I have to admit, I came to France with a preconceived stereotype of the people we would meet. Maybe I have watched too many movies, maybe I formed it 30 years ago when I visited Paris.
What ever the case, Toulouse has certainly changed my perception (which I had kept to myself so my children could form their own ideas).
Just about everyone we have met has been friendly, lovely and helpful.
That is until tonight when we met the stereotype. Our hotel receptionist had recommended a restaurant, and even wrote down its name for us. We couldn’t find it. So we asked the balloon man on the street for help. The conversation went like this:
Me: Bon Jour, Do you speak English?
Me (whilst showing him the name): “Do you know where this restaurant is located?”
Me: Will you tell us?
Him pointing his nose up in the air and using a very matter of fact tone: No
Thankfully he was just kidding, but all I could think of was the stereotype I expected. He did send us on our way, and even warned us that it was rather expensive and then he suggested a more affordable alternative.
We love Toulouse, and ended up staying several extra days. Here are some of the highlights starting with the Capitole:
I don’t know the name of the tall skinny church about half way down the road on the left hand side, but I thought it was pretty cool. Actually, it was hubby who pointed it out after I walked right by it.
Toulouse has a lovely riverfront.
This is the main cathedral and very interesting. Be sure to utilize one of the free tour guides.
One of the frescoes on the church wall.
I will admit, this wasn’t really a highlight, but in retrospect it was pretty funny. We were on a narrow street behind this truck, which couldn’t make the turn. It was stuck. The nearby construction workers had to remove the green fence posts to get it out. During the 20 minutes we waited it probably didn’t seem as funny as it does now.
All photos on this page © Rhonda Albom 2012
Rhonda’s Tips for Visiting Toulouse
- When you visit Toulouse go to the office of tourism and purchase your tickets for Cite de l’Espace, and a few other museums. This avoids the long queue at the entrance.
- At the main cathedral there are a few people at a table offering tours in various languages. They really are free, with a donation at the end, and ours was very interesting.
- If you are planning to visit Airbus, be sure to purchase your tickets in advance. If you are not carrying an EU passport, you must purchase 2 full working days in advance or they will not let you in.
- Personally, I think Cite de l’Espace is aimed at kids. I am not sure it is a good value for adults, but great fun for families.
- If you travel to Toulouse between August 1 and August 15 street parking in the city is free. This is because many places are closed for holiday, it is really, really hot and the weather is just too hot. We know.
Travel Counter: We have crossed the half way point of our 250 day overseas adventure.
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