Summer is almost over so time to pick-up activities again. As you might remember I visited France during the first 2 weeks of June, right after the travelling ban had been lifted.
During the trip I was able to see about 14 houses/gites in a period of 7 days, scattered along the via Lemovicensis and Via Podiensis. By car almost 1.400 km in that period. Although I did not find a building that ticked all the boxes for me, I learned a lot and met some really inspiring owners of the gîtes. I am thinking specifically about Jean-Marc and Veronique (Le Champs d’Etoiles in Condom), Huberta en Arno (L’Esprit de Chemin, Le Chemin), Jean- Gaétan of the Alchemist (Navarenx), Jesus Gomez (La Cassagnole ,in Faycelles) and Joseph (Beilari in sjpdp). All these owners deliver a pilgrims experience as I would also like to offer to pilgrims. A warm and family like welcome in a special ambiance.
After that week intense travelling I needed a break so I decided to complete the Via Podiensis from Arzacq to Saint-Jean-Pied-des-Portes, a 6 day walk. Although it was relatively short, I had the same great encounters and great walks that I have had previously. It never gets boring. I was really sad to see my companions continue to Spain as I returned home.
Like I said I learned a lot and that brought me back to my original idea, to buy a run-down place and fix it up. The renovation for me is 50% of the fun and the hosting of Pilgrims 50%. Secondly, although I loved the Lot and Gers regions it is just too far away from the Netherlands. I am seriously considering to shift my search toward the Via Campaniensis from Rocroi to Vézelay, in the North of France. A friend of mine is walking there at this moment at she had great difficulty in finding lodgings, basically every night. So a high need for a gite, few pilgrims and close to the Netherlands. I am thinking about something in the region of Auxerre/ Chablis, fairly close to Vézelay..
I want to thank you all again for your help sofar and the journey continues ! In September I plan to visit the North of France to scout the area and make some initial contacts. For the remainder of September/October I have a difficult choice to make to either walk to Santiago or to continue to look for properties in that period.