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supersub

Walking the (entire?) Western Front

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supersub

Excellent... thanks, Joe. I'll look forward to hearing how you get on.

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supersub

In response to a request... Here is a full list of the places where we stayed. Many are probably slightly off the route that might be expected – that’s the problem with being on foot and having to find a bed we could walk to every night. But to anyone touring in a car, probably any of these could be useful.

We mostly used Booking.com as we were booking a lot of places and the app helped us to keep track, but if we were staying in only one or two places, we would book direct (cut out the middle man, and sometimes get cheaper prices). Some came from chambres d'hotes websites. 

One, in Blamont, we booked via email and it was nearly a disaster: the owner claimed he hadn't received my confirmation. Luckily, he still had one room left!

 

Diksmuide:

Hotel Bloom - on the Grote Markt. Nice little hotel in a great position (we were the only guests on a Monday, when the restaurant was closed, but there are restaurants on the square).

 

Poelkapelle:

T’Oud Gemeentehuis – we loved this conversion of the old town hall. Run by a young couple, who cook well and keep a great beer list.

 

Ieper:

Temps de Pose – superb apartment owned by photographers who have a studio next door. Highly recommended. Great for self-catering.

 

Mesen:

Le Cloitre St Joseph - superb rooms in converted convent, with a peaceful garden/cloister at the back. Run by a lovely couple. Worth booking dinner in advance as Mesen has few eating options.

 

Armentieres:

Hotel Joly - traditional French town hotel in central position. We had the huge Napoleon suite. Could soon be less traditional as the owner has retired and handed over to the younger generation of the family.

 

Richebourg:

La Fattoria – great self-catering apartments around a courtyard. Nicely fitted out, though no shop or restaurants within walking distance. Very helpful owners.

 

Bethune:

Le Vieux Beffroi – right on the main square. Decent, clean hotel, with a restaurant that is open on Sunday night.

 

Lens:

Hotel Particulier – townhouse hotel run by enthusiastic English-speaking couple. We expected a kitchen, but it turned out that only some of the rooms have one.

 

Arras:

PlacesAppart – modern studio in an old house between the two main squares. Lovely place, lovely owners (who bring a breakfast basket in the morning).

 

Auchonvillers:

Avril Williams’ Ocean Villas – probably don’t need to describe this place, but for those who haven’t been, Avril and her home are a one-off. Not the most modern or up to date (though she is redeveloping her rooms), but loads of character. English home cooking and good company. Sadly, her cellar (which we visited in the early 90s) is currently closed to visitors, but don’t miss the excavated trench in the back garden and her extraordinary museum.

 

Albert:

Studio Albert – let’s just say this was pretty basic, but it’s well located and we were able to provide our own meal from local shops.

 

Peronne:

Som-home – what a contrast from the previous night. Friendly welcome, superbly converted old building, beautiful apartment overlooking the square. We loved it.

 

Mesnil-St-Nicaise:

L’hostellerie du chateau – fantastic 19th century family home. Huge and beautifully fitted bedroom and bathroom. We ate dinner and breakfast with the owners in the family dining room.

 

Noyon:

Hotel le Cedre - right in the centre. Comfortable rooms, decent breakfast.

 

Coucy-le-Chateau:

Sur la Courtine – B&B over a shop selling local produce, where we were served breakfast. We arrived drenched and freezing, so were grateful for a very warm welcome (hot drinks, drying racks). The Logis de France hotel across the square has a traditional dining room.

 

Laon:

Hotel de la Banniere – old coaching inn, with quirky rooms. Predates WW1 by a long way but shelled in WW2. Excellent restaurant.

 

Chamouille:

Hotel du Golf de l’Ailette – a different class of hotel. This is a golfing resort beside the lake (and behind German lines at the Chemin des Dames, for which it is very convenient). Big rooms, balconies with a view, excellent restaurant.

 

Pontavert:

Relais de Fleurette – recent conversion of an old house and outbuildings. Nice place, with good food.

 

Reims:

Residhome – aparthotel in centre. Comfortable, convenient and well-located.

 

Courmelois:

Chambre Joy Lapie – a farm B&B run by Joy, who was wonderfully welcoming. We cooked dinner in the kitchen.

 

Bussy-le-Chateau:

Aux Portes des Tumuli – another great farm B&B, with a very welcome honesty bar and a superb five-course dinner cooked for us by the owner.

 

Sainte-Menehoulde:

Le Cheval Rouge – old inn, though we were in the modern extension over the road. Very comfortable. Excellent restaurant.

 

 

Varennes-en-Argonne:

Le Grand Monarque – old hotel being renovated by an enthusiastic young couple, who served a very good dinner.

 

Marre:

Le Village Gaulois – eccentric establishment which reminded us of The Hobbit. Good room, dinner and breakfast, though.

 

Verdun:

Les Jardins du Mess – Verdun was one place where we thought accommodation would be plentiful. We were wrong. This was the only hotel available, and it cost WAY more than anywhere else we stayed. It’s a modern conversion of the old officers’ mess, and it’s smart and comfortable, though overpriced.

