From busy South East England, I came to Parthenay to write, during a chilly and damp period in March. I was very taken with the calm, the acceptance, the respect, the beauty. Whether I was in little shops or the HyperU supermarket, going round the museum, visiting the Tourist Information office or walking by the river, people were patient and good humoured while I struggled to express myself in French. The paved or cobbled streets carried few cars and any that saw me even thinking of crossing a road, stopped gently.
In the Old Town, the houses are built straight onto the street and, in the space between front wall and pavement, wallflowers and violets were already blooming. Hollyhocks were thrusting up their rosettes of leaves ready to bloom high and mighty against the house walls. Trees were in blossom and daffodils flowering.
The local red wine, goats cheese and Gâtine beef were delicious. I shall return to sample the intriguing cafes and restaurants another time.