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Pilgrim's Halt on Voie de Tours

Alisoun

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonensis, Voie de Tours (2017)
Greetings to all pilgrims.

I have a dream to open a Pilgrim's Halt in the Charente Maritime about 4km on from Mirambeau. I've spoken to a lot of Pilgrims on this route and it seems there is a lack of reasonable accommodation in some sections. The idea would be to offer bed, evening meal, breakfast and a packed lunch at cost prices or whatever the pilgrim can reasonably afford. There would of course be showers and toilets, and for a small extra fee laundry facilities. I would much value input from those who have already travelled this route, or those who are planning to do so.

Happy travelling.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
I have messaged you . You can see the message in your "Conversations"
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Greetings to all pilgrims.

I have a dream to open a Pilgrim's Halt in the Charente Maritime about 4km on from Mirambeau. I've spoken to a lot of Pilgrims on this route and it seems there is a lack of reasonable accommodation in some sections. The idea would be to offer bed, evening meal, breakfast and a packed lunch at cost prices or whatever the pilgrim can reasonably afford. There would of course be showers and toilets, and for a small extra fee laundry facilities. I would much value input from those who have already travelled this route, or those who are planning to do so.
There was a complete absence of such things back in 1994, so I can wholeheartedly support the idea of building this support up brick by brick.

I found the people in the Charente Maritime to be friendly, easy-going, and welcoming -- creating even tourist places they could enjoy themselves in the off-season -- so perhaps you could integrate your project into that tradition somehow, perhaps combining beds for pilgrims with a place for your locals to enjoy during the day ?
 

Alisoun

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonensis, Voie de Tours (2017)
I'm sure it would be very welcome. So little accommodation for Pilgrims in the Charente Maritime.
Thank you Fleur. I'll get back to you about the message soon. Very Helpful
 

Alisoun

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonensis, Voie de Tours (2017)
JabbaPappa. Thanks for the information.

I lived here briefly from 1991 to 1993, and then visited every year until 2004 as my parents lived here. I now live further south near Dax, but would really like to return to the Charente Maritime.

I think there's a little more on offer in the way of accommodation than there was in 1994, but I gather the pilgrim lodgings are rather basic and not much fun. Everyone I've spoken to who passes in front of the house says there is often a 4 or 5km detour to get to other places and those are pricey.

I agree that the people here are very friendly and there are still a number of local events. In fact there's a 'medieval day' in the village just before here to raise funds for the church restoration. I did think of seeing if that could be extended the 3 km along the road to a field next door and doing a "fayre" along the medieval theme, with folk "making the pilgrimage along the route" to arrive here.

The only problem now is raising the funds necessary to buy the house and do the essential repairs. I may have to resort to 'crowdfunding' to find the extra needed. I have no idea if this falls within the sort of thing that folk would be willing to donate to. Nor for that matter how to start, so I'll need to do some research. Being a pensioner has a number of disadvantages when it comes to financing dreams! Fortunately after all my years in France I'm pretty clued up on language and relevant laws, and if I can get this project started then it'll be a non-profit thing. Though maybe in the off season it could generate a bit of income towards further developments.

Anyway, please keep sending me input as it is all valuable in working out how this might come to fruition.

PS. for those doing the Voie de Tours I strongly recommend taking the train from Bordeaux to Dax as the path through the Landes is very dull. However, once at Dax it's much more interesting and Sorde l'Abbaye is well worth a visit. The ascent to St John Pied de Port is also lovely, but heaving with tourists from mid June through to mid September and B&B prices go up a lot. A lot of cyclists train on this part of the route for mini Tours de France and the real thing.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
I second that suggestion. Train Bordeaux to Dax. We then took a bus to St. Palais picked up the chemin and walked to Ostabat and on to SJPP . Shame we missed Sorde l'Abbaye.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
At St Leger 17 (after Saintes and before Pons)

they've recently created a new Halte for pelerins.

This year in Saintes near St Eutrop and Pons near the old hospital des pelerins, new shell markers have been inserted in the pavements.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
PS. for those doing the Voie de Tours I strongly recommend taking the train from Bordeaux to Dax as the path through the Landes is very dull.
I veered off towards the Vézelay Route before then, which doesn't dodge the Landes.

