Walking in the footsteps of the Templars…
Do you fancy a walk in the Orient Forest Natural Park? I tested the walk on the theme of the Templars for you, inaugurated on 24 July last year by Aube en Champagne and created in association with the ONF based on texts and research by Valérie Alanièce and François Gilet.
A passionate and exciting couple
I was surprised by my “guides’” openness and kindness: Valérie Alanièce and François Gilet who shared the walk and their passion with me. One of them a former journalist with Est-éclair, and the other a radiographer. It was the acquisition of a house, a former Templar commandery, in the 1990s that sparked their curiosity and their research concerning their illustrious predecessors. They now share the access to Templar remains in the temple forest, following their discoveries.
Access to a forest estate: clean, clear, airy
I was surprised to be driving on a tarmac road in Temple forest, then to find several small car parks, a picnic area and very well maintained paths.
Templars in Champagne?
Two explanatory panels create the atmosphere for us… or rather, plunge us into history. That of the Templars, and their presence in Champagne.
It was Hugues de Payns, originally from the village with the same name, to the north of Troyes, who, in 1120, founded a militia to protect pilgrims on the roads.
It was in 1129, at the Council of Troyes, that the order’s rules were drafted and adopted in the presence of the knight and Bernard of Clairvaux.
The largest forest purchased by the Templars in the West
In 1225 the Templars bought 1200 hectares in the Temple forest. A vast estate to resupply the crusaders.
How do you find your way around?
Signs are in the form of hands showing the direction and giving information at the bottom, on the right of each sign.
I think how children would love to search for the 11 other panels scattered along the route and who would be surprised, like me, to find beautiful colours and illustrations in the undergrowth as well.
I set out in the Templars’ footsteps
I play explorer to unearth the location of the Commandery, built there by the Templars in about 1270. Of Loge-Bazin, for such is its name, unfortunately no ruins exist. However, I can imagine where the estate was thanks to the ditches, dikes and pools that surrounded it and the information panels. I appreciated the diversity of the route: tarred road, stone path, undergrowth. You come and go, retrace your steps, cross the path. Only a single straight line at the end of the circuit to be retraced to return to the nearest car park.
Can be explored at any time of the year!
Easy route -13 French/English explanatory colour panels on the history of the Templars. Duration: 1h15 Distance in kms: 5
Starting point for the walk: Domaine forestier des templiers – Route forestiére du temple.
On the D79 between Géraudot and Vendeuvre sur Barse, Route forestière du temple is opposite the road going towards the goat enclosure (loge aux chévres).
Continue for 2 km on Route forestiére du temple until you reach the starting point for the walk.
Accessible on foot or by mountain bike.
Please note, during the hunting season, the path is closed on Tuesdays.
Consult the guide: hunters and walkers in Aube.
Guided tour possible, contactValérie Alanièce or François Gilet on: 03.25.40.68.45.
View the route on: www.aube-champagne.com