January 14, 2020

Basilica Saint Sernin, Toulouse!!!

Looking back I cannot believe not written a post on one of the most important monuments in Toulouse!! It goes saying there is a lot of things to see in my belle France. Right here in lovely pink city of Toulouse, the Basilica of Saint Sernin is awesome to say the least.

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It’s time I remedy this oversight and tell you a bit on this wonderful place we love so much. Architecturally ,historically ,and religiously it is all tops.

The Saint-Sernin Basilica is a sanctuary built to house the relics of Saint Saturnin, first bishop of Toulouse, martyred in 250. It became one of the most important pilgrimage centers of the medieval West, it was served since the 9C at the latest and until the French revolution, by a canonical community. Saint-Sernin is one of the largest preserved Romanesque churches in Europe!

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Saint Saturnin, then head of the Christian community of Toulouse, was taken to task in 250 by pagan priests in the forum at the foot of the ancient Capitolium (current Place Esquirol). He refused to renounce Christianity and to sacrifice to Jupiter ;a bull; he was then attached to the latter who dragged him through the streets of the city along the cardo and crossed the north door to the present site of the basilica, where the rope broke. Two young girls, the holy Puelles, buried Saint Saturnin on the spot. The bull notably passed by the rue de Claustre, now Rue du Taur, renamed after the animal.

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The Basilica St Sernin retains 260 Romanesque capitals and is the symbol of southern Romanesque architecture. Toulouse then received the visit of many pilgrims on the way to Saint-James of Compostela, who came to honor the relics of Saint Saturnin. The Saint-Sernin Basilica is classified as a historic monument by the 1840 list. It is also listed as a UNESCO world heritage site by the ways of Santiago de Compostela in France since 1998.

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As said , a brief description. The nave is 115 meters long. It is made up of 5 naves and its main nave is 8 meters wide. The nave presents stands on the side aisles. The height of the semicircular vault is 21 meters. The transept of the basilica extends from the Porte des Comtes to the Chapels of the Sacred Heart and Saint-Exupère, formerly the royal door open to the monastery, to the north of the church. In front of the Porte des Comtes (counts gate) are, on one of the pillars, a carved feet of Saint-Christophe and, on the eastern face of the southern transept, the Chapels of Sainte-Germaine and the Virgin Mary. The Choir of the basilica houses the tomb of Saint-Saturnin: a baroque canopy in which there is a statue to the glory of the Saint, his burial, as well as a representation of his ordeal in a bas-relief of golden lead. This tomb, was made between 1718 and 1759.

Just above the crossing of the transept, where the main altar is located, stands a bell tower 65 meters high and octagonal in shape. It consists of 5 levels. The transept is followed by an ambulatory bedside with radiating chapels. These chapels are the exhibition site for the reliquaries of the abbey. The ambulatory is decorated with seven marble bas-reliefs embedded in the wall, with in the center a Christ framed by a cherub, a seraphim, two apostles and two angels.

The Basilica of Saint-Sernin has preserved the head and body of Saint James the Great since 1354. The reliquary of the Holy Thorn has since 1251 been preserved here , this is a thorn taken from the Holy Crown thanks to the gift of Alphonse de Poitiers, brother of Saint Louis. From 1083, after a brief period of monastic obedience under the authority of the abbots of Cluny and Moissac, the basilica became a collegiate church, that is to say a church held by a college of regular canons led by a provost, then by an abbot. The canonical chapter was suppressed during the French revolution and Saint-Sernin became a simple collegiate church until 1878, when it was consecrated again and received the honorary title of minor basilica by Pope Leo XIII. After the Revolution and with the abandonment of the abbey buildings, it was decided to clear the basilica and make its forecourt and its various doors accessible. This project will be implemented at the beginning of the 19C. From 1804 to 1808, the cloister of the old abbey was dismantled and some capitals were preserved and exhibited at the Musée des Augustins. Then, by expropriation and repurchases, the buildings and edifices are destroyed all around the church under the impulse of the city architect, in order to form an elliptical square. The Saint-Raymond museum, a former college of the same name, originally a hospital run by the abbey, is the only surviving old building in the abbey complex.

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The great organs of the Saint-Sernin Basilica, renowned throughout the world, were completed in 1889 by the house of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Inaugurated on April 3, 1889 by Alexandre Guilmant, the instrument has fifty-four stops distributed over three keyboards and a pedal (exactly 3,458 pipes). From 1992 to 1996, it was restored.

