21 July: Serrères-en-Chautagne to Chanaz

Distance: 10.5 km

Weather: Partly cloudy, humid, afternoon high 85, with afternoon thunderstorms warnings

Route: Serrières-en-Chautagne has a public WC and a public camping ground with swimming lake and beach, just as the route exits town. For 45 minutes this variant works its way through county-owned tree farms, then rejoins the main route at the bank of the Rhone. This is very pretty, green, level walking with occasional views to the ridge across the river.

At the junction I meet another pilgrim, a German-speaking Swiss man who began in Konstanz and is headed to Santiago, all in three months. At the speed he is going, I think he is quite likely to make his schedule. The route follows the shady riverbank for awhile, making a sharp left at a transmission tower to join a paved bicycle route for an hour. At the Pont de la Loi railway bridge, the bicycle route turns east towards Vions (approx 1 km, with lodging and an actual train station). But our route continues ahead along a shade-free levy for an interminable half hour before arriving at Chanaz.

Chanaz is a very pretty (and somewhat touristy) village, with picturesque cafes overlooking the canal. The Tourism office has a stamp and a toilet with water, and a shady bench immediately outside.

My plan had been to continue onward another 5 km to the gite at Montagnin, but when I called for a reservation, they were full. (I suspect the group of Girl Guides leaving the Tourism office as I arrived might have had something to do with that.) At any rate, with thunderstorm warnings posted for this afternoon, there are worse places to spend a quiet summer afternoon than a garden in France, especially one with a shady reading chair.

Dinner was at a small bistro near the water. Mid-aperitif, the promised thunderstorms arrived, and we adjourned to more sheltered tables under the awning, quite secure behind the weather-drapes. A tasty plate of grilled brochette, ratatouille, and salad. As I was leaving, a young man asked about my Kindle. So I chatted quite awhile with Simon; he loves rock and roll, and had traveled in the States. He insisted on buying me a drink, a local digestif- which turned out to be Chartreuse Vert served in a frozen snifter. Well, one must wait out the thunderstorm somehow, eh?

Lodging: Gite et chambre d’hote El Camino, 89 montée du Fort, 73310 Chanaz


3 responses to “21 July: Serrères-en-Chautagne to Chanaz

  1. What’s a variant?

    • A variation to the main route; connects to the main route at both beginning and end. Sometimes added to reach a town with services. Others – as yesterday – offer a dry route when the river is high. Or – as tomorrow – offer a low elevation route when the mountain is snowy. Can be as short as 3 km or – as in the case further west of Figeac for the Cele Valley variant, nearly a week.

  2. Once more, your good common sense rules and you end up in a safe and comfortable place to wait out the thunder & lightning.

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