adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

One Night in Toulouse

Our adventures with Shawn and Kate concluded in Toulouse, where they were catching a flight to Greece.  Michael and I were excited to have an excuse to finally visit the 4th largest city in France, so after our afternoon in Carcassonne, we all piled in The Pony and continued onto Toulouse.

Toulouse's Hôtel de Ville on the Place du Capitole

Toulouse definitely has a very different feel than the rest of the cities and towns we've visited in France.  It seemed to be the most...modern.  Newer buildings, more contemporary architecture, and a very young and vibrant feel.  It makes sense, seeing as that Toulouse is Europe's center of aerospace industry (it's home to Airbus HQ) and also has the 3rd largest student population in France.  There are a lot of foreigners around and a lot of people who speak English.  We felt right at home.

fountain at Place Wilson

So many people told us what a cool, fun place Toulouse is and they were right.  We had a blast walking around, window shopping, strolling along the Garonne River, and visiting a few parks.  We stayed in the Arnaud Bernard neighborhood, which is close to the University.  This was a great spot because it was centrally located, had some great boutiques, and a lively nightlife.  Our hotel for the evening, the Hotel Arnaud Bernard, was decently priced and decently furnished.  It had A/C, allowed dogs (in case we needed to bring Fig, which we didn't) and we found some street parking pretty easily.

store front street art

We decided to start off our trip with a Boat Tour because, duh.  We headed down to the Quai on the Garonne River around 6pm only to find that none of the 7:30 cruises advertised on this stupid website were available.  The website and signs on the docks were very confusing, and all we could figure out in the end was that maybe the evening cruises are reservation only.  And actually, now the website says something totally different so I don't know what to tell you all except maybe go down in the morning or call ahead to ensure you get your proper Boat Tour.  Who knows, we never figured it out and our dreams of a Boat Tour were crushed.  Instead, we had a little snack at the cafe on the banks of the river and enjoyed a pre-sunset stroll.

the mighty Garonne


Our next stop was to Le P'tit Truc for a drink.  This little hole in the wall bar had some great sidewalk seating for gabbing and people watching while the boys sipped their rosé.

dudes and wine.

by the way, how funny are these two matchy matchy besties? clearly Americans with their cargo shorts, sandals and plaid button downs.

The owner was super nice and chatted with us and some other patrons to find us a good restaurant option for cassoulet, which Shawn was dying to try despite the heat.  On their suggestion, we headed over to J'Go for dinner.  They made a mean duck cassoulet, had nice wine, and a killer rhubarb compote dessert, but I'd say everything else was so-so.  Regardless, we had a great last night together relaxing on the outdoor patio.  We headed back to our hotel on the square and capped off the evening with a few beers from Le Pottok, the bar across the street with a good Belgian selection. We started off the next morning with a fantastic breakfast at Le Galuchat, a little crêperie with good coffee and huge variety of fresh crêpes and galettes.  After we were properly stuffed, we headed over to the Jardin Compans Caffarelli, a big park near the Arnaud Bernard that held a Japanese Garden and small café.  It was no Japanese Tea Garden in GGP, but we had a nice time soaking in the sun and have some refreshments before Shawn and Kate had to head off to the airport.

the menu at Le Galuchat. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of my crêpe - it was so good!

Japanese Garden in Compans Caffarelli park

watching turtles and koi

view from the other side of the pond



the resident dragon

After we bid adieu to our besties, Michael and I decided that we needed some Boat Tour redemption.  So we headed back into the city, determined to go on a damn Boat Tour if it was the last thing we did! We enjoyed a nice, albiet HOT cruise down the Garonne, admiring the bridges and scenery and watching couples walking and biking along the paths of the canals.

Boat Tour Redemption

so many bridges

the banks of the Garonne

hot bump on a boat

perfectly clear blue sky

the Canal du Midi. So many people were walking along the canal paths.

After the tour, we were desperate for something cold and Michael was looking for a caffiene boost before our 2.5 drive home.  We made the short walk over to Denny's  Coffee Bar and indulged in some delicious bevies - Iced Espresso for Michael and a Decaf Iced Mocha for me.  It was the perfect, relaxing way to end our time in Toulouse.

perfect pick me up

À bientôt, Toulouse!

One Response to “One Night in Toulouse”

  1. Shawn says:

    Glad you got to do the boat tour, although jealous we did not. Damn website. Great town overall.

    And how did it take me until about 9pm at night to realize that Michael and I were dressed alike? I guess I’ve been in SF too long where everyone looks like that.

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