P1090973Toulouse is such a pretty city. I went with some friends on Saturday, and we had such fun.IMG_3880It was the Journées de Patrimoine (Heritage Days), but my friends weren’t too interested in history, alas. That didn’t stop me from snapping photos right and left. P1090975P1090974On l’Allée Jules Guesde, a vegan festival was in full swing, and we were disappointed that we had already eaten. IMG_3873IMG_3867IMG_3876IMG_3877IMG_3872Besides history and food, there was music, with brass bands playing at various squares. I loved the all-woman group, playing a cover by Madonna.IMG_3892In the main square, Place du Capitole, a Basque festival was going on, with a band, dancers in traditional dress, giants that we later saw parading around, and lots of stands where you could taste and buy the regional specialties.IMG_3909IMG_3904We were strolling down the main pedestrian shopping street, rue Saint-Rome, when the Gilets Jaunes approached from the direction of the Capitole. To avoid them, we turned down a side street and discovered some cute shops we usually would have missed by sticking to the main shopping streets. Then we headed toward rue Alsace-Lorraine, but the Gilets Jaunes had turned and were coming down that street. So we zipped a couple of streets down to cross ahead of them and managed to get to Place Saint-Georges, for gelato and tranquility.

Place Saint-Georges between crowds.

It was lovely. The ice cream was amazing, and we were entertained by a group of swing dancers. I was itching to join them. P1090976We meandered on, popping into the Lush store. A very young salesclerk unlocked the door for customers and then locked it again. We could hear the Gilets Jaunes drums and chants, but figured they were on the bigger street. No–they poured past, chanting but not breaking anything. More or less respectful. Non-protesters managed to swim upstream on the sidewalks on either side. We just watched from inside the store. Finally they were gone and we left. Looking back down the street, it was a fog of tear gas at Place Saint-Georges. No more swing dancing, or gelato.P1090979 Soon they were retreating down the same street, pushed out of the square. Parents hustled their kids along to stay out of the GJs’ way. I heard a very small child, maybe four or five years old, on a trottinette, remarking to his mother that there was tear gas. I can tell you I was pretty old before I had any idea about tear gas. All the same, it shows that people have stopped paying attention and just continue to carry on, despite the protests.IMG_3895P1090969On a separate note, we recently got to meet Janelle of the Distant Francophile blog, and her husband, Scott. They manage to be utterly chic and adorable at the same time. And a real love story. Janelle mixes travel tips, wardrobe advice and recipes, all with fantastic photos. I was tickled that they chose to stay in one of our AirBnBs and that we got to know them better. If you’re a francophile, then definitely check out Janelle’s blog and Instagram.

The Distant Francophiles in the south of France, chez nous.



24 thoughts on “On the Town

  1. Ah toulouse… claude Nougaro a écrit de belles chanson sur la Ville Rose …
    J’y suis née, j’y ai fait mes études et j’y ai travaillé quelques années. Elle est devenue une grande ville avec tous les travers d’une grande ville sans les avantages tels que transports en communs.
    Pourtant j’aime y revenir le plus souvent possible mais en “touriste”. Je flâne dans les rues et mes quartiers préférés.
    Nostalgie nostalgie…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hopefully you enjoyed your day in Toulouse as much as we enjoyed our stay in your beautiful apartment. Thank you again for making our time in Carcassonne so special. It was a pleasure to get to know you in person. (Thanks too for the lovely words about Scotty and I.) xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Gilets Jaunes are a ragtag bunch who started protesting almost a year ago against a carbon tax on gas. It grew into protests against everything–pension reform, the abolition of the wealth tax, you name it. They want more services and fewer taxes. Free the toll roads. Everybody should be able to drive as fast as they want. I guess it’s libertarian. Or anarchist. The name comes from the yellow vest all drivers are required to have in their cars and to put on if they pull over to the side of the road for car trouble.


    2. In fact, because they are against the carbon tax, they don’t really care about climate change. There are a lot of older people in the movement, and they say they’ll be dead before climate change hits, so they don’t care. Just don’t mess with their driving.


      1. Yeah, I’m surprised at the number of older people. Are they just bored and lonely? I’m surprised that the high number of vandals and looters — at least in Paris, where I live half the time — has not deterred the demonstrators. I’m surprised that no one has done the math or checked the logic of expecting more subsidies for lower taxes. Plus I’m amazed at how many subsidies exist in France right now. Plus Macron, who they want to demission, if not guillotine, by loosening labor regulations just the tiniest fraction, has created jobs. My SO tells me the whole mood of business in general has lifted. People he knows are hiring now; it’s a real sea change. There is so much that I just don’t get about the whole GJ thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks like a lively town, so many activities to be part of ! And of course, you found again quirky details to photograph, like that number 5 inside the mouth of the lion head. I always find your photos so fascinating because they are spontaneous, just snippets of reality.
    I was surprised that GJ are still an issue, for some reason I thought they found some resolve of their requests. Sadly, children all over learn about tear gas, mass shootings and other horrors way too soon in their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love that group of singers doing the Madonna cover. Something so very French in that! Also love the increasing number of vegan options starting to find their way into the more remote regions and towns. You did well to keep to the fringe of the GJ’s even if it seems there’s less violence in the protests.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh the Journées du Patrimoine are great! Last year we were in Bordeaux and visited the maritime and trade museum and the wine trade museum. This year firmly in north east Scotland! In fact I’m playing truant from writing a blog post about it for my business – popped over here for a spot of French immersion! No GJ up here – tho who knows what the future brings! The fromage vegetal looks tasty. When I lived in France at the start of the 80s vegetarians got a lettuce salad or pasta and green beans and that was it! With all the wonderful French produce it’s great that vegetarian and vegan cuisines are being embraced.

    Liked by 1 person

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