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Walking from England 2008 - Any Tips?


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I posted this in the introduction forum as well, but I'm not sure how many people check that one.

I'm planning a trip leaving from my front door in Cambridge the day after Easter 2008. I'm planning on walking to Winchester, then down the Pilgrim's Way to Southampton and taking a ferry to Cherbourg. From there I understand there are some GR routes to Mont St Michele, and down the western part of France, meeting up with the Tours Route around Poitiers. I'm expecting it to take 4-5 months depending on how often I stop to play tourist and how fast I walk. Anybody out there walked the route before? Any recommendations as to which GRs would fit the bill? I've found a site or two detailing some routes on the Cherbourg Peninsula, but they are all in French, and not very extensive, could anyone point me to some English resources?

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Any experiences from Channel Ports to Paris?

I've altered my route a bit, choosing instead to head from Cambs down to London, and then pick up the North Downs Way to Dover, probably with a small detour to Canterbury. From there I'll walk to Paris and pick up the Paris/Tours route. I decided to do this because I'm not really restricted by time, and the experience of walking into Paris seems too exciting to pass up. Plus the coastal route, while probably beautiful, is also more likely to be rainy in the spring and I probably wouldn't see a soul until the Pyrenees.

Any thoughts on the best way to get from Channel Ports (specifically Boulogne) to Paris? I've never been, does anyone have any perspective on Boulogne vs Calais as a starting point in France? How about routes into Paris from the north? Any 'must see' places along the way?

Re: Any experiences from Channel Ports to Paris?

When I walked from Boulogne (getting on for 20 years ago now), like Thomas Paris I went the obvious way via Amiens and Beauvais. There are GRs but they meander about a lot and I didn't adhere to them very closely. The towpath along the Somme is now open as a cyclepath, so you could take the coast path to the estuary and walk along that to Amiens. If you head for Royaumont, you can pick up the new GR655 to St Denis and into the centre of Paris and the Tour St Jacques (and then straight out the other side).

When I did it you could still hover over to Boulogne, which is a much more appropriate place for pilgrims than Calais: a much more interesting town, with its shrine to Our Lady (visited by Chaucer's Wife of Bath, though she may have only been to Boloigne because it rhymed with Coloigne). Nowadays you're limited to Calais, from which you can reach Boulogne by the coast path over the chalk cliffs, or catch a train, I suppose.


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