To win is Toulouse, A solo travel story.
I was up and away early today to explore Toulouse, I checked booking.com for the top sights and noticed a Japanese garden that was nearby. It was only a ten minute walk and worth it for a morning stroll.
I found the now familiar canal du midi where it meets the river in Toulouse and crossed over ready to hit the …………….. gallery. It was boiling hot again today so a leisurely pace was required, my mosquito bites from Beziers were also going nuclear so I had to cover them with plasters. Bloody tiger mosquitos, I’d definitely recommend taking repellent if you’re heading here.
The grounds of the gallery are beautiful, I checked out a few bits but I was slightly confused on how to get in to the main section. After trying a couple of doors that were locked I found a terrace overlooking the river and sat down for a bit to enjoy the views.
I planned a route through the City that would take me to sone of the top sights and also past a well rated Vietnamese place. My first stop was the Basilica of saint-sernin, this huge church was built in 1180 as part of an Abbey and it’s the largest Romanesque church in Europe!
It’s pretty big! It also is a very pretty building and really dominates this area of Toulouse. I continued walking through the main part of the City and was enamoured with the little streets filled with restaurants and interesting street art.
The main square with it’s Capitol building is a top sight in Toulouse but unfortunately there was an event on while I was there which obscured much of the majesty of the place.
I walked through a couple of small parks in the centre of the City including Charles de Galles park and took a quick detour to check out the Couvent des Jacobins. Similar in look to the Basilica it is most famous for housing the remains of the philosopher, Thomas Aquinas.
Toulouse has so many museums and gallerys you could spend a couple of days visiting them, I wasn’t so fussed on going inside when the weather was this good as I passed a couple on my way to get another church, the cathedral of St Etienne.
I was a bit church weary by this point, not being religious probably doesn’t help though. I was hungry and excited to eat Banh Mi, the big Vietnamese sandwich with french influence that was a favourite of mine in Vietnam.
I found this place using foursquare and it just so happened that it was on my route. Le Kiosque MIO is a little shack woth outside seating selling various tasty Vietnamese dishes located in the beautiful surroundings of Allees Forain-Francois Verdier. A wide leafy boulevard leading to my next destination… the royal gardens and the garden of plants. Two huge leafy parks filled with fountains, statues and waterfalls.
It was great, a peaceful and shady spot to cool down in the heat. I sat on some grass for a while here watching the world go by and trying to catch up with writing this blog.
Heading back towards the river I decided to take a slow stroll along the length of it up in the direction of my hostel.
I was starting to fall in love with Toulouse and it’s laid back atmosphere. Cafes and bars line every street and little square and the river is buzzing with people all the time it seemed.
Tonight I was going to finally eat out at a restaurant on my own, I got changed at the hostel, and sat out on the balcony enjoying the last of the heat before heading out.
Unfortunately I don’t think I really captured the City by night, but I walked back through some of the little squares where people were now doing salsa dancing and everyone seemed to be eating al fresco. I ate a at a pizza place and realised why solo travel on a budget doesn’t allow for eating out. It cost the same as my last 3 nights meals!
I did however get to experience another majestic Toulouse sunset, a fitting end to a satisfying day of exploration. I was looking forward to my next destination: Andorra, the small country high up in the Pyrenees.