Day 6 – Wisques to Auchy-au-Bois – 28.46kms


The Monet like early morning outlook from inside our very large, comfortable and warm room at the Benedictine Abbaye Notre-Dame at Wisques.

Today will be an even bigger day. There is the short route which found and then the longer route listed in Alison Raju’s guide. Unfortunately we have to take Alison’s route to go past an ATM – we are now away from credit card accepting  accommodation so cash is again King. There will be very few places to buy food or drinks now on the route to Arras, it’s a very depopulated part of northern France. Arras is about 64kms away so we must stock up with food and trust where we stay each evening will do dinner and breakfast for us.!!


Sister Lucy was the perfect host.  That great sense of humour we read about in the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome accommodation list shows in her face. What a great asset she is to the Abbaye and a help to Pilgrims.

All the nuns living here are quite elderly – and so are a few of the visiting Pilgrims! With recruitment low we’re wondering what will happen to this spectacular building and the weccoming hospitality when they’re no longer up to running the monastery.

The Abbey was occupied by the Germans during the war and fortunately not destroyed. It’s centuries old beautiful buildings remain a peaceful haven of retreat free from the rigours and woes of the outside world.


A very modern wooden crucifix in the kitchen of the Pilgrims retreat house.

In keeping with the genteel nuns a guided donation is asked for. Not sure what happens if you haven’t got the ‘donation’ to give.


Springtime is well and truly here – if not with warmer weather then certainly with  colourful tulips and daffodils – even growing wild in the fields.


Day 6 was a gorgeously sunny day with few menacing clouds to be fearful of. These two magnolia trees outlined against the blue sky and the smart modern French home personify springtime here. Wherever we walk we see people rotary hoeing up their vast rear yards ready to soon sow their kitchen crops. We presume much produce is preserved, either bottled, made into conserves or frozen for use in wintertime.


After a very long day walking and getting lost we staggered into our chamber d’Hote at Auchy-au-Bois run by Brigitte who kindly offered us a welcoming biere – all done with no English!!

After that we discovered there was no meal for us here – what a disaster!!!! Madamme however kindly drove us to the local Fritterie where we got this enormous pile of chips and some deep fried kabobs – eaten with gusto but not at all in the superb French style of food presentation or taste. But it was filling and after an 8 hour walk we didn’t really care as long as it replenished our energy levels. And a few beers helped to wash it all down too.

Fingers crossed tomorrow’s walk will be shorter and allow us some time to smell the roses – not just walk all day long!!!!

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