Via Francigena

Day 40 – Orsières to Bourg-St-Pierre: it’s a long way to the top – if you wanna go to Rome

The stage


👣 14,3km on foot – Thursday 29 July

Day two climbing up to the Great Saint Bernard pass…and what a climb! The whole stage was a steep ascend into the mountains, and although we walked fewer km than usual it was quite a hike. We progressively came across fewer and fewer villages, like beautiful Liddes, in the end only finding remote and isolated houses here and there: we are entering the wild world of the Alps.

The sun kept us company for the entire day (finally!) and the hike went very smoothly, bringing us to our destination, Bourg-St-Pierre on perfect time (also…finally!). The same group of walkers as yesterday approached the pass: our vice-presidents Gaetan and Martine and a group of local walkers.

We stopped next to a stream for our lunch break, and I soon realized we were surrounded by red, mature, tasty wild strawberries. Of course, after my sandwich I started roaming around collecting them – there were so many, so fresh, so tasty! It’s great to collect and eat these little treats that nature provides for us – it made everyone feel extremely connected to the place and relaxed, and some of us laid down for a nap. Something else I really enjoyed today – and in most Swiss stages – is the continuous availability of fresh mountain water: there are taps everywhere and the water itself is pure and delicious.

We left Orsières this morning at an elevation of 900 m above sea level. At the end of our climb, in Bourg-St-Pierre, we had reached more than 1600 m elevation! We can see snow here and there around us, but I am surprised by the little amount left on the mountain tops surrounding me – a result, to me, of global warming. But I’m sure we’ll find snow tomorrow at the pass! I’m very excited to reach the top – on Saturday we will also have a chance to explore the area properly, as we will take a well-deserved day of rest before descending. And then…Italy!


– Eating wild strawberries along the Via Francigena

– Inhaling the fresh, Swiss mountain air (a true detox for the lungs)

– Being surrounded by the natural beauty of the Alps

– Arriving ahead of schedule in Bourg-St-Pierre 😎


Myra Stals, Social Media Manager (EAVF)

Jacques Chevin, staff member (EAVF)

Elena Dubinina, International Relations (EAVF)

Laura Zampetti, RTR Ambassador

Martine Gautheron, Vice-President (EAVF)

Gaetan Tornäy, Vice-President (EAVF)

Andrea Ciotti, videomaker

Small group of local walkers