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Firstly an unfortunate experience with an Accueil jacquaire in Saint-Sauveur-en-Rue, and then a report from my wonderful time spent at La Riboule in Les Setoux.
“Accueil jacquaire” is the French equivalent of “Donativo”. This basically means a room offered for the night and without a fixed price; the pilgrim being the one to decide how much he or she will pay for the night’s stay. I haven’t had much success with this system of housing so far. In Les Abrets I tried this system for the first time, with the very helpful woman at the Tourist Information office making the telephone calls on my behalf, but nobody was answering. Yesterday evening I decided to try again for a night’s stay for a donation and looking through my guide I saw that in Saint-Sauveur-en-Rue there was an Accueil jacquaire option and as the light of day was fading and as the rain was beginning to gather momentum, I found the apartment building – there was a welcoming and familiar Camino scallop shell sign on the post box – and then the front door belonging to Monsieur Alain Barbault. I rang the buzzer, formed my winning smile and felt a sigh of relief as footsteps neared from the other side. What followed was a brief and direct lesson in Accueil jacquaire etiquette. Had I telephoned ahead? Regrettably, no. Monsieur Alain Barbault let me know that it simply wasn’t possible without first telephoning. I thanked him in Spanish – in the guide it lists Spanish as the additional language which he can communicate to pilgrims in – and I left the building to continue on the path and look for a place to sleep for the night. Whether it was right or wrong, my frustration led me on the way out through the main entrance door to ensure that Monsieur Alain Barbault would need to spend some time printing out another scallop shell sign as a welcome for pilgrims on his post box.
The message to this story is to always telephone ahead and perhaps not to rely too heavily on the concept of Accueil jacquaire; at least not in Les Abrets and Saint-Sauveur-en-Rue.
Before my evening’s events I visited a boulangerie in Bourg-Argental and invested just over 1 Euro in a generous slice of Pate Croute:
From Bourg-Argental the walk continues upwards and the next town of any significance is Saint-Sauveur-en-Rue, about 11km away:
The walk was mostly paved and my boots were thankful because of it:
After my Accueil jacquaire experience that evening I saw ahead on the path what appeared (and was) the last house before the climb up to the 1,200 metre peak, and I knocked on the house door to see if I could sleep somewhere on the property. Nobody answered so I settled down outside under a slither of roofing cover and had a sleep not entirely deep, neither warm or dry:
This morning I had to walk the 400 metres upwards without breakfast and without my electronic cigarette charged. As you climb the cold sets in quickly, as does the vegetation differ quite dramatically. Coming over the peak you catch a view of the path ahead:
Les Setoux is the first little settlement you come to on the other side of the peak and its here where I secured my first coffee of the day; powering up my electronics in the process, checking the @ and stuffing high-fat produce into my stomach. I was “saved” by this place in the village:
La Riboule is the cafe/restaurant and it is very pilgrim-friendly. It is cold outside and I am feeling very settled here with its friendly owners and warm interior:
The next place on the map is Montfaucon, which is about a 17km walk in the cold/rain. I fear that leaving La Riboule might prove more difficult than I would wish for. It’s 11:30am and they begin serving lunch from 12pm. I should really get going…
I decided to stay for the Menu du jour.
It feels damn cold and wet outside:
The 13 Euro set meal was very good:
The very friendly family-run La Riboule owners:
It is just past 1pm and I plan on moving on by 1:30pm, towards the town of Montfaucon.