Day 17 – Walking the Via Francigena – From Pontavert to Hermonville, France – A quiet and cold day of walking through the Champagne region of France
This morning a cold front moved into this region of France.
After a breakfast of pancakes with honey and some green tea, we dressed warmly, even putting on our rain pants over our hiking pants, to provide extra warmth.
I wore my ski hat under my hat, scarf, gloves and winter coat.
We did not walk very long today.
When I planned our walking route back home, I looked at a topographic map of the area and thought it was more mountainous than it actually is, and so I divided the 37 kilometers from Pontavert to Reims into two days of walking.
But in reality, there are no mountains, only hills.
Yes, at times they were a bit steep, but not long, and definitely we could have walked the whole 37 Kilometers to Reims in one day.
But we do not regret staying for an extra night in this area of France.
It is beautiful here.
The Champagne region is planted with grape vines, as far as the eye can see.
The harvest of grapes is over by the end of October, but the vines keep on growing beautifully sweet grapes.
Nobody harvests them at this time of the year, so they remain on the vines, lush and tasty.
The villages we passed seemed more abundant, with well maintained stone houses, gardens with flowers and very clean streets.
We arrived in Hermonville by 1:10 PM.
The Chateau we are staying at asks guest to check in between 5 PM -7 PM, so
we decided to go to the local French restaurant, to have a leisurely hot lunch.
Beside this restaurant, the village only has one other restaurant that serves pizza, which was closed today.
The tourists who come to this area are touring the Champagne wineries and doing wine tastings throughout the region.
Luckily, the restaurant was very busy with dozens of customers, which meant that they did not close at 2PM as they usually do, and we were able to stay indoors in their warm place, until nearer to our check in time.
The food was lovely, and a great value, just 18€ for a delicious three course meal, wine and coffee.
We skipped the wind and chose a salad with local warm goat cheese, a main course of baked mixed seafood and a dessert followed by coffee.
What a treat, to be able to enjoy a big leisurely hot lunch on our pilgrimage day…
We stayed until 3PM, and when it became apparent that every one else was leaving, we put on our backpacks and left as well.
Lady Luck was on our side, because, after touring the village, we came upon the owner of the chateau with his two sons, just as they were leaving home.
He checked us into a spacious, clean and warm bedroom and we were happy to settle in.
I took a hot shower to warm up, and went to rest in bed.
I really could not eat dinner after such a big lunch.
I am starting to enjoy this pilgrimage very much, but the weather at this time of the year is most definitely not the best for walking into the high Alps of Switzerland.
I am glad that tomorrow is our last walking day, for the forecast calls for icy showers and very low temperatures.
Luckily, tomorrow is another short day of walking to Reims.
In Reims, we will visit the ancient cathedral, see the town and end this part of our pilgrimage.
Sending you love and light,
4 hours of walking (9:30 am- 1:30 pm)
Active walking time – 4 hours
Daily Steps – 23,600
Daily Kilometers – 17.5
Total Kilometers walked from Canterbury – 375
Maximum Altitude today: 208 meters
Total Elevation climbed today: 1304 meters
Total Descent today: 1241 meters
From Pontavert To Hermonville, France
LE CHATEAU D’HERMONVILLE, Hermonville, France
A lovely spacious B&B with only two guest rooms, elegant and comfortable.
For dinner you can dine at the Pizza place or in a good French Restaurant in town called Mets Envie.