Walking the Via Francigena Pilgrim Route - Part 1
Canterbury to Lausanne
Guidebook to the first 1090km of Canterbury-Rome pilgrimage route the Via Francigena, covering from Canterbury to Lausanne. The route passes through England, France (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardie, Champagne-Ardenne and Franche-Comte) and Switzerland to finish by Lake Geneva. Described in 52 stages, with information on facilities and pilgrim hostels.
SeasonsSuitable from April through to October. Hikers continuing past Lausanne on the Via Francigena should time their journey to coincide with the summer opening of the Great Saint Bernard Pass.
CentresEnjoy historic Canterbury, then in France visit lovely Arras, Laon, Reims, Langres, and Besançon. Continue to beautiful lakeside Lausanne, Switzerland.
DifficultySuitable for all levels of walkers, each stage is graded 1-4 for difficulty. The terrain between Canterbury and Besançon is also suitable for cyclists of all abilities. Lodging in gîtes, hotels and private homes is available with advance reservation on the entire route at intervals no greater than 35km.
Must SeeCharming Canterbury, the White Cliffs of Dover, the English Channel, rolling French countryside full of historic WWI battlefields and cemeteries, world-famous cathedrals at Laon and Reims, the Champagne wine region, the historic walled cities of Langres and Besançon, the Jura Mountains, Gorge de l'Orbe, Lake Geneva and Lausanne
The 2000km Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome is one of the world's great pilgrim routes, with a history spanning well over a millennium. This guide describes the first section, from Canterbury to Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva, a journey of 1090km passing through England, France and Switzerland. The route is suitable for walkers of all levels of ability, and the section from Canterbury to Besançon is also suitable for cyclists (mountain or hybrid/gravel bike). There are various options for accommodation, ranging from hotels and B&Bs to camping (although it is not essential to carry a tent), and the French section offers a unique opportunity to lodge with host families in welcoming chambres d'hôtes.
The guide has all the information you need to plan and prepare for a journey on the Via Francigena. You'll find a wealth of detail about facilities on route and accommodation, as well as tips on training, kit, travel and pilgrim credentials. The route is presented in 52 stages of 11 to 39.5km, although the clear presentation of facilities and intermediary distances makes it easy to customise your own itinerary. There are also notes on interesting features passed and local points of interest.
Beginning in historic Canterbury, England, with a gentle walk to the White Cliffs of Dover, the Via Francigena crosses the English Channel before turning inland to the rolling French countryside, site of WWI battlefields and charming French villages and towns. After visiting two of France's most beautiful medieval cathedrals, it passes through forests to the hilltop fortress of Langres. Besançon offers al-fresco dining in the city's historic plazas before the route continues, following the Loue River to its mountainous source. The unforgettable Gorge de l'Orbe of the Jura Mountains in Switzerland leads to the section's finish-point on the shores of Lake Geneva in beautiful, cosmopolitan Lausanne. Celebrating the diversity of the countries through which it passes and offering an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in Europe's beautiful landscapes and experience their culture, this is truly an international journey that will linger long in memory.
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The Reverend Sandy Brown
Sanford 'Sandy' Brown is a long-distance walker and ordained minister who lives in Lucca, Italy. He was born in California and his great-grandparents migrated to San Juan Capistrano from Mexico in the 19th century. Inspired by The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho, he trekked the Camino de Santiago in 2008 and since then has walked over 14,000km on pilgrim trails in Europe and the U.S. He records his pilgrim adventures in his popular blog at https://caminoist.org. In 2020, Sandy joined Cicerone Press as Associate Publisher for Caminos and Pilgrimages.View author profile
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