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The GR on the trail...


The other day, while browsing (with my eyes) the Art of Walking (1) , I found Loiseau (that's his real name), the man who invented the GR.

The art of walking. A book by Olivier BLEYS

Architect at the Bank of France and passionate about walking, Jean Loiseau (1896-1982) created, after the First World War, a group of walkers who traveled together the paths of France and Europe. Marked trails already exist. But they are rare. We owe them largely to a certain Claude-François Denecourt, veteran of the Napoleonic army. Returning home to Fontainebleau in 1832, he devoted himself to this extraordinary forest which he explored in all directions, drawing up maps, marking walking routes, referencing picturesque sites, naming remarkable trees and rocks.

It will publish 14 guides covering 150 km of marked trails.

But it was not until the middle of the 20th century that Loiseau came out of his cage (he worked at the Bank of France) that the marking of the Great Routes (GR) for walkers and its famous red and white marks was born. It was during a trip to the United States, while traveling through the Appalachian Park where the paths are marked with colors painted on all kinds of supports, that he came up with the idea of leaving a trace that others could follow. hikers after him. The first section of the GR 3 from Orléans to Beaugency was inaugurated in 1947. Today the GR, renamed “long-distance hiking trails”, number 343 in France .

Finally, I must say that our crush on this house where the Gîtes de la Soulondre are located is also due to the presence of the GR 653 in front of our door. Life as it unfolds makes us more sensitive to the signs it sends us, and I was determined when I left Paris to get back on track.

Since then, many walkers have come knocking on our door, with travel stories to bring back, encounters to share, personal quests to entrust. So I walk in their heads. And when they leave on the GR in the early morning, the red and white mark winks at me.

“Aren't we comfortable here? »

(1) The Art of Walking | Editions Albin Michel © 2022

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