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Camping and food

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Tassie Kaz

Sempre Avanti
Time of past OR future Camino
2023?
Hello, I’m hoping to start on the via Francigena in September, my question is - are there many camping options and small food supermarkets for supply in France ?

Thanks in advance
I can't help with camping info but as no-one else has replied yet, I'll weigh-in regarding food supplies.
Most of us seem to take a DIY approach to making our way across France...I certainly did & thoroughly enjoyed doing so.
There is/was much conjecture about the 'official' path so I suggest you first decide how closely you want to stick to that...& whose version of it! There are no historical records of Sigeric's exact route, only his nightly stops so actually getting from Point A to Point B is not as defined as with other walks/Caminos.
I walked in 2019; signage was light on the ground. I used Alison Raju's guidebooks (regular readers of my posts know how I feel about them... 😄) taking it only as a suggestion...actually I took it as a challenge to find a 'better' IMHO route.
I tailored My Way to my needs; accom, food, daily distances, terrain & weather.
I tend not to regularly eat in restaurants preferring self-catering so grocers, supermarkets, markets dictated my path second only to accom availability.
Even though I tailored my route, planning ahead was still required for food & I recall having to carry 2 days worth for several sections.
Planning to be in towns or villages with a store still did not guarantee being able to replenish. Opening hours/days were often not convenient on to which 'special' days & the whims of store owners also played a part.
In short, research & plan ahead but still carry a stash of food just in case. In 2019 (pre-pandemic) it was possible to access an almost daily resupply but a lot will depend on your individual decisions & choices...daily walking distances a big factor.
Best wishes...I hope you get some replies more helpful than mine!
👣 🌏
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
I did camp using camping sites and a few gardens, and only wild camped once when there was no option. I didn't camp every night but made use of available pilgrim accommodation and due to some illness a hotel or two. Some sites might close as September is end of season. In France it kept costs down to camp and opened up other options. I know I camped in licques ( there was also a campsite at Divion were I planned to but plans changed). Then Perrone, Seraucourt Le Grand, Tergnier , Suzy (off route but easy to reconnect without backtracking), champlitte, (basic site near Dampierre which I skipped due to excellent chambre d'hotes offer Inc dinner for €30). There are several up the valley from Ornans to Lods. It made life easier and cheaper by filling in gaps to the available pilgrim accommodation
I never starved but only because I carried food in my pack, to cover at least 2 days (that might included something more of an only open in emergency sort of dinner). Most days you will pass through, begin or end in a town with a shop or bakery but many shops are closed on Sundays and bakeries tend to close one day a week and likely only open on Sunday mornings only. If you take the Roman road after Chalons en Champagne then you need several days supplies as there are no shops though pilgrim hosts on this section at least used to provide a dinner.
 

Chris2017uk

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
None
I can't help with camping info but as no-one else has replied yet, I'll weigh-in regarding food supplies.
Most of us seem to take a DIY approach to making our way across France...I certainly did & thoroughly enjoyed doing so.
There is/was much conjecture about the 'official' path so I suggest you first decide how closely you want to stick to that...& whose version of it! There are no historical records of Sigeric's exact route, only his nightly stops so actually getting from Point A to Point B is not as defined as with other walks/Caminos.
I walked in 2019; signage was light on the ground. I used Alison Raju's guidebooks (regular readers of my posts know how I feel about them... 😄) taking it only as a suggestion...actually I took it as a challenge to find a 'better' IMHO route.
I tailored My Way to my needs; accom, food, daily distances, terrain & weather.
I tend not to regularly eat in restaurants preferring self-catering so grocers, supermarkets, markets dictated my path second only to accom availability.
Even though I tailored my route, planning ahead was still required for food & I recall having to carry 2 days worth for several sections.
Planning to be in towns or villages with a store still did not guarantee being able to replenish. Opening hours/days were often not convenient on to which 'special' days & the whims of store owners also played a part.
In short, research & plan ahead but still carry a stash of food just in case. In 2019 (pre-pandemic) it was possible to access an almost daily resupply but a lot will depend on your individual decisions & choices...daily walking distances a big factor.
Best wishes...I hope you get some replies more helpful than mine!
👣 🌏
Thanks for your reply, that’s interesting that the route is not fixed which is helpful. I guess I’ll do some research into camp sites and their open times ect
 

