Via Francigena

From Saint-Maurice to Martigny // DAY 8

The stage


From Saint-Maurice to Martigny, two symbolic places of the European Via Francigena.

Before walking to Martigny, it is best to take a last look at the splendid Abbey of Saint-Maurice.

This place forever remains in the heart and spirit of pilgrims, it leaves an indelible memory for its spiritual charge that it is able to transmit.

Today the stage is short and simple, one of those stages that in the world of cycling could be called “transfer”. We are talking about 17 km that immerse us in the Canton Valais and run alongside the Rhone river in the heart of the Alps. We will seriously begin to climb them starting from the next stage.

But let’s go back to our path. A first stop is scheduled at the tourist office to share the ongoing activities on the Via Francigena with Nadine and Kevin. The tourist offices along the Via Francigena play an extremely important place to transmit information to pilgrims and wayfarers, to give them advice on the route and welcome.

Now let’s go, finally. The surprise of the day is that this time the forecast has caught us! It’s raining, it’s windy and comparing to yesterday it’s 10 degrees lower. So I present myself in the guise of the pilgrim who must suffer and atone for so many faults: today therefore I will get wet. I am ready!

However, the path is easy and flat, without differences in height. 2 km from Saint-Maurice there are also thermal baths of Lavey-les-bains, worth spending morning of relax. In an hour and 15 minutes you can easily reach a small town of Evionnaz where we pause to meet the municipal councilor Claude-Alain Richard and the journalist Gilles Berraud de Le Nouvelliste who interviews us about the Via Francigena. An article about our trip will be published shortly. A circulation of 100,000 copies!

Meanwhile, it still rains a lot.
I am already wet from head to toe walking towards Vernayaz and it is not possible to avoid a new stop at the Pissevache waterfall, one of the natural highlights of the day. Impressive and picturesque this faterfall falls from over 100 m. By now it seems destiny that the leitmotif of the day will be water, I see it popping up everywhere.

We need to speed up the pace. We take the path again but I prefer to skirt the railroad tracks instead of diving into the woods, it could be dangerous.
In this alternative stretch you come across bucolic fields with apple, plum and apricot trees. Finally here are legendary apricots of the Valais! I cannot escape the temptation to collect a couple, always under rain.
I arrive in Martigny, covering the last 10km in 1 hour and 42 ‘, almost a step away from the Olympic Games records, much faster than slow walking.
At 15:00, after a hot shower, we meet Florian Rard from the Martygny tourism office who is involved in welcoming pilgrims. An opportunity to take stock of the situation on the Via Francigena in this stretch of the journey.

Tomorrow day off to discover the city that has ancient Celtic and Roman origins.