Getting to Le Puy-en-Velay
From CDG airport in Paris
From Charles de Gaulle airport, you can get to Le Puy entirely by train. I’d suggest looking at the SNCF train schedules in advance. Tickets can be bought online or at the airport (inside the terminal, right before exiting to the train platform).
Transportation along the Camino
Bag too heavy? Sprain your ankle? Sometimes pilgrims need a break. Use these services to travel ahead or send your bags on without you:
Compostel Bus (available between Le Puy – Conques)
Transports Claudine (Available between Conques – Saint Jean).
These services take people and bags only to towns along the route. Book at least one day before, and make sure you know for sure how far you’re walking. After booking, ask your host where to leave your bags before bed. The driver usually comes very early in the morning and will not wait for you if the bag isn’t ready. Make sure your name is clearly indicated.
If you’re not comfortable speaking French, ask your host or the local tourism office for help booking.
Getting back to Paris
From Conques (10-day adventure)
If you plan on returning to Paris from Conques, you can book a bus ticket online with Compostel Bus back to Le Puy, then take a train to Paris. Buses leave several times a day (cash-only paid to the driver if not booked online).
From Saint Jean Pied de Port (full route)
Your best option is booking a train with SNCF from Saint Jean Pied de Port back to Paris, totaling about 7+ hours of travel. If you can’t get a good transit time or deal with SNCF, try searching for other routes on Rome2rio (and check with other pilgrims!).
It’s a good idea to get a phone plan for reservations, maps, and emergencies. There are three good options for monthly no-contract SIM cards: Orange, Bouygues, and Free Mobile. Orange has their own booths at the airport. Bouygues SIMs can be purchased in little bodega-style shops at the airport. Free Mobile is a bit more complicated; I could only find these at one outlet in Paris (in 2016).
Phone service will be patchy
My Bouygues SIM card got virtually no service in the Aubrac mountains and frequently dropped out in the farmlands (2019). I heard similar complaints about other carriers, so downloading your maps and podcasts in advance is a good idea.