Tag Archives: Brienne-le-Chateau

Via Francigena Day 7/29: From Châlons-en-Champagne to Brienne-le-Château

"Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible to ourself.", Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage.

In this post…

  1. Introduction
  2. The statistics and metrics of this day
  3. The most memorable occurrences, moments and thoughts
  4. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 24, from Châlons-en-Champagne to La-Chaussée-sur-Marne
  5. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 25, from La-Chaussée-sur-Marne to Vitry-le-François
  6. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 26, from Vitry-le-François to Saint-Remy-en-Bouzemont.
  7. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 27, from Saint-Remy-en-Bouzemont to Lentilles.
  8. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 28, from Lentilles to Brienne-le-Château.
  9. Video tour of the Municipal Pilgrims’ hostel of Brienne-le-Château.
  10. Pictures of the day.

Introduction

Blog post about the 6th and 7th day published during the journey on the 23rd August 2016
Blog post about the 6th and 7th day published during the journey on the 23rd August 2016

This post complements the post I published on the 23rd of August 2016 in which I described the experiences I had on the 5th of August 2016 while riding between Châlons-en-Champagne and Brienne-le-Château, in France. I am not going to repeat the content of that post in this one again, but I will try to add a few highlights for each one of the stages below. I encourage you to read the previous post before continuing on this one.

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Statistics and metrics of the day

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Most memorable occurrences, moments and thoughts:


P1010559This was a long day in the Via Francigena. I covered several stages of the Lightfoot guide and rode almost 90 Km. It wouldn’t be productive to write again about something I have already written in this blog post, therefore if you didn’t have a chance to read the previous post click on this link, read the post and jump back here as that post does not include any of the videos for this day.


I will however mentioned P1010560again that if you are cycling this route using Google Maps for navigation, it is possible that the cycling route Google Maps will propose is the same one it did for me, in other words, along side the railway tracks after the tiny village of Arrembécourt (see video of stage 27). If you are travelling light and on a mountain bike, then that should be no problem, but if that isn’t the case and like mine your bike weights 50 Kg and is a hybrid or touring bike with touring tyres, then I would recommend that you continue the journey on the D6 towards Chavanges and take the D2 to Lentilles (the same one I took after the train track adventure). It’s a longer route, but stone free.P1010578As you arrive in Lentilles be sure to factor in some time to visit the 16th Century church built of wood and clay; the Church of St Jacques et St Philippe. Personally that small church had a bigger impact on me than many of the ostentatious cathedrals I have seen along the Via Francigena.

Another thing I want to mention before I finalize this text is the municipal pilgrims’ hostel in Brienne-le-Château and also how nice the lady in the tourism information office was to me. First of all, to stay in the pilgrims’ hostel you need to arrive in town at a time that the tourist information office is open, as you have to pay the fee and collect the hostel’s keys from there (although the hostel itself is about 2 Km away in the perimeter of town). Second, before going on the P1010589pilgrimage, like most people I did a lot of research about the route and the places to stay. I read in some blogs that some pilgrims thought the house to be haunted. I must confess, being the only pilgrim sleeping there that night made me apprehensive. The house is indeed a little spooky, but if there were other spiritual entities sharing the house with me that night they did not bother me. The house is old and used to be a hunters’ cabin so my guess is that, if there were to be any ghosts there, they would have been those of the animals that were killed (incl. the two deers whose heads are at the front wall of the house, assuming they are real)

If you want to see more pictures from this day, please take a look at my picture gallery (down below) from Flickr.

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 24, from Châlons-en-Champagne to La-Chaussée-sur-Marne

Video Length: 5 min

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 25, from La-Chaussée-sur-Marne to Vitry-le-François.

Video Length: 4 min 21 sec

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 26, from Vitry-le-François to Saint-Remy-en-Bouzemont

Video Length: 3 min 43 sec

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 27, from Saint-Remy-en-Bouzemont to Lentilles

Video Length: 5 min 7 sec

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 28, from Lentilles to Brienne-le-Château

Video Length: 4 min 19 sec

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Video tour of the Municipal Pilgrims’ hostel of Brienne-le-Château

Video Length: 7 min 30 sec

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Pictures of the day.

Click on any picture for full detail

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07/29. Via Francigena, Châlons-en-Champagne to Brienne-le-Château [GPX File]

This GPS file represents the route I took between these two locations during my Via Francigena pilgrimage by bike from Canterbury, in the UK, to Rome, in Italy.

The route contains mistakes and tracks I may not recommend you to take, so it is important to read the respective posts for more context.

Use of this resource at your own risk.

 

Look for details here:

Via Francigena, days 6 and 7: From Reims to Chalons-en-Champagne and Brienne-le-Chateau

It hasn’t been easy to keep up with Blog posts. It is so much easier to share small insights and pictures on the EyeCycled Facebook page, but I’ll try to reduce the lag by being more to the point and less detailed on the posts. I do intend to write about each day in more detail upon my return anyway.