I'm not sure I agree though.

It's certainly the most hypnotically monotonous part of the Camino I've ever walked, but there's a certain spiritual beauty as well as spiritual challenge in the impression that it gives of walking and yet never advancing ; but when you do actually pass that experience and find yourself in the oasis of a small village or campsite, the extreme warmth of the local people is made only more beautiful in comparison to the starkness of the hike.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Our decision to skip les Landes was purely because finding accommodation ahead proved to be a nightmare .That was in 2012. Since then we have completed our walk arriving Finisterra last October. (in stages over the years).
Had I known then what I know now we might have managed to sort the accommodation worry. Being two older females we didn't want to find ourselves stranded in forests or villages without a bed for the night.
 

Alisoun

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonensis, Voie de Tours (2017)
It's certainly the most hypnotically monotonous part of the Camino I've ever walked, but there's a certain spiritual beauty as well as spiritual challenge in the impression that it gives of walking and yet never advancing ; but when you do actually pass that experience and find yourself in the oasis of a small village or campsite, the extreme warmth of the local people is made only more beautiful in comparison to the starkness of the hike.
I agree it is hypnotic in some ways, but I suspect the new LGV line is now going to play havoc with the landscape and drastically alter the route - at least during the next few years.

It 's also been my experience recently that the Landais are a little less welcoming these days - too many worries after the loss of the forestry exploitation following the big storm and the need to find alternative income sources are a large part of that. That and the avian flu which has closed down the local duck/chicken farms for the greater part of the last two years has played havoc with the local economy. Tourism is now the major earner and accommodation/restaurant prices are definitely increasing. Likewise food! I worked out that the cost of my weekly shop has risen by 30% in 18 months, but that may be true elsewhere as well.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
Pilgrim's Halt in the Charente Maritime
As you are researching your future business, I'm wondering if you can perhaps gain useful information from others who track data: the French hiking association and the regional tourism office? Most French gites - along even the Le Puy - survive on the French walking groups, rather than the few long-distance pilgrims.
 

Alisoun

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonensis, Voie de Tours (2017)
As you are researching your future business, I'm wondering if you can perhaps gain useful information from others who track data: the French hiking association and the regional tourism office? Most French gites - along even the Le Puy - survive on the French walking groups, rather than the few long-distance pilgrims.
That's an excellent suggestion, thank you. Although the local Office de Tourism are not actually that helpful. :)

In fact it's difficult to explain but it's not so much a business venture. I have very strong attachments to this little group of houses, and one is now for sale. The owner has unfortunately turned down my initial offer to rent, although says she'd rather sell it to me than anyone else. It would make an ideal stop for all sorts of pilgrims/walkers and so on.

I live alone (with cat and dog), really enjoy meeting people from all over the world, adore cooking, making my own bread and jams etc., but its a lot less fun for only one! I thought it would be mutually advantageous all round, filling my need for varied company and providing a much needed stop on the Voie de Tours. I can survive on my pension as my needs are small, so profit making is not the aim here, unless it's to improve facilities for pilgrims.

But all ideas are grist to the mill, so please keep them coming.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Alisoun,

Here in France there is a often a Chain of Local ( donativo ) Hospitality offered for passing pilgrims. See more in French here.
Those who offer such hospitality do so for the pleasure of meeting/greeting pilgrims as well as helping them find their way.

For example my husband and I live in a small Champagne village, facing the Marne river.
We have a b & b but last year for the first time also provided simple family hosting for passing pilgrims. My first pilgrim shell hangs at our door marking the path.

Check to see if such a Chain of Local Hospitality/ l'Accueil pèlerins à domicile exists in your future département

Good luck, Bon chemin and Buen camino!
 

Alisoun

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonensis, Voie de Tours (2017)
mspath

Thank you that is an excellent idea. I've heard that such a thing exists, but not had much time to really research it properly, although I've read some blogs (in French) and spoken to some pilgrims passing here who have had less than really hospitable experiences. Think les habitants they've met must have been having a bad day!
 
