The Via Francigena in France is considered a "great excursion" route within the Council of Europe Cultural Routes Programme. Since 2016, the municipality of Ornans (Burgundy-Franche-Comté) has been committed to increasing services along the way to facilitate pilgrims and hikers who follow the Via Francigena.
On Wednesday 14th November, in the Sala Venier at the d'Ornans Tourist Information Office, a meeting was held to raise the awareness of the Via Francigena on a local and regional level, in collaboration with the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF). Martine Gautheron, EAVF vice-president, animated this meeting on the Francigena, open to local administrators, pilgrims and associations, hoteliers and hospital workers.
Gautheron presented current and future activities: "The starting point, from August 2016, was the signing of the agreement between the municipality of Champlitte and the EAVF with the aim of developing and promoting the route in France. The renewal of the agreement is also foreseen, which involves the association "Champlitte Patrimoine et Via Francigena" for the creation of a part-time job aimed at supporting projects".
Gautheron presented the objectives to be achieved in France in the next two years: to increase the notoriety of the route among local communities and inhabitants; to improve the reception system and harmonize signage; to develop a hospitality network for pilgrims and walkers; to prepare signposting for cyclists; to increase the involvement of municipalities in the Franciscan cultural project.
In 2019, the increase of visibility along the journey is also planned, such as the Canterbury-GS Bernard Pass, the information and tourist panels, or ground panels - near historical centres - of Francigena arrows. Lastly, EAVF President, Massimo Tedeschi, underlined the importance of meeting and involving the local communities and the associations of volunteers for the development of the European Francigena. The meeting of Ornans took place with this in mind.