This “Walking The Via Francigena” series of posts follow us, David and Gail, as we continue our walk along the Via Francigena pilgrimage route between Canterbury and Rome. In the fall of 2019, we completed the first leg from London to Canterbury, known as the Chaucer Way, and onward to the small town of Tergnier, France on the Via Francigena. A pandemic got in the way but now, in 2022, our trek is underway once again, this time taking us from Tergnier to Besançon over 23 walking days and 580 or so kilometres.
Notes from today’s walk:
Trails take us through deep woods winding past ruined buildings, open onto bare fields and vineyards in mid-harvest, through small well-kept villages and their champagne houses. Then onto something completely different. Reims is a major champagne production hub and, at its core, home to one of France’s magnificent cathedrals. But, as with most large cities, there is an outer ring where the less romantic yet essential work takes place. This is the place of heavy industry, where steel is pounded into sheets and engines get built. About one hour short of our destination, we exited the woods and turned right to follow the Canal de Aisne à la Marne. Along its edge is a recently developed multi-use trail, a pleasant, well-used path to be sure—we will follow it to the centre of Reims—but this is a working canal, complete with barges laden with raw materials and lined with megalithic industrial complexes that occasionally offer glimpses of this day’s destination, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims.
Walk Date: Sep 13, 2022
Distance: 18.4 km
Elevation Gain: 315 m
Read on to view today’s photos, a soundscape captured along the route and an interactive map.
Click the images below to view a full-screen slideshow.
Overview map of the route from Tergnier to Besançon.