Happy New Year everyone!
Hope you’ve all had a lovely break and that the new term is going well. As for me, I’ve just moved to Granada (literally three days ago) so I’m adapting to another beautiful culture and my brain keeps mixing both languages, I keep saying “Pardon” instead of “Perdona”!
Today, I thought I’d reflect on my time in Toulouse and told you all about some of my favourite things to do in my spare time in la ville rose!
Going on your year abroad means that you must pack the essentials, and unfortunately you can’t really take a bike with you. However, Toulouse has a self-service bike scheme for short journeys called Vélô Toulouse, this allows you to use a bike for as long as you want, for €20 per year, or €1,20 for a whole day and if you only use it for 30 minutes – its free! I love using Vélô Toulouse to cycle along Canal du Midi and La Daurade.
Canal du midi
Here is the link to their website http://www.velo.toulouse.fr/ so that you can try to find the equivalent to the following words in french:
“Membership & tickets“
“How it works?”
And find out how many docking stations area available in the whole of Toulouse!
Lac de la Ramée
During the summer, Lac de la Ramée was also one of my favourite spots to sunbathe, go for a swim and have a picnic with friends, and its only 30mins away from the centre of Toulouse! They also offer activities such as voile, planche à voile, canoë-kayak, pêche, windsurf.
I’m a foodie so indulging on French food was by far another thing that I loved doing! Some of my favourite places to eat were La Maison du Cassoulet; the Cassoulet Toulousain is a typical dish from Toulouse and it consists of sausage from the region, duck, mutton, and haricots blancs. It’s such good meal for those winter evenings. One of the expressions I always heard around the table after having cassoulet was: “Je suis calée!!” – I’m full!!
Les Fondues de la Daurade – this was a restaurant that for the first time in my life made me say no more cheese please!
For l’heure du gouter (snack time ) – Le Flower’s café was by far my favourite, their selection of cakes was just insane and delicious!! Here’s the link to their page: http://www.theflowerscafe.com/ cela fait venir l’eau à la bouche (it makes your mouth water).
Marchés de noël– Chrsitmas markets. During the months of November and December, going to the Christmas markets is a must to get in the Christmas mood before heading home for the holidays, and to be honest you can’t really avoid it, as it takes place in the main square of Toulouse! You can find a variety of stalls that sell everything from décorations de noël, bijoux, gastronomie, vêtements. And yes, of course the gastronomie stalls were my favourite! I indulged multiple times on a special version of cheese on toast, saucisson toulousaine and a lot of nougat.
Exploring the region
In my spare time, I also made sure to visit some of the towns of the region, for example Albi and Carcassonne which are only an hour away from Toulouse by car.
Just like in Toulouse, in Albi you’ll find building of red brick everywhere. In fact, its home to the largest brick built cathedral in the world – Saint-Cecille Cathedral.
Carcassonne is famous for its fortified citadel – La Cité. It made me feel like a princess as I wondered through the medieval street of what felt like a never-ending castle! In Carcassonne, you’ll also find many restaurants that serve Cassoulet!
Le musée des Augustins-un musée des Beaux-arts. It’s one of my favourites in Toulouse for those days when you feel like getting cultured, it’s a fine arts museum with paintings from the middle-ages up until the 20th century and you can also find a collection of sculptures.
Jardin de Plantes – such beautiful and big botanical garden, perfect to relax, and just chill with friends or even go over some revision notes!
Jardin Japonais- according to the Pokémon go lovers, this was the perfect spot to catch them all! It’s small but so beautiful and peaceful as its filled with bamboo, bonsai trees and sometimes you can even hear the fish in the pools. On the other side of the park, there’s also a big skate park where I learnt to skate a little in the summer.
Le coucher du soleil– now this will always be my absolute favourite! The sunset in Toulouse was always a highlight of my day! When I first arrived in Toulouse, I spent my days at the Quai de la Daurade, eating a jambon-beurre baguette and watching the sunset. It’s still beautiful even after the sunsets as the lights of the bridges and buildings reflect onto the river. In the summer, you often see people with picnics and a few drinks by the river just chatting the evening away with a beautiful view. In fact, this is how I ended my 20th birthday celebrations with some friends.
Later on, in the semester, I found an even better spot, the very top of a car-park and honestly the views coupe la soufflé! (Take your breath away!
It feels quite surreal that I’m reflecting back on my time Toulouse already. C’est fou comme le temps passe vite!(How time flies!) Toulouse will always be one of my favourite places!
In terms of Granada, just from three days here I can already tell you all that I’m going to have a great time, and that I’m going to eat rather well because when you order a drink here you get tapas for free!!
Happy reading everyone and until the next post,
ANSWERS TO VELO TOULOUSE QUESTIONS:
“Membership & tickets“- Abonnement & tickets
“Ticket machine” – la borne principale
“Docking station” – les stations
“How it works?” – comment ça marche?
And find out how many docking stations area available in the whole of Toulouse! : 253