Two names build a strong message to give life to an emblematic itinerary.
From Canterbury, UK, to Santa Maria di Leuca in southern Italy, along the footsteps of Bishop Sigeric.
And the GR® 145 in France, which starts in Calais to reach the Swiss border after a journey of more than 700 km, building the Via Francigena.
It was here, in the north of France, that a partnership began when the FFRandonnée was invited by the EAVF to create a GR® (with the number 145) to promote this cultural route and facilitate its journey to Switzerland.
But who is the Fédération Française de Randonnée Pédestre? And what is its role within France and its territories?
Without going back over its history, let us recall that the FFRandonnée was born in 1947, when a few people passionate about walking and discovering the natural wealth of France created the first GR® routes (GR® 1, GR® 2, GR®3, GR®4, etc.), and today there are almost 350 GR® routes of various lengths, totalling nearly 120,000 kilometres. Over all these years, the FFRandonnée has developed a know-how through its committees that is now recognised.
This know-how concerns the design and development of the GR® routes and its criteria, the work for signposting and maintenance, digitisation with the enhancements that allow to share data, IGN maps, geographical information systems or mobile applications to be kept up to date. The FFRandonnée has recently revisited and strongly reaffirmed its major orientations in the current federal plan 2021-2028. It is important to share its ambition here:
-To make the FFRandonnée a protagonist of outdoor sports;
-To make the FFRandonnée an important social player, responding creatively to a changing demand for walking routes.
The collaboration between our two structures was natural. From 2021 we have an agreement to coordinate our actions. A team of walkers participated in part of the great itinerary set up for the twentieth anniversary of the European Association of the Via Francigena, Road to Rome 2021, and relationships were forged marking a turning point in our approach in this field, confirmed by cross-participation in our respective general meetings. A fine programme of collaboration project is in perspective, close to all our departmental committees and for the benefit of all hikers!
Claudie Grossard, President of the National Commission for Trails and Itineraries
Jean-Claude Marie, Vice-President FFRandonnée