Chris2017uk

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
None
I did camp using camping sites and a few gardens, and only wild camped once when there was no option. I didn't camp every night but made use of available pilgrim accommodation and due to some illness a hotel or two. Some sites might close as September is end of season. In France it kept costs down to camp and opened up other options. I know I camped in licques ( there was also a campsite at Divion were I planned to but plans changed). Then Perrone, Seraucourt Le Grand, Tergnier , Suzy (off route but easy to reconnect without backtracking), champlitte, (basic site near Dampierre which I skipped due to excellent chambre d'hotes offer Inc dinner for €30). There are several up the valley from Ornans to Lods. It made life easier and cheaper by filling in gaps to the available pilgrim accommodation
I never starved but only because I carried food in my pack, to cover at least 2 days (that might included something more of an only open in emergency sort of dinner). Most days you will pass through, begin or end in a town with a shop or bakery but many shops are closed on Sundays and bakeries tend to close one day a week and likely only open on Sunday mornings only. If you take the Roman road after Chalons en Champagne then you need several days supplies as there are no shops though pilgrim hosts on this section at least used to provide a dinner.
Thx for the reply some great info . Yea I want to camp as much as possible. I walked Le Puy to sjpp in November and it can get very expensive
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Thanks for your reply, that’s interesting that the route is not fixed which is helpful. I guess I’ll do some research into camp sites and their open times ect
As far as I know there is an officially recognised and signposted route. But many of us who have walked from Canterbury to Rome have thought that we would prefer something a bit more direct or intuitive. Personally my aim was to walk to Rome rather than follow a particular route. I decided to make my own way through France mostly following canal towpaths. Feel free to make things up as you go! :cool:
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
If it will help, there is a channel on Youtube, Efrén Gonzalez. He has completed a vlog of his journey on the Via Francigena. All the joys, scenery, trials and tribulations are covered, including stealth camping. Time for some binge watching!!!
 

SusanSmyth

Happy Member 😋
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I plan to start the VF in Canterbury on or around 19 April and walk for four weeks. When I asked on the Via Francigena FaceBook page I was assured I would not need to camp and that I needn’t bring my sleeping bag. Now I am back to fretting about accommodations and backpack weight…..
 

Lyn R

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Mozerabe-via de la Plata-Sanabres (2017)
I did camp using camping sites and a few gardens, and only wild camped once when there was no option. I didn't camp every night but made use of available pilgrim accommodation and due to some illness a hotel or two. Some sites might close as September is end of season. In France it kept costs down to camp and opened up other options. I know I camped in licques ( there was also a campsite at Divion were I planned to but plans changed). Then Perrone, Seraucourt Le Grand, Tergnier , Suzy (off route but easy to reconnect without backtracking), champlitte, (basic site near Dampierre which I skipped due to excellent chambre d'hotes offer Inc dinner for €30). There are several up the valley from Ornans to Lods. It made life easier and cheaper by filling in gaps to the available pilgrim accommodation
I never starved but only because I carried food in my pack, to cover at least 2 days (that might included something more of an only open in emergency sort of dinner). Most days you will pass through, begin or end in a town with a shop or bakery but many shops are closed on Sundays and bakeries tend to close one day a week and likely only open on Sunday mornings only. If you take the Roman road after Chalons en Champagne then you need several days supplies as there are no shops though pilgrim hosts on this section at least used to provide a dinner.
Great information roving.rufus.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
I plan to start the VF in Canterbury on or around 19 April and walk for four weeks. When I asked on the Via Francigena FaceBook page I was assured I would not need to camp and that I needn’t bring my sleeping bag. Now I am back to fretting about accommodations and backpack weight…..
Plenty of people walk the VF even in France without camping. There is a useful booklet produced by French association FFVF which provides info on accomodation including pilgrim hosts. But camping will reduce costs compared to some of the available accommodation. As for the sleeping bag, some pilgrim accommodation provide bedding but others do not (my experiences were pre Covid), so something to sleep in I feel might be needed, and in April a sleeping bag liner might be too little in Northern France.
 
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Harington

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Hello, I’m hoping to start on the via Francigena in September, my question is - are there many camping options and small food supermarkets for supply in France ?

