Historians offer us different approaches to the origin of this pilgrimage route, now resurrected as a leisure and discovery tour of our region.
This route dates back to 58 BC, at the time when Julius Caesar opened a “Route of Rome” through France. This path was called “Lombard way”, then “Iter Francorum” or “Via Francisca” from 725 AD.
The Via Francigena is first mentioned under this name in the Actum Clusio, a parchment of the Abbey of San Salvador al Monte Amiate in Tuscany in 876. This is the major pilgrimage route of the North of Europe to Rome.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Sigenic, first initiating this route. He traveled himself to Rome on foot in 990 to meet Pope John XV to receive the pallium and the coat of his investiture.
From the historic Via Francigena, the towns of Guînes, Thérouanne, Bruay, Arras in the Pas-de-Calais and Cambrai, Reims, Besançon, Pontarlier, Lausanne, Aosta, Pavia, Siena and Bolsena are known with certainty to reach Rome. All these cities are 80 essential steps in the travel diary of the Saxon Archbishop.
In the middle Ages, “Via Francigena” gathered all the routes between England, France and Italy, of which Rome was one of the main goals, but not the only one.
This set of paths crossed the current territories of France, Switzerland and Italy where merchants mixed with pilgrims.
The Via Francigena fell into disuse from the XVth century because of the decadence of the Champagne fairs, wars, political and social disagreements, as well as the opening of new roads that crossed the central and eastern Alps. It was not until 1985 that the archaeologist Giovanni Caselli finalized a long work of cartographic reports of the network of roads known as the “Via Francigena”.
Recognized by the Council of Europe in 1994 as part of the “Caminos de Europa”, the Via Francigena, along with the road to Santiago de Compostela, is today a project of route that connects history, religion, art and economy of Europe.
After the trek in Kent from Canterbury to Dover, we offer stages of about 20 kilometers with trails recognized for their qualities and promoting the discovery of landscapes and heritage.
From Calais, the hiker will connect Wissant, alongside the coastal GR (national hiking trail). Then, the stage from Wissant to Guînes crosses the last foothills of the region of Boulogne-sur-Mer. From Guînes, it is a route in the heart of the Pays d’Opale that will take you in the footsteps of the monks of the Licques Abbey.
Some accommodations give special offers to pilgrims carrying the credential:
Hôtel Auberge du Colombier: formula “confort” for 1 person with bedroom for 1 person, breakfast, dinner (drinks not included): €77
Camping la Bien Assise : formula “pelerin” with 1 night in a lodge or a refuge without meal nor breakfast (1 blanket, shower, WC, without sheets, towels or products): €15/night and person (from April to September)
Formula “bivouac pelerin” with 1 night in our camping with your own tent and material, shower and WC, free for only one night (no groups allowed, from April to September). Each extra night will be charged, dinner on site, breakfast from 7.30am.
Chambres d’Hôtes Le Château de la Garenne: exceptional formula at €100 for 2 people (dinners + night + breakfast) or formula at €80 for 1 person (dinner + night + breakfast)
The guesthouse does not accept payments with debit cards or visa cards.
Gîtes Cense de la Haute Leulingue : Au tarif les serviettes de toilette ajoutées gratuitement et un repas simple prêt a réchauffer dans le gite à environ 10€ par personne.
Camping les Pommiers des Trois-Pays: 1 night in a tent: €10/person
Rental of an equipped chalet (bedroom, bathroom, WC, kitchen): €27 for 1 person, €40 for 2 people
Be careful to clean it before leaving (not cleaned: €10 extra charge)
Rental of sheets + pillows: €5/person
Snack from 6pm
Free wifi and covered heated pool
Gîtes Les Sens des Bois : 1 night for 2 people with free breakfast: €60
1 night for 3 to 6 people with free breakfast: €120
1 night for 7 to 10 people with free breakfast: €150
Private spa (jacuzzi and sauna). For every special “Via Francigena” booking, the spa session of 2 hours is at €20/person
Free car ride from the centre of Licques*
Gîte Entre Caps et Marais: free price on presentation of the credential
Chambres d’Hôtes Une Nuit à la Campagne: free meal + night at €33/person with breakfast. Possibility of laundry
Around Yeuse :
Chambres d’Hôtes Au petit tambour d’Autingues:1 night: €50/person (free breakfast)
1 night for 2 people: €60 (free breakfast)
1 night for 3 to 4 people (free breakfast)
Free bed sheets + towels
Dinner: €10/person (on reservation)
Picnic for the next day: €7/person
Free car ride from the GR145