French ‘barefoot park’ founders walk 57km barefoot

The two friends say that walking barefoot is beneficial to health and helps connect with nature

Two founders of France’s first ever “barefoot parks”, have walked 57 kilometres barefoot across Vosges (Grand Est) to celebrate their hobby, businesses, and friendship.

Denis Duchêne and Cédric Bolmont, two friends from Lorraine, are fans of the “barefoot, minimalist” lifestyle, which in French is often simply called “le barefooting”.

Mr Duchêne launched the first ever barefoot park in France - "La Ferme Aventure" in Chapelle-aux-Bois - in 2005. Mr Bolmont is the owner of the “Vit Tel Ta Nature” animal park in Vittel, which also offers minimalist accommodation for barefoot visitors.

This hobby - which is said to come from Germany - includes living with fewer material objects, and walking around barefoot as a way to connect more with nature and re-energise the body.

This week, the two friends walked the 57 km between their two business sites, documenting the journey on the Ferme Aventure Facebook page and the Vit Tel Ta Nature page.

They covered the entire journey barefoot in two days - September 4 and 5 - on a route that included walking through fields, forest, and normal roads, and an overnight stay in the St-Martin caves.

Their journey was also captured by local television network, Vosges Télévision; and a film was also made by Vosges local, Jean-Yves Barlier.

The duo dubbed their journey “a real communion with nature” and a “journey into the heart of our senses”.

Mr Duchêne said: “[Barefoot walking] is very good for the foot arch, because that is where all of your nerve endings are found. It is a permanent massage.”

On their Facebook page, the pair explained that “wearing shoes disconnects” people from the real world, and depletes energy. They add that barefoot walking increases confidence, stimulates nerve endings, reduces stress, and improves immunity.

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