Thanks in advance
There's a really excellent little booklet "Livret Hébergements et Services sur la Via Francigena en France", published by the Fédération Française del la Via Francigena (FFVF) and sold in their online shop. Even if you don't speak good French the info is mainly by way of symbols. It lists all pilgrim accommodation, campsites, shops, cafés etc.
 

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Chris2017uk

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
None
I plan to start the VF in Canterbury on or around 19 April and walk for four weeks. When I asked on the Via Francigena FaceBook page I was assured I would not need to camp and that I needn’t bring my sleeping bag. Now I am back to fretting about accommodations and backpack weight…..
Yes, I want to camp this time to save money and the experience. I walked Le Puy to sjpp and didn’t have any issues with bedding ect
There's a really excellent little booklet "Livret Hébergements et Services sur la Via Francigena en France", published by the Fédération Française del la Via Francigena (FFVF) and sold in their online shop. Even if you don't speak good French the info is mainly by way of symbols. It lists all pilgrim accommodation, campsites, shops, cafés etc.
ah brilliant, I’ve used maim maim do do for Le Puy to sjpp sounds similar
 
Time of past OR future Camino
please see signature
I was assured I would not need to camp and that I needn’t bring my sleeping bag. Now I am back to fretting about accommodations and backpack weight…..

I walked Canterbury Cathedral to Chaumont-en-haut-Marne in September 2018. I was booked to return in March 2020 ...

As my close neighbour @Tassie Kaz has said, in France there is not a signed route. I mainly used roads and sign posts to the next village, town, city on my simple itinerary for each day. One forum member used canals in France from Calais to shortly after Langres.

Of my 21 days, I used my tent on 7 occasions. A factor for me was a need to recharge my hungry 10 inch tablet and a strong desire to have an evening meal. Only one was real tent site, nearly 2 km from the village centre. Another was behind the village church across the road from the restaurant I had eaten at. Another was an unused orchard suggested by the Pizza shop owner after he had shown me his photo standing in S Peter's Plaza with his pack at his feet. My last was on the back lawn of a restaurant closed for the low season. This was arranged by the receptionist of the nearby hotel which was complete.

I also encountered two gite-d'etape.

Being on the road gave more opportunities to pass a café. Without exception these were bars with gambling opportunities. And coffee could also be ordered.

I had studied the accommodation list on the Via Fracigena website. After comparing to the route I was contemplating, I could not see many opportunities for me.

I now plan to return March 2023, with my tent and sleeping bag etc and knocking off the 1,400 km remaining.

So, @Chris2017uk, to you i say kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui (take care, be strong, patient and confident.
 

Chris2017uk

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
None
I can't help with camping info but as no-one else has replied yet, I'll weigh-in regarding food supplies.
Most of us seem to take a DIY approach to making our way across France...I certainly did & thoroughly enjoyed doing so.
There is/was much conjecture about the 'official' path so I suggest you first decide how closely you want to stick to that...& whose version of it! There are no historical records of Sigeric's exact route, only his nightly stops so actually getting from Point A to Point B is not as defined as with other walks/Caminos.
I walked in 2019; signage was light on the ground. I used Alison Raju's guidebooks (regular readers of my posts know how I feel about them... 😄) taking it only as a suggestion...actually I took it as a challenge to find a 'better' IMHO route.
I tailored My Way to my needs; accom, food, daily distances, terrain & weather.
I tend not to regularly eat in restaurants preferring self-catering so grocers, supermarkets, markets dictated my path second only to accom availability.
Even though I tailored my route, planning ahead was still required for food & I recall having to carry 2 days worth for several sections.
Planning to be in towns or villages with a store still did not guarantee being able to replenish. Opening hours/days were often not convenient on to which 'special' days & the whims of store owners also played a part.
In short, research & plan ahead but still carry a stash of food just in case. In 2019 (pre-pandemic) it was possible to access an almost daily resupply but a lot will depend on your individual decisions & choices...daily walking distances a big factor.
Best wishes...I hope you get some replies more helpful than mine!
👣 🌏
I walked Canterbury Cathedral to Chaumont-en-haut-Marne in September 2018. I was booked to return in March 2020 ...

As my close neighbour @Tassie Kaz has said, in France there is not a signed route. I mainly used roads and sign posts to the next village, town, city on my simple itinerary for each day. One forum member used canals in France from Calais to shortly after Langres.

