We stayed last night at a gite run by a commune which could not possibly have benefitted financially from our presence. There were no shops where we could spend our money. Eight of us paid ten euros each, but this would barely have covered the utility costs of this newly renovated building. One possible benefit to the commune was putting an old building to good use.
We have stayed in hotels, gites and chambres d'hotes.
Hotels are hotels, but sometimes the demi-pension rate is cheap enough to attract us (around 40 euros).
Chambres d'hotes are bed and breakfasts. They supply towels and sheets. They provide individual rooms and sometimes dormitories. They often offer demi-pension.
Gites provide beds in a dormitory or separate rooms, without towels and sheets. Sometimes they offer demi-pension. They may be run by the church, the commune, or private individuals. Sometimes they are set up specifically for pilgrims.
We have stayed on farms, in former presbyteries, in mairies, in old houses in the centre of town, and In newer houses on the outskirts.
The food has always been good, ranging from a five-course meal with aperatif, to simple farm fare. With one exception, the wine has been excellent as well.
Today was the shortest step I have taken. In fact, we have been spoiled with a series of short walks which end tomorrow. Then will follow a series of long days as we climb into the Pyrenees.
We are still walking across fairly flat agricultural land, through fields of wheat, maize, and canola. Occasionally we pass through wooded country, and we always go through a hamlet or small village during the day.
Usually, first stop on arriving is at the bar where we toss back a cold beer. Today was the Easter Monday holiday and everything was closed down. We scoured the town to find a bar that was open, but to no avail. Finally, we entered a hotel and begged for a beer.
Nor were the restaurants open, nor stores to buy food, so we pooled our resources and managed an apple salad, sardine oil pasta, some cheese, and some cake, all washed down with a nice desert wine.