We invite you to discover this mythical hiking trail, the GR5.
THE MYTHICAL GR5
The GR5 and the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: the dream of all hikers and walkers... when retirement age arrives, why not?
The tourist trails of the Touring Club of Belgium, whose network is more than 5,000 km long, initially in Belgium and beyond.
We are in the 1920s, from 1934 and after 1946...
There were a few years when the fate of these markings was unknown, with a few little-known local exceptions.
In summer 1959 in Provence, two Liège residents discovered some red and white markings. These two Liège residents were Lucien Cailloux and Alain Dawance, and they were staying at the "Le Regain" youth hostel which was managed by François Morénas.
The wonderful idea to extend the GR5 into Ardennes, as it was already under construction between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Nice in France.
The first signposts were put up in the Hoëgne valley in September 1959.
The Hoëgne walk had been inaugurated in 1899 by "Queen Marie Henriette", well before the first red and white markings.
The youth movements created after the 1936 paid holidays at the initiative of the Touring Club of Belgium were the source of the first hikers and trail wardens.
Other youth associations existed well before this.
The first section, from the Théâtre de Verdure, château d'Angleur, previously called the Château de Kinkempois, would, a few years later, take hikers across the Ardennes.
In Angleur, there is a plaque that commemorates the GR5 trail in the Parc de Verdure.
In Angleur, very close to the Château Péralta, was a youth hostel that acted as a meeting place for many hikers from the different youth and pedestrian tourism movements.
A walking itinerary was signposted throughout Belgian Ardennes, stopping off in youth hostels and Friends of Nature houses.
The route was initially:
Angleur, Ardenne condrusienne, Méry and the Ourthe valley, Fraipont and the Vesdre valley, Banneux, Ninglinspo valley near Amblève, Spa, and better known by these famous walks, Polleur, Jalhay, the Hoëgne valley, Hockai, which has the highest altitude station in Belgium, the Tros Marêts, the Ferme Libert, well known to hikers past and present, Malmédy, by the Warche and Amblève valleys, Stavelot, climb up to Logbiermé with its "Les Gattes" chalet and the Friends of Nature section in Embourg, Vielsalm and the Salm valley, the cantons of Est, Burg Reuland and its château, Ouren and the Trois Frontières.
This is the start of the network of Luxembourg trails towards France for the GR5.
By the Our, Sûre and Moselle trails...
There are so many memories from these years, in all the GR SENTIERS magazines that are still current today, the pedestrian rallies, the joint excursions, the holidays abroad in the mountains, the days of encounters, the signposting days and simply random meetings on the hiking trails.
We GR and "Les Sentiers de Grande Randonnée" hikers were well ahead, before the creation of the European Ramblers' Association in 1969.
In 1973, Malmédy hosted a European pedestrian hiking meeting that attracted more than 3,000 foreign tourists, including Germans, French, Dutch and Belgians.
The Comité ardennais des sentiers de grande randonnée became the Comité National Belge des Sentiers de Grande Randonnée, and is now LES SENTIERS DE GRANDE RANDONNEE.
In France, the Comité National des Sentiers de Grande Randonnée became the Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre.
Let's spare a thought for the many trail wardens, thanks to whom we can follow the many GR without a trace.
A big thank you to all the volunteers who work free of charge in the background for the GR.
The Belgian hiker.
We invite you to discover the history of pedestrian tourism.
The GR Sentiers magazine has dedicated three reports to the History of Hiking, on the Eifelverein paths, the Tourist Paths of Old Liège, in collaboration with Charles Comhaire, and the tourist trails of the Touring Club of Belgium, in collaboration with Maurice Cosyn.
And let's not forget the website www.trekkings.be, which is specially dedicated to the HISTORY OF HIKING.
A large amount of historical information linked to the GR trails and the long distance trails.