Our 2018 walk required 31 days of walking, and covered almost 700 km (not counting the distances that we walked in the evenings, looking for dinner).
Our aim in this walk was to follow the Allier, a grand but little-known French river, from Langeac, west of Le Puy, to its confluence with the Loire. This took in the lower three-quarters of its total distance.
It turned out to be a difficult river to follow, because the accommodation was often too far apart for walkers, at least for walkers of our sort, and there was a dearth of villages along the way for refreshments.
In consequence we made a lot of wide deviations, but always returned to the river after a few days.
When the Allier was swallowed up by the Loire near Nevers, we began the second phase of our walk, a reverse pilgrimage on the Way of Vézelay. When we walked this pilgrimage in 2010, we did not start from Vézelay, so it was a new path for us.
The last little section was along the Canal of Burgundy, which we had walked in stages on two earlier trips.
It only took a couple of days’ walking to finish the whole thing, and then one extra day to double back to Auxerre, by which time we were ready to go home.
For the statistically-inclined, there is a spreadsheet that gives details of this walk.
We no longer use commercial maps, preferring to make our own. Our homemade maps of this year’s walk have much more detail than the Google Map below, and are taken from the French survey map, and can be seen here. The making of these maps is described here. For general information about Maps and Guides, see the page in our Beginner’s Guide.
The diary has been broken up in to the following sections:
To see icons for each night’s accommodation on this map, press the full screen symbol at the top right and then tick the accommodation icon box at the top left.
Zoom in on a particular icon to see its precise location. These accommodation icons are also shown on all section maps.
You can also see this map using Google Earth and take a virtual flight along our route.