Day 10, 10:47 – Maubeuge

maubeugeMay 10: Vieux Reng – Maubeuge

I was pretty tired from the night walk the day before, so I was happy to have reached Maubeuge, checked into the Ibis Budget hotel and decided to try to get some rest and to cut my hair in the afternoon.

Day 11, 16:03 – Leval

sambreMay 11: Maubeuge – Maroilles

This was one of my best days since I left Aachen. I felt good, it had more or less stopped raining, temperatures were pleasant, the light and colours were gorgous and the whole afternoon I walked on a grass trail along the river Sambre.

I stayed at night in Maroilles, my first  oppurtunity to test the bivouac. The owner, an old man didn´t charge anything from me, he said I could stay as long as I wish.

Day 13, 15:39 – Saint Quentin

saint-quentinMay 13: Bohain en Vermandois – Saint Quentin

There is not so much to see in Saint Quentin but I liked this monument at the city entrance roundabout. Maybe an indication that the people living there have a sense of humor.

Bohain – Saint Quentin was in principle not so distant but as I pushed the day before pretty hard to come as close as possible to St. Quentin, I probably was a little below the appropriate temperature and as the night was fucking cold with a pretty bad sleep it cost me more than expected to reach this important stage target on my way to Paris.

Day 14, 21:43 – Berlancourt

berlancourtMay 14: Saint Quentin – Berlancourt

Lovely! I saw the moon a little late because I was looking to the other side. What was particular was that it rose from the horizon. A friend of mine posted: “I can hear the wolves howling in the background” and I answered him “Yes, me too!”

Day 16, 09:57 – Godot Forest

godotMay 16: Compiègne – Raray

South of Compiègne, GR 655 passes through an extensive forest, called Godot. It only opens up about 10 km before Senlis. In tiny Raray which basically is an exclusive golf club with an expensive hotel, I put up my bivouac. There was some curious deer passing me at night.

Day 17, 12:11 – Senlis

senlisMay 17: Raray – Boqueval

Even if it represented only a fifth of the total trajectory, reaching Paris was a major milestone for me. I had walked for hours through the Senlis forest until at about 19:00 the green suddenly opened and I could see Paris in the distance and the airplanes coming in to Charles de Gaule. It was a breathetaking moment for me. I wanted to come as close as possible to the capital, so I still pushed it until small Boqueval, where at about 21:00 I found a place to mount my bivouac.

When I left the Senlis forest, I came into a small village and wanted to buy some water but couldn´t find a store. A young man explained me that there is no one close and when he saw my despair he gave me his small bottle of water he had in his hands.

Day 18, 15:14 – Paris

paris2May 18: Bouqueval – Paris

I reached the Seine relatively early but than it was still a long walk to Saint James Tower / Notre Dame where I stayed for 2 nights in the Mont Blanc hotel (where else?). The price for the hotel was ok, much cheaper than Brussels, the surrounding was charming but the 9 Euro beer in a relatively simple bar was like a bad joke to me.