My Life as a Traveler

Let Loose in Toulouse

First full day in Toulouse, George goes to work at 7:30am, and I’m up trying to catch up on email and make arrangements for the week ahead. I have to wake Morgan and Anna up at 9am because our French landlord is coming to see if we can get the credit card to work to pay the rent. He comes, it doesn’t work, I am stern when I call the credit card company for the third time, am assured that yes, it will go through, and make them stay on the line until it does. Yay!

Time to run some errands. For breakfast, we hit the patisserie for a little pastry and I ask Morgan and Anna to wait outside while I scope out the tourist office. I like to go there first to see if there’s anything like a local festival or something special going on. When I go to a place, I have an idea of what I would like to see, but don’t really decide what day we’ll see what until I hit the tourist bureau. There, I find our friends Adele and Bergen DeLisi, who are doing roughly the same thing.  We compare notes and I find that they are doing an Airbus factory tour that I wasn’t sure we could attend, but might have spaces for us.  We look for the outdoor market, can’t find it, so continue to the Monoprix.

The Monoprix is a department store which usually has one floor that’s a grocery store. This is often our first stop for drinks, snacks, and, if we have an apartment, breakfast items.  This one does not disappoint, and we buy Morgan’s favorite yogurt and strawberry water, cheese, ham, milk, cereal, and wine. We go back to the room and chill out a bit.

Next, we visit the Musee des Augustins, a former monastery which now houses Roman artifacts and art and sculpture from medieval times until the late 1800’s. We linger in the cloisters near a row of gargoyles. I believe Morgan and Anna were contemplating life, while I was contemplating our next destination, the Cathedral of St. Etienne. I think Anna enjoyed her first cathedral, but this was not the best one in town. There are two other great churches we’ve yet to visit. Toulouse was a major stop in medieval pilgrimages, as well as the center of Catharism, a protestant-like group of folks who challenged the Catholic Church’s beliefs, and were wiped out because of it.

It’s 4pm, and in France, that means stop for a drink or an ice cream. We choose ice cream in a little Salon de The on a fountained square, accompanied by street musicians.

When we get back, Morgan and Anna still have not had enough and choose to go out on their own for about an hour and a half. I explain to them very clearly that if they arrive back later than 7pm without a call, I will totally freak out and that would definitely curtail any such outings in the future. Morgan says he’s confident he will not get lost (and he has his cell phone just in case) and off they go, let loose in Toulouse.

They came back at 6:58pm.

We end the day with dinner at a bistro, where the menu was on a portable chalkboard. Morgan had duck hearts, I had duck breast, and Anna had Poulet de GrandMere (Grandmother’s chicken). Our table is on the sidewalk, and I’m sure we are the only ones there who do not live or study in the area. We walk back to find our square, Place du Capitole, lit up beautifully. It’s 10:30pm, and there are people of all ages out enjoying the cooler night air. All in all, a nice day in France.

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