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First Day Out of Calais

Ray J

Where exactly are we?
Camino(s) past & future
CF
Rota Vicentina & Portuguese
Paris to Moulins & Le Puy
VF
Cornwall & John Muir Way
Anyone have opinions on the best way to leave Calais, going to either Wissant or Guines? Wissant is the official way, but I can save an entire day by going directly to Guines. My preference is to go directly to Guines, but I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts/experiences. Thanks!
 

Island

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues 2019
Pilgrims' Way 2020
Via Francigena 2020
California Mission Trail 2020
Guines. Just follow the river / canal from Calais near the bike trail.
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
?
I really enjoyed the walk to Wissant. It did not start out that well, as I was walking behind a large sand dune, so there were no views of the ocean and it was quite sandy and tough to walk. I eventually turned to the main road feeling somewhat frustrated. After passing through a long town (I forget the name) I veered left up a path that looked like it would be running parallel to the road. I don’t think it was signposted, but I wanted to get off the road. This path took me up a hill where I eventually did see a signpost for the VF. This path had great views and took me back down and across the road and back up to a lookout point (Gros Nez?) with fabulous views of the ocean and beach. From there I could walk down to the beach and walk the last few kms into Wissant along the beach. There were old remnants of WWII gun placements along the beach. In the town I walked through there was also a memorial to the Canadians that liberated the area.

So that is a bit of a long story, but let me sum it up by saying that in a nice day, the walk along the ocean is beautiful.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Guines. Just follow the river / canal from Calais near the bike trail.
+1
A very pleasant walk. In Guines, the pilgrim refuge at the Camping Bien Assise looks good - open April to Sept. for 15 Euros. I didn't research ahead and booked a room at their hotel, which was fine but expensive.

Wissant is on the itinerary because that's where Sigeric landed. If the historical accuracy is important to you, then you might want to swing by there.
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2012
CP 2015
St Olavs Norway 2016
88T Japan 2017
PWC/VF 2019
Israel 2020 X
Wales CP 21?
KK?
VdlP?
Anyone have opinions on the best way to leave Calais, going to either Wissant or Guines? Wissant is the official way, but I can save an entire day by going directly to Guines. My preference is to go directly to Guines, but I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts/experiences. Thanks!
A consideration may be your overall time frame. You don't mention if you are going all the way to Rome. If you are, & have a time limit, you may want to 'save' a days walking right at the beginning in favour of breathing space or unforeseens down the track.
I walked London to Rome in one go under Schengen time restrictions so took the Guines route.
Sempre avanti...you're in for quite a journey! I hope you'll keep us posted.
👣 🌏
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I took the path to Guines. I remain unconvinced about the 'official' route at many points along the way, especially in France - though I don't lose sleep over it and certainly have no dogmatic opinions about what other people should do or what they chose to do:):):). Saving a day could well be a consideration if you have time constraints.
Have a wonderful time whatever you decide.
 

Ray J

Where exactly are we?
Camino(s) past & future
CF
Rota Vicentina & Portuguese
Paris to Moulins & Le Puy
VF
Cornwall & John Muir Way
Great advice, all! Many thanks. We only have 42 days available this time, so obviously we're not going to make it to Rome - will be taking our time and enjoying the hike, and will pick up where we stopped (wherever that may be) next time.

If any of you have additional tips on things to do or see, I'd love to hear about them. We're using the Lightfoot Guidebook and it has lots of good information, but it's always good to hear from people who have done it.
 

Harington

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Anyone have opinions on the best way to leave Calais, going to either Wissant or Guines? Wissant is the official way, but I can save an entire day by going directly to Guines. My preference is to go directly to Guines, but I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts/experiences. Thanks!
Calais to Guines is easy. You go along the right-hand side of the canal and divert onto a cycle track that takes you directly to Guines. And, no, you are unlikely to see any migrants.
 

Steven B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 31 Aug (2016), Le Puy 24 Jun (2018)
I will be walking directly to Guines on the 7 May. My goal is to walk to Rome. I tend to wander wherever I want on the way. On the LePuy route I did not follow the GR65 all the time as it did not always go where I wanted to go. Sometimes I take shortcuts where I can and other times I will detour to a town, Chateau or village and walk an extra 20k. For a few days I walked from church steeple to church steeple if they were roughly in the right direction and this ended up being a part of the walk I enjoyed most. Will likely do something similar on this walk if the opportunity presents itself. Don't all roads lead to Rome? :)
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
My goal is to walk to Rome. I tend to wander wherever I want on the way.
That was my aim too - I walked to Rome and I only walked the marked Via Francigena where I thought it was most helpful. So although I walked from Calais and crossed the official route a number of times on the way I did not really join it until Besancon.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
Sometimes I take shortcuts where I can
I definitely took the route through France as more suggestive than definitive. I loved Raju's guide in France which had less issue walking on roads (quietish ones) compared to the marked GR route the VF is now and was a great starting point for making my own route. I had my own shortcuts - though one path was more stream like after storms - another path in a wood petered out in the middle of the woods (though the woods were narrow and long - and so easy to keep in the right direction) but those added to the adventure! I took older alternate routes and so went to stay with the amazing nuns in St Loup sur Aujon before Langres which was one of the absolute highlights of the VF for me. And planning on into Switzerland I have some interesting plans that will take me off route this summer. Pilgrims of the past might well have aimed for Rome but that would not have stopped them for instance exploring other places along the route such as local pilgrimage sites. Even with the legacy of Roman roads - its wasn't necessarily a straightline but a network of routes
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
kazrobbo Via Francigena to Rome 21
Ray J Via Francigena to Rome 7

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