see all this flourishing market town has to offer.
Figeac has managed to preserve its heritage. Just look at the urban palaces and town houses from the Middle Ages, the medieval boutiques and "soleilhos", the open barns where fruit was dried. Next to Place des Ecritures is the World Writings Museum, in the house where Champollion, the most famous French Egyptologist, was born.
To get to the GR trail, walk along the River Célé and follow the red and white markings.
From Figeac to Cajarc via the Gréalou dolmens
The route (the longest stage on the trail) leads to Cajarc across the plateau separating the Célé and Lot valleys. After Faycelles, then Béduer, the landscape changes. You pass by menhirs, dolmens and charming dry-stone buildings on the way to Gréalou (374m), at the southern tip of the Causses du Quercy regional park.
We really recommend taking a look at the three Gréalou dolmens in the locality of Pech Laglayre. The stones stand 200 metres apart. You will need to look for the first one, but you can't miss the second, alongside the trail. The third dolmen is easy to find, but it is in poor condition. Pech Laglayre is at an altitude of 395 metres, with a 360° view. The 30-km stage can be shortened to 25 km if you spend the night in St Chels instead of Cajarc.
To Limogne, the land of cazelles
A 17 km stage (22 km if you set off from St Chels). You leave the south of Cajarc and cross the marsh plain in a bend of the River Lot. Next comes the climb towards the Causse de Limogne and the typical dry-stone cabins. The cabins are known as cazelles, gariottes or bories, depending on the region. They are no more than two centuries old. The stones to build them were found on the surface of nearby farmland.
These impressive cabins were made without mortar or framework. Quite an achievement! They were used as shelters by shepherds in bad weather and for storing farm tools. And you will probably enjoy a short break here, too.
At the end of the day, you arrive in the lovely village of Limogne, a lively town with plenty of shops. Ideal for stocking up on supplies!
From Limogne to Lalbenque, the land of truffles
The day's trail runs for about 25 km and includes the picturesque villages of Varaire, Vaylats and Bach. In the first village, take a look at the washing place.
Today the washerwomen's gossip and soapy water have been replaced by the sound of fresh, running water, but the region's well-preserved washing places are still there. Some washing places have special V-shaped flagstones. They are charmingly known as "butterfly washing places". This is the case of the one in Varaire.
In Vaylats the impressive Convent of the Daughters of Jesus has made the village's reputation. In Bach, the disused phosphate quarry is open to visitors from April to November. And Lalbenque is of course the capital of black truffles in Quercy. The famous truffle market is held every Tuesday from December to March.
A well earned-rest
After a long day's walk, this is one of the moments you really look forward to.
When the time comes to take off your boots, freshen up and relax… These are moments with a unique savour.
At the Gîte de Poudally in Lalbenque, Elsa understands this very well and always gives hikers a warm welcome. The bath with essential oils is worth the visit alone. To recharge your batteries for the next day, there is nothing like one of her tasty meals in a friendly atmosphere, followed by a good night's sleep in the dormitory or guest room.
"Randos-Etapes du Lot" : this label is given for accommodation respecting a charter including a high-quality welcome and services adapted to hikers.
Accommodation includes stopover gîtes, guest rooms, hotels or any other kind of accommodation meeting precise specifications. They are all under 2 km from the GR trail and can accommodate at least 6 people. Here you can find a list of all the best accommodation for your trip.
From Lalbenque to Cahors
After this 18 km stage, you will be a real "Jacquet". You arrive in Cahors across the Louis-Philippe bridge. At the end, you will see the pilgrim's information centre (former toll gate). On the other side, you come to the Valentré Bridge, a symbol of the town. This famous medieval bridge with three towers is the pride of Cahors. It is fully pedestrianised, so feel free to venture between the arches.
A quick detour to admire Cahors Cathedral and cloister is also in order. Built in the early 12th century, the cathedral is remarkable for its Romanesque portal with a remarkable carved tympanum, as well as the nave topped by two cupolas (16 m wide and 32 m high). The cupolas are a real technical feat and the biggest in the south-western France.
The cloister is a pure wonder of Flamboyant Gothic art. Like the Valentré bridge, the cathedral is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Toll gate : located on the Louis Philippe Bridge in Cahors, this is one of the information centres for hikers and pilgrims. It is open from April to October. The small house is a friendly centre run by volunteers to help guide and inform visitors. Here, sharing is the watchword, and everyone enjoys talking about their experiences on the Way.in.
Where to sleep and eat, what to do?
Gîte d'étape de Poudally
The magic of white chalk bedrock, the charm of a traditional house and the natural wealth of the open spaces of the...
Musée Champollion - Les Ecritures du Monde
Cathédrale Saint-Etienne et son cloître
Phosphatières du Cloup d'Aural
- By car: exit 56 on the A20 motorway.
- By train: Figeac station on the Brive-Toulouse line.
- By plane: Toulouse Blagnac Airport, then a 2-hour drive.