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  1. #21
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    Coffee You're doing it in a way I wished I would have. The Frances is so well traveled that one could do it without a guide book or planning beyond the initial getting to SJPP. However be forwarded that the popularity has increased and unfortunately reservations are more and more needed. But since you have the funds to stay at the higher end places you should be fine.

  2. #22
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    On the Camino, its always good to know enough of the local language to call ahead for reservations.
    Even in October, many places will be crowded on the Francese, while later in the year some places might be closed.

    Have fun!

  3. #23
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    I was under the impression that crowds tend to go down a lot starting mid October, so I guess I'll see if that matches reality. I have only rudimentary Spanish skills but should probably be able to make reservations, if needed.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    I was under the impression that crowds tend to go down a lot starting mid October, so I guess I'll see if that matches reality. I have only rudimentary Spanish skills but should probably be able to make reservations, if needed.
    Fall really has become a very popular time on the Camino. Many reservations can be made in English and broken Spanish, but in my experience it can be a time consuming and somewhat annoying endeavor. If you are in a crowd, try to hike a non-standard distance, basically get off sequence, don't stay in the main towns and stays that others tend to do who are following the guide book.

  5. #25
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    If you start by flying to Paris, you most likely will need some words in French. This is one country, maybe the only one in EU, where locals try hard to stay away from speaking English. Nothing wrong or bad with the people, its just kind of a traditional animosity.
    Regarding the crowds, yes, fall is the favorite season and given you have bright weather, there will be many.
    But then, if you were seeking solitude you would not go the Camino anyway.

    Anyway, you will work it all out and sure will have fun.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    I was under the impression that crowds tend to go down a lot starting mid October, so I guess I'll see if that matches reality. I have only rudimentary Spanish skills but should probably be able to make reservations, if needed.
    Tengo una reserva in Pamplona on 10/13... perhaps we will meet somewhere along the way. Look for a GG Kumo pack and that should be me!

    Also, necesito un cafe con leche, por favor.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    If you start by flying to Paris, you most likely will need some words in French. This is one country, maybe the only one in EU, where locals try hard to stay away from speaking English. Nothing wrong or bad with the people, its just kind of a traditional animosity.
    Regarding the crowds, yes, fall is the favorite season and given you have bright weather, there will be many.
    But then, if you were seeking solitude you would not go the Camino anyway.

    Anyway, you will work it all out and sure will have fun.
    Though there is that reputation, Paris is also a international city so it's not hard to get around english only, but yes there are challenges. This also applies to Saint Jean Pied de Port (your most likely starting point of your camino). It is also fairly easy to get from the Airport to the TVG high speed train via subway or Uber. Be alert of strikes which are common and normal here, and may necessitate a alternate means of transportation then tyhe subway. Make sure you go to the correct train station however as Paris has several (3 IIRC) links to high speed rail lines.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    If you start by flying to Paris, you most likely will need some words in French. This is one country, maybe the only one in EU, where locals try hard to stay away from speaking English. Nothing wrong or bad with the people, its just kind of a traditional animosity.
    Regarding the crowds, yes, fall is the favorite season and given you have bright weather, there will be many.
    But then, if you were seeking solitude you would not go the Camino anyway.

    Anyway, you will work it all out and sure will have fun.
    Not true. But old stereotypes die hard. Now days most French people age fourty and under speaks decent English. And practically all those in the hospitality business speak English.

  9. #29
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    I did the tour of Mont Blanc in 2015 and the villages in France were a little difficult but ok for English for the most part. Iíll only be in Paris long enough to catch the train which is actually from the airport itself. Iím leaving Paris itself for another trip because I donít want to feel pressed for time on the Camino.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanD View Post
    Not true. But old stereotypes die hard. Now days most French people age fourty and under speaks decent English. And practically all those in the hospitality business speak English.
    True. And having our cell phone in our pocket makes it pretty easy when we stray into locations where someone knows zero English. If we have to go beyond the limited phrases/words we've learned, the google translate app (with the chosen language downloaded in advance) will get most anything you'd need accomplished within a few seconds.

  11. #31
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    And then, as an English native speaker you believe to get the pronounciation of French words right? <G>

    OK, in my warning in post #25 I was a bit exaggerating. Most likely you will be fine.

    Many years ago, I had an on-site work in France for several weeks, and tried hard to learn a few words in French. It really payed. In most everyday life situation, I'd start in my crude French, and people aprecciated that I've tried and rewarded my effort by trying their best in German or English.
    I've heard many reports of, and watched myself, "nosey" foreigners who failed to approach the French the right way, and got refused or ignored as a reward.

    Even more important had been to know-how of ordering in a restaurant.
    The menue is completely different than we Austrians/Germans are used to.
    You basically first chose a "Menue" (of which there usually are 3-4 to chose from), which means a level of quality and price, and second you chose one of every serving offered within your menue.

    Have fun!
    Our best friends just left for Paris to start the Camino Francese, after having hiked most of all the other Caminos over the last decade.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    And then, as an English native speaker you believe to get the pronounciation of French words right? <G>
    haha. I can report that the audio pronunciation on the google translate app is also generally fairly accurate now. Although my wife gives me funny looks when I am practicing my phrases/pronunciation with my headphones in when we're about to hike or transit into a town.

    Totally agree that people just love when you make an effort. In majority speaking areas in Quebec, they are very friendly to me if I attempt some poor french (and will usually switch to English if they think theirs is better). When my wife just opens with English, the level of service quickly approaches 0, but that tends to be amusing as well.

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