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The chapels and doors inside the Basilica are numerous but will mention the main ones briefly here: Porte des Comtes, Enfeu des Comtes; Porte Miégeville; Chapel of Saint-Pierre; Sacristy; Chapel of the Crucifix; Chapel of Souls in purgatory; Chapel of the Immaculate Conception; Chapel of Saint-Georges; Chapel of the Holy Spirit; Chapelle Saint-Martial, Saint-Cyr and Sainte-Julitte: Chapelle Saint-Sylve; Chapelle of the Virgin; and Sainte-Germaine Chapel.

It is a huge building and will take at least half a day to see all in details, but worth it. We have done in several trips here and each time come back for somthing new and its great. Come see the Basilica of Saint Sernin in lovely Toulouse.

The tourist office of Toulouse: Tourist office of Toulouse on the Basilica St Sernin

Official Basilica of St Sernin: Official Basilica of Saint Sernin

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

 

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January 12, 2020

The old observatory of Toulouse!

So on our trips to Toulouse or any other city we try to find some off the beaten path places , new places seldom seen even by us. In Toulouse, there are not too many places like this but anyhow on every visit we see a new one. Talk about the richness of places to see in my belle France!

This time we were staying out from the city center in the district of Jolimont or pretty hill  and we took our dog Rex to a park nearby, needless to say it was very nice and we found a new place to see. The Jardin de l’Observatoire are still there , in the first place where a sky planetarium was founded in Toulouse!!! Now its just a garden park.

Toulouse

A classic park, planted with large trees, has its composition axes linked to the function of the Observatory axis of view of the astronomical lenses and axis of the meridian in 1847 .  Covering an area of three hectares and surrounded by walls, the park is home to many species of trees: ash trees, Judas trees, melia, charms, Pennsylvania maple trees, lime trees, American walnut trees, umbrella pines, winged pines, persimmon trees. On the side of the shrubs, mainly laurel tin, but also an almond tree, quince trees, a filaria tree, arbutus trees and buckthorn.  The garden was designed as an integral part of the observatory and keeps several traces: the paths are oriented along the meridian and in the east-west axis. There are also two pillars used to adjust the meridian telescope.

toulouse

toulouse

At the entrance of this park, we find the National School of Air and Space: a building built in a traditional style, with large white columns, which welcomes many students of various ages. Behind this building which could be confused with a historic monument, we find a large park, where the greenery and the buildings dedicated to astronomy mingle with nature in harmony.

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In fact, the city’s first astronomical observatory was founded in 1733 by the local Academy of Sciences. In the middle of the 19C, the observatory was enlarged and took place on the hill of Jolimont. This is also where you can admire the architecture of the buildings designed by Urbain Vitry. In all, three domes allowed astronomers to study the Occitan sky and advance the great aerospace adventure of Toulouse.

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Today, it houses the Societies of Popular Astronomy and the Air and Space Academy. The Toulouse Observatory garden has been a public garden since 1982.

The official site is here in French: The official Astronomy society of Toulouse

City of Toulouse on the observatory garden

The Parc de la Colonne park, also now call the Félix-Tisserand garden, is a public garden located in the district of Jolimont, next to the Jardin de l’Observatoire. Its creation was decided in 1830 to celebrate the battle of Toulouse on April 10, 1814. This saw the Napoleonic troops led by Marshal Soult and the Anglo-Hispano-Portuguese troops of Marshal Wellington clash.

The park was inaugurated on July 24, 1839. It consists of a large lawn bordered by an alignment of cedars in which stands an obelisk, a monument commemorating the battle. Commonly called La Colonne or the column, it was entirely built in brick, between 1835 and 1839. Its total height is around 30 meters and it rests on a cellar with a square plan of 4 m x 4 m), 5.45 m high. Three sides of the cellar carry part of the phrase “AUX BRAVES MORTS POUR LA PATRIE” – “TOULOUSE RECONNAISSANTE” ( To the Braves who die for the fatherland , Toulouse recognize)- “BATTLE OF APRIL 10, 1814” and the fourth has a door.

