As I turn a corner, my view for the day comes into focus: and old half-timber house, a ceramics workshop, and the hustle and bustle of a busy market day. I may well try to be inconspicuous, but I don’t go unnoticed. While I was busy drawing, I received four or five compliments and just as many tips for the next episode of my Odyssey.
I settle down at the start of the bridge and become engrossed in drawing the facade of a building criss-crossed with wooden beams. Next to me, four students are busy moving out of their flat.
From the corner of this house, a statue of Our Lady and two no entry signs watch over a crossroads that’s wilting in the heat. I’m the only person on the street. It seems all the locals are hiding from the sun.
There’s nothing to pillory, here, just posters for modern art exhibitions. As I sit and draw, an improbable horde of firemen sets to work in the neighbourhood... unless it’s a street performance?
Settling down on the esplanade of Les Halles, I savour the pleasure of an unbeatable view of the square. Happily sitting out on the café terraces, the people below me don’t even notice I’m there. “See without being seen”, that’s the key to capturing a city’s soul.
On the way back, I spend half an hour in the company of this old building that had caught my eye when I got here this morning. The shades and textures are amazing, but my train isn’t going to wait for me. Never mind, I’ve already set a date for coming back to Niort with my coloured pencils.