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VF - Arrival at Calais Port

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?
My query is regarding arrival by ferry at the Calais terminal. I've read of pilgrims getting 'waylaid' trying to leave the Port as its not designed with foot passengers in mind.
Can previous VF-ers please share the disembarkation process especially with regards to directions? ie if you got lost, where you went wrong, where you should have gone, is there enough/clear signage, etc.
I know the formalities (immigration, customs, security) occur on the Dover side..I already have that info. I'm staying in both Dover & Calais so will be under no time pressure either end but would like my actual arrival in Calais to be as smooth as possible.
Two weeks to go...!
Many thanks
👣 🌏
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
@kazrobbo I don't remember any serious problem. I used Google maps to make my way to the centre of Calais, which was not far. I remember getting off the boat and turning right. You will need a street map, but it was not difficult.
My trace is here.
Er well, you can see I took a wrong turn once or twice, I remember looking at a street map on a placard in the street which confused me, but I made it. I could have turned left along the canal before the townhall and city square, but I wanted to see them.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
No problems that i recall...in fact remember seeing a vf sign just out of the ferry port
 

MarkWoods

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Francigena (Canterbury to Rome 2017)
I did not experience any problem disembarking from the ferry during my 2017 VF pilgrimage. Auto passengers were allowed to disembark first, then they let foot passengers leave. After walking down the gang plank, we were put on a bus and driven a short distance to the main terminal.
 

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?
@kazrobbo I don't remember any serious problem. I used Google maps to make my way to the centre of Calais, which was not far. I remember getting off the boat and turning right. You will need a street map, but it was not difficult.
My trace is here.
Er well, you can see I took a wrong turn once or twice, I remember looking at a street map on a placard in the street which confused me, but I made it. I could have turned left along the canal before the townhall and city square, but I wanted to see them.
Golden info as always Tim...thank you! 😊
 

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?
No problems that i recall...in fact remember seeing a vf sign just out of the ferry port
Great knowing there's a VF sign straight off the bat (boat..ha ha!) Thank you.
 

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?
I did not experience any problem disembarking from the ferry during my 2017 VF pilgrimage. Auto passengers were allowed to disembark first, then they let foot passengers leave. After walking down the gang plank, we were put on a bus and driven a short distance to the main terminal.
Thanks Mark, I didn't know about the bus...very helpful. 😊
 

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?
I had absolutely no problem either. Don’t worry!
I just received an email from the person I knew (through his blog) had problems disembarking. Turns out he was misled by others in his party & ended up having to do some major backtracking.
His suggestion & my golden rule; trust your own instincts & don't be swayed by others!
I'm now feeling much less anxious about it.
Thanks to all for your valued input. 😊
 
Last edited:

Harington

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
My query is regarding arrival by ferry at the Calais terminal. I've read of pilgrims getting 'waylaid' trying to leave the Port as its not designed with foot passengers in mind.
Can previous VF-ers please share the disembarkation process especially with regards to directions? ie if you got lost, where you went wrong, where you should have gone, is there enough/clear signage, etc.
I know the formalities (immigration, customs, security) occur on the Dover side..I already have that info. I'm staying in both Dover & Calais so will be under no time pressure either end but would like my actual arrival in Calais to be as smooth as possible.
Two weeks to go...!
Many thanks
👣🌏
It is not a difficult journey, and any map app will show you the way to the town centre for the walk to Guines/start of the path south to Wissant. If you are anxious they will call you a taxi at the port office to where you're staying in Calais. As regards migrants and refugees, you are extremely unlikely to see any in the areas where you will be walking; Calais is a fortress against these poor people.
 