See above links as it correspond. The column picture I took…

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You got it a new off the beaten path indeed and I think worth a detour for some nice killing time in Toulouse, easy from the center on the metro line A or bus 37. The Jardin de l’observatoire is a nice spot.

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

 

 

 

 

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January 10, 2020

The museum’s of Toulouse!!!

And here I am with Toulouse again. This time will be recap several museums in the city some of which I have written before in my blog.

Toulouse has some nice museums that are often overlook but should not in my opinion. I start with the musée Saint Raymond, just across from the Basilica of St Sernin.  The musée Saint-Raymond, former museum of antiquities , is the archeological museum of Toulouse  opened since 1892.  It is located in the walls of the former university college of Saint-Raymond dating from the 16C.

The tourist office of Toulouse: Tourist office of Toulouse on the St Raymond museum

Toulouse

Toulouse

Then , you have the musée des Saint-Augustins , that this time was in renovations.  The musée des Augustins is the fine arts museum of Toulouse.  It was created in 1793 and opened in 1795. As it was during the French revolution period , it was house in the former convent of Augustins housing the important collections of painting and sculptures.

The tourist office of Toulouse: Tourist office of Toulouse on the St Augustins museum

Toulouse

Toulouse

So this is was walking and saw it and figure it was nice, too much to see just noter for a future visit but seems interestings, the Museum of Toulouse located at 35 Allée Jules Guesdes and near the gardens that I have in other posts so a perfect day could be arrange, hint hint…

The Toulouse Museum, bordered by the Jardin des Plantes, is a museum at the crossroads of the world of science, culture, education, social issues and questions. It invites the visitor to wonder about his relationship to the living world around him.

In 1796, Philippe Picot, holder of the first chair in natural history in Toulouse and director of the Jardin des Plantes, transferred his cabinet and his collections to an old monastery. It is the birth of the Museum. 200 years later, millions have passed the walls to discover the relationship that man maintains with the nature that surrounds him, through his history and the major challenges he encounters.

The official Museum webpage: Official Museum of Toulouse in English

The tourist office has more info in English: Tourist office of Toulouse on the Museum

City of Toulouse on the museum in French

Toulouse

Toulouse

You should plan half a day for each to see it well, or come back as we do… they are really worth it and need to be known more other than those in Paris. Hope you enjoy the museums of Toulouse

City of Toulouse on its museums in French: City of Toulouse on its museums

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

 

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January 10, 2020

Revisit Church Notre Dame du Taur-Toulouse!

And why not come back to great monuments seen before but worth a second look. This is the case of the Church Notre Dame du Taur near the Capitole and Basilica St Sernin  exactly at 12bis rue du Taur.  I have written a piece on its history a while back so will concentrate on new pictures.

Toulouse

My previous post on it is here: My previous post on Notre Dame du Taur

This is a wonderful historical church which was seen briefly before and more in depth on this trip.

A brief further description of this wonderful church is to follow

The stone portal has 6 archivolts and columns decorated with capitals with foliage. The interior of the triangular top is decorated with an 18C statue of the virgin. On both sides, in the niches, two casts replaced the old statues of the 16C ;an apostle and Saint Francis of Assisi. The choir is made up of a small central chapel with a flat apse and two apses with cut sides on both sides.

Toulouse

Above the central altar, the martyrdom of Saint Saturnin, a 19C painting by Bénézet. The central chapel preserves the statue of Notre-Dame du Rempart or of the Deliverance or the Good Help, of the 16C, entered the church in 1783 after the demolition of the oratory of the gate of Villeneuve.

Toulouse

Toulouse

On the south wall of the nave are the remains of a 38-figure genealogy of Jacob, arranged in two registers, from the 14C. This very erased painting was discovered in 1872 when the woodwork that adorned the walls was removed. A bull, carved in the oldest part of the church, reminds us of the martyrdom of Saturnin.

Toulouse

And again the tourist office of Toulouse on the Church Notre Dame du TaurTourist office of Toulouse on the Church of Notre Dame du Taur

There you go  a nice monument to see and close to it all in Toulouse; you must see the Church Notre Dame du Taur. Hope you enjoy the post as we did the visit.

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

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January 10, 2020

Revisit Cathedral St Stephens-Toulouse!

And this is the dandy Cathedral St Stephens or Cathédrale St Etienne of Toulouse . A wonderful monument we always stop by and a must to see while in the pink city of Toulouse.

