Also includes day 33, a rest day in Besançon!
For the most part a pleasant day hiking up and down the hills to Besançon. A very cool and Misty start, but that was ok as the first couple of hours was the bulk of the up part. Lots of nice forests and livestock farming – even sheep – although the flock was so small they probably all had names. Same applies to the cow herds. No wonder it is so hard to find meat in the supermarkets. Lots of cheese though, which almost makes up for it.
The arrival into Besançon was not dissimilar to a Camino entry to a bigger city, with the inevitable kms through suburbs (the French version, which is way preferable to walking through a North American suburb) and sundry light industrial areas. In the case of Besançon, it was a large University facility that only looked like it was a light industrial area. The should have hired some students to do weed whacking for the summer!
And just as you start to wonder where the town is, you are channeled through a gap in the 17th century defenses, and you are in the old city. It was worth waiting for!
I booked an Airbnb close to the old town – my key criteria is a washing machine! Today was a sleep in until the store across the street opened, then I felt thoroughly French as I walked back with my warm breakfast baguette tucked under my arm.
Although it was a rest day, I ambled slowly around the old town in the morning, then after a siesta, climbed the hill to the Citadel in the afternoon (after which I returned to the apartment for siesta #2!) Besançon is all about Victor Hugo, who was born here, and Vauban, the Royal Engineer of Louis XIV, who designed and built the Besançon defenses and another 11 scattered throughout France. All are UNESCO sites. The one in Besançon is spectacular – you could say it’s his piece de resistance 😉
Besançon has been settled for a while: Julius Caesar references the town, and while no remains of the Suerti settlement have been found, there are plenty of Roman remnants.
Definitely a town where anyone walking the VF should consider taking a rest day.
Pics: a poster of the town. You’d need a long selfie stick to take this yourself. Plus a view from the Citadel, and the Citadel’s well, powered by a human gerbil. They dug 130m through solid Rock only to find the water wasn’t drinkable.
Daily kms: 32.3