 

Saint-Maurice-sous-les-Cotes:

Hotel des Cotes de Meuse – traditional and unmodernised village hotel, but fine. Still has a restaurant.

 

Heurdicourt-sous-les-Cotes:

Hotel du Lac de la Madine – on the face of it, similar to last night’s, but what a difference: it has invested in its restaurant and is clearly a major dining destination. Recommended for the food alone, though the rooms are also good.

 

Pont a Mousson:

Hotel du Relais de Poste – very basic place over a bar. We were tempted not to stay but stuck it out. Cheap! We would recommend the very popular (even on a Monday night) Pierre Bonaventure restaurant for dinner.

 

 

Alaincourt-la-Cote:

Le Manoir – B&B in a wing of the old presbytery. The room was a surprise – a huge and modern conversion of the whole upstairs floor. Welcoming hosts. Serves meals only at weekends, so we brought a picnic dinner. Good breakfast.

 

Chateau Salins:

Domaine de Lardoisiere – extraordinary B&B in a huge modern house lavishly built and furnished like a chateau. Very good dinner, eaten with other guests around a large table.

 

Tarquimpol:

Chateau d’Alteville – a REAL chateau, and beautiful. Friendly aristocratic owner who joined all the guests for aperitifs in the grand salon, then ate with us all. Classy and historic place, highly recommended.

 

Blamont:

La Houblonniere – three rooms in the courtyard of a big old house. Comfortable and central.

 

 

Pierre Percee:

Chambres d’Hotes des 2 Lacs – lovely house, lovely hostess. Great position in the village. House once hid two British airmen during WW2.

 

Saint-Die-des-Vosges:

Ibis – modern chain hotel on the riverfront.

 

Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines:

Hotel Wistub – Germanic old inn. Restaurant serves hearty traditional local dishes.

 

Freland:

Le Nid de Kaloui – big room upstairs in home of helpful young couple. If you are walking, don’t make the mistake we did: the house is not in the village – it is up a mountain!

 

Munster:

Grand Hotel – traditional large hotel, but we were in a studio apartment in the grounds, which was great as we could cook for ourselves.

 

Guebwiller:

Inter-Hotel Colmar Sud de l’Ange – very good hotel in town centre. Excellent and very popular restaurant.

 

Cernay:

Theiere & Couverts – superb modern conversion above a restaurant and tearoom (closed in the evening). We loved it.

 

Carspach:

Auberge Sundgovienne – classy hotel outside the town. Lovely room with balcony, and very good fine-dining restaurant.

 

Mooslargue:

Residence le Royal – an odd but modern establishment, which was very quiet but which we assume gets busier in the summer months with golfers visiting the nearby course. Good size self-catering apartments, but bring your own food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clarkie

We are thinking of cycling the entire Way.  Does anyone know if the path is suitable for cycling?

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healdav
On 16/08/2018 at 10:56, supersub said:

I

 

Saint-Die-des-Vosges:

Ibis – modern chain hotel on the riverfront.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be careful if you are here on a Sunday. Everything is open for lunch, but everything is closed in the evening except for one restaurant (forget the name) on the main road that leads up to the station. It's pretty good, with typical Alsace food, but definitely not in the Michelin!

Jardin de la Messe in Verdun is fine, but there are also L'Orchidée which is on the side of Verdun earest to the battlefields. A bit funny to get to even though you can see it from the main road. The restaurant there is acceptable, but definitely not high class. It's intended for truckers.

On the other side of Verdun is the Prunelia, which is a bit more upmarket than the Orchidée and very popular with people visiting the battlefields.

Also, I see that there is a Hotel B&B not far from the town. These are a chain and exactly what the name says. I haven't stopped in the one at Verdun, but I have elsewhere. You get a decent room, and a good breakfast. Everything else you have to go out for.

There are several reasonable restaurants on the waterfront opposite the Jardins de la Messe. I said reasonable. Gastronomy they are not.

And if you want to eat at the Jardins you must book a table fairly early. It is small and the last time I was there they refused the group (8 of us) I was with.

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Dragon
On ‎07‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 04:05, Clarkie said:

We are thinking of cycling the entire Way.  Does anyone know if the path is suitable for cycling?

 

I don't know where precisely the route in the Vosges goes, and the map on the website isn't clear or detailed, but in your planning, consider that this is a mountainous area and you may need to compromise. It's possible that what is a challenging walk isn't bike-friendly. There are plenty of cycle maps online and possibly Club Vosgien has advice on paths which are suitable for bikes. If you do find a detailed map of this part of the walk, I can help you further.

 

Be aware that in some areas, people have become so sick of cyclists using paths meant for walkers that they are putting down nails and boards with spikes to deter them. Parts of the Vosges are a fragile eco-system which is at risk from any but the most gentle forms of tourism.

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Clarkie

Thanks for the info.  Nails and spikes sound nasty and not at all in the spirit of what the organisers no doubt had in mind.

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Dragon

I don't know whether the Western Front Way is affected. I'm just warning that in some areas of the Vosges, cyclists misusing walking paths have annoyed people.

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