I have written before on it in my blog so this is just an update on pictures. The previous post is here; Paris1972-Versailles2003.com previous post on the Cathedral of St Stephens

So will give you a more historical twist and photos of this week. Hope you enjoy the beautiful Cathedral St Stephens of Toulouse.

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The oldest parts of the cathedral date from the Romanesque period. These are the south wall of the choir and the north and south walls of the old nave. You can easily see a portion of it from the Place Cardinal Saliège square; it is visible at the level of the current nave, where the wall is in slight relief. It has two oculi, a small door covered with a semicircular arch and two buttresses nested in the Gothic buttresses.

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The Romanesque building was shorter than the current nave. It is estimated that it was 20 meters wide by 85 meters long. In all likelihood, it consisted of a western massif with two towers, a nave with three vessels and a tripartite chevet in extension. The aisles were pierced by oculi to the west, surmounted by a platform and consolidated by buttresses. Its construction probably spans between the episcopate of Bishop Isarn 1071 to 1105, and continues under that of his successor Amiel 1105 to 1139.

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The construction of the cathedral is linked to a policy of recovery of the Church, in the midst of a crisis since the 10C. The papacy encouraged a reform intended to restore discipline among the clergy, change their customs and consolidate their independence from the laity. Bishop Isarn, notably influenced by the action of the Cluny monastery, introduced this reform in Toulouse in 1073. He had a charter drawn up in which it was required: “Let all the clerics eat together, sleep together. May food and clothing be common to all according to the prescription of apostolic tradition. That the freedom to go and move in any place is only granted with the permission of their prior, so that there exists only one spirit, one soul for those who have only one God , one faith, one baptism ”.

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Bishop Isarn had the buildings necessary for this community life constructed. A cloister, a chapter house and a large refectory are built to the south and east of the cathedral. They are added to the group of churches Saint-Etienne and Saint-Jacques. The district, most probably fenced, develops in an area of 2.3 hectares. It is bounded to the east by the city wall. Three vaulted passages, to the north, south and west, open onto the city but are closed after dark. The cathedral is located on the edge of this district to allow people to enter more easily.

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The famous sculptors’ workshops of Moissac and Saint-Sernin participate in the ornamentation of this vast architectural ensemble. Part of their production can still be appreciated despite the almost complete disappearance of Romanesque buildings. The capitals of the nave and five others visible in the gallery come from the old cathedral. They can be compared to those dated 1100-1110 from the Saint-Sernin Basilica. The St Augustins Museum preserves magnificent sculptures from the cloister and the chapter house, some of which are attributed to Gilabertus, one of the major artists of Romanesque art.

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The history of the cathedral is marked by the revolutionary period. In France, the Constituent Assembly seeks to establish a new Church. The property of the clergy is confiscated, religious orders suppressed and the authority of the pope rejected. New priests must be elected and swear an oath to the Civil Constitution of the clergy. This new constitutional clergy must leave the religious habit for a civil dress and marry its members, under penalty of imprisonment. The Toulouse priests were summoned on March 6, 1791. The session took place in the cathedral. The majority of religious refuse to take an oath to the Constitution and must flee. Father Sermet, favorable to new ideas, was elected bishop on March 27. Constitutional worship is also prohibited. The cathedral was closed in March 1794. The canonical quarter, which no longer had any reason for being, was gradually destroyed. The cloister was demolished in 1799. The church suffered numerous destructions. The portal statues are overturned, the Cardailhac bell is thrown from the bell tower and the furniture is partially destroyed. The choir serves as a warehouse for the furniture of the suppressed churches.

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The nave of Saint-Etienne becomes the place of revolutionary celebrations. It is transformed into a temple of the goddess Reason then receives the worship of the Supreme Being. Then take place the decadal worship ceremonies, during which the laws are read and civic spirit glorified. The persecution of religious ends with the Concordat of 1801, an agreement signed between Napoleon Bonaparte and the Papacy. Christianity regained its dominant place in society. After twelve years of unrest, the cathedral is returned to Catholic worship. In a state of ruins, it has lost much of its wealth. And it came back better than ever,Amen!

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The tourist office of Toulouse; tourist office of Toulouse on the Cathedral St Etienne

Official Cathedral St Etienne: Official Cathedral St Etienne in French

And even a revolution could not change the faith. So do come to the Cathédrale St Etienne as it is a wonderful monument testament of enduring faith and beautiful architecture. It is Toulouse so if you are here , you must come to it. Enjoy the post.

