I honestly knew nothing about Toulouse before our quest to see Carcassonne brought us to France’s fourth largest metropolis, but it’s a lovely place. Known as the “Pink City” for the color of its brick, Toulouse has gorgeous French architecture and is quite lively thanks to a large population of university students. We stumbled across a group of them leading llamas around the sidewalks on leashes in order to, quote, keep Toulouse weird, which was indeed a pretty interesting sight to behold.
Despite visiting on a Sunday and thus being unable to partake in what appeared to be an excellent shopping scene, we easily filled our day wandering around the city and exploring tourist sites that were free of charge because it was the first Sunday of the month. I loved relaxing in the peaceful cloister of the Church of Les Jacobins, though the highlight for Gui was definitely seeing the vessel that holds the remains of Thomas Aquinas (Wikipedia link provided for those who, like me, need a refresher on 13th-century history). We also checked out the art museum, which had a really cool piece by Toulouse-Lautrec but otherwise didn’t have many artists of interest to me personally. And we tried Pastis, the southern French spirit, which it turns out tastes like alcoholic licorice. My dad would love it, but I’ll stick to Aperol 🙂
Lured by the bargain movie prices (well, compared to Geneva), we spent the evening at the cinema watching Moonlight, this year’s best picture winner. There was something a little surreal about watching such an American film in a French movie theater surrounded by French people. Moonlight was rated for everyone in France, by the way, which blew me away given how adult some of the themes are considered to be in the states.
Unfortunately, the trip ended on a somewhat sour note the next day when our morning flight was delayed a whopping NINE HOURS thanks to an unlucky mix of a French air traffic controller strike and severe winds. We were supposed to arrive with plenty of time before my class and for Gui to go to work just a tad late, but we both ended up missing the entire day — super frustrating, especially because they kept delaying the flight little by little so we weren’t sure we would ever get out of there. After they announced we were boarding, we were kept for two hours in a weird abandoned gate without food service or wifi. And once we finally boarded the plane, we had to wait on the ground for two hours as they negotiated with the air traffic controllers. A group of panicked and/or annoyed passengers were let off the plane under the condition that they could not re-board later, which probably slowed things down even more. And the plane ride itself? Let’s just say it was the bumpiest experience I’ve had in a while.
Oh well, at least I got free paprika Pringles out of it 🙂 Happy Friday!