France’s Pink City
On Friday, we made our way to the train station in Bordeaux, which is an old and charming structure. After a train ride of only two hours the train pulled into Toulouse, a city on southwest France.
With the help of long-time friends and our hosts, Ariane Le Lay and Empis Fred, we strolled through Toulouse city known for its pinkish-hued buildings.La ville rose (the pink city), located in Midi-Pyrénées, is France’s fourth largest city.From its narrow medieval streets and alleys to the many churches and cathedrals, Toulouse oozes a rich history.The city’s vibe was the first thing I noticed; friendly, warm and modern.
Its sizable student population gives the place a youthful kick and injects an infectious energy into its riverside bars, live-music venues, and late-night clubbing alternatives.
Two waterways slice through the city: the pea-green Canal du Midi and the mucky brown River Garonne, both peaceful and romantic any time of the day, and the water is a constant companion as you wander about. This is one of my clearest memories of France.
Bustling Place du Capitole is the city’s main squire. On the ceiling of the arcades on its western side are 29 vivid illustrations, all by contemporary artist Raymond Moretti, of the city’s history, from the venus of Lespugue (a prehistoric representation of a woman) through to the city’s status as a hub for the aeronauts industry.
On the square’s eastern side is the 128m-long façade of the Capitole, Toulouse’s city hall built in the 1750s.
Within is the theatre du capitol, one of France’s most prestigious opera venues and the over top, late 19th century Salle des Illustres (Hall of the Illustrious).
I didn’t spend a lot of time in Toulouse, which still saddens me a bit, but the dream of one day returning instantly puts a smile on my face.