The Capitole, Toulouse!

So here I am after several trips there and last week in my lovely Toulouse and realise not written a post on the Capitole of Toulouse! wow, well is time to remedy that. Here is my take on them. Enjoy it

First  , a bit on the location, the square.

The Place du Capitole is a square in the historic center of Toulouse. It measures 12,000 m2 and contains no construction other than the Occitan cross on the ground. The capitouls decided in 1676 to create a Place Royale; in order to circumvent the Parliament of Toulouse which is opposed to the project, they include in the plan of the square a statue of king Louis XIV, which gives his agreement. Administrative difficulties delay the project, whose plan for the square was not drawn up until 1730, fifteen years after the death of Louis XIV, which no doubt explains why the statue never was done; following the renovation of the Capitol facade in 1739, it was decided to enlarge the square ; work only started in 1750. The current square was not completely built until 1792.


And the building of the Capitole

The Capitole is THE monument of the city of Toulouse, which now houses the City/Town Hall and the Capitole theater. The history of this building begins in 1190 when the Toulouse consuls (capitouls) are looking for a building to house the common house. Their ambition is to build an administrative city surrounded by ramparts in the 13C. But it was not until the 17C that the palace we know today was built by the capitouls. The name of this common house is initially Capitulum (Chapter), Capitoul in Occitan: the house of the capitouls, who voted by headcount, like the ecclesiastical chapters. The eight columns of the Caunes-Minervois marble facade symbolize the first eight capitouls. At that time, Toulouse was divided into eight districts: the capitoulats, each managed by a capitoul.


Old buildings around it are: .Facade of the Capitole,Cour Henri-IV ; Poids Commun and the Bouille ; Great Consistory; Chapel of the Consistories ; Octagon hall ; Logis of the shield ; Dungeon of the Capitol;. Tour de la Vis ; Charlemagne tower ; Men’s prison;. Arsenal; poids de l’huile , and the Petit Versailles. Places like the Arsenal are no longer visible.

The building consists of two floors, three fronts crowned with pediments and an entablature supporting an attic. Eight marble columns were placed on the central front to symbolize the eight capitoulats or districts of old Toulouse. The facade is pierced with forty-one windows decorated with wrought iron balconies. Each balcony is decorated with escutcheons: two (the sixth and sixteenth balconies) have the colored escutcheons of the arms of the city, the others represent the arms of the capitouls in exercise at the time of construction. But in 1760, when the badges were applied, the capitouls were no longer the same and refused to lay down the arms of their predecessors. The coats of arms were placed in the attic of the Capitol and replaced by those of the capitols in place. For several years, each time the capitouls were changed, the coats of arms suffered the same fate until 1770. In 1793, the revolutionaries tore off the coats of arms but forgot those hidden in the attic. They were found in 1827 to put them back on the balconies. In 1988, they were replaced by copies because of their state of degradation.


Some of the interior ,briefly are: The original escalier d’honneur or staircase built in 1674 and rebuilt in 1886. At the entrance a monumental bust of Jean Jaurès. Salle Gervais, this room is named after the painter Paul J. Gervais who decorated the room with allegories of Love. The salle Martin, this room served as a wedding hall. It is decorated with ten large canvases by Henri Martin . The Salle des Illustres or room of the illustrious located along the facade of the Capitole. The current gallery replaces the old room of the Illustrious built in 1674 and destroyed in 1887 It now serves as a reception room for distinguished guests of the city of Toulouse and for the bride and groom . The Salle du Conseil municipal (municipal council room) It is decorated with paintings by Paul J. Gervais representing monuments of the city and its region and country scenes.



The impressive donjon or dungeon has it that after 60 years of work on the ruins of the great Capitol fire, the capitouls decided, in 1525, to build the Donjon, also called the Tour des Consistoires in order to protect the archives and gunpowder in anticipation of an invasion of Languedoc by the Spanish during the war between François Ier and Carlos V. The keep is restored by Viollet-le-Duc between 1873 and 1887 because it threatened to collapse. The three bells that can be heard ringing the quarter, are located behind the pediment of the facade of the City/Town Hall. It is now under renovation and the tourist office is just across in the large building well mark.



The tourist office of Toulouse on the Capitole building: Tourist office of Toulouse on the Capitole

Worth mention the separate webpage for the theaterOfficial Theatre du Capitole

And the one on the donjon on the tourist office: Tourist office of Toulouse on the donjon

Hope you enjoy as we do, a great area to hang around as well in town. As said, the Capitole is a must if coming here ,and coming you must. Toulouse is it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “The Capitole, Toulouse!”

  1. Beautiful and elegant. Thanks for sharing. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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