The view of Pornic as we approached on our bikes was so pretty, all greens and blues in the lovely warm sunshine.
Whenever we stay on a campsite I like to gather some examples of the local wild flowers and fruit. I only ever pick one or two of each as I'm very aware of the need to preserve species, especially if they are not very common. I put them in a cut down water bottle as a vase and they grace our dining table for several days even after I've drawn them.
At Pornic the campsite was on the edge of town and our cycle path took us along fields and a canal before ending at the port in a beautifully arranged 'marais' garden. The local authority had developed the overgrown area by the canal into pathways winding between typical waterside planting and made wooden stages on pillars over the water to be used for studying the wildlife and to evoke the traditional fishing style where large nets are hung from the stages to catch the fish as they swim upstream.
The sketchbook I'm using at the moment has a random mixture of white and tinted papers and I love the challenge of using whatever comes next as I turn the page to do my next drawing. I've been using the Caran d'Ache museum watercolour pencils here as the pigments are so rich on the dark paper;
From Pornic our next stop was at Rochefort, a historic town we had been looking forward to visiting for many years. It was developed in the 17th century by Louis IV as his arsenal, being in a strategic place on the French coast to protect from invasion by the English. Our campsite was on the edge of town again and had a wonderful cycle path all along the river Charente which we used despite the walk into the centre being much shorter.
The main attractions there are the maritime museum and the corderie, which is where the ropes for rigging all the ships were made. The building is 360 metres long due to the necessity to make the ropes long enough to make the lines that pull up the sails as well as mooring and anchor lines. The whole area of the museum and the old centre of town are very well preserved and cared for and well worth the time spent exploring. However we only stayed 2 nights here as we had a rendezvous with some friends on Ile de Ré, our next port of call.