The French Way is the best known way, in Spain and abroad, of all the ways to Santiago de Compostela.
Crossing the north of the peninsula this way was set up at the end of the XIX century thanks to the efforts of kings Sancho III, Sancho Ramírez de Navarra y Aragón, and as well Alfonso VI and his successors, who were in charge of building the French Way and promoting it.
The Codex Calixtinus described extremely well, around year 1135, the pilgrims ways in France and Spain. It was attributed to the french cleric Aymeric Picaud and it reveals the political and religious interests which underlay the promotion of Santiago. The Codex Calixtinus was written during a time Santiago de Compostela was receiving a high number of pilgrims from the christian world. The piece of work is written in a simple and clear way and the main aim is to give an answer to a concrete question: the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. This code is a reference work to study the tradition of the pilgrimages. Among many other things, it enumerates the different streches of the way from the land of Gaul and it offers a thorough list with information about the sanctuaries, springs, people and local traditions.
In the course of time the way lost a big part of its past influence. It was not after the end of the XIX century, begining of the XX, when it starts to reappear an interest for the way and the pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela, recovering and restoring one of the main symbols of the history of european unity.
The French way starts in Saint Jean Pied de Port and it follows through Roncesvalles, Pamplona, Puente de la Reina, Arcos, Logroño, Nájera, Burgos, Hornillo del Camino, Carrión de los Condes, Sahagún, Burgo Ranero, León Villadangos del Páramo, Astorga, Rabanal del Camino, Molinaseca, Villafranca del Bierzo, Samos, Portomarin, Palas de Rei, Arzúa, Monte do Gozo y Santiago de Compostela.
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