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

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January 10, 2020

Marche Victor Hugo-Toulouse!

And why not food in Toulouse, wonderful occitan cuisine rich and hearty for the soul of hte mountains and the Garonne. This is a place I have been coming in for years for drinks with friends, and family and for lunch and dinners as well as market and nearby stores shopping galore, this is Toulouse

I like to tell you more on the marché Victor Hugo at Place Victor Hugo in Toulouse.

Toulouse

The Marché Victor-Hugo market is a covered market located in the center of the Place Victor-Hugo, in the Saint-Georges district, in sector 1 of Toulouse. It is one of the main Toulouse food markets. it once stood under a metal hall, dismantled and replaced by a concrete parking market.

Toulouse arriving marche victor hugo jan20

Before the opening of the rue d’Alsace-Lorraine, the current Place Victor-Hugo was called Place du Marché-au-Bois. There was a wood market, also known as an old-fashioned market. This market was a vast wooden hall, built in 1825 on the site of the old rampart Villeneuve destroyed. The square was completed in 1832. It received the name of Victor Hugo in 1885, on the occasion of a coronation of the poet by the Floral Games. The Victor-Hugo market was inaugurated on March 20, 1892 and opened on July 1, when the works were not completely finished. They are not completed until the following year.

Toulouse

The Victor Hugo market is in the form of a large rectangular building, it consists of a central nave. The building rests on a basement of vaulted cellars. Four entrances are located on the gables of the central nave. Two canopies run along the side elevations, the building rests on cast iron pillars and is covered with a metal frame. The old metal hall is destroyed and replaced by the current parking market, inaugurated on October 17, 1959. It was then the city’s first parking market. Between 2017 and 2019, new renovation and upgrading work was undertaken, while the Place Victor-Hugo was itself rehabilitated.

Toulouse

The city of Toulouse show you this grand opening with a video here: City of Toulouse on new project of place Victor Hugo

We do shop inside but also around the covered market and the great convenience of a Monop grocery store part of the Monoprix group. Location here: Monop grocery store at Pl Victor Hugo

Toulouse

There is an excellent bakery pastry store with branches in other parts of Toulouse, this is the Le Fournil de Victor Hugo! This is my fav search page Yelp with info on the store here: Yelp on Le Fournil Victor Hugo

Toulouse

And last we grab our regional wines such as Fronton here at Busquet’s Maison Busquets, more on the tourist office in French here: Tourist office of Toulouse on Maison Busquets wines etc

Toulouse

You will be loaded with goodies of my belle France and lovely Toulouse all the very best. ah if cheese is your way than see Xavier fromagerie right there, no buy this time but worth the stop anytime. Here is their webpage for reference: Official Xavier fromagerie, cheeses

Tourist office of Toulouse on the Marché Victor HugoTourist office on the marché Victor Hugo

Official webpage Marché Victor HugoOfficial Marche Victor Hugo

As said, this is heaven territory and we stick to it for years, you will be delighted take it from me, diplomé in wines of France by SOPEXA food and wine from France. And the culinary delights of the Haute Garonne, Occitanie, and France!

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

 

January 10, 2020

A souvenir lunch in Toulouse!

In my continuing saga with the pink city of Toulouse I bring you to eating out. And you are in for a good one here in my belle France of course. The culinary experts here is the cassoulet dish and even if imitators and competitors this one remains the only one unique.

The dish even has a page in the tourist office of Toulouse! We love it and I die for it; each time here must have one and where better than in our ritual place at Place Victor Hugo right above the market of same name, the restaurant Le Loubechem! A family tradition for years…

Of course, there are others, but this one is a family tradition of many years going back to the founders of the restaurant and my wife’s father’s family from the area.

We have been coming to Le Louchebem since 1994 when it opened and keep coming back!! The word Louchebem is the result of the deformation by jargon of the word butcher attested for the first time in 1876 in the form luchebem, was then used to indicate the jargon of louchébems or the butchers’ talk, in other words the slang of butchers from second half of the 19C. Louchébem remains known and used today in this professional universe.

