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Bono Iacobus...

The Bono Iacobus is a touristic service specifically designed for the St. James´ Way.

Bono Iacobus

More stories...

  • Marta Pomati...

    Marta Pomati...

    "This time, I'm walking along alone and I'm not well physically, which is why it's so hard for me to walk the Way..."

  • Roger Dubief and Lucie

    Roger Dubief and Lucie...

    "The Way of St. James is a special experience because of what we are, not what we do in life..."

  • David Kurten

    David Kurten...

    "When I walk four or five days, with only my backpack, I feel the peace and quiet of nature..."

  • Gabriela Ayestarán, Pilar Miranda and Andrea Torroba

    Gabriela Ayestarán, Pilar Miranda and Andrea Torroba

    "On the Way you learn a lot and it enables you to distance yourself from life forever. The atmosphere is incredible..."

  • Darvy Scott

    Darvy Scott

    "Walking the Way, I found an inner peace that comes out, and you realise you're completely in agreement with what you're doing..."

  • Adela González, Fernando Piedrafita and Fernandito

    Adela González, Fernando Piedrafita and Fernandito

    "When you get to Santiago, you are happy to have arrived, but you feel sorry because you've finished..."

  • Carlos Calafell Brucart and Carlos

    Carlos Calafell Brucart and Carlos

    "And the first time I did it, I realized what a person can do if you try..."

  • Joaquín Ibáñez

    Joaquín Ibáñez

    "I'm 60 years old, the fatigue takes its toll and my feet hurt, and maybe I'm a bit inconsistent, so I always intend to finish the Camino..."

  • Lidia Cuasés and Antonia Campos

    Lidia Cuasés and Antonia Campos

    "Antonia encouraged me, I got curious and came to see. My intention is to meditate, but it is not easy..."

  • Lola and Javier

    Lola and Javier

    "This time it was an opportunity to learn more about Lola. To live an experience on the edge, but of a certain harshness..."

  • David Domínguez

    David Domínguez

    "There are very hard times, too. Last year my bike broke down three times, and I was on the verge of walking away..."

  • Marie Danielle and Marie Pierre

    Marie Danielle and Marie Pierre

    "The Way is an experience of simplicity and joy, communion with nature and with all the faces or beings that live in my heart..."

St. James Way

French Way

This way was proclaimed the First European Cultural Itinerary by the Council of Europe in 1987 and Human Heritage by Unesco in 1993. This route  – and still is – taken by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela.

The Codex Calixtinus, the guide to the Way to Santiago, by Aymery Picaud, states with a typical French clarity: “There are four routes to Santiago which join into one at Puente la Reina, in Spanish territory...and from there only one way leads to Santiago”. The first one left from Arles, close to Marseilles, the only one crossing the Pyrenees via Somport. The other three left from Paris, Vézélay and Le Puy, which entered Navarra at Roncesvalles. These were the traditional routes taken intermittently by the pilgrims to Compostela.

From Pedrafita do Cebreiro to Sarria

Whatever our reason for travelling to Galicia, if we want to do it by following the French Way to Santiago, we must enter Galician lands by the N-VI national road, climbing the Pedrafita pass. Alternatively, if we want to enter by the old way, with beautiful landscapes all around us, we can do so via Vega de Valcarce and As Ferrerías.
 

Ampliar

The medieval pilgrims entered along a way which crossed the mythical villages of A Faba and Lagoa de Castilla, until seeing, just before reaching Cebreiro, the illustrated landmark marking the Galician boundary, 152 kilometres from Santiago by the walkers route. In O Cebreiro, the “steepest of the mountains on the French Way”, as described by Aymery Picaud, a hostel to attend to the pilgrims, especially French pilgrims, was founded by the Saint Count Giraldo de Aurillac in the late IX century. It later became a Benedictine monastery and was not abandoned by the monks of this brotherhood until the XIX century. The church, pre-Romanesque, is the oldest temple on the Saint James route preserved in its entirety.

It is now possible to stay at the hostel, now called Mesón de San Xiraldo de Aurillac, but only by booking well in advance. In the sanctuary the Holy Grail is exhibited, the heraldic symbol of Galicia, whose legends inspired the literary content of Wagner’s Parsifal. The town of O Cebreiro preserves an interesting series of “pallozas”, pre-Roman dwellings which were inhabited until not that long ago in time. One of them has been converted into the Etnographical Museum while others have been reformed in order to attend to pilgrims.

The next twelve kilometres run between the Os Ancares and O Courel ranges, with magnificent mountain landscapes, forming the highest stretch of road in Galicia. We pass through villages, now almost totally abandoned, such as Liñar do Real, today Liñares, Veiga de Forcas, the founding home of the Knights of the Order of Saint James, Hospital, a reminder of what was founded by the Countess Exilo, Fonfría, famous for a spring which sprouts on the edge of the Way, as well as a now disappeared inn, which offered the walker fire, salt, water and a bed with two blankets for free.

Crossing over the Poio pass, the landscape gradually becomes softer and prettier. The high tower of the church of church of Triacastela appears, marking the end of the eleventh stage, the shortest at 47 kilometres, but also the hardest since the Pyrenees. Three castles, three “castros” (ancient hill forts) or three paths towards Castile, there is no agreement regarding its etymology. The Way passed before the church, with a Romanesque apse, and crossed the town, where the portal of the old hostel is preserved. Triacastela was the first town to raise a monument in honour of the pilgrim.

The French Way did not pass through Samos, but many were the pilgrims who made the short four kilometre deviation to visit one of the oldest Galician monasteries, founded by San Martín Dumiense in the VI century. The present way does in fact pass through Samos, which gives us the opportunity, and with great enthusiasm, to visit this interesting Benedictine monastery and the humble pre-Romanesque chapel of the Ciprés. The new buildings date from the XVII and XVIII centuries, and the steps leading up to the facade served as a test for the Galician architect Fernando de Casas before the construction of those at the Obradoiro of Santiago.

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Preparing the trip...

Stores all necessary information to organize your trip: museums, monuments, attractions, lodgings, restaurants...

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After the trip

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