Of my 21 days, I used my tent on 7 occasions. A factor for me was a need to recharge my hungry 10 inch tablet and a strong desire to have an evening meal. Only one was real tent site, nearly 2 km from the village centre. Another was behind the village church across the road from the restaurant I had eaten at. Another was an unused orchard suggested by the Pizza shop owner after he had shown me his photo standing in S Peter's Plaza with his pack at his feet. My last was on the back lawn of a restaurant closed for the low season. This was arranged by the receptionist of the nearby hotel which was complete.

I also encountered two gite-d'etape.

Being on the road gave more opportunities to pass a café. Without exception these were bars with gambling opportunities. And coffee could also be ordered.

I had studied the accommodation list on the Via Fracigena website. After comparing to the route I was contemplating, I could not see many opportunities for me.

I now plan to return March 2023, with my tent and sleeping bag etc and knocking off the 1,400 km remaining.

So, @Chris2017uk, to you i say kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui (take care, be strong, patient and confident.
Thank you . I may put my progress on here some photos ect
 
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jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
There's a really excellent little booklet "Livret Hébergements et Services sur la Via Francigena en France", published by the Fédération Française del la Via Francigena (FFVF) and sold in their online shop. Even if you don't speak good French the info is mainly by way of symbols. It lists all pilgrim accommodation, campsites, shops, cafés etc.
Do you know of a place where you can order this book to be shipped to the US? I just tried on the website and it only gives me European countries in the shipping address section. Any chance there is something comparable available in English and/or downloadable? I did find the Confraternity of Pilgrims website with their downloadable list of accommodations. Would like to find something more up to date since COVID if possible.
 

timr

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
Do you know of a place where you can order this book to be shipped to the US? I just tried on the website and it only gives me European countries in the shipping address section. Any chance there is something comparable available in English and/or downloadable? I did find the Confraternity of Pilgrims website with their downloadable list of accommodations. Would like to find something more up to date since COVID if possible.
Have you found the lists also of the EAVF?
Here is France.
Others here

I would just suggest that especially in France it is essential to contact your proposed stay in advance - 48 hours will be enough. The number of pilgrims passing through France is very low and accommodation is not going to be in use by pilgrims every night, so your host will need to know your plans.

And, inevitably, all lists by their nature have a tendency to become inaccurate and out of date, so checking is important.

My personal observation is that there is a bit more response to email in France than there is in Italy. Phone numbers are useful, even if it is daunting to try and speak in a foreign language! Always worth checking if they use Whatsapp as cheap and easy to use then for texting and you can use Google translate if you must.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
Have you found the lists also of the EAVF?
Here is France.
Others here

I would just suggest that especially in France it is essential to contact your proposed stay in advance - 48 hours will be enough. The number of pilgrims passing through France is very low and accommodation is not going to be in use by pilgrims every night, so your host will need to know your plans.

And, inevitably, all lists by their nature have a tendency to become inaccurate and out of date, so checking is important.

My personal observation is that there is a bit more response to email in France than there is in Italy. Phone numbers are useful, even if it is daunting to try and speak in a foreign language! Always worth checking if they use Whatsapp as cheap and easy to use then for texting and you can use Google translate if you must.
I did, just after I posted my question, thank you! It does list albergues - but it is missing services information. It is frustrating because I downloaded a couple apps - they are less user friendly for research purposes while still in the US and not on the trail. Not formated like most of the Camino apps where you can scroll through each stage and see a lot of the albergues, and other services along the way.

And I absolutely understand about the lists - the ones I found were mostly pre-COVID update dates - so it makes me very nervous even using them as a starting point for research since so much has changed. I am going to miss gronze and how up to date it tended to be!

I won't make it into Italy this year. I have almost 7 weeks and I think I will be able to get from Canterbury to St Bernard's pass at most.

Need to start working on relearning just a little French! Well... beyond "Parlez vous anglais" haha!
 

timr

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
I did, just after I posted my question, thank you! It does list albergues - but it is missing services information. It is frustrating because I downloaded a couple apps - they are less user friendly for research purposes while still in the US and not on the trail. Not formated like most of the Camino apps where you can scroll through each stage and see a lot of the albergues, and other services along the way.

