To find “Le Camino” – “The Way” in Spanish – you have to go up to the old town of Puy-en-Velay, not far from Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Place du Fort. It is there, rue de la Manécanterie, that Le Camino is located. But what is it exactly? Who can go? The answer is simple: everyone. But maybe not for the same reasons… Discovery.

The Camino, a haven of peace in the old town of Le Puy-en-Velay

The Camino, a place of welcome for pilgrims

It is here, at the Camino, that the Way of Santiago de Compostela (GR65) begins or ends. A large number of pilgrims thus meet under the ribbed vaults of the large living room, in the center of the Camino, before beginning their journey on the Saint-Jacques. Why ? Because this is where the Friends of Saint-Jacques du Velay association is based. Their role ? Welcome pilgrims, answer their questions, discuss and help them prepare their trip.
“They usually need practical advice! It goes from the number of kilometers to be covered per day at each stage, to the weight of the backpack, or even accommodation and luggage transport, ”underlines Patrick, one of the members of the association present today. -the.

Like Céline, who on arriving at the Camino, decidedly followed her lucky star… Without the help of the Friends of Saint-Jacques du Velay, she might never have seen the end of her journey. “I came here to get information before hitting the road. And it turned out that I had it all wrong! My bag was too heavy, I hadn't optimized my luggage and I had planned stages that were far too long for my fragile knee. “Going through Le Camino made it safe. “I found all the advice I needed here”.
On her return, she couldn't help but go back to Le Camino, as if to thank them… And enjoy a well-deserved gourmet rest.

For those who are about to leave, on the other hand, it is here that they will find their precious sesame: the Pilgrim's Credential. The essential notebook to be stamped at the town hall, Tourist Office or gîte at the end of each stage. It is also necessary to access the accommodation reserved for pilgrims and to apply for La Compostella (a kind of diploma) once you arrive in Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino, a place to visit and rejuvenate in the footsteps of the Way of Santiago de Compostela

Reorganized into a scenographic space on the Way since 2012, the Camino is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. In addition to highlighting the heritage, namely the former Hôtel Saint-Vidal and the former Manécanterie, the Camino is also at the service of a real immersion in the Way of Santiago de Compostela. It is about its representation, its journey through videos, didactic furniture, models, projections, light games...

A way to discover and follow the Way in an interactive way between Le Puy-en-Velay and Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia. Several symbolic themes, specific to the Way of Saint James, are evoked such as: "leaving", "freedom", "meeting", "suffering", "surpassing oneself", "hospitality", "the perseverance”, or even, “the quest for stripping”…

All this, through audio testimonies, sometimes poignant. “It's a place of serenity, adds René, member of the Camino association, also of reflection and interiority… Many people told us that they were particularly touched by the experience. For René, the place indeed calls for tranquility and meditation.
Without however being devoid of culture! “Here two heritages intersect, continues our guide: the spiritual and the historical. Because the former Hôtel Saint-Vidal is one of the treasures of Ponot heritage. Its old stones, its magnificent murals and its Gallo-Roman remains (visible during the visit to the museum space) have survived the ages...

In all, 4 floors tell and reveal a virtual and living way to Santiago de Compostela. It's up to you to discover the steps and create your own.

The Camino, a place of respite for all, in its “Café-Garden”

What would the Camino be without its haven of peace: the “Mgr Henri Brincard garden”? It turns out that this charming green setting, former schoolyard of the choir school, in the middle of the upper town of Puy-en-Velay, is ideal for a stopover. “And everyone is entitled to it! insists the volunteers of the Camino! » Pilgrims, tourists, inhabitants of Puy-en-Velay and elsewhere… It's simple, the Camino is a place of welcome in the broadest sense!

Behind the bar, from 11 a.m. to 19 p.m., the little hands of the Camino are busy serving tourists and passing onlookers smoothies, gourmet coffees, local beers, syrups and other thirst-quenching beverages. What to offer a fresh or gourmet break in the heart of the historic district, at the foot of the Notre-Dame cathedral.

The Camino, a place of exhibitions

Finally, for 10 years, the Camino has also been the site of many exhibitions: paintings, photos…. But also, between the walls of the Hôtel Saint-Vidal, the monumental wooden sculptures of Dominique Kaeppelin (1949-2019), a local artist, are for example an integral part of the scenography of the Camino.

And all you have to do is cross the garden and follow the signs for "museums" to discover other treasures... the Manécanterie”, dedicated to the school of yesteryear. Music was taught there, as well as Latin and Gregorian chant. Between old maps, inkwell and old photographs, here is one that should bring back memories to some...

Right next door, the Diocesan Museum also contains treasures. This time, biblical.
"Treasures of the Bible" is the title of the permanent exhibition visible in the Maurice Grinberg room, named after its patron. Of Jewish faith, the family of his wife, Lucy Abraham, had been welcomed in Brioude (where they still live today) during the Second World War.

In this "Hebrew Room", there are Bibles from different periods (the oldest of which dates from 1511!), a Talmud from the 60th century, but also stained glass windows of contemporary creation representing biblical scenes from the Old Testament by Timothée Barbeyrac, and above all, hand-written Torah scrolls on parchment by Maurice Grinberg himself! A meticulous work, 2 m long, which will have lasted XNUMX years.
A free exhibition and once again open to everyone during the opening hours of the Camino.

Firm. Opens at 14:00 p.m.
2 rue de la Manécanterie
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
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