Walking to Rome along the GR145
There’s a sort of gentleness and balance to this walk: you can do it for a long time and cover a great distance without ever feeling tired. After a certain time, putting one foot in front of the other becomes a sort of mantra, a bodily ‘Om’ bringing your awareness back to the present moment and reconnecting you with your five senses.
The Via Francigena came into being in 990, when Archbishop Sigeric of Canterbury set out on a pilgrimage to the holy city to receive the pallium from the hands of Pope Jean XV. ‘All roads lead to Rome’ proclaimed monk Alain de Lille in he 12th century, stressing the number of possible routes.
Today we’re folllowing the main one, the GR145 – specifically the section between Saint-Quentin and Laon, which runs parallel to the A26 motorway towards Reims. This is a two-day walk starting off in front of the Basilica of Saint-Quentin and following in the footsteps of those bound for Rome in days gone by.
Just past the Gothic Hôtel de Ville, you’ll join the banks of a canal that runs parallel to the Seine for almost 10km. It’s an easy, relaxed walk along a calm stretch of water – one that will warm up your muscles for the rest of the journey. And one that will start to loosen your spirit too, with a simple soundtrack of leaves fluttering in the breeze over the water.
Meditation is a way of rediscovering an original way of feeling that we’ve lost touch with through our mental routines – one in which everything is seen in a new light and appears full of possibility to us. In other words: walking makes us optimistic!