Sunday, August 21, 2011

Last Night in Toulouse

I'm not planning to post every day during my stay in France--starting tomorrow, I'm here to work--but I've been a tourist in Toulouse and I'm pleased to be able to share pictures and impressions. Although it would eventually get hot, at 9am this morning when I headed out, the air was nice and fresh. Since it was Sunday morning, not many people were around, and few shops were open. There was a stand on the Capitole square selling bread that looked fantastic, but I'd just had breakfast so I passed it by (until later, on my way back for a rest, when I got a baguette). I just walked around the old quarter and along the Garonne until 10 when the Musee des Augustins opened.

What a terrific place! First, it's a beautiful old monastery, so it's a work of art in its own right. It reminded me somewhat of the Ex-Convento de la Natividad in Tepoztlan, Mexico, although that's not quite the same sort of museum and hasn't been as well preserved. This Musee, though, has a great collection of statues from the Middle Ages as well as regional painting from the 19th Century (and earlier), including several pieces by local favorite son Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (from nearby Albi).

There's also a nice courtyard veggie and herb garden, I suppose because the monks needed to feed themselves? (These pictured gargoyles are keeping watch over the garden.)

On my stroll, I caught another glimpse of Jacobins down a side street. Still quite an impressive sight.

Also in the morning, I visited the Musee St. Raymond near the Basilica. It's interesting in that it shows the history of Toulouse from very early times (Toulouse was the capital of the Visigoths!) but I didn't want to take the time to decipher too much of the French, and there wasn't much English.

Back along the Garonne, I decided I'd stop by L' Espace EDF Bazacle, an old hydropower station turned exhibit on water and energy. I wouldn't have paid to go in, but since it was free . . . I especially enjoyed the close-up views of the river.

And at that point I'd seen everything in Toulouse I wanted to see--and then some. I kept walking, though, as there is always something popping up when you turn a corner of one of the narrow alleys--the open markets, the vendors, the cafes.

In the morning I'll need to make my way to the train station to get on the Bordeaux-bound line for my stop at Valence d'Agen, where, if all goes well, I'll be picked up by VCCA staff for transport to the facility in Auvillar. It will take a while to get settled there, I imagine, but I'm not there for terribly long--I have to leave on Sept. 1--so I need to get to work!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those gargoyles are wonderful, Cliff. Great picture.