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The Le Louchebem restaurant opened its doors in 1994, above the marché Victor Hugo market at Place Victor Hugo square. This traditional establishment is a family home that serves a restaurant and a butcher. It holds the title of Maître Restaurateur. The cuisine concocted here is prepared from fresh and carefully chosen products. The setting is picturesque, the atmosphere friendly, the service as professional as smiling. In other words, it is a good address for Toulouse residents as well as for passing visitors. You must absolutely taste the house specialties, as plentiful as delicious. An institution warmly recommended to all.

Toulouse

Toulouse

 

Their official webpage is at : Le Louchebem Toulouse

The cassoulet is of occitan origins and is a specialty based on dry beans, generally white, and meat. Originally it was made from beans. The cassoulet takes its name from the enamelled terracotta casserole made in Issel. It is usually told that the place the origin is in the city of Castelnaudary, during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453).

During the siege of Castelnaudary by the English, the hungry besieged would have gathered all the food available (beans and meat), to make a gigantic stew or estofat, to reinvigorate the combatants. These could then drive out the English and liberate the city.

The question became nationalized around 1900 when the food critic Edmond Richardin launched a debate on this subject in the Parisian Gazette. Everyone then took sides for a region such as Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, and Toulouse, while by passing the existence of local versions like Villefranche-de-Lauragais, Narbonne, Montauban, Pau or Pamiers. To mediate this rivalry, Prosper Montagné ; a Languedocien gourmet who became a cook in Toulouse, uses a metaphor : “Cassoulet is the God of Occitan cuisine. A God in three people: God the Father who is the cassoulet of Castelnaudary, God the Son who is that of Carcassonne and the Holy Spirit, that of Toulouse. ” We of course, side with the version of Toulouse!

The Toulouse cassoulet contains duck confit and a Toulouse sausage, carrot and an onion spiked with cloves. It is sometimes covered with breadcrumbs, before going to the oven. The number of times it is necessary, during baking, to break the crust that forms on the surface of the dish, is the subject of great quarrels of experts told between six and eight times depending on the versions and the chef.

Toulouse

The tourist office of Toulouse on the cassoulet: Tourist office of Touluse in English on the Cassoulet dish

Hope you can visit Toulouse and enjoy this institution by a wonderful picturesque quant neighborhood of Victor Hugo! Enjoy the Le Loubechem!!

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

 

 

January 9, 2020

Our drive and stay in Toulouse!

Well I am back from my week in Toulouse sort of a grand start to 2020 for us. The pink city is very special as not only visited several times over the years but family roots on wife’s father’s side.

We decided to take the tolls road this time so we can arrive early on and see as much as possible. We rented an appart hotel Adagio Jolimont with the metro stop Jolimont line A right down stairs. We end up never using it lol, drove into the city and also walk over 2 kms!

Toulouse

We drove on the N165 towards Nantes and then took the A83 and then the A10 to Bordeaux rocade A630 and finally the A62 to Toulouse, in all 49,40€ in tolls nice gov tax! but made it in 7h15 hours.

Bordeaux

We check in easily into the Adagio Jolimont appart hotel on the top floor! nice views of the city from the pretty hill or Jolimont... Very friendly staff . Only complaint is the elevator/lift was not in service when arrive so need to climb the 6 floors for two days! Also, the free parking was off site but was never a problem to find a spot. The rest was superb and well recommended for families not willing to spent the vacation money on lodging.

Toulouse

As said we walk a lot from here into the city center of  Toulouse and the sight seeings was ok but realise later on the traffic was great and easy on street parking as well as underground was found.

On the way back we decided to go the free route 10 hours ! but worth it for the sights and friendly folks along the route, our preferred mode of transportation ,the car and free!

We left Jolimont Toulouse on the A62 exit 15 towards the D820 direction Montauban/Agen and kept on this road for a long time.  If you drove in France , you can remember this route as the old N20 , each departement decided to rename it after the new road rules of 2005. This road can be toll under the new A20. We have taken all of them over the years. The parts of the A20 we took are not toll ::)

Limoges

You go here by the Hautes Garonne, Tarn et Garonne and Lot departements in the Occitanie region. We continue into the Corréze and Haute-Vienne in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.  By Limoges you go into the N147 national road direction Poitiers. Here you take also the N149 to Bressuire and converges with the N249 around Cholet direction Nantes and it connects with the boulevard périphérique on the N844, and finally connects with the N165 Vannes and home!

