The team of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways EAVF conducted a series of meetings with members and stakeholders in Champlitte and Montfaucon, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region, on 9 and 10 July 2020.
The meetings were organised by the Via Francigena field office in Champlitte – in particular by Martine Gautheron, the EAVF Vice-President and Vice-Mayor of Champlitte and Leslie Maussang, EAVF development manager in France.
The association was represented by its President, Massimo Tedeschi and Elena Dubinina, cultural routes and international relations advisor.
The agenda of the meetings included the UNESCO World Heritage List candidacy of the Via Francigena, enhancement of the route on the French stretch, territorial development, signage and the Via Francigena guide from Canterbury to the Grand Saint Bernard Pass. The production of the guide was supported by six departments in France: Marne, Aube, Haute-Marne, Haute-Saône and Doubs, as well as Intercommunity of Grand Besançon / Grand Besançon Métropole in the framework of the project « Grandes Heures Nature ».
New poster of the Via Francigena was also presented during the event and received a positive reaction.
The events brought together elected representatives and tourism coordinators from the region: Patrice Colinet, Mayor of Champlitte; Pierre Contoz, Mayor of Montfaucon; Christian Guillaume, 2nd Vice-Mayor of Champlitte in charge of finance; Aurélie Sartelet, 3rd Vice-Mayor of Champlitte in charge of communications; Chantal Dufaitre, Head of the tourism department from Grand Besançon Métropole; Claude Ravier and Maryline Millot from the Doubs Department, Frédérique Maertens, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region, Daniel Conche, Doubs FF Randonnée.
The meetings proved to be a great success, providing space for presentations of EAVF main activities, best practice share, questions and answers. Great potential of the Via Francigena as a vehicle of territorial development was identified as a key element of the route’s contribution to France.
French members actively work on the Via Francigena enhancement. Grand Besançon Métropole included the Via Francigena in its mobile application, providing information on short trips along the route in the area. The Doubs Department actively works on a project of instalment information panels along the stretch to provide practical details as well as cultural information to pilgrims. Montfaucon offers refreshment facilities, rest stops and all necessary information. The Municipality of Champlitte offers premises for the EAVF field office and coordinates the development of the Via Francigena in France. 23 local authorities are currently members of the EAVF, their number is ever growing.
The meetings with municipalities and tourism offices along the Via Francigena in France will be continued in the end of August 2020, when representatives of the EAVF will travel along the French Via Francigena from Calais to Besançon on 24 – 28 August 2020.
A specially dedicated webinar for France will be organised in the beginning of September 2020.