VIA FRANCIGENA-Canterbury to Rome Day 20

Day 20 Châlons-en-Champagne to Coole 28K

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Delicious French Dinner with wonderful hosts, Brigitte and Jean-Claude

Today was the kind of day that makes this pilgrimage special. We once again were welcomed by a kind and hospitable pilgrim friendly husband and wife.

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From Châlons we decided to take the alternate route due south as the terrain is a bit redundant and we can make up more ground. Also there are family hosts along this way.

After about 24K it was scorching hot. The temperature was well up in the 30’s as we walked through shadeless farm fields and we passed a large farm house. Behind me a farmer in a huge tractor was honking and I moved over off the road but he kept honking. I turned around and he jumped out of his cabin and indicated for me to stop and sit. He came out momentarily with two big ice cold bottles of mineral water for us.

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We sat under a shaded tree and drank the bottles and our final push 4Kmore into Coole wasn’t too bad. A few hundred meters from the destination we noticed a woman in the street and she started waving to us. Brigitte, our host for the night had thoughtfully come looking for us as I think she does with all her pilgrims.

She then gave us welcoming drinks and cookies. Made a reservation for us for two days out and showed us our room, gave us towels, and took our dirty clothes and washed and hung them for us.


At apertif time Brigitte’s husband Jean-Claude joined us offering whiskey and beer. He seemed disappointed I chose red wine 😊. Then Brigitte took us through her guestbook where she places a photo of each pilgrim with their comments. She clearly loves helping pilgrims.

After a few drinks and pleasant conversation we moved into the kitchen where we started with a salad of two kinds of tomatoes in one bowl, and sliced cold small potatoes in the second bowl with a delicious Dijon mustard dressing. The second was a cassarole of pumpkin and zucchini with added tomatoes, mincemeat, and cheese.

The 3rd was a selection of 3 cheeses. Dessert was a delicious homemade Flan. All the veggies came from her garden. After dinner, not to be outdone Jean Claude brought out his 3 favorite liquers; Cognac, local homemade plum liquer, and Italian Limoncello. Alot of fun and laughter.

Please no more alcohol.

To top it off, in the morning after breakfast, Brigitte took her picture of us and then walked the first km. with us. After walking 700 or 800 meters further I turned around and Brigitte was still smiling waving to us with both arms waving.

A stop we will remember! — in Coole, Champagne-Ardenne, France.

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Happy to answer any questions and help in any way.