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France at 3 MPH: The End of the Story?

September 19, 2019

We walked into Moissac before noon. All of us were tired, even though it was only 16 km. Our lodging was in the Ancienne Carmel, now a gite which reminds me of a conference center. Except for the bunk beds! The place is run by volunteers. The food was good and honest but not the fancy meals of some smaller gites, but the company was excellent. Over the last week we have gotten to know Anne-Marie (Ireland) and Ingrid (Austria). They met on the trail; Anne-Marie finishes in two weeks at St Jean Pied-de-Port, while Ingrid continues to Compostela. Johan and Mette and I have shared many meals and a few glasses (bottles, perhaps) of vino. He is a ship captain and I have learned much from him. He and his ship are the subject of a documentary (Netflix) called The Last Breath which I’ll watch when back home. Patrice and Mary France (France, on the far right of the photo) live in Paris and have invited me to visit. I fully expect to take them up on this. The photo is in the pilgrim welcome office here (Accuel Pelerins) with the volunteers who are running it. Remy has a rural gite and is one of the people who makes this a true pilgrimage experience. I’ll write a separate story about him. Serge has a gite in Cahors, another person who is focused on helping us be le vrais pelerins. He locks the door shoulders his pack, and walks to Compostela each year on October 15. We learned quickly how much he is respected down the trail. I’ll write more about Serge when I have time. What will I do when there is no walk each morning, no ancient churches to visit, when everyone around me is speaking English instead of French?

From → Writing Fiction

  1. Looking forward to hearing those promised stories!

  2. I have walk twice on the GR65. and both time I could not stay at the gite l’Ancien Carmel. Did you write all your post while walking ? As for me I waited to be home .We walked from Le Puy, leaving on May 16 and we finished our Camino in Roncevaux on June 23. You can see my post on FUNandLIFE.2 ( is the link in case you want to follow me !!!)

    • On weekends the gites are more busy. Carmel was interesting and functional but not charming. Of course we enjoyed the company of many trail friends there. I write my posts on the trail using the WordPress app on my iPhone. It’s quite easy, the problem is having a good internet connection.

      • I decided to post photos on IG suring the trip . It was enough. I only had wifi at the gites. The gite we stayed in Moissac was very good. La coquille is near by the abbaye. Oh and writing on my phone with one finger would take me too much time that I did not have. Pilgrim life is a busy life and disconnecting a bit was good for me. Thanks for your comment Robert. Did you see my question on one of your post ?

  3. Leslie permalink

    What will you do?? I hope you will continue to share,your stories and encounters along your pilgrim path .You have gifts that lift us to places some of us can only share vicariously. Blessings on your way

  4. Sally McEllrath permalink

    I am back one week from my first Camino, The Portuguese Route. My trail partner and I are already discussing our next. In telling my son about the trip, he said he would like to do it on a French route since he speaks the language! I am sending him your blogs for inspiration. Thank you for your posts. I found you while doing research over the last year for my trip and I enjoy your stories and recounts of food.

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