Day 14 – a night in the Abbey in Wisques

A pleasant enough day, walking 19Km through fields of flax and corn to Wisques. We are staying in the Abbey but have temporarily moved to the local hotel to watch the French Open final. The hotel is rather nice but has things which are of little interest to the pilgrim such as a well stocked bar.

In the Abbey the lack of a bar or TV is more than compensated by the frequent religious services and daunting religious paraphernalia in all the rooms. The Abbey in Wisques is actually two Abbeys: Abbaye St Paul is male and Abbaye Notre Dame is female. They offer accommodation to pilgrims but it is strictly men only in St Paul and women only in Notre Dame. As we are a mixed group, we are being accommodated in a house in the grounds of Notre Dame. There are no pilgrims here today, however the occasional pilgrim does pass through.

From the outside our house is very pretty. Inside it’s very basic. Paul and I have a room downstairs. Claude and Marie have another room. There are a few more people upstairs along with the shower/toilet. It’s going to be interesting in the night.

There is a real problem in the French countryside. The villages are depopulated, the shops and bars have closed and there is a general feeling of decay. The pilgrim must plan the next night’s accommodation to ensure dinner and breakfast and try to make arrangements for lunch. Take Wisques, for example. On Sunday the store is closed. The hotel restaurant closes after lunch. There is no takeaway delivery service. We ate dinner in the Abbey but it was an extreme disappointment and we are hungry. Watercress soup which was more water than cress, served with half a slice of sliced bread. Next was a small pizza divided into 7 slithers. It wasn’t even nice. Then a tub of sugary yoghurt. We will stock up with cereal bars etc at the first opportunity.

Talking about food, we stopped in the woods for our picnic lunch. Among the trees and birdsong we could hear a crow. The crow is a popular dish in France and Claude told us in his heavy French accent how to cook it. You put the crow in a large pot with lots of water and bring to the boil. Add a rock. When the rock is tender, the crow is ready to eat.

Fields of flax

An abandoned trailer in the woods

9 comments on “Day 14 – a night in the Abbey in Wisques

  1. Huguette

    Hi Tim your photographies are nice but Mandy is right with cats it’s better.
    I hope the weather is better in North than in Normandy. Here the rains and storms are very strong.

    • Thanks Huguette we have good walking weather here. Dry and cool. I hope your storms stay away.

  2. No pain, no gain, no Boursin.

  3. Hi Tim. Today I acquired some empathy blisters. It’s the only thing I can think possible, as I wore the same shoes on Friday and my feet were fine. So, you’re welcome. 🙂 Hope yours are doing better with the help of your resident nurse.

    • Very kind and I feel my feet improving. Carry on drawing the blister energy please. I just want my feet back. We have quite some walking to do.

  4. Margot Knight

    Hi Tim, we had the same problem regarding food and supplies between Geneva and Le Puy. It’s less frequented and the villages are dead. Villages with closed bars and boulangeries everywhere. We had to stock up on dried fruit etc and hit the occasional épicerie knowing it may be the last for 50 ks. We ate meals in our prebooked accoms at night. I noticed the decline in facilities last year too. It’s a real shame. There’s opportunities for a mobile food caravan or two to set up over summer.

  5. Roger Clarkson

    Thought you’d like to know it’s French week at Lidl (I don’t think they sell crow 🙂 )

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