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:
You might think of today’s walk as uneventful, just moving through a series of arrow-straight forest trails to our destination at Leffonds. But we did pass through three small towns that Sigeric also visited in 990. All had their churches (locked) with the contemporary Via Francigena logo attached near their front portals. And we came across the ruined abbey at Marmot. Established in the 12 C. by the Augustines as a hospital, what remains of the complex is La Maison-Dieu, a handsome stone building desperately in need of repair, and a few ruins. Then there was the chance encounter with Geraldine, a motherless young boar that was found in the woods and raised by a local family. Finally, there was Dany and Dominique Bégny, hosts at our final destination, Chambres d’hôtes “La Cressonnière.” Late afternoon, Dany set us up in our pilgrim accommodation for the night, a cozy little caravan set in their expansive backyard. That evening we sat with them at their dining room table to share what they call a “pilgrim dinner”, but was a full four-course spread (with ample seconds), wine and an aperitif. Gail, the resident French speaker in our group of two, had a lively conversation with our hosts, lasting well into the night. We concluded with a tour of Dominique’s little museum of eclectic memorabilia: vacuum tube radios,vintage carpenters’ planes, a Canada Dry pinball machine and jars of a raw plastic dating from the early 20 C. And seeming somewhat similar to Bakelite.
Which leads me to think: there is no such thing as an uneventful walk.
Walk Date: Sep 28, 2022
Distance: 28.0 km
Elevation Gain: 521 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.