After the department of Haute-Saône, the main community of Grand Besançon and Calais, the department of l’Haute-Marne also joined the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF). The number of French partners networking with the EAVF for the development and enhancement of the Via Francigena thus increases to 18.
An excellent outcome which confirms the interest of territories beyond the Alps for the cultural route of the Council of Europe. 2018 was indeed a year of intense work in France, with the EAVF headquarters in Champlitte and the vice-president, Martine Gautheron, at the forefront. The small municipality of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté hosted the first EAVF General Assembly in France and, from January, will be able to count on a new staff member dedicated to the Francigena.
The collaboration between the EAVF and France is ever-growing, noted by the former’s collaboration agreement with Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre (FFRP), created for the enhancement and promotion of the route in France. Among other aims, the project has made the complete course of the route GR145® available on the official website, www.viefrancigene.org.
The pair are also show dedication on an editorial front. The work towards the creation of the frist Official Guide from Canterbury to the Great St Bernard Pass is in progress. The guide will take both the GR145 and Sigeric’s more historic, shorter route. In the meantime, the first edition of the Terre di Mezzo guide in French, the Via Francigena from the Great St Bernard Pass to Rome, is available.
“Haute-Marne is the second French department that has joined the European Association of Via Francigena Ways – says EAVF vice-president, Martine Gautheron – We are convinced that this collaboration will help develop the route. The Via Francigena, cultural route of the Council of Europe, represents an opportunity for cultural and economic growth for the territories crossed and, in particular, for rural areas. Institutions can help raise awareness through local and regional policies, with the aim to promote it from different perspectives: its traversability on foot and by bike, its setting in the open air, and its relationship with gastronomy, culture and heritage. ”