And I absolutely understand about the lists - the ones I found were mostly pre-COVID update dates - so it makes me very nervous even using them as a starting point for research since so much has changed. I am going to miss gronze and how up to date it tended to be!

I won't make it into Italy this year. I have almost 7 weeks and I think I will be able to get from Canterbury to St Bernard's pass at most.

Need to start working on relearning just a little French! Well... beyond "Parlez vous anglais" haha!
Because of the small numbers in France word of mouth is very important but also very useful. Your pilgrim host will often be able to tell you of accommodation further ahead and will often be willing to ring ahead on your behalf.

And the tourist office and the mairie in France is always worth a try.
 
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timr

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
Because of the small numbers in France word of mouth is very important but also very useful. Your pilgrim host will often be able to tell you of accommodation further ahead and will often be willing to ring ahead on your behalf.

And the tourist office and the mairie in France is always worth a try.
Hello again Jeanine. I can see you have walked the Camino before. Great!

I am not sure if you have been to France to walk before. If so I don't want to put you off in any way :). I loved it and all things being equal would go back again tomorrow..

But just be aware, and I hope others might agree I am not exaggerating. The northernmost part of the VF through France goes through areas of very sparse population. It makes the small villages of the CF look quite cosmopolitan. And of course there are wonderful cities along the way too. But the reality is you may sometimes walk for two or even three days without seeing a shop. You can work around this and you can get used to it! When you do see a shop, stock up on foodstuffs. You will never walk past one without going in!

Old villages are dying. The church is closed and ALL the shops - butcher, baker, grocer and bar - are closed. This is reality. I talk a lot with local people as I walk as I nearly always walk alone. Many people rely on a mobile shop coming once a week. You will bump into it occasionally. You will pass through enormous fields, wheat and potatoes I would say mostly. Two or three young men can farm many many hundreds of acres with a modern GPX tractor. You don't see smallholdings any more.

Sometimes in a village you will see a vending machine with a few baguettes, a little cheese and a few eggs. I never bought them as I always imagined I would be depriving a local inhabitant of what they were relying on. Occasionally you may see someone selling eggs or cheese or vegetables at a farm gate but this is rare.

This is part of the reason you must let your host know that you are coming. They cannot hop down to the corner shop to get stuff for your supper.

Having said this there are great networks of home stays and people who are very sympathetic to pilgrims. Especially the pilgrim office in Chalons-en-Champagne (in Notre Dame church, not the cathedral) and the volunteers in the Cathedral in Reims will help you. Both of these are crossover points with Camino routes.

It is perfectly manageable. You will need a bit of ingenuity at times!;) I never failed to find accommodatio of some sort.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Old villages are dying. The church is closed and ALL the shops - butcher, baker, grocer and bar - are closed. This is reality.
This is such a shame, since a large part of the charm of walking through France is those selfsame small villages. However, I have noticed that there is a significant rise in "pilgrim traffic" from those who have walked the CF in Spain and are now looking for more walks. The count on Le Puy route seems to be up, for instance. I can imagine (what's an imagination for, anyhow?) that there will be more pilgrims "further upstream" as well as on other routes such as the VF. Pilgrim spending seems to have resurrected many small towns in northern Spain - maybe France will experience a similar phenomenon.
 

Harington

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Do you know of a place where you can order this book to be shipped to the US? I just tried on the website and it only gives me European countries in the shipping address section. Any chance there is something comparable available in English and/or downloadable? I did find the Confraternity of Pilgrims website with their downloadable list of accommodations. Would like to find something more up to date since COVID if possible.
The Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome will be translating and selling the booklet from their website from spring 2023. Unfortunately it's not downloadable as the French authors/publishers are keen not to have unauthorised our outdated versions circulating (which would reduce their takings, naturally). The version the CPR will publish will be updated during this winter. The CPR list of accommodation is not very current.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
The Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome will be translating and selling the booklet from their website from spring 2023. Unfortunately it's not downloadable as the French authors/publishers are keen not to have unauthorised our outdated versions circulating (which would reduce their takings, naturally). The version the CPR will publish will be updated during this winter. The CPR list of accommodation is not very current.
Thanks! Hoping it is out in early enough spring for me to buy it!
 

timr

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
Thanks! Hoping it is out in early enough spring for me to buy it!
The other thing coming out in the spring is the final volume of the Cicerone Guide to the VF. It is Vol 1 from Canterbury to Lausanne by Sandy Brown. Due out in February I believe. It will then be the most up to date guide in English.
 
