A day in Toulouse

Hello everybody! I hope you're all doing well. In this post, I want to tell you a bit more about the route I took to Rimini, a journey that I made almost a year ago after passing through the cities of Madrid and Bordeaux. It was time to catch a Flixbus and continue onwards to my next destination. A destination known as the "pink city" due to the colour of its buildings: Toulouse.

A view of Toulouse, also known as the pink city



I arrived in Toulouse after travelling a couple of hours by bus from Bordeaux. I arrived around midnight. I had reserved a room in a hostel called La petite auberge de Saint-Sernin for one night. Said accommodation was one of the cheapest that I'd been able to find in the city and on top of that, it was located close to the city centre. It was the perfect place for me to spend a night in Toulouse.

When I arrived in Toulouse, it was around midnight, which is why the people from the hostel sent me an email prior to my arrival which gave me the access code to the lodging since, because it was midnight I wasn't going to find anyone at reception. After walking a couple of minutes through the streets of Toulouse heading straight for the hostel with my two suitcases in hand, I found it in a street called rue d Embarthe.

The type of accommodation I booked was a room with six beds and it cost me 23.06 euros for the night including tax. When I arrived at the front door of the hostel, I entered the code they'd given me and got in without any problems. In total, I had less than 24 hours to see the city of Toulouse as I had to catch another bus to Nice the following night.


The next morning

I woke up early to make the most out of my morning in the city. I had breakfast in the hostel as it was included in the price, and then I started to tour the city. Unfortunately, it was set to rain in Toulouse that day, however, this didn't stop me experiencing everything the city had to offer.

With an umbrella that I borrowed from the hostel and a small rucksack, I left the hostel (not without having checked a map first, so that I could work out where I was in relation to the places I'd be able to visit in this French city). In Toulouse, there's a metro network which works flawlessly. In fact, I took the metro to experience Toulouse's pace of life even though I was already based in the city centre. It isn't necessary to speak French to understand the metro's signs and maps.


After getting around part of the city using the subway, I reached one of the squares where I found some people distributing free flyers and newspapers. In Toulouse you can also find traditional bicycles that can be used by downloading an app which allows you to travel around the city and pay for the bike according to the time you used it for. I was about download this app, however, in the end I thought it was more convenient to travel around the city centre by foot, so that's what I did.


Somehow, Toulouse reminded me a lot of the city I had lived in Italy - Rimini, since unlike Bordeaux where the buildings are monochrome, here in Toulouse they have a pink colour.

Its garden

Touring the city centre was pleasant despite the cold that was starting to settle in its streets since it was March. I didn't hesitate to go to one of the city's parks, known as Jardin den Plantes, this was one of the largest public places I could find in the city. Inside the park, I stopped to appreciate the decoration of some statues as well as look at some ducks that walked freely through the green areas.

You'll actually find a lot of statues, so one of the things I suggest is that you take your time to be able to visit the park in its entirety. During the summer season, the beauty of the park is definitely enhanced.


Within this space I could also see a big pool in the distance which revealed more of the things the park had to offer. As it was already lunchtime, I went straight to the closest supermarket I could find so that I could buy something to cook at the hostel. Once I finished cooking and rested a little, I carried on my way around Toulouse.

The evening was approaching by that time, and with it came the rain. People were still walking around the city undeterred. This area was where I first found a fountain with some sort of women with wings. I sat on there on the fountain for a moment, when a women came up to me to ask me where I was from. She didn't speak good English but she did speak Italian. I stayed with her a while so I could practice my Italian.

The woman thought I was an exchange student in Toulouse, so I had to say that I was only passing through and that I was leaving that same night. The woman then recommended that I took a walk by the riverbank. Even though the rain had stopped, I could still see the architecture of the place, especially because the women knew I loved religious architecture.


Walking along the city's river

The river in Toulouse looked peaceful, the sky was grey, and it reminded me of my hometown. While I walked along here, I found a lot more interesting parts of the city, like a dome that crowns the city.


There was a red-coloured sculpture of a child that really caught my attention since it was in such a position that it looked as if it was sitting watching the river too. It also had a hat that looked a bit like a rabbit. I would have liked to know more about this sculpture. I realised there was no one around so I couldn't ask anyone about it. Said sculpture is found by the river that crosses under the city bridge, here it is:


While I was in this part of Toulouse, the weather began to turn against me again. Without hesitating I entered a church that was very close to where I was. When I entered I realised that I was the only one there, I wasn't just used to the European cold after having been in Lima for the last three months.

Something that interested me about the church that I visited was an image of a virgin who bore the name of Bierge Noire. This image is inside one of Toulouse's basilicas. What was strange about this image, is that the Virgin with baby Jesus had dark skin with a cream-coloured dress. I looked at her and tried to read the French description next to her but I couldn't understand anything.

Some candles were lit on the altar of the dark virgin. So I took the opportunity to warm my hands while admiring the church and its style.


The altar in this basilica was simple and gave the impression of having gone through a lot of changes throughout its history, so it had a simple, clean altar.

I spent about 20 minutes in this basilica. After having warmed my hands by the candles I decided to leave to continue with the rest of my tour of Toulouse. From this area I could see a dome which was one of the most beautiful constructions I saw in the French city.


Along the river, I also found some parks as well as some monuments that were in the process of restoration. in fact I got the impression that the municipality of Toulouse took into account the heritage that the city has.

Quai de la Daurade

One of the attractions along Toulouse's river that I recommend you take a look around is the Quai de la Daurade, . Here, you'll be able to find some panels which give detailed information regarding how the quai was used in ancient times.


Capitol de Toulouse

I could do this tour on foot during an afternoon. Although I hadn't read much of the city and the things I saw, I ended this tour by walking through the city's main square.

Almost everything is found in walking distance of the Capitol de Toulouse. For example, the Museum of San Raimond is about a five-minute walk away, the basilica of Saint Sernin the same, and less than a minute away is the Notre Dam du Taur.


On the other hand, in this square I could tell that Toulouse has a Audivisual high school, as well as a kind of library dedicated to cinema that you should take advantage of. In fact there are some sectors that the city plans to continue restoring until the year 2020. Good news for Toulouse!

From the Capitol, you notice the colour that's most prominent in the city. I recommend that you give it a visit when you go to the city. The style is French but with a predominantly pink colour.

In one of the side streets that I went through, I noticed that there was a tower who's top looked like the tip of a castle. It's a high point of the city so if you have time I also recommend that you get up there.

Come rain or shine, there's no excuse

I've got to give it to the people of the Toulouse for their vitality. They walk through its streets no matter the weather. You only had to carry an umbrella to feel at one with the spirit of the city, to feel like most of the people here. On one side of the Capitol there's a decoration that caught my attention. This is on the roof of the passage, where can also find some coffee shops and places to eat like the pizzerias for example.


With these memories safely stored in my head, I went back to the hostel La petite auberge de Saint-Sernin where I had left my suitcases. When I arrived there I collected my things and continued my journey to my next destination: Nice.

I was also taking a Flexibus to get from Toulouse to Nice. Because I already knew where the bus stop was it wasn't difficult to get there. I would spend an entire night sleeping on the bus and wake up in my next French destination on my journey to Rimini.

As a final point, Toulouse is a medium-sized city. There's a lot of architecture and cultural activities to do. Even if the weather isn't great you can still enjoy all the things on offer there. For these reasons, in the upcoming year, 2019, I will have more than one reason to go back to visit Toulouse.

Thank you very much for reading this post! I hope you'll get to visit Toulouse and I'll see you on the next adventure!


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