We both took small watercolour sketching kits with us and when we had time and felt like it, made some sketches. After a ride, then pitching the tent and sorting ourselves out, most days all we wanted was a drink and food, but we managed some paintings. When we stayed in a place longer, and had more time, we did more.
The castle at Falaise, from the campsite below. The Municipal campsite at Falaise was the best of the municipals we stayed in. The toilet/shower block was brand-new and the pitches were left to recover now and then (temporarily unavailable), so the grass was in good condition, not bare earth like many other places.
At Beaugency, on the Loire. Whenever we head South through France, we try and stop over here. The Abbey hotel, by the bridge is a favourite but this time it was full, so we had to find a room elsewhere in the town.
In the cathedral at Beaugency. Karon wanted to capture the light from the window.
Charité sur Loire. An old archway that looked like the remnants of an Abbey. It was a short walk from the campsite, which was on an island in the river.
Paray Le Monial – we were here for a week, so plenty of time to sketch. This was on the patio where we ate a few times in the evening.
Paray Le Monial. My favourite street was this narrow, bustling street in the older part of town.
The Basilica at Paray Le Monial. There was a big religious meeting the week we were there, and most of the participants were camping in fields nearby. Most days there seemed to be marches that were led by banner carriers and they all ended up at the Basilica, singing as they marched along.
Paray Le Monial – the week we stayed here was the second heat-wave to hit France in July and the temperatures were in the high 30s every day. It was impossible to sit in the sun for long, so finding a shaded spot to sit and paint was paramount.
Paray Le Monial. Our camping chairs came in handy when we were out to sketch.
While I painted the scene above, Karon sat just around the corner and focussed on this old doorway.
Lyon, in the old quarter. Very touristy with quite a lot of tack on sale, but nevertheless, a vibrant and interesting area of the city.
Lyon. We sat in the square below the Basilica, perched high above, and enjoyed a drink. We couldn’t always find a table to sit at with the ‘right’ view, but usually there was something interesting to paint.
Karon’s sketch of a couple at one of the tables in the square, Lyon.
Avignon. It was so busy! We initially rode around the town, but in the centre we had to walk. A search on the web found a restaurant that was a little out of the way and could fit us in, but we had to wait for it to open, so we plonked ourselves down not far away from it, at some outside seating for soft drinks and snacks. I was desperately trying to finish this as the staff were clearing tables and chairs away for the evening.
Carcassonne. This was one of the few days that it rained on us. Not for long and fortunately we were sat under a sun shade, so I shuffled my position a little, to stay dry. Next thing, the sun was out again.
Toulouse. Being a big city, we used the bike to explore. This café was in the same square that the church tower below overlooked.
The Pont Neuf bridge at Toulouse. We cycled south along the river and out of the city, hoping for a pleasant ride, but the cycle path had become an unofficial refugee camp – or so it seemed – which was quite intimidating to cycle through. Then it was a busy road with no path, so we headed back, running the gauntlet through the camp again and stopped by the bridge.
By the river, Toulouse. Karon left me to paint while she wandered nearby streets and shops. To the left is a little bar, under the half-timbered house. We sat there a couple of times for a drink.
The Royal Gardens, Toulouse. We cycled to this area which has a few gardens and parks to explore. There was a museum nearby where we’d had lunch, then found this garden, so locked the bike up and found a place to sit and paint.
In the Japanese Garden, Toulouse. This was further along the Canal, not far from where it ends. It was quite popular and difficult to find somewhere to sit that was out of the way, but still had something to sketch.
Karon’s version of the Japanese Garden in Toulouse.
Sketched while on the ITR. The tower at Bassoues. We drove here – stopping at the village that was the ‘birthplace’ of the fictitious D’Artagnan. The place we had lunch in came highly recommended by the group that had cycled here the day before.
It looked like they were renovating the top floors of this old building which caught Karon’s eye.
Tillac, near Marciac, where the ITR 2019 was held. Knowing we wanted to find places to sketch, some friends had been here a couple of days previous. We made up a foursome to cycle out one day and this was on-route. Karon and I drove back later to sit and sketch, then had lunch in a nearby by bar.
Karon’s painting at Tillac.
Chez Jasmin – La Chapelle-Saint-Laurent – a place we stopped over on our return.
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