The signed GR145 takes a scenic route alongside the river Marne and its tributaries, and is significantly longer: 129km versus about 75km for the straight variant (I’ll know the exact number when I get to Brienne tomorrow). There is also a new alternate route published by the Champagne regional tourism office, but after studying the route using Google maps, it looks like you would need to self-catering to go this way. Instead I took the straight road, spending much of the day, well, going straight. The road follows the original Roman road, via Agrippa, which connected Milan with Boulounge on the French west coast. This is the road that Sigeric took a few years back.
But it is a tough way to get from A to B. Rolling hills, windy, the occasional farmer cultivating, and the almost constant ‘swoosh’ of the giant wind generators, which line the horizon in all directions at times. Fortunately I lucked out with the weather – sunny, but cool.
Tonight I’m staying in Les Antes, which is a former orphanage converted to be part of ESAT, a program that provides supervised, paid work programs for adults with mental disabilities. The have huge gardens, greenhouses and workshops where the residents work. They also welcome pilgrims on the via francigena to stay overnight.
I will add a couple of photos taken hours apart, just to prove I was on the straight and narrow.
Daily kms; 39.7