👣 31 km on foot – Tuesday 13 July
An early rise this morning brought us together with today’s group of walkers in front of the small eglise in Culmont. Last night’s heavy rain had us preoccupied about the long stage that was ahead of us, and the weather forecast predicting thunderstorms didn’t make it any better. But luckily for us, sometimes the weather forecast is entirely wrong! Temperatures are still fresh in this part of Europe, especially in the morning, and immediately after Culmont the Via Francigena took us into the forest.
The beautiful green colors, natural smells and complete silence (except for some rain drops falling from the trees and birds singing in the distance) had an extremely calming effect on all of us. Some of us walked in silence, others spoke softly in one of the three languages we have been using since the start of Road to Rome: English, French, and Italian. We spotted many different mushrooms along the way, as well as many different kinds of snails. Some of them reached almost 20cm in length, super impressive!
Just before reaching the half-way mark, we made a small deviation to get to the small Notre-Dame des Bois chapel, which is immersed in the green forest (hence its name). Here we ate our half meter of baguette and were offered some coffee, tea, and some chocolate cake. With this renewed energy we continued our journey, also because we still had more than halfway to go until Leffond. In the afternoon the grey and cloudy sky made way for some sun and it finally felt like summer again. The area we’re currently walking in is becoming more and more hilly, and from one tiny villages to the other it often means going down and back up again.
Today was also the day in which we changed Region and Department: we went from the Grand Est region to Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and from Haute-Marne to Haute-Saone. We have therefore reached our third and final region in France, after which we will arrive in Switzerland. The final kilometres today were the heaviest: we were all tired and our legs started to become rather heavy. We arrived at 18:30 in Leffond, where a warm welcome with snacks and drinks was organized at the local Salle des Fetes. Here we met a lovely old lady who explained to us that 80 years ago, in this Salle des Fetes the local primary school was located and that she used to run around here as a young girl. We tried to imagine what it must have been like so long ago, even before the second world war. Hearing such stories from this lady made us look with totally different eyes at this small town and their Salle des Fetes. These unexpected encounters are often the things that we remember the most after an experience in cammino, and the old lady of Leffond has certainly earned her place in the Road to Rome hall of fame.
In the evening our crew went to Champlitte, only 8km away from Leffond, where events were organized because of the French National Holiday. Live music, food stands and fireworks completed this long but satisfying day along the Via Francigena in France.
Walking in the forest for hours in a row
Meeting the lovely old lady of Leffond and listerning to her childhood stories
Flying our FPV drone into the Champlitte fireworks!
Myra Stals, Social Media Manager (EAVF)
Jacques Chevin, staff member (EAVF)
Garance Potier, intern (EAVF)
Andrea Alessandrini, RTR Ambassador
Brigitte Soulary, President (FFR)
A local group of walkers
Nicola Cagol, videomaker