Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Time in Toulouse

The airlines are grounded due to the huge volcanic eruption in Iceland, but that won’t affect us, as we are off to Toulouse by train. Toulouse, or to be more specific the nearby town of Albi, is the birth place of the artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec who has been the topic of many a history lesson in my art classes. Leaving Montparnasse station it only takes us a few hours to arrive at the ‘pink city’ as Toulouse is often referred, due to the frequent use of pale red terracotta brickwork on most of it’s early buildings. One of the most prominent buildings is La Basilique Saint Sernin, which is conveniently opposite our hotel and provides a spectacular view particularly at night when it is lit up like a Christmas tree, which just happens to be similar to it’s shape. There are many other wonderful buildings here that date back to the eleventh and twelfth century. The city itself is a lovely place to wander the narrow lanes that lead to a wide flowing river. There you can see structures such as Pont Neuf and Dome De La Grave, which are very reminiscent of Italy…great for drawing. There is also Foundation Bemburg, which is a fabulous private eclectic collection of art, housed in a beautifully restored residence. Our aim is to eventually get to visit the town of Albi but although we have dodged the plane disruptions we can’t avoid a typically French phenomenon…the train strike! This, compounded with me catching a heavy cold, sees us restricted just to Toulouse, but that is fine as it’s a nice place to just sit in the plaza (or place) and watch the world go by.

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