Living on the ancient pilgrimage route between Canterbury and Rome, we volunteered to take in those arriving in Reims, looking for a bed for the night. So far we have received walkers, cyclists, single people and even a family with young children. Italians, Dutch, Belgians, French and British are among those we have welcomed. Some are taking time out to reflect about life and to think about spiritual things. We have decorated one bedroom with a large poster depicting the life of John Bunyan who wrote the book Pilgrim’s Progress. It is always interesting to chat with travellers and they usually ask why we came to France and are intrigued when we say that it was a call from God. Our guests often have catholic backgrounds and are interested in our protestant view point.
Reims is twinned with Canterbury. Both are cathedral cities associated with pilgrimage. Canterbury is the start of the Via Francigena, that was supposedly the route taken in 990 by Sigéric the Archbishop of Canterbury. As he did the return journey, he noted the 80 stages of his 2,000 km walk.
Many people think that the part though Northern France is a bit dull and uninteresting compared to the Alps or medieval Italy, but I like to remind people that the route they are taking was the front line during the 1st World War and that the now peaceful countryside was was far from quiet with the noise of shelling, bombing and explosions. The many beautifully kept Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries testify today to the colossal loss of life from 1914-18. It is relatively empty because so many villages were destroyed. Wood from forests became duck boards and trench linings.
So, if you want to walk or cycle 300 km on the GR 145 (Grande Randonné) and stop for a few days of rest in Cormontreuil (our part of Reims) you will be very welcome.
We have registered as a Bed & Breakfast with one double room and one single room. For 20€ /night and 5€ for an evening meal of mostly home-made food. We can cater for special diets too. Breakfast includes at least 4 flavours of homemade jams made with fruit from the garden.