Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T - Toulouse

Toulouse is a jewel in the crown of France. It is steeped in history as long and involved as that of Paris, though most Parisians would disagree. Toulouse was the seat of the Count of Toulouse who was basically king of the Languedoc, Occitan. During the 1200s, the renaissance, art, culture and progress were bursting into bloom here, before the “King” of France decided he didn’t like the rivalry. Toulouse was much too prosperous for “France” to allow it to remain independent. The king of France arranged an alliance with Pope Innocent III, you get the souls and I get the land. The only “crusade” against Christians then lasted over 56 years when France waged war and eventually incorporated Toulouse into its sphere. This is the main reason behind the animosity between the north and the south (sound familiar?) in France. Yes, this is a simplified version of the history, but still accurate. It’s interesting to know that Lebanon was also part of the Comte de Toulouse, and was referred to as the Comte de Toulouse de l’Orient. It played a major role during the Crusades since it was the only Christian land in the Orient that honored the local Arabs and was therefore respected by Saladin. Perhaps the King of France was also envious of this territory? My husband was raised in Blagnac, which used to be a small village on the outskirts of Toulouse. Thanks to Airbus, Blagnac is now on the world stage, which does much for my mother in law’s property values!
The city is known as “La Ville en Rose” as the vast majority of older buildings are built with natural brick from the area which is light red in color. One can walk it’s streets for days and not see everything. It has culture, traffic, progress, museums, churches, is laced with canals, and a subway system/tram system which is state of the art. The Toulouse area is also known for its violettes (not to mention Toulouse Lautrec!). Violettes are grown here and made into candies famous the world over. Provence has nothing on the Midi-Pyrenees, which is where Toulouse is located, for beauty. On a clear day one can see the Pyrenees in the distance. If you ever decide to visit Toulouse, the “Eglise des Jacobins” (Church of the Jacobins) is a must see. Its claim to fame is the “palm” like arches holding the domed ceiling in place.

Place du Capitol

The red flag is the regional flag of the Midi-Pyrenees

A street in Toulouse lined with the "rose" bricked buildings

Strange architecture can be found everywhere in Toulouse

A roof top view from an apartment

Notice the name of the restaurant at the bottom? It reads, "Angels and Demons."

The Canal du Midi...

Public bikes for rent, just like in Paris and most large cities in France now.
This shop owner was so friendly and new her wares, even with so many lining walls and crowding floors.

One of many colorful tables...

A Salon de The, a tea salon. Look at the name of the next one...

Gotta love this! "L'autre salon de the" means, The Other Tea Salon!
A statue made for children to climb without sacrificing its art by Jean-Louis Toutain.

Another look at some interesting architecture. And again, the "rose" colored bricks...

Lucky enough to happen upon a lazer light show one night!

Taking a shortcut down a small picturesque back street in Toulouse

Le Pont Neuf. The "new" bridge (1542-1632) spanning the river, took over one hundred years to build.
Eglise des Jacobin

The Palm-like interior ceiling. Unique and worth seeing...


  1. great's just so beautiful!

    1. Thanks Tammy, and thanks for commenting. Just got back from your blog...

  2. Beautiful pictures! "you get the souls, I keep the land" not just in medieval France, unfortunately.

    1. I know, right?! History, wish we'd learn more from it! Thanks for coming by Nilanjana.

  3. Hi Lisa .. what a fascinating place ... your MIL seems to be on a winner with the Airbus industries nearby.

    Gorgeous place .. and I loved all the photos you showed us - and I definitely need more education on French history ... it was a melting pot for so long and the pull between the Germanic region, the British goals and the Pope ...developed many a change.

    The canal du midi ... I'd love to take a boat along that sometime .. but so many choices ... and goals .. cheers Hilary

    1. I road a bike from the Mediterranean to Bordeaux and then up to Tours the year I was in Europe. Followed the Canal from Narbonne to Bordeaux. It was so beautiful, magic and I cherish the memories. First night out I slept by the canal right next to a vineyard. When I awoke in the morning, after a dreadful storm throughout the night, I heard voices. Stood up and saw the grape pickers out in between the vine rows, sun coming up, a filmy mist everywhere...sigh. It was good.

  4. Beautiful place. I dig the wine shop.
    Sounds like the king was a bit of a backstabber.

    1. A bit! That shop was overwhelming! So much stuff everywhere floor to ceiling! So worth seeing...

  5. I am learning more about France from your posts every day, especially with the photos you include.

    1. So glad you're enjoying the posts Bob. I'm really enjoying yours! I've pinned your blog to share with others and so I won't lose it!


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