Day 22 – Walking the Via Francigena- A Rest Day In Châlons-en-Champagne, France

Day 22 – Walking the Via Francigena- A Rest Day In Châlons-en-Champagne, France

I am SO happy that we scheduled a rest day for today.
The main reason that we planned a rest day was so we could have time to see Châlons-en-Champagne.
But as it turned out, we really needed the rest.

The town is historic and visually interesting.
I love walking down the streets and admiring the architecture and detailed design.
Not only were the churches, courts and the town hall built with lavish architecture, but I also saw some amazing details on gates and windows of ordinary merchant homes.

In addition, the charming alpine architecture reminds me of gingerbread cookie designs that you can see on competitive baking shows like “The Great British Baking Show.”

We slept late, enjoying the fact that we did not have to pack everything and start walking.
Last night we rubbed our feet with cream mixed with oregano oil, and my feet feel much better today.

We collected our laundry, took our scroll and pilgrim’s passports to hopefully be stamped in the cathedral, and went to explore the town.
We stopped by the information center, which is housed in a charming alpine building on a small canal.

They stamped our books and scroll, after asking us which pilgrimage we were walking, the Camino or the Via Francigena.
In this section of France, the routes are combined and each pilgrimage has its own stamp.
The Camino’s symbol is a sea shell, and the Via Francigena’s shows a pilgrim dressed in ancient clothing with a pack and a walking stick.

The Châlons Cathedral was built in the year 1147, and it looks beautiful with its gothic architecture and intricate stained glass windows.
Stone Goblins and Gargoyles decorate the exterior, along with angels and saints.

Nearby we had a lunch of Chinese dim sum, happy to have a culinary break from only French bread and cheese.
The owner is a Chinese family and they seem to have become popular among the locals with takeout food.

We walked to the laundromat where a friendly old man with crutches helped us figure out the instructions in French, and in a fatherly way, he oversaw what we did to make sure we were OK.

The biggest plus of our accommodation is the very central location.
We walked back to our little cottage to put away the laundry and continued our sightseeing walk around town.
It was a lovely sunny day.

We walked by Châlons’ Jewish Temple, and on to the Jard, a large Central Park, and stopped at a lovely café run by an American couple from Delaware.
DS cafe was their dream.
The husband had been a pastor in Châlons-en-Champagne for 27 years before retiring recently, and they had always wanted to own a small coffee shop.
She bakes all the cakes herself, and he brews the coffee and decorates the foam on top of each cup.
Her cheese cake with raspberry coulis was divine.

Before dinner, we went to the town square to see a comedy satire piece of street theater.
The actors were circus men, fit and acrobatic with a theatrical flare.
The play was about a bunch of losers (they used this term) who lose the garage they work and sleep in, and try to save it by converting the space to a place of spectacular performances.

We had a delicious dinner of vegetarian Couscous and salads with an evening fresh baguette.
In France, it is not uncommon for people and restaurants to buy fresh baguettes twice a day, in the morning and again in the evening.
A morning baguette does not taste the same at dinner time, as an evening fresh baguette would not taste the same when kept overnight.

Tomorrow we start walking again.
Wishing you a wonderful day or night,
Tali

Today’s Stats:
6 hours of walking
Active walking time – 3 hours
Daily Steps – 14,316
Daily Kilometers – 11 Km
Total Kilometers walked from Canterbury UK – 465 km

Accommodation:
Les Caudalies Inn and restaurant, in Châlons-en-Champagne

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