Charming French windows, ornate street lamps, medieval red brick buildings – unmistakably Toulouse!
La ville rose (or ‘the pink city’ as it is called) is located on the banks of the Garonne river. The lifeline of Toulouse, this river springs from a source in the Pyrenees, flows right through the city and ultimately, joins the Atlantic Ocean.
A key landmark of Toulouse is the Canal du Midi (a UNESCO World heritage site) which connects Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea. This 240km long canal built in the 17th century, facilitated trade between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Today, the Canal du Midi is a popular waterway for cruises and sightseeing.
Toulouse is a city with character and soul. The poetry in the air is palpable. Here, ancient cathedrals co-exist harmoniously with the headquarters of the European aerospace industry.
Toulouse’s recorded history goes way back to 2BC. Its magnificent churches are silent witnesses to all that has transpired over the ages.
Modern day Toulousians are a friendly bunch, enjoying a relaxed pace of life. Their favorite food includes gourmet specialties like the Toulouse cassoulet, Margret de canard and duck confit along with some of the finest local wines.
No discussion about Toulouse is complete without a mention of its colorful markets.
The highlight of our time in Toulouse was spotting this rainbow crowning the 16th century Capitole building.
(Rainbow spotting has now become a regular feature with us. Remember the double rainbow in Seychelles?)
The south of France has inspired so many legendary painters (including Cezanne, Van Gogh, Renoir, Matisse and more recently, Picasso). After my visit to Toulouse and the surrounding countryside, I finally understood why!
Adieu ma chère Toulouse! À bientôt!
Must buy: The soaps, perfumes, bonbons and other confectionaries made with touches of the violet flower. The delicate violet is the official flower of Toulouse.