Saturday, April 21, 2018

A day in Toulouse

We arrived in Toulouse yesterday after a long but uneventful flight on KLM.  Here's Harry unlocking the door to our little apartment at #19 Rue des Salenques, in the heart of the old town adjacent to the university. It's a great area full of restaurants and cafes and bookstores. There are lots of young people and families around. And tons of bicycles. In fact I think there are more bikes than cars in this part of town.

This morning we set out to buy a sim card for the iPad so we can find our way around and check websites and emails without having to find wifi.  This is always our first order of business when we travel. Without it we tend to get very lost--as we did last night on our way back from the restaurant where we had dinner. 

Of course getting lost just means you see things you might otherwise have missed, like the Romanesque church of San Severin, a famous stop on the pilgrimage to San Compostela in Spain.                                                                          
The afternoon included a walk to  the Canal du Midi, where the city has created a park and walkway that seems almost like a beach (see below). From there you can see the Pont Neuf, so called because it was built in 1632 (!) replacing an older Medieval bridge.

Here's another look at the Pont Neuf showing the decorative openings that allow high water to rush through without taking the bridge with it. Seems it's a successful design as the bridge is still standing almost 400 years later.

Toulouse is a very vibrant and prosperous town. It has a long history going back to early Roman times but its high point was in the mid-15th century when the "pastel" dye industry from the woad plant that created a desirable blue dye enriched merchants and many elaborate mansions were built of red bricks. The old part of town is filled with these lovely places, many are now hotels or apartments or museums.

This is the colour created by the woad plant. I love this colour and have always called it "French blue."                                                                                                                                         

This afternoon we spent some time at the Musée des Augustines, a beautiful building that was originally a monastery and now houses some stunning Gothic and Renaissance art.  For me the highlight was the cloisters with its beautiful interior garden and Gothic arches.

Here are some other highlights from the museum....

These stone demons filled one entire side of the cloisters.

I loved the little angel playing the harp and the very red statue of a woman. It's made of red clay but is standing in the light from a beautiful rose window in the church itself.

Enough for today. It's been a full day indeed, but we've only scratched the surface of this beautiful and vibrant city. I would love to come back and spend quite a bit more time here.


  1. Very beautiful town but then you always find the best places to visit. So happy your flight uneventful. I love that blue also.

    cheers, parsnip

  2. Beautiful! The Romanesque church particularly catches my attention.


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