  1. Day 6, from Reims to Chalons-en-Champagne
  2. Day 7, from Chalons-en-Champagne to Brienne-le-Chateau

Day 6, 4/Aug (Thursday): From Reims to Chalons-en-Champagne

I left the hotel around 8:15am to get a McDonalds breakfast (closest thing open) and walk to the tourist information Office to get my pilgrim credentials stamped. As I was walking I saw 2 typical touring cyclists stop at a nearby café. I wanted to go talk to them, but decided not to as I wanted to be at the tourist Information Office as soon as it opened at 9:00am. After leaving the office I saw they were still at the café and couldn’t resist. As I suspected, they were also Via Francigena pilgrims or bicigrinos, the 1stI had met since leaving Canterbury. We had a little talk took their picture, but when we left I thought that would be the last time I’d have seen them as they were following a different guide and not all routes are the same (the major stops are though).

En-route to Chalons I passed through Verzenay (stage 21 of the Lightfoot guide) and Condé-sur-Marne (Stage 22 with Chalons being stage 23) . The route Google Maps traced had a little of everything. I rode alongside canals, on paved roads and on forest and canal dirt tracks. There was also quite substantial rain this day. Some of the canal towpaths were quite muddy and in places very narrow and slippery. It almost caused me to fall a few times. On the other hand quite peaceful and beautiful as well.

Eventually the muddy canal towpaths became a smooth concrete paved cycle lane, like only the French know how to do (well, not really, but much better than the British ones).

As I arrived in Chalons and was taking some pictures I saw a small cycle-touring family arrive. The Slovenian man was cycling in France with his 2 children, the girl aged 6 and the boy aged 13. He said he wanted to show his children that there are more good people in this world than bad ones and that cycle-touring was ideal for that. Can’t argue with it, totally agree.

Continued riding around Chalons, looking for the tourist information centre and when I found, guess who I met there? The 2 bicigrinos from the Café in Reims. If we had agreed on a time and place it probably wouldn’t have worked.

The 3 of us decided to stay in the same hostel that night and in the hostel we met Fabio and David. Fabio was cycling from the Netherlands, were he lives to his home town of Brindisi in Italy. David was walking from his home town in Belgium all the way to Santiago de Compostela. Fabio cooked a fantastic pasta for the 5 of us and then we went out into town for beer. A truly enjoyable day and night.

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Day 7, 5/Aug (Friday): From Chalons-en-Champagne to Brienne-le-Chateau

The cycling day started pretty much where it ended the day before, at the nice and paved canal towpath, but at some points the towpaths degraded to narrow dirt tracks as well. Giuseppe and his wife had left early that morning and this far I didn’t see them again. They were also under a very tight timetable as they had to arrive in Rome by the 24th of August. I did get a chance to say goodbye to Fabio and David though.

On my way to Brienne I passed through La-Chaussée-sur-Marne (Stage 24), Vitry-le-François (Stage 25), Saint-Remy-en-Bouzemont (Stage 26),  Lentilles (Stage 27) and finally Brienne (Stage 28).

The same type route from the days before (bit of dirt tracks, road, etc), but with one added surprise. On my way to Lentilles Google Maps thought it was a good idea to ride alongside train tracks. Yes, there was a hint that a dirt track existed besides the track, but it was barely visible. Mostly covered by the stones used alongside train tracks. Not avery enjoyable ride at all and the stones made me lose my balance quite a few times. Thankfully I always managed to recover.

Most of the villages I rode through had nothing really special, but In Lentilles I visited a 16th Century church build of wood and clay, the Church of St Jacques et St Philippe. Looking at the simplicity of this church, in comparison with the ostentation of cathedrals passed made me think that if Jesus was re-born it would be in a simple place like that he would probably chose to worship God.

As I arrived in Brienne I went straight to the tourist Information office. Collected my stamp and the lady asked me if I was going to stay in town or travel further. She said they had a municipal pilgrims’ hostel in town and that made me decide to stay. I paid her the €10 for the night, she gave me the keys, a map and explained how to get to the hostel. Then she told me “you can’t miss it! There are 2 deer heads in the front wall of the building.”. I then remembered I had read about this place when researching the route. Some pilgrims had reported the place to be haunted.

As I got there, I had the entire 3 floor house just for me… No one else to share it with. There gave me shivers as the house was indeed a bit spooky.

Thankfully, I had a good night sleep and calling Ghostbusters was not needed.

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Before I close this blog post, let me remind you that this is also a charity bike ride. If you enjoy reading these posts and following my progress in Facebook, why not contribute with a little to a good cause? My charity of choice for this ride is Mind UK, one of the UK’s leading mental health charities.

Hope you are enjoying the posts in the blog and Facebook. It takes quite a bt of effort to get them done (especially the Blog posts) and they are responsible for late nights, despite having to cycle all day next day.

Thank you for your time and your support to my cause.