Camino(s) past & future
I live next to the Grand Châtenet section
Greetings to all pilgrims.

I have a dream to open a Pilgrim's Halt in the Charente Maritime about 4km on from Mirambeau. I've spoken to a lot of Pilgrims on this route and it seems there is a lack of reasonable accommodation in some sections. The idea would be to offer bed, evening meal, breakfast and a packed lunch at cost prices or whatever the pilgrim can reasonably afford. There would of course be showers and toilets, and for a small extra fee laundry facilities. I would much value input from those who have already travelled this route, or those who are planning to do so.

Happy travelling.

Hi Alisoun
We are a spit from the track 6km south of St Jean-d'Angely and have thought of some kind of stop over.

Bon courage
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
I hope you both manage to get your pilgrim accommodation plans up and running. I've just booked next Wednesday night at a chambre d'hote nr. La Frediere because I know Saint Jean d'Angely to Saintes will be too far for me to manage in one go. As far as I can see there are not many pilgrim beds between Aulnay and Saintes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I live next to the Grand Châtenet section
I hope you both manage to get your pilgrim accommodation plans up and running. I've just booked next Wednesday night at a chambre d'hote nr. La Frediere because I know Saint Jean d'Angely to Saintes will be too far for me to manage in one go. As far as I can see there are not many pilgrim beds between Aulnay and Saintes.
Well if you see an odd bloke walking two boarder collies that's me. If you want to cut a couple of ups and downs out give us a shout. ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
I live next to the Grand Châtenet section
Thanks. I will be the old girl with a red rucksack and Nordic poles.
Morning, if you haven't started the day just to let you know we are on yellow warning for thunderstorms. I'm now walking towards Mazeray and have seen lightening. Safe travels. If you need a bolt hole I'm 1km past Mazeray.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
@ Tuesday Wild child it was great to meet you and your wife yesterday. Thank you for all your kind hospitality.
 

Anne Ki

New Member
Greetings to all pilgrims.

I have a dream to open a Pilgrim's Halt in the Charente Maritime about 4km on from Mirambeau. I've spoken to a lot of Pilgrims on this route and it seems there is a lack of reasonable accommodation in some sections. The idea would be to offer bed, evening meal, breakfast and a packed lunch at cost prices or whatever the pilgrim can reasonably afford. There would of course be showers and toilets, and for a small extra fee laundry facilities. I would much value input from those who have already travelled this route, or those who are planning to do so.

Happy travelling.
Hello! I will do the Camino (La Voie de Tours) by bike, from Paris to SJPP, and will pass by your place in September. Have you succeeded to open your dream about the "Pilgrim's Halt" then? If so, I hope to be able to halt there! :)
Anne Karin from Stavanger, Norway
 

Alisoun

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonensis, Voie de Tours (2017)
Greetings to all.

Been working hard trying to organise my project! Not quite got there in terms of the building I have in mind, but am living on site and have other options for the moment, although slightly restricted as it's the family's holiday home so not available when they're here.

For those interested I can now offer B&B + evening meal at 25€ per person, with an option for a packed lunch, and use of washing machine if weather is ok for drying things outside. Not too many places available (max 6 sharing 3 rooms), so best to get in touch in advance.

Anne, if you send me an email with your proposed date I can try to make sure accommodation is available for you. Contact is lepetitbreuillet@gmail.com. The house is on the Voie de Tours exactly 5km south of Mirambeau.

Anyone else coming this way is also welcome to get in touch.

Happy travelling.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
@Alisoun this is good news. As you have noted, there is a real lack of pilgrim accommodation on this route and in fact that is one of the reasons (the other being continual rain) that caused us to abandon it several years ago. I might just be tempted to have another go if the infrastructure improves!
 
Camino(s) past & future
I live next to the Grand Châtenet section
@Alisoun this is good news. As you have noted, there is a real lack of pilgrim accommodation on this route and in fact that is one of the reasons (the other being continual rain) that caused us to abandon it several years ago. I might just be tempted to have another go if the infrastructure improves!
You should of walked it this year as we've had a distinct lack of rain. :)
 

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