2017 E5 walk, day 58: Neauphle-le-Château to Viroflay

Section 13, Day 58
low 43 °F
high 68 °F
46,169 steps
17.5 miles

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.

A packed dirt trail heads east through an open forest.  The near length of the trail is edged with grass and weeds; some trees are dark and shaded, while others are brightly lit.
A typical forest trail for this day.

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.

A large pond is to the northwest, ringed by dense trees right down to the waterline.  The sky is a high overcast, with a distinct handful of lower clouds.
Étang du Moulin au Renard (“Fox Mill Pond”, roughly), one of three ponds the trail skirted in this forest.

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.

Map of the day’s route.

  1. Among other things, I passed a Buffalo Grill restaurant. ↩︎

  2. If you find yourself staying at a Huttopia and need to provide an email address, give them a burner; I’ve given up trying to get them to stop sending me spam. ↩︎

  3. This day happened to be Pentecost, and the next day was a public holiday. ↩︎