Via Garona (GR861) is the new, 170-kilometre, hiking trail along the Garonne river that connects the sites of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle between Toulouse (Basilica of Saint-Sernin) and Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges (Cathedral of Our Lady). It crosses 41 communes, all located in Haute-Garonne.
Used in the Middle Ages by those pilgrims who went to Santiago de Compostela passing by the Piedmont Pyrenees, this forgotten path is now accessible again to lovers of walking. Take a look at the Map.
Opened 1 July 2017, Via Garona has seven stages from Toulouse through Muret, Noë, Rieux-Volvestre, Martres-Tolosane, Saint-Martory and Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. It includes Haute-Garonne’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- Basilica of Saint-Sernin and Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques in Toulouse.
- Basilica of Saint-Just in Valcabrère
- Cathedral of Our Lady, Paleochristian Basilica and Chapel of Saint-Julien in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges.
The midpoint is Rieux-Volvestre.
Of great interest to us, and hopefully to hikers and pilgrims alike, is that Via Garona actually touches the northern corner of Saint Laurent, from where it is a short walk to the house. This can be seen on the enlarged Map, where Rieux-Volvestre is top left, and Saint Laurent is the only building showing at centre bottom. There is no accommodation closer.