“There is nothing to lose in Toulouse”
As I reflect on my life abroad, here is a quick Q&A about my adopted city, Toulouse. I dug-up some old pics from my library, which were not taken for the post but I think they’ll live to give you a certain impression.
Why did I move to Toulouse?
Simply for love. My hubby and I decided that after a torturous three-year long distance relationship, it was time we found a suitable middle ground. And so I packed the contents of my apartment and said sayonara to my life in UK. My heart weighed heavily as I watched my life being packed away into a few square meters in a truck. Luckily, memories do live on. I’ll always cherish the years in UK, from my time as a young carefree student to a responsible adult caring for the sick in the hospital.
What do I love about Toulouse?
First and foremost, the weather! I’ve never seen so much sunshine since leaving my homeland Tanzania. The sun does wonders for the wellbeing and so it’s fair to say that I feel wholesome here. Besides the weather, Toulouse is so close to the mountains and the sea. Within one hour or so, you could be in the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean or the Mediterranean sea. Aside the location, I can’t get enough of French food and culture. And I’ve always found the language so beautiful, even though I couldn’t speak it back then. So I’m grateful for such a wonderful experience.
What’s so special about Toulouse?
They call it ‘la ville rose’ meaning, the pink city. Toulouse is decorated by gorgeous red coloured bricks buildings. Apart from the stunning architecture, the city itself is so charming and lively, boasting many gastronomic restaurants, trendy bars and (I heard ..) night life. Toulouse is also home to Airbus, which explains the multitude of foreigners influx in the city.
What’s a must-do in Toulouse?
If you visit for a short period, be sure to check out the view of the city from the rooftop restaurant at Galeries Lafayette, cruise along the Canal du Midi, take a walk in the calming Japanese gardens, watch the sunset from Pont Saint Pierre, and while at it, why not have a picnic by the Garonne river? Go food tasting and shopping at Victor Hugo market, eat cheese at Xavier and be sure to check out the outdoor farmers markets. When in the town centre, you have to swing by the majestic Place du Capitol, Basilica of Saint Sernin, and Church of the Jacobins.
Is all that glitters gold?
Maybe not. One of the worst things about the city is the never ending traffic problem. Once a small city, the roads in Toulouse are simply not made to accommodate the population we have today. My personal pet-hate however lies on the ‘driving skills’. I see quite a few accidents on the road and every so often I get stuck in traffic for hours. How lovely would it be if people actually concentrated on the road ahead instead of their phones? Safety first, preach it please.
Victor Hugo market
What are the French like?
Honestly? In my opinion, they are one of the best examples of people who understand and actually live their own expression, la joie de vivre. They’d rather enjoy life than ponder about stressful things. They would gladly accept a holiday rather than extra pay. I know this as I shamelessly asked, I just had to. The French worship their eating rituals. Lunch times are sacred for food. You wouldn’t find them crouched on a desk nibbling crisps and soggy sandwiches but rather in a restaurant enjoying the lunch menu. You wouldn’t find a self respecting French snacking on public transport. They hardly eat in between meals, and funnily enough, there are numerous adverts on tv and radio which unfailingly remind them not to! When invited for dinner in a French home, expect a decent five course menu, with cheese platter and dessert included, all accompanied by carefully selected wine. And of course, ingredients are all fresh from the garden or some renowned farmer somewhere – don’t worry, you’ll be given a full history of where your food came from. As much as they love their food, the French equally take care of their bodies. Often you’ll see people running during their lunch break and in the evening you’ll find the gyms, pilates and yoga studios all crammed.
The French know how to press the pause button and wholeheartedly appreciate that la vie est belle. Voila! How about you, what’s special about your neck of the woods? Feel free to enlighten me. Till soon. Live Love Laugh x