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The Via Garona

La Garonne


The Via Garona is first and foremost a natural route, structured by the Garonne river. Through the nature of their landscapes, flora and fauna, the river and its valley constitute a remarkable ecosystem, awarded Natura 2000 status. It was a possible route for pilgrims to follow on the way to or from Compostela, Montserrat, or Saragossa. From Toulouse, pilgrims could take the route via Gascony (Arles Way), or follow the natural communications corridor along the Garonne valley towards the Pyrenean foothills.


All along the Via Garona one finds traces indicative of a particularly well-established cult of St. James, as in Muret, Rieux, Cazères… Saint Cizy, Saint Germier, Saint Gaudens, and Saint Just were also venerated here… An inventory of these traces has been made by Jean-Marc Souchon, the walker who initiated the rediscovery of this forgotten Way. He produced a map figuring these various witnesses to the past, which you can consult here. The itinerary is also naturally influenced by nearby Spain, as exemplified in the historic-cum-religious "fiesta" in Martres Tolosane. This honours Saint Vidian who fought the Saracens and was more or less contemporary with the finding of the tomb of St. James in 813.


Now registered as the GR®861, the Via Garona offers a new alternative rich in cultural and natural sites, and enables users to continue towards Compostela from Toulouse via the Foothills Way (GR®78).


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