Calais, door of the Via Francigena in France, enters strongly into the network of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (AEVF).
To highlight this honour, a series of meetings and a journey took place along the Via Francigena on 9th June to discover the Council of Europe’s European Route. The morning saw the inauguration of the pilgrim plaque on the Notre-Dame cathedral, an important symbol for welcoming travellers: here pilgrim’s may be blessed, 20 beds are available for walkers as well as an information point on the via Francigena, and a pilgrim can stamp their Pilgrim Passport. The tourist information office is another place of importance as a Pilgrim Passport distribution centre.
The Mayor of Calais attended the event, as well as the vice-president of the Hauts-de-France Region, Natacha Bouchart; the president of the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways, Massimo Tedeschi, accompanied by vice-president, Martine Gautheron, and Director, Luca Bruschi. The president of the “Renaissance of the Via Francigena in France”, Charles Myber, also attended, with the president of the Association for the Enhancement of Architectural Heritage of Calais, Dominique Darre.
Numerous pilgrims and walkers from local associations and different regions of France took part too. After the opening ceremony, a 20.5km walk followed, with the discovery of the beauty of the Calais – Wissant stretch, organised by Arras Compostelle Francigena.
The path, the starting point of the Via Francigena in France after crossing the English Channel, winds along a beautiful path that joins the North Sea and immerses itself in nature, passing through Sangatte. The fine sand, with its different colours that change with the seasons, becomes the leitmotif of this exciting “maritime” stage.
Luca Bruschi’s video story from Calais: