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:
Au Milieu de Nulle Part. In the Middle of Nowhere.
That’s the name of our destination today. Yet, those who look closely, who walk the gravel paths, will find themselves in the middle of everything. Take today’s walk. We left Vitry-le-Françoise expecting a quiet, long walk through rolling farmland, all fallow or bare earth or planted with sugar beets. We got that, of course, but we also discovered war memorials. One, situated in the middle of a farmer’s field, far from any reasonable access point, commemorated a World War Two RAF Halifax bomber that crashed here on August 5, 1944. Later on, high up on a quiet gravel road, was the Mont Môret memorial. It is here, on September 6 to 11, 1914 that a crucial World War One battle was fought. It’s estimated that 3,200 French soldiers died on these rolling hills and a further 10,000 we’re injured during that five day siege.
In a moment of complete serendipity, we came across a group of Italians from the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, walking in the opposite direction on the route in order to complete a public relations film. Expect to see Gail and me in Via Francigena television ad!
Though our day ended in a place called Au Milieu de Nulle Part, it is anything but. Our lodging for the night is a cozy wood caravan set in the woods. We’ve enjoyed a massive meal prepared by our host. It’s near midnight and time to crawl into our bed alcove. Not bad for the middle of nowhere.
Walk Date: Sep 21, 2022
Distance: 32.8 km
Elevation Gain: 495 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.