British Pilgrims entering the Cathedral at Chartres

Material Aspects

  Material Aspects
Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris - Notre-Dame Cathedral, Chartres : The pilgrims walk the full distance between the two cathedrals, approximately 70 miles, in three days.  This involves considerable effort, long hours of walking, early mornings;  very good physical fitness is therefore an advantage!
  Getting to France and Back
The British pilgrimage for 2017 begins with Holy Mass in the Crypt Chapel of Westminster Cathedral at 7:00 am on Friday, 2 June 2017.  Accommodation on the Friday night is in a hotel just outside Paris, not far from Charles de Gaule Airport (Hotel Ibis Aulnay Sous Bois, Route nationale 370 Carrefour de l'europe - 93600 - AULNAY SOUS BOIS - Tel : (+33)1/48791910).  Pilgrims will be paired up in twin rooms unless they pay a single supplement.  The pilgrims stay in Chartres on the Monday evening (L'Hotel, 28 rue du grand Faubourg, 28 000 Chartres - Tel:  +33/2 37 18 52 77) and the evening meal (also at the hotel) is included in the pilgrimage cost.  On Tuesday, there is Mass in the Crypt of Chartres Cathedral before a coach takes us back to Calais where we board the Eurotunnel train to England.
   Food during the pilgrimage
Notre-Dame de Chrétienté supplies water at each halt throughout the walk and at the evening campsite.  At the campsite, hot soup and bread is available in the evenings and a simple breakfast (coffee, hot chocolate and bread and jam) is available in the mornings.  Pilgrims should, however, bring with them their own food, enough for three cold picnic lunches and to supplement the evening soup and morning breakfast.  This should be organised in England as there are very limited opportunities to buy anything during the pilgrimage (There are, however, a few hyper markets near our hotel).   Dinner on the Friday evening is not organised, though most pilgrims end up at one or other of the three restaurants which are very close to the hotel and meals en-route to/from the pilgrimage are not included.  Dinner on Monday is included as is breakfast on Saturday and Tuesday mornings.
Assistance during the walk
First Aid is provided by the hospitallers of the Order of Malta, who are available at every stop. More serious treatments are provided by the voluntary medical team of Notre Dame de Chrétienté.
At each halt, shuttle buses provide transport for pilgrims who can no longer walk or, in case of emergency, can take them to hospital.
  Les Pieds (Feet!)
During the pilgrimage it is important to look after one's feet.  Along with the usual precautions of wearing good walking boots (well worn-in) and wool or cotton socks (not synthetic), experienced walkers have found that the application of "Elastoplaste", a very sticky medical tape available in French chemists, to the sole and heel of the foot results in no blisters!  It costs about £6 for a box, but is well worth the investment.  A foot/hand cream is also recommended.  If you have trouble, do not hesitate to use the services of the Order of Malta which are always available en-route and at the campsites, though they now only treat genuine injuries -- blisters, unless infected, are your own responsibility. 

   Pilgrim's equipment
Clothing for walking, particularly boots or good walking shoes (synthetic fibre socks are not advised). Here is the list of essentials :
a small backpack to carry throughout, containing :
·     Food: lunch for the day and energy-giving snacks (dried fruit, salty nuts, etc.)
·     Waterproof raingear (heavy rain possible!)
·     pullover
·     water bottle (water supplied) and knife/fork/spoon
·     hat, to protect against the sun
·     Pilgrim’s Booklet (supplied, containing all the Mass texts, hymns, and other prayers)
·     Small plastic bag/cover for Pilgrim’s Booklet
·     plasters and general simple medication (for blisters, headaches, dehydration etc.)
·     rosary
a larger bag, which will be taken in the special pilgrimage lorries and which is retrieved each evening, containing :
·     food reserves (for remaining meals)
·     cup for tea/coffee/soup (contents supplied, bring tea bags if tea required)
·     torch
·     warm jumper/garment (cold early mornings)
·     change of clothing (a pullover, shirts, trousers, pants, vests, socks)
·     light shoes for the evening (good boots recommended for the walk)
·     toiletries and toilet paper (not essential)
·     night-clothes
·     warm sleeping bag
·     personal tent (if you have one) or Groundsheet and mat (for collective tents)

(It is essential that all items are wrapped securely in plastic bags to keep them dry)
   Luggage transportation
Pilgrims may leave their heavy luggage with the special pilgrimage lorries’ teams as soon as they arrive at Notre-Dame in Paris on the Saturday morning. There will be a lorry marked  "ETRANGERS' for the use of the British Chapters.  The luggage will be transported by these special lorries to the evening campsite where they can be retrieved under a large sign marked "ETRANGERS".  Pilgrims should not forget to label their bags with their names and contact details and to attach a BLACK ribbon to them to identify them as « ETRANGERS ».
   Evening bivouacs
Notre-Dame de Chrétienté supplies a campsite equipped with wash-basins (cold running water only), toilets, electricity supply, and some collective tents (we try to reserve spaces for the British Pilgrims, so it is important that the British organisers are aware that you require tent space). The tents are single sex and pilgrims are kindly asked to respect this.

On arrival at the campsite, pilgrims retrieve their large bags, and make their way to the “ETRANGER” area where the collective tents (marked with the Union Flag) will be waiting and where there is space to set up their personal tents. 

On Monday morning, our English coach will come to the campsite to pick up our luggage, so do not put your luggage on the Pilgrimage lorries -- unless you are not returning with us to London, of course.  On Monday evening, our luggage will be brought to our hotel.   If you are not returning on the coach to London/staying in our hotel in Chartres, then your luggage will be deposited "near" the railway station in Chartres (providing that you put it on the Pilgrimage lorries in the morning!)    

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