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jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
Hello again Jeanine. I can see you have walked the Camino before. Great!

I am not sure if you have been to France to walk before. If so I don't want to put you off in any way :). I loved it and all things being equal would go back again tomorrow..

But just be aware, and I hope others might agree I am not exaggerating. The northernmost part of the VF through France goes through areas of very sparse population. It makes the small villages of the CF look quite cosmopolitan. And of course there are wonderful cities along the way too. But the reality is you may sometimes walk for two or even three days without seeing a shop. You can work around this and you can get used to it! When you do see a shop, stock up on foodstuffs. You will never walk past one without going in!

Old villages are dying. The church is closed and ALL the shops - butcher, baker, grocer and bar - are closed. This is reality. I talk a lot with local people as I walk as I nearly always walk alone. Many people rely on a mobile shop coming once a week. You will bump into it occasionally. You will pass through enormous fields, wheat and potatoes I would say mostly. Two or three young men can farm many many hundreds of acres with a modern GPX tractor. You don't see smallholdings any more.

Sometimes in a village you will see a vending machine with a few baguettes, a little cheese and a few eggs. I never bought them as I always imagined I would be depriving a local inhabitant of what they were relying on. Occasionally you may see someone selling eggs or cheese or vegetables at a farm gate but this is rare.

This is part of the reason you must let your host know that you are coming. They cannot hop down to the corner shop to get stuff for your supper.

Having said this there are great networks of home stays and people who are very sympathetic to pilgrims. Especially the pilgrim office in Chalons-en-Champagne (in Notre Dame church, not the cathedral) and the volunteers in the Cathedral in Reims will help you. Both of these are crossover points with Camino routes.

It is perfectly manageable. You will need a bit of ingenuity at times!;) I never failed to find accommodatio of some sort.
Thanks, this helps a lot! Yes - I was seeing somewhere that said you can go a couple days without finding a store and food/water can be more sparse. I am OK with carrying a couple days food as long as I know when I need to do it! I am planning on walking starting May 28 from Canterbury. And yes - I have done the Frances (to Muxia/Finisterre) and the Norte/Primitivo - both starting on the French side of the border. Tell me, did you find the need to collect and filter water? Is that even a possibility in the sections you are referring to?

Also deciding if I want to bring a tent or not. Since I mostly want to stay in some sort of lodging, I am thinking a bivy might work for the few nights that I just need to find a place to sleep. Better than setting up a tent which I know is not allowed. I would only do it as a last resort, not as a normal practice if it can be avoided.

Right now I have added a Via Francigena route to "My Google Maps" and am adding all the information for all the recommended lodging listed on the Via Francigena spreadsheets and adding contact information to the notes. I also want to go through at least all of the "stage towns" and mark where the grocery stores are and if I can find the information, list the hours in the notes.

I am also thinking I will need to bring a charging block for my phone - I didn't need to do that on either Camino.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
The other thing coming out in the spring is the final volume of the Cicerone Guide to the VF. It is Vol 1 from Canterbury to Lausanne by Sandy Brown. Due out in February I believe. It will then be the most up to date guide in English.
Perfect, thank you! Yeah - I know I have some guides on kindle - but they are a few years old now. No clue which ones.
 

timr

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
Thanks, this helps a lot! Yes - I was seeing somewhere that said you can go a couple days without finding a store and food/water can be more sparse. I am OK with carrying a couple days food as long as I know when I need to do it! I am planning on walking starting May 28 from Canterbury. And yes - I have done the Frances (to Muxia/Finisterre) and the Norte/Primitivo - both starting on the French side of the border. Tell me, did you find the need to collect and filter water? Is that even a possibility in the sections you are referring to?

Also deciding if I want to bring a tent or not. Since I mostly want to stay in some sort of lodging, I am thinking a bivy might work for the few nights that I just need to find a place to sleep. Better than setting up a tent which I know is not allowed. I would only do it as a last resort, not as a normal practice if it can be avoided.

