The Lyon Way of the Chemin de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle is a recent and rich route thanks to its architecture, its heritage and the variety of its landscapes. It climbs mid-mountain peaks in the Monts du Lyonnais and Monts du Forez and offers you the possibility of finishing your route along the Loire valley or by taking the historic route of the Bollène route. From Lyon, the capital of Gaul, join the ponote city of Le Puy-en-Velay, historic departure towards Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle!

Mathilde Wydauw
GR®765 Lyon Le Puy



  • Departure: Lyon
  • Arrival: Le Puy-en-Velay
  • Distance: 161 km (West) or 188 km (East)
  • Duration: 9 stages (West) or 10 stages (East)
  • Means of transport for departure: airport/train to Lyon
  • Means of transport for the return: Puy-en-Velay SNCF station
  • Website :
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Stage 1: From Lyon to Chaponost

Stage 1: From Lyon to Chaponost

To start with a bang, you will cross the city of Lyon from East to West starting from Saint-Nizier Cathedral then the Saint-Jean district, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site before reaching Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, Beaunant and Chaponost. Although urban, the route takes small, lightly traveled roads. This is the opportunity to come across the aqueducts on several occasions, vestiges of the water supply from the Pilat Massif to Lugdunum, during the Gallo-Roman era.

Do not miss :

  • a visit to the city of Lyon: its monuments and its gastronomy
  • the Roman aqueduct of Gier in Chaponost

Step 2: From Chaponost to Saint-Martin-en-Haut

This second stage will take you to the heights of Saint-Martin-en-Haut, located at an altitude of 730 m. The town is located on a fairly remarkable pass, on the watershed. You will discover the eastern hillside, a very strong topographic break between the Coteaux and the Monts du Lyonnais, which contrasts with a hilly plateau covering the majority of the commune.

Do not miss

  • the fruits and orchards of Thurins
  • the hamlet of Rochefort in Saint-Martin-en-Haut

Step 3: From Saint-Martin-en-Haut to Saint-Galmier

This stage allows walkers to discover the Pays de Saint-Galmier: its castles, its crosses, its Roman road, its mills, with beautiful panoramic views over the Forez plain.

Do not miss :

  • Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise, classified among the “Most Beautiful Detours in France”
  • the Badoit spring in Saint-Galmier

Step 4: From Saint-Galmier to Saint-Georges-Haute-Ville

In Saint-Georges-Haute-Ville, you can see an enormous stone, planted behind the north face of the school, near the cross. It marks the crossroads of the Forez de Saint-Jacques-of Compostela. Indeed, this is where two paths meet: the path coming from Cluny and the path from Lyon. In Saint-Georges, these two paths become one for several kilometers.

Do not miss :

  • the priory of Saint-Romain-le-Puy

Stage 5: From Saint-Georges-Haute-Ville to Marols

Departing from Saint-Georges-Haute-Ville, the ascent into the Monts du Forez begins on a gentle slope between 400 and 650 meters above sea level. The route allows you to discover the fortified villages of Marols and Montarcher. The route then splits again into two branches to reach Le Puy-en-Velay. One path takes the plateau, following the old Bolène-Roman road which linked Lyon to Bordeaux, the other joins the Loire gorges.

Do not miss :

  • Marols, classified among the “character villages of the Loire”

Stage 6 (from the west): From Marols to Usson-en-Forez

This stage of the Lyon route allows walkers to discover beautiful coniferous forests. It also offers them magnificent views of Usson-en-Forez. The commune is located on the borders of Velay, Forez and Auvergne. Located on a mountainous plateau, the town benefits from a sunny microclimate. Hikers can take the opportunity to visit the Monts du Forez ecomuseum illustrating the traditions and know-how of Haut-Forez.

Do not miss :

  • Montarcher, classified among the “character villages of the Loire”
  • the Monts du Forez ecomuseum in Usson-en-Forez

Stage 7 (from the west): From Usson-en-Forez to Chomelix

This day, nearly 20 km long, allows hikers to reach the Chomelix plateau. This village has long been a crossing point for pilgrims from Saint-Jacques from Compostela towards Puy-en-Velay coming from the East. 2 shells attest to this Saint-Jacques which adorn the walls of the church as well as the hospital registers.

Do not miss :

  • the church of Chomelix

Stage 8 (from the west): From Chomelix to Saint-Paulien

This stage allows walkers to complete a route without difficulty on small roads and stony paths, to Saint-Paulien, located at an altitude of 810 meters. This former capital of Velay is home to historical remains such as the Château de la Rochelambert, an XNUMXth century residence carved into a basalt cliff, the remains of an ancient volcano.

