Monday, 12 April 2010

Toulouse - part 1 - La Ville Rose

Hello there! It's good to be back home! I've had a fabulous time in France, but nothing beats being home again. It's been an exhausting fortnight. During the first week, this was home during the day.

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It's part of the University of Toulouse, and we were there from 9am until 5pm every day, reading, writing and speaking French! I was amazed at how much French grammar I managed to dredge up from somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain. It was more tricky remembering what was 'le' and what was 'la', and the logic behind it! But my French is much more fluent, so I'm pretty happy!

Toulouse is a beautiful city. It's called La Ville Rose (the Pink City) because most of the buildings have been constructed using bricks which have a pinky-red glow to them in the sunshine (of which there was plenty!) In the centre, literally a stone's throw from the hotel we were staying in, was the main square, the Place du Capitole.

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There was some kind of market held here most days, and it was one of the main focal points of the city. The flags of Europe, France and the Midi-Pyrenees are all flying proudly.

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The city is full of interesting doorways

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with tantalising views of secret courtyards

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leading to hidden treasures within them.

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One of my favourite buildings was the Couvent des Jacobins, a beautiful Gothic church with incredibly high roof arches ......

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........ so high that you would get neck ache trying to take it all in, so luckily there was a huge mirror to help. It did make for some pretty strange photos though!

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It was a warm spring afternoon the day we arrived, and many of the locals were enjoying the sunshine on the banks of the River Garonne, which runs through the city. You can see Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge crossing the river in the background.

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Saint Sernin's Basilica is apparently the largest in Europe, and was where Simon de Montford was killed in the 13th century.

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I preferred the Cathedrale Saint-Etienne - it was a mixture of architectural styles, with some humourous gargoyles guarding the doors .......

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.......... colours from the stained glass windows patterning the floor........

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....... and ornate altars all around the cathedral.

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Walks down small side streets led to unexpected discoveries.......

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A beautiful city to be staying in, I think you'll agree. I'll be back again tomorrow to show you some more. Bye 'til then!


snoopydog said...

OH WOW! looks like you've had a very cultural time. Gorgeous photos. I feel like I've just taken a tour of the city! So glad you had a great time. I wonder if you found a yarn shop. Je reviendrai pour l'acompte excitant suivant. Au revoir! XX

Alexandra said...

Beautiful pictures! That mirror must have been amazing; very clever idea they had!

Love your Tiny Temptations, so pretty. I got the Rainbow Brights and I love them :)

melissa said...

gorgeous gorgeous pictures! thank you so much for sharing!
can't wait to see the rest!