2017 E5 walk, day 58: Neauphle-le-Château to Viroflay
After breakfast and a nice conversation with my hosts, I returned to the town square and got a sandwich and pastries from Boulangerie Gicquel.
The trail looped below Neauphle-le-Château, then climbed up to the Forêt Départementale de Sainte-Apolline, the first of the well-groomed forests I walked this day. The trails were clean, flat, and wide, and often paved. As I walked through, there was some kind of event involving people jogging with their dogs; I saw many dog/person pairs, and several stations with water dishes.
The trail descended into Plaisir, clearly a suburb1, which was very disorienting — it felt very American. The trail passed through a housing development and then climbed back up into another woods, this one the Forêt Domaniale de Bois-d’Arcy. The trail here was quite straight, with long stretches broken up only by occasional slight bends. Towards the end of the wooded stretch, the trail went down a bluff and felt quite rugged and isolated, aside from the nearby rail line with trains rushing by every few minutes.
Next the trail skirted Saint-Cyr-l’École as it threaded a path across several highways that were converging as they left Paris. I stopped for a snack at the Saint-Cyr location of le Pétrin Ribeïrou, a boulangerie chain, and then into the Forêt Domaniale de Versailles.
After passing the third pond, the GR 11 split from the GR 22, which I continued to faithfully follow as it turned north; an hour later, I left the trail and descended from the woods towards my destination.
I stayed at the Versailles location of the Huttopia chain.2 It felt mostly like a glamping site, with plenty of cabins and huts, many trailer and car camping spots, and a handful of spots for walk-up campers like myself. The campground was pretty full with families;3 the spot I was given was incredibly dusty, perhaps the least-pleasant plot of my entire walk. However, I did laundry in the large on-site facilities, and ate a huge cheeseburger in the on-site restaurant, while watching kids run around only half-attended by their parents.