Right now I have added a Via Francigena route to "My Google Maps" and am adding all the information for all the recommended lodging listed on the Via Francigena spreadsheets and adding contact information to the notes. I also want to go through at least all of the "stage towns" and mark where the grocery stores are and if I can find the information, list the hours in the notes.

I am also thinking I will need to bring a charging block for my phone - I didn't need to do that on either Camino.
Hi Jeanine,

Among various things I have been in my life is an infectious diseases physician in Africa. Despite this, I have never filtered water in Europe! I just fill up when I find a tap. I very rarely buy bottled water usually just when i need the bottle rather than the water. I have yet to suffer from a water-borne illness.

You will need to think about carrying water. You will read it often stated categorically that "there is water in every church graveyard in France". That is really not true. There is often a tap, but not always, or sometimes it does not have water. But I don't remember water being a problem. Dependeant on the weather I carry between 1.5 and 3 L.

I don't camp. Full stop. Never necessary. Sometimes would be useful for those who enjoy it. I would not! Campsites are relatively common in France and sometimes have a chalet or caravan which they allow non-campers to use. Some have a generous pilgrim price. Yes some people use bivvies. Not me! :)

I admire your industry in identifying shops in advance! ;) Once you find a town or a city, as opposed to a village, I don't think there is any difficulty finding a shop. They only shop I would look for online is a Decathlon!

The thing you may or not find out online is about public holidays. There are quite a lot in France and they will usually mean that shops will be closed. And they have a habit of coming in twos, or attaching themselves to a weekend, to 'faire le pont.' I think it is fair to say that you will find many more shops closed on Sundays and holidays in France than you would say in UK, where we have long since given up on 'le weekend'.

Do enjoy the planning! And do enjoy your trip when it comes. Tim
 

timr

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
Thanks, this helps a lot! Yes - I was seeing somewhere that said you can go a couple days without finding a store and food/water can be more sparse. I am OK with carrying a couple days food as long as I know when I need to do it! I am planning on walking starting May 28 from Canterbury. And yes - I have done the Frances (to Muxia/Finisterre) and the Norte/Primitivo - both starting on the French side of the border. Tell me, did you find the need to collect and filter water? Is that even a possibility in the sections you are referring to?

Also deciding if I want to bring a tent or not. Since I mostly want to stay in some sort of lodging, I am thinking a bivy might work for the few nights that I just need to find a place to sleep. Better than setting up a tent which I know is not allowed. I would only do it as a last resort, not as a normal practice if it can be avoided.

Right now I have added a Via Francigena route to "My Google Maps" and am adding all the information for all the recommended lodging listed on the Via Francigena spreadsheets and adding contact information to the notes. I also want to go through at least all of the "stage towns" and mark where the grocery stores are and if I can find the information, list the hours in the notes.

I am also thinking I will need to bring a charging block for my phone - I didn't need to do that on either Camino.
PS yes I think a charging block/extra battery is useful for phone if you are going to be relying on it for GPX guidance. I always bring one. Immensely annoying if it runs out when you still have a few miles to go!
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
I admire your industry in identifying shops in advance! ;) Once you find a town or a city, as opposed to a village, I don't think there is any difficulty finding a shop. They only shop I would look for online is a Decathlon!


Do enjoy the planning! And do enjoy your trip when it comes. Tim
Haha... it isn't about my "industry" but rather my dietary needs! It is easier for me to just buy food at grocery stores and always carry in my pack to make sure I get the right nutrients/snacks. But I would rather not have to carry more than a days worth when I can avoid it. I tried eating a lot of the Pilgrim's meals on the Frances and it wasn't really working for me. On the Norte/Primitivo I hardly ever ate at a bar/restaurant. Much better except when I couldn't find a place to resupply. Norte was great because I passed a lot of BIG grocery stores instead of the tiny ones in villages that were always closed when I passed on the other routes. The bigger ones had a lot of ready to eat options for me.

And I dehydrate fairly quickly if I don't stay on top of my water intake. I don't feel the need to filter tap water in Europe ever - but was more wondering if I would be possibly reduced to having to collect from a river or a stream if there are no water sources as I go through a small town. I have no issues carrying 2L, I did that a lot even on the Frances and Norte/Primitivo. 3L won't be so pleasant, but if I know in advance where I need to I will make that arrangement. 2L almost always gets me at least 30km. But sounds like I can skip the filter - YAY.