In all we carry our dog Rex for the longest ride and he was fantastic!!! very happy of him, good boy, not an incident and well behave: even ate at restaurants with us perfectly!!! The highlight of the trip really! I love my Rex, borador, mix border collier and labrador!

toulouse

The apparhotel and restaurant we wanted to eat all took Rex in very nicely. Overall a very pleasant family trip! Looking forward to tell you all about it in my next blog posts. Hope you enjoy it and thank you

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

 

 

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January 9, 2020

The streets of Toulouse

And again will be telling you about Toulouse in the coming days. A wonderful city, much underrated but very special to  me.  I like to tell you about its streets and sights passing by in our glorious walks all over it.

Toulouse it’s really a walkers city as most if not all is within walking distance to use already European experts on walking. Some spots can be far for the un initiated ones but I say easy to do, so enjoy the walking,  and the pictures.

I start right off with the Allées Jean Jaurés who goes from the Garonne river to the city center with great panoramic views of the city.

toulouse

The Place Wilson as commonly call by locals but full name is  place du Président-Thomas-Wilson (USA). This is one of the IN places in town very lively all the time.

toulouse

And one of the most shopping oriented streets in Toulouse is the Rue Lafayette right off the Capitole!

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I used it a couple of times as mostly come here by car but a very good prime train station in France, the Gare Matabiau (back) and the metro tram bus terminal of Marengo by the library or Mediathéque José Cabanis.

toulouse

toulouse

And of course could not missed out on driving in Toulouse for convenience like coming into town find yourself a nice underground parking like at Place Esquirol and do your feet do the walking!! Enjoy Toulouse!

Toulouse

This is unique Toulouse, a highly recommended city to visit in my belle France, unique Occitanie or Midi-Pyrénnés of old. Department 31 Haute-Garonne!! Enjoy it

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

 

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January 6, 2020

Vianden, the romantic Castle on the hill

This is Vianden, Luxembourg. I have come close to it but never made it here, perhaps too much driving around. This time I came straight from Echternach on the road N10 and it was fantastic, one of the highlights of the trip as we love castles.

There is a quaint small town ambiance which is superb here, we love it, and nice .  And the river Our.  The Our river is a left-hand tributary of the river Sûre. Its total length is 78 kilometres (about 48 mi). It’s cascades and levies is nice natural environment to see and walk its banks.   This is part of a natural park that should be pretty nice for those with more time and the forests, more info in French/German: Natural park of the Our river valley

Vianden

However, all else is secondary to the Castle of Vianden. The castle last check was open every day from 10h and until 16h to 18h depending the date. Always good to check the official site below as in all monuments to get the latest.

Vianden

The Château de Vianden had two lives interspersed with a long purgatory. Built from the 11C to the 14C on the foundations of an ancient Roman then Carolingian stronghold, it stands out as one of the most remarkable stately residences in the heart of Europe. The prestige and political influence of the counts of Vianden goes hand in hand with this elegant and imposing building. But at the beginning of the 19C, the castle was nothing more than a ruin. Acquired by the State in 1977, it is renovated and completely rebuilt with strict respect for its original face. His visit now makes it possible to plunge back into more than a millennium of history and stories, which includes an Information Center with pleasant and educational museography for all audiences. An annual medieval festival is a legitimate success.

Vianden

You come up a long winding hilly road into the entrance gates, pay, and go up more steps into the first courtyard. You follow a sequence of numbered rooms to the Arms hall, archeological crypt, early kitchen, lower chapel (with byzantines designs) ,knight’s study, inner courtyard, upper chapel, Byzantine gallery, JP Kotz hall, Charles Arendt hall, Banqueting hall, bedroom, festivity hall, genealogy hall, grand kitchen, dining hall, the well, knight’s hall, and the large cellars. You can easily spend half day looking at the castle alone or more.

The castle of Vianden is impressive , with great showing , and a nice cafeteria at the way out , suggest though to get something to drink as you start your tour, bottle of water etc as the long up and down sideways can be exhaustive for older and or less active folks.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Castle of Vianden layout and things to see

Tourist office of Vianden in English

One of the romantic cinderalla trips you can make in two, family or alone; it is magical and highly recommended. I will be looking forward to coming back soon. Enjoy Vianden and the castle by the hill.

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

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