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?
It is not a difficult journey, and any map app will show you the way to the town centre for the walk to Guines/start of the path south to Wissant. If you are anxious they will call you a taxi at the port office to where you're staying in Calais. As regards migrants and refugees, you are extremely unlikely to see any in the areas where you will be walking; Calais is a fortress against these poor people.
Thanks Harington. The security fencing was the reason the blogger I referred to got trapped & ended up so far away.
I was aware 'The Jungle' had been dismantled but of course this massive humanitarian problem hasn't gone away..only moved out of sight. I'd be a wreck seeing the plight of these desperate people. Due to the good fortune of my nationality, I can move around freely & easily; something they would give anything to do & tragically some pay the ultimate price. A global issue for our times with no clear solution. 😔
 

Carel5

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Mozarabe: Almeria - Merida
2018 Francigena: GSB - Massa
(2019) Francigena: Massa - Roma
The free Via Francigena App recently added the official route through France. I know that some argue that the official VF makes too much detours in France , but I think it nevertheless can be very helpful. Surely in finding your way in the Port of Calais. https://www.viefrancigene.org/en/app/
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Oh that is good to know. Thanks @Carel5 for the tip. It is useful to have the French section on the app, and I certainly would have used it on occasion last year if it had been there. Having said that, for some strange reason I found the official app crashed again and again on my iphone and instead I used the virtually identical sloways version instead.
I have just looked at the new section and it picks up after you have left the ferry port in Calais and then takes you via Wissant - which is "authentic" but is not the way I went. I went straight on to Licques, (but I am not complaining). If you want to spend time exploring Calais it makes for a shorter (and an extra) day to then stop in Wissant.
It looks like the 'text introduction' to each stage has been rather expanded in the French section compared with the Swiss and Italian, and this is a nice addition.
As you mention, there is the question of diversions in France. There is much more variety of routing in France compared to Switzerland and Italy, and I guess many people will not stick to the "official" path at all times.
But still, I think, a useful addition to the toolbox!!!
 

bobbogram

Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
I’m planning on starting in Canterbury in mid-August but noticed the first FOUR cities after Calais zigzag back and forth. Aren’t we supposed to make straight the path of the Lord? Is it a historical issue or a topographical issue?
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I’m planning on starting in Canterbury in mid-August but noticed the first FOUR cities after Calais zigzag back and forth. Aren’t we supposed to make straight the path of the Lord? Is it a historical issue or a topographical issue?
I think you can do whatever you wish! 🤭 I didn't go to Wissant, which makes it a bit more direct. I wanted to get on and went on to Licques for my first night in French. A friendly campsite there with a pilgrim cabin.
After that I went WIsques, Auchy-au-Bois, Buray La Buissiere, and then Arras. By this stage you will be going in the straightest of straight lines on old Roman road!!
I hope you have a great time. Tim
 
Last edited:

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
It is because the original port from the recorded journey of Sigeric was Wissant which forms the basis of the Via Francigena route. But Wissant port eventually silted over and Calais became the major port. So as the ferries now arrive in Calais the route was sent to Wissant. I however was not constrained by this fact and instead headed via canals to Licques rather than the longer Wissant route. I reckoned if sigeric would have used the most sensible route if he had used Calais rather than Wissant as port.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
It is because the original port from the recorded journey of Sigeric was Wissant which forms the basis of the Via Francigena route. But Wissant port eventually silted over and Calais became the major port. So as the ferries now arrive in Calais the route was sent to Wissant. I however was not constrained by this fact and instead headed via canals to Licques rather than the longer Wissant route. I reckoned if sigeric would have used the most sensible route if he had used Calais rather than Wissant as port.
I am laughing as I read this and agreeing with it. And it is surprising along the way how often you can find yourself saying that Sigeric would be up for a short cut!!! Seriously though, whatever various guides say, I think the route is fairly speculative in parts, even if the cities themselves can be identified. And obviously the very straight roman roads in northern France are part of the "authentic"(??) VF. But there is a lot to be said for canals...........so gentle!
 

GaryAus

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF December 2017
I look forward to hearing of your adventure Kaz. The VF is on my list in about 4 years (retirement, yeah!), but always keen to hear about accomodation options VF in France. I’m not a pitch your tent person, and the French section seems a bit ad hoc for accomodation each night. Camino Portuguese next for me in March 2020.
All the best on your VF from Queensland.
 

