The Chemin de la Liberté (path to freedom): both guide and history book

Cet article est également disponible en: French

The Chemin de la Liberté, Ariège

The Chemin de la Liberté, Ariège

For me, for many walkers, the Pyrenees mean freedom: wandering anywhere without worrying about bumping into a hostile landowner. But during the Second World War for many people in occupied France, freedom began at the frontier.

There were many paths to freedom, just as there are many versions of the Saint James’ Way. But unlike the pilgrim trails, the paths to freedom didn’t use the low passes, and the itinerary changed constantly.

Nevertheless, one version was reopened and signposted in 1994: the route from Saint-Girons in the Ariège to Esterri d’Aneu in Catalonia.

In his book “Le chemin de la Liberté” Scott Goodall follows the path taken by British airmen, Jews and young French men fleeing forced labour in Germany. It is a guide to a strenuous five-day walk in the Couserans and the Valier massif interspersed with contemporary accounts from those who followed it during the war.

Reading it made me want to follow in their tracks. As the author says “Walking the Chemin de la Liberté from end to end is a way of bringing this page of history back to life.”

The book is available in both English and French.

More information on http://www.chemindelaliberte.com/

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