Sunday, 19 July 2015

PLOUMANAC'H, France's favourite village

If you've read my profile at the side of my blog you'll know that I live in a beautiful part of northern Brittany in France so when a recent poll elected a part of our commune, Ploumanach, the favourite village of the French I was not surprised that it should get the recognition it deserves.

We've lived here now for over 12 years and visited for at least 10 years before that so I know it pretty well.  My sketchbooks date back to 2003 and I've found many sketches and a few watercolours to share with you.

The village is in the heart of the 'Cote de Granite rose,' a wonderful coastline of weathered pink granite rocks weathered by the elements into strange shapes and all the buildings use the same stone so the whole place has a lovely rosy glow. 
It was featured on national TV and the mayor laid on a typical evening for the presentation with fresh local seafood and our prize winning 'Bagad' group playing Breton music.

The inner harbour has a couple of tide mills that were used centuries ago to work the wheels to grind grain, but now are used for small art exhibitions. There are moorings for shallow draught boats in the inner harbour, accessible only at high water as there is a sill to keep the water in at low tide.
The first time we tried to come in with our boat we were turned away as we had too deep a draught to be able to stay afloat. When we walked back here from Perros the next day we were amazed at the difference between high and low water, there was no water in this channel and the traditional boats moored there had legs to keep them upright in the mud!

There are lots of little fishing boats tied to the wall here that float when the tide comes in as well as several traditional boats that take part in the annual regatta.

This is a very early drawing from my first sketchbook, I think I've improved a bit since then!
Every year we look forward to the 'Vieux Greements' festival of the sea with it's traditional boats on display, decked in flags and the opportunity to spend an evening with our friends eating mussels and mackerel and listening to local 'chants de marins' and celtic bands.

I was inspired by the bright colours of the tenders parked by the harbour wall for this sketch.

Around the coast the rock formations are breathtaking, something we tend to forget till we take new friends to see the sights and see their reactions to the wonderful sights.
I've sketched this one lots of times and here's the watercolour I did about 12 years ago before we moved here.
I hope you've enjoyed my vision of our now famous village, I think I'll have to scan some more of those early sketches to share with you, what do you think?