Thursday, March 1, 2012

South France, Day 1 & 2: Toulouse

Out of the five cities Alexandra and I visited, I think Toulouse was my favorite. It's on the river, but not the Mediterranean, so it does have its downfalls. Toulouse is known as the Pink City because all the buildings seem to have a pink hue to them. It was beautiful.

We went to breakfast at a Brioche Doree, which seems to be all over France and serves sandwiches, quiches, croissants, chocolate desserts, apple turnovers, and all kinds of other wonderful treats.

I got a quiche. It was so good! And so filling. 

This is Capitole. 

Inside Capitole. 

Basilique Saint-Sernin.

Inside Basilique St-Sernin

Portrait d'Antonin le Pieux en frere arvale (86-161)
Empereur de 138 a 161

Inside Musee St-Raymond an actual excavation seemed to be taking place. 
As far as I can tell, under the museum is an area that used to be filled with coffins (the ones above are not original to the building, though). 

Place Wilson.

Cathedrale Saint-Etienne.

The stained glass in this church was amazing. 

Monument aux Morts. 

This monument was giant! Not to state the obvious. 

Port St-Sauveur in Canal du Midi.
I thought it was funny that part of the canal was frozen over so the Mallards were standing in some places and swimming in others. 

Canal du Midi

Next was the Natural History Museum. It was a lot of fun, with some very interesting displays. Since I know Dad loves geodes so much, I decided to include this fuzzy picture of the geodes just inside the first display case.

Geodes at Museum d'Histoire Naturelle.

After the museum, Alexandra and I were a little hungry because we hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was about 5pm. We wandered around, trying to find an open restaurant. But in France, the restaurants close between lunch and dinner. Often, no one is serving meals between 2pm and 7:30pm. But in our travels we found the Gascon restaurant:

Sadly, the menu wasn't cheap so we ended up going to a small Italian restaurant closer to Capitole. The ravioli was excellent:

The apple crumble was nothing to sneeze at either!

We continued to explore Toulouse and came to this museum, which was closed for renovations. It was set to be open the next day, but we were leaving for Montpellier that night. Just our luck.

Musee des Augustins, closed for renovation.

This is an amazing picture we found while walking down a small side street. 

After wandering some more, we came across Musee P. Dupuy:

This beautiful cabinet has a place for every jar and spice possible. 
I only managed to get this photo because I discreetly turned on the flash. After taking the picture, I was immediately scolded by two of the museum attendants. Then when we walked into each room, the attendants followed us around and watched us very closely, it was kind of creepy. 

A pocket watch. 
Montre bassine emaillee de 
C. Bonnevye a Paris
France, vers 1640

The paintings on the pocket watches were amazing. 

 I found the globe from 1782 to be fascinating. It may be hard to see with these photos, but the dimensions of the US are incredible.

Pendule a globe terrestre
France, vers 1782
Do you see Florida in the middle, to the right of the center of the photo?
And Nouveai Mexique (New Mexico), just below center?

This watch is so strange, I had to get a picture of it! 
I'm just wondering how the hands go back to zero, did they have to wind it back each night? Or each hour, because of the minute hand?

Yes, that flower is real! We checked. 

There is an egg in the middle of my pizza!

I ordered this pizza because I thought it would be interesting to have a pizza with an egg in the middle. I had no idea if they would cook the egg thoroughly, or when it would be added to the baking process. Some friends had ordered a similar pizza in Rome, Italy and they said it was quite good, but the yolk had been runny. This egg was cooked through and I really enjoyed the flavor.

Toulouse was a great city, and I recommend it for anyone travelling in South France. The people and attitudes were different in Toulouse, a little more friendly than Bordeaux.

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