Still need to decide on a bivy - prefer not to camp at all.

Thanks for all your tips! I was originally thinking about doing the Portugues but starting in Faro and then suddenly switched gears and bought tickets to London and from Geneva instead! So really just beginning my VF research. Much left to do!
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
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was more wondering if I would be possibly reduced to having to collect from a river or a stream

In this part of the world bovine and ovine animals are often in great abundance near rural walking routes with run off into waterways. Leptospirosis can be the consequential ailment: and is not unknown here.

On the other hand, the greatest concentration of sheep AND cattle I have encountered (having walked more than 2,000 km in France and Spain) was in the small valley beyond Las Herrerias on the way up to La Faba and Galicia: both rams and bulls indicated their presence by the sonorous bells around their necks.

Based on serious advice I carry a LifeStraw squeezable bottle (650 ml) with filter and a syringe to draw water from awkward (shallow) places. And that will go with me when I continue my VF.

You can either just drink from the filled squeeze bottle: or refill and express repeatably through the filter into your main bottle.

Total dry weight for both is 150 grams.

@jeanineonthecamino, to you I say kia kaha, kia māia, kia mana'wa'nui (take care, be strong, patient and confident)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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I am also thinking I will need to bring a charging block for my phone - I didn't need to do that on either Camino
I didn't have that need from Le Puy onwards or on UK trips.

On the VF in 2018 I was pitching my tent/shelter (not camping, no cooking) every few days. But did not have a power supply until the next gite or motel/hotel. Which did cause me some anxiety at times.

(For your consideration: my tent, including pegs and sleeping pad weighs just under 1 kg - tent poles are my walking poles)

Recently I put a PowerBank in my pack. After some research I bought a Momax 20,000 mAh capacity with both QC 3.0 (quick charge - USB A connector x 2) and PD 3.0 (power delivery - USB type C connector) features.

It is heavy at 350 grams. At the time I bought, my research showed other similar PowerBanks available locally were much heavier

My current phone is a Samsung Tab S6 lite (10" screen - maps and daily notes) with a battery capacity of 7,040 mAh. So the Power Bank should provide almost 3 full recharges before everything needs to recharged again.

With a less hungry device, your PowerBank needs may not be so great.

Kia kaha
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
On the VF in 2018 I was pitching my tent/shelter (not camping, no cooking) every few days. But did not have a power supply until the next gite or motel/hotel. Which did cause me some anxiety at times.
Yeah - sounds like I might need it more on the VF if there are longer stretches without services and I may end up sleeping outdoors occasionally. My phone's battery is pretty good - but I think I will be using GPS more heavily through the UK, France, and Switzerland. Hopefully Italy is better marked - but won't be doing Italy this year.
(For your consideration: my tent, including pegs and sleeping pad weighs just under 1 kg - tent poles are my walking poles)
I do have a tent that is 900 grams even with it's poles. Not including pad though... I think we do own one lighter tent - but I don't like it as much. The one I mentioned above is semi-freestanding so I can skip staking it out if I want to. On the fence with whether or not to bring it (or a new bivy as stated above). Much prefer to find a real bed every night - but I also want to keep the cost down. Might look for a lightweight foam pad since I won't use it nightly instead of my inflatable.
 
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Might look for a lightweight foam pad since I won't use it nightly instead of my inflatable.
My inflatable weighs 220 grams and covers shoulder to knees - purchased in 2015

I have recently added an inflatable pillow (60 grams).

On trips before I did what I am sure most do: stuffed all my clothes not being worn, and other softish stuff, into a light weight shopping bag.

I keep updating my offline pack list (things not worn or in a pocket) - here is the reference.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
My inflatable weighs 220 grams and covers shoulder to knees - purchased in 2015

I have recently added an inflatable pillow (60 grams).

On trips before I did what I am sure most do: stuffed all my clothes not being worn, and other softish stuff, into a light weight shopping bag.

I keep updating my offline pack list (things not worn or in a pocket) - here is the reference.
Yeah - miy pad is 330 Grams - but rated for winter temps. I just don't want to pay $$$ for a decent ultralight inflatable. I do have an ultralight pillow - but if just needed for "some nights" when I can't find a bed - I would just stuff clothes into something for the pillow.
 
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