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?
I’m planning on starting in Canterbury in mid-August but noticed the first FOUR cities after Calais zigzag back and forth. Aren’t we supposed to make straight the path of the Lord? Is it a historical issue or a topographical issue?
If you mean the first four overnight stops ...as with @timr I also avoided the Wissant route. Walking along the beach/coast sounds appealing but is a dog leg.
My stops out of Calais were Bayenghem (near Lumbres), Blessy, Bruay-le-Bussiere & Arras. For me, choice of nightly destination was largely accommodation driven.
Bruay is quite big with all facilities but potential stops prior could only be considered villages or even hamlets. The first city you will encounter is Arras.
Out of curiosity, are you intending walking to Rome?
Happy planning.
👣 🌏
 
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Carel5

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Mozarabe: Almeria - Merida
2018 Francigena: GSB - Massa
(2019) Francigena: Massa - Roma
I’m planning on starting in Canterbury in mid-August but noticed the first FOUR cities after Calais zigzag back and forth. Aren’t we supposed to make straight the path of the Lord? Is it a historical issue or a topographical issue?
You don't follow the path of the Lord but a man-made route designed in the 21th century that follows less than more a route taken long ago by the British bishop Sigeric on his way to Canterbury back from Rome He did not cross at Calais, but more to the West. Hence the strange zigzag after Calais. You are free to follow a shorter route.
 

bobbogram

Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
Out of curiosity, are you intending walking to Rome?
Two years ago, I started halfway, at the basic midpoint, on the Swiss border. With knee-troubles, I aborted the mission at Etroubles, after hiking the shorter but steeper dirt path vs the longer road option. There was a heat wave on in Italy which was also a factor for discontinuing on the last 1000 km. I’ve already planned the 200 mile segment from Lucca to Rome with lots of good feedback on this Forum. I’ll complete that portion in the near future.

Like Eisenhower who said, “Planning is essential, but plans are useless” whilst also intending to land on the French shore, I’ll begin this alternative Camino at the beginning just like I do with a good book. I’ll be over in England with my daughter’s in-laws anyway, so this seemed like an opportune time for another adventure.

After some time in Canterbury and Dover and a pleasant ferry ride to Calais, I’ll hike a more direct path across France, as former GPS-less pilgrims and God intended, I’ll hike for as long as the weather, the topography, and my body cooperates. Being retired means never having to say “What day is it.” Grisly
 

Attachments

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?
Two years ago, I started halfway, at the basic midpoint, on the Swiss border. With knee-troubles, I aborted the mission at Etroubles, after hiking the shorter but steeper dirt path vs the longer road option. There was a heat wave on in Italy which was also a factor for discontinuing on the last 1000 km. I’ve already planned the 200 mile segment from Lucca to Rome with lots of good feedback on this Forum. I’ll complete that portion in the near future.

Like Eisenhower who said, “Planning is essential, but plans are useless” whilst also intending to land on the French shore, I’ll begin this alternative Camino at the beginning just like I do with a good book. I’ll be over in England with my daughter’s in-laws anyway, so this seemed like an opportune time for another adventure.

After some time in Canterbury and Dover and a pleasant ferry ride to Calais, I’ll hike a more direct path across France, as former GPS-less pilgrims and God intended, I’ll hike for as long as the weather, the topography, and my body cooperates. Being retired means never having to say “What day is it.” Grisly
I very much went My Own Way across France...self navigated, ignoring (the few) waymarks, guidebooks & didn't use any apps. I aimed as much as possible for the historically accepted nightly destinations but deviated due to accommodation or if it simply made more sense.
Looking back now after having just walked the entire VF (London to Rome), even though the daily distances were longer than I like (I had a time limit courtesy of the Schengen visa), choosing my own path through France was a fun challenge; very satisfying & enjoyable...even with going astray occasionally!
Best wishes for your journey.
👣 🌏
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
Ray J Via Francigena to Rome 11
Ray J Via Francigena to Rome 7

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