The story and adventure
The beginning in 1999.
In 1999 a certain Andréas Van Der Brink came to introduce to the town of Chantonnay, the concept of walks that took place in his country of The Netherlands. The notion to walk at least two consecutive days of more than 20km and to be part of a big organisation the International Marching League (I.M.L.).
Officials were elected and then consulted other people who were interested in the concept. A management structure was established.
The challenge was accepted and the beginning.
The R4JCV or the 4 Days of Walking Chantonnay Vendee was formed in July 1999. It consisted of a representative from each Sports Association in the town. They decided to take the option of a maximum of 4 walking days and the maximum distance of 42km. The strength of the inhabitants of the Vendée and especially the people of Chantonnay to help is well known. The task now was to find routes, sponsors and to set up a structure and an organisation.
The rise of the R4JCV or 4 Days Walking Chantonnay Vendee.
It was a difficult start.
The first year was not a success: 550 walkers over 4 days only!
However this by no means discouraged us, even the resignation of the then President only spurred us on, and the Association continued its work. Three years of functioning were required to qualify for membership of the IML. This was recognised in Blankenberge (Belgium), in May 2003 and we were duly formally accepted into the folds of the IML organisation in March 2004, in Rotorua (New Zealand).
Entry into the International Marching League (IML).
This event was impressive: as many as 600 people from different countries around the world gathered in Chantonnay, not only to walk, but also to appreciate and admire the beauty of our region and the hospitality of the Vendée and Chantonnay.
The inhabitants of Chantonnay completely embraced the walking concept so that after 10 years the R4JCV or 4 Days Walking Chantonnay Vendee was formed. We were proud to have progressed to 3,500 walkers in 2010.
In 2013 during the 14th edition of our walks, the General Assembly of the IML was held in Chantonnay on the 7th and 8th May. Almost all the member countries were present.
In 2017 we welcomed 4,888 walkers, 892 of whom walked all of the 4 days.
Chantonnay’s Big Party.
It is party time in Chantonnay. The Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, the Friday Night Walk, the entertainment, the bands and orchestras. There are over 300 volunteers in their “yellow T-shirts” who are happy to meet and help you every year.