Sunday, 12 October 2014


When we set off on this trip our original intention was to go south to the Basque region to find the sun but we soon realised that would have been a waste of energy as the sun was hot so much closer to home.  From the Ile de Ré we turned inland and headed for Parthenay, a town on the pilgrimage Route de St Jacques de Compostella. 
It's a fortified town built on an outcrop over a bend in the river Thouet which flows northwards and meets the Loire at Saumur.  The town itself has lots of fascinating old buildings, especially in the mediaeval quarter from the old gate leading to the citadel.  A steep cobbled street lined with old timber framed houses dating from the 14th century leads up to another even older entrance to the high town reminiscent of Carcassonne but much smaller (and quieter!)
The views from the top are spectacular but I'm afraid you'll just have to imagine them until I get round to making some sketches from the photos I took.  There was so much to see that there wasn't time to stop and spend half an hour to draw!  However the park around the base of the town was right next to our campsite and I managed to spend a couple of afternoons there drawing and painting the views.
The park had lots of beautiful specimen trees which I sat and drew with my new 'Derwent line marker' pen, a free sample I received just before we set off on our trip.  It's lovely to use but it's not waterproof as I discovered when I decided to wash out the coloured pencil on this sketch so I switched to my faithful old Pitt pen for the others posted above.  I will use it only for dry coloured pencil sketches in future as I do like the smooth way it works.
When we bought our electric bikes about 3 years ago we had no idea how much pleasure and freedom they would give us.  They fit in the 'boot' of the camping car with the handlebars and pedals folded and only take a few minutes to set up ready to use.  It's so much easier for me now to go up the hills with my dodgy knees pedalling away with a lot of help from the battery!  They were certainly essential here in Parthenay as the town was quite a climb from our base camp and would have been difficult to achieve even on foot.
I sat and did another sketch of the lake at Parthenay while Bob cycled back into town in search of his lost bike battery key.  Luckily he found it in the café where we had stopped for our coffee. ( he did use the spare key as it would have been exhausting to go under leg power alone!) 
I nearly forgot to tell you about my new Facebook page with the same name as my blog: Colours in the Breizh, I do hope you'll come and visit me there if you're a facebook member and please do let me know when you find it by liking.  It really does make a difference to know that someone out there is following me!