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:
The weather was decidedly fall-like as we left Vitry-le-Ville early morning. It was a cool 4° C. Dense fog hid the landscape, revealing its secrets slowly as we made our way down farm roads. Eventually the fog gave way to clear blue skies as the temperature slowly climbed to a comfortable 19°. Most of the day was spent trekking through gently rolling farmland, often sharing our gravel paths with massive tractors, and the villages rich with half-timbered houses. As usual, dogs barked from fenced yards. We would try to greet them all but a chance encounter with a lovely whippet and her human companions spurred a lengthy conversation. Our largely rural meanderings ended suddenly at Vitry-le-Françoise, a fairly gritty city at first glance but blessed with a substantial neo-classical church, La Collégiale Notre Dame de l’Assomption, which opens onto the equally impressive city plaza, Place d’Armes.
Oddly for a city this size, nearly every restaurant was closed this Monday evening. However, we were able to cobble together a reasonable take out meal from a kebab restaurant and an odd coupling of ice cream and a bottle of Mumm’s champagne from a frozen food store.
Walk Date: Sep 19, 2022
Distance: 30.9 km
Elevation Gain: 463 m
Read on to view today’s photos 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.
David, we may under-rate the value of a lovely Manitoban accent in French, or in Italian, in my case! Women may be smitten! (It’s a good thing Gail is there to keep you safe.)
Hi Neal. I think Gail is very safe, even with my dubious French abilities!
I’m enjoying your journey! So far so good. Are you and/or Gail competent French speakers?
Thanks Andrew. Gail is quite good in French, which has been very helpful. On the other hand, my high school French leaves a lot to be desired.