Via Francigena

Luca and Elena on the way: Orsierès – Bourg- Saint – Pierre // DAY 10

The stage


Here is the climb. The summit is almost around the corner.

The climb begins, finally! Today the stage is approaching the legendary Great St Bernard Pass. We start in Orsières at 900m and arrive to Bourg-Saint-Pierre at 1650m.

We depart from Orsières with muscles already well prepared and ready to face the day’s climb. After 190 km and 9 days of walking behind me I am quite fit and I could imagine to continue to Rome. After all, it would only be another 1000 km and 45 days of walking!

The exit from Orsières is pleasant, surrounded by greenery and the Dranse river skirting the path. You go up, but without real jerks. The sun is already up and starts to warm up early in the morning. The gravel road is well signposted and is quite wide. Only after a couple of steps you enter the woods and walk on a narrow path where you have to be careful not to slip since the ground is still a little damp. In this case, it is worth resuming what was said yesterday: better not to venture into mountain stages in bad weather and, in any case, it is always good to be with someone by your side.

After two and a half hours I arrive in Liddes, a small and charming village of 700 inhabitants. We are at an altitude of 1300 m. There is time for a break in a coffee shop at the Central Place with Elena who in meantime joined me by bus to walk the second part of the route together.

We depart with the sun high in sky that will relentlessly accompany us until the end of the stage. The shadows, for today, are over (unfortunately!). The heat slows down our pace together with the gradual climb. We are now at 1600 m, arriving to Bourg-Saint-Pierre, stopping at the “Bivouac Napoléon”. Here we stop for a light lunch on the road.
In 1800 in Bourg-Saint-Pierre, a strategic place of passage towards the Grand St Bernard, Napoleon camped with his army before a battle against the Austrians.
At the end of the small village you can visit an ancient church to auto-stamp your pilgrim passport. This church from the year 1000, rebuilt in the 18th century, has the oldest bell tower in the entire Canton of Valais.

Last meters to the hostel prepared a great surprise: a raspberry plant! I hope there are no contraindications to eating the berries in large quantities, it is not easy to contain oneself.

Tomorrow, we start our day with a final stage to arrive at 2473m!