Do not miss :

  • the Château de la Rochelambert in Saint-Paulien
  • the Archaeological Museum of Saint-Paulien
  • the church of Saint-Paulien

Stage 9 (from the west): From Saint-Paulien to Puy-en-Velay

Departing from Saint-Paulien, walkers follow the valley which extends to Polignac, where the Polignac family castle has been located since the 9th century. This stage allows them to cross the Velay countryside before arriving at the crossroads of the paths of Saint-Jacques : Le Puy-en-Velay.

Do not miss :

  • the fortress of Polignac
  • the rock and the Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe chapel
  • a visit to the medieval city of Puy-en-Velay and its monuments

Stage 7 (from the east): From Leignecq to Retournac

The Andrable river will accompany you to reach the Haute-Loire department. Yes, after the Rhône then the Loire, the department whose capital is Le Puy-en-Velay extends its arms to you.

From the town of Valprivas, the Ance valley then the Loire gorges wind their way to Retournac and its unmissable Lace Manufactures museum. The collection includes 450 pieces including 000 different models.

Do not miss :

  • the Lace Manufactures Museum in Retournac

Stage 8 (from the east): From Retournac to Vorey-sur-Arzon

After Retournac, head for the Loire gorges whose winding bends lead to Puy-en-Velay. But first of all, a little history and culture with a visit to ancient fortresses such as the castle of Artias, one of the oldest in Velay and the priory of Chamalières-sur-Loire. Your path continues towards Roche-en-Régnier where you will have a superb panoramic view from the remains of its castle.

Do not miss :

  • Artias Castle in Retournac
  • the priory of Chamalières-sur-Loire
  • the remains of Roche en Régnier castle for a panoramic view

Stage 9 (from the east): From Vorey-sur-Arzon to Lavoûte-sur-Loire

The wild Loire and its tumultuous gorges continue their course, passing Vorey before arriving at Saint-Vincent. From there, it only remains about twenty kilometers before you catch a glimpse of the Notre-Dame de France statue, perched high on the Corneille rock in Puy-en-Velay. This stage allows hikers to reach Lavoûte-sur-Loire, a small village which owes its name to the singular loop formed by the river, which is home to the “first castle of the Loire”: the castle of Lavoûte Polignac.

Do not miss :

  • the Ceneuil juice in Saint-Vincent for the 360° view
  • the castle of Lavoûte-Polignac in Lavoûte-sur-Loire

Stage 10 (from the east): From Lavoûte-sur-Loire to Puy-en-Velay

Before the final effort, the Polignac fortress appears on the horizon, you are in the heart of Velay and its emblematic monuments. Further on, it is the rock and the Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe chapel which mark the red flame of the very last kilometers. From the foot of the rock and its dizzying height, walkers only have a few meters left before reaching the capital of hiking trails. Saint-Jacques : Le Puy-en-Velay.

Do not miss :

  • the fortress of Polignac
  • the rock and the Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe chapel
  • a visit to the medieval city of Puy-en-Velay and its monuments



Find all the practical information about the Chemin de Saint-Jacques (way
of Lyon) in the “red guide”: route, step by step, list of accommodation and services. This
guide is essential to ensure peace of mind!


What are the main stages of the Lyon Way of the Chemin de Saint-Jacques GR®765?

1) Lyon > Chaponost: 10,5 km

2) Chaponost > St-Martin-en-Haut: 19 km

3) St-Martin-en-Haut > Saint-Galmier: 23 km

4) Saint-Galmier > St Georges Haute-Ville: 23 km

5) St Georges Haute-Ville > Marols: 13,5 km

6) (East) Marols > Leignecq: 21 km / (West) Marols > Usson-en-Forez: 17 km

7) (East) Leignecq > Retournac: 29 km / (West) Usson-en-Forez > Chomelix: 19,5 km

8) (East) Retournac > Vorey-sur-Arzon: 24,5 km / (West) Chomelix > Saint-Paulien: 20 km

9) (East) Vorey-sur-Arzon > Le Puy-en-Velay: 24,5 km / (West) Saint-Paulien > Le Puy-en-Velay
: 15,5 km

What is the difference between the East route and the West route of the GR®765 Chemin de Saint-Jacques (Lyon route)?

At the Montarcher stage in the Loire, the GR®765 is divided into two sections:

– to the east, the Loire gorges

– to the west, the Bolène route, also called the Caesar route

The “East” part of the GR®765 mainly crosses coniferous forests while the “West” part runs along the wild Loire. Please note, the “East” side has one more step than the
the west is about twenty kilometers difference.

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