Work Days in Champlitte to develop the Via Francigena in France

Work days in Champlitte to develop the Via Francigena in France, where there is a continuous growth of pilgrims on the road.

On Thursday 9th August, at the town hall, the local administrations and the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways met for a comparison of the ongoing and future planning of the Via Francigena in the long French stretch. The chairman, Massimo Tedeschi, the vice-president, Martine Gautheron and the director, Luca Bruschi, on behalf of the EAVF.

Since August 2016 the municipality of Champlitte has hosted the EAVF headquarters in France and is helping to set up the network of local players involved in the promotion and development of the European cultural route. Not long ago, on 18th May Champlitte, located in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, hosted the EAVF General Assembly with a great turn out from the 4 countries of the Via Francigena: England, France, Switzerland and Italy.

15 municipalities and departments in France are members of EAVF to date. One of our latest additions is that of Calais, the starting point of the French section, while in September Besancon is expected to join.

The discussion between the administrators and the EAVF focused on the important project of the official Canterbury-Great St Bernard Pass guide, scheduled for release in April 2019. The guide, published by Suisse Itinerance and produced in collaboration with the EAVF, looks at both the GR145 route and Sigeric’s historical route.

In mid-September the agreement between the EAVF and the Federation Francaise de la Randonnee Pedestre will be formally signed in Paris and will make the GR145 route available to us.

The meeting in Champlitte's also focused on other significant points, such as:

- hospitality for pilgrims and the improvement of reception facilities according to the minimum standards found in the Vademecum implemented by the EAVF and European regions.

- vertical and light signage to be placed in collaboration with municipalities and associations. A project to develop tourist information at the entrance to municipalities has also been envisaged.

- promotion through participation in trade fairs dedicated to hiking such as annual exhibitions in Paris, Lyon, Besançon.

- communication with the documentary film that will be launched in the spring of 2019 to raise awareness of the Canterbury-Alps section, involving about ten walkers.

On the following day, 10th August, a further meeting took place to discuss the two-year renewal of the EAVF / Champlitte convention and to permanently establish an operational office to support the entire French section. The aim of the EAVF is to make the journey even more "international", a meeting place for peoples and cultures of the Council of Europe's cultural routes.

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