The little trains in Toulouse
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Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 1:
Place du Capitole
The Place du Capitole, situated in front of the town hall is the main square of Toulouse. The Capitole (the town hall building) was built in the 18th century. It has a superb facade using brick, stone and marble. The eight columns symbolise the eight « capituls », or governors who administered the city from the middle ages to the revolution.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 2:
Église du Taur
This recalls the story of Saint-Sernin, first bishop of Toulouse, martyred by the Romans in the year 250 AD. In those days, Christians were being heavily persecuted. The bishop was tied to a bull that was originally meant for sacrifice. The animal charged off, the rope broke, and the bishop was killed. His body was buried in the place of the present Eglise du Taur.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 3:
La Basilique St Sernin
The Saint-Sernin Basilica was built mainly during the 11th and 12th centuries to house Saint-Sernin's tomb. This important example of western art is the biggest romanesque edifice preserved in France. 115 metres long, this building was designed to receive crowds of pilgrims on their way to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle in Spain. It is built in the shape of a Latin cross.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 4:
St. Pierre des Chartreux
The Saint-Pierre-des-Chartreux church's dome, covered with slate and surmounted by Saint-Baptiste statue. We can also see the old cloister des Chartreux arches which were installed at Toulouse during the religious wars.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 5:
St. Pierre des Cuisines
The Saint-Pierre-des-Cuisines church is an ancient romanesque building built on an old necropolis that existed before the Basilique Saint-Sernin. Today it is a 450 places auditorium.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 6:
Place St Pierre
The pleasant Place Saint-Pierre, laid out as we see it now at the end of the 18th century, is a lively square with lots of cafes frequented by the student population. From the Quai Saint-Pierre there is a superb panorama ; note especially on the other side of the river, the imposing silhouette of the Chapelle de la Grave. The copper covered dome is the highest of the town, at 67 metres.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 7:
Église de la Daurade
the Eglise de la Daurade owes its name to the former 5th century edifice that was decorated with mosaics made of gold. It was known as the golden church. The monumental facade of stone columns on your left was built at the beginning of the 19th century
. Inside, there is a statue of the black virgin still visited by devout Toulousains. .
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 8:
École des Beaux-Arts
the Ecole des Beaux Arts where you will notice the busts of great French artists and architects.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 9:
the magnificent Hôtel d'Assézat, a gem of the renaissance period, contains the marvellous Bemberg collection of paintings. Assezat was a city governor whose fortune came from the pastel trade.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 10:
Cathédrale St Étienne
in the Place Saint-Etienne you can admire on the center, the « Griffoul », which is the most ancient public fountain of the city, because it was built in the 16th century. The Cathédrale Saint-Etienne looks strange because of its astonishing juxtposition of different buildings. Would you please note the enormous brick church tower-donjon, and the rose which is strangely out of center compared with the principal door.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 11:
Place St Georges
The Place Saint-Georges is one of the biggest square of the old Toulouse. The Hôtel de la Fage contributes to its harmony. In the past, the condemned were put to death in the square. The 10th of march 1762, Jean Calas, the famous burgess from Toulouse, was put to death on the pillory in this square. He was accused of the murder of his son. Then Voltaire started the Calas case, he asked for the review of the sentence. The council of the king quashed the trial, and three years later Jean Calas was rehabilitated.
Discover Toulouse, Garonne, step 12:
Place Wilson, where we are now, is one of the town's big public squares. It was built on the site of the Villeneuve Gate which was an opening in the ramparts of the ancient city. It was completed in 1834 after several decades of work. Notice how well planned it is and the regularity of the facades. Around 1860 the exceptionally high summer temperatures prompted the authorities to build a fountain in the square. It is embellished by a marble statue by the sculptor Falguière representing Peyre Goudouli, an Occitan poet of the beginning of the 18th century.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 1 :
Place du Capitole
The Place du Capitole is the largest square in Toulouse, measuring over 10,000 square metres. In the centre of the square on the ground, you can see the Occitan cross, which is the emblem of the Counts of Toulouse, created by artist Raymond Moretti. From 1189 to the French revolution in 1789, the Capitole was the seat of the Community House. The city was governed by eight ‘capitouls’ or magistrates elected for one year and able to be relected 3 times. Today the Capitole houses the Town Hall.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 2 :
Built in 1229, the Jacobins convent, is an exceptional example of southern Gothic architecture. We highly recommend a visit to this church to discover its remarkable wall paintings, stained-glass windows and ribbed vaults, the most famous of which is known as the Palm Tree.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 3 :
Église de la Dalbade
The Dalbade Church owes its name to the its whitewashed interior walls. Its austere red brick façade decorated with a renaissance-style stone entrance is typical of Southern Gothic architecture. The superb tympanum in enamelled terra cotta depicts the Coronation of the Virgin Mary.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 4 :
Hôtel de Pierre
On your right, the elaborate doorway to the Hôtel de Pierre, meaning stone is adorned with Corinthian columns and inlaid decorations. Also known as the Hotel de Clary, the Hotel de Pierre was built in 1538 for the magistrate Nicolas de Bagis. Its façade is 17th century. Having the house built in stone was a sign of wealth in a city where brick was the usual material of choice.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 5 :
Muséum d’Histoire naturelle
We are now coming to the monumental entrance to the Jardin des Plantes or botanical gardens, with six columns made of red marble from Caunes in the Minervois region. This entrance also leads to the Natural History Museum of Toulouse, containing two and a half million items beautifully displayed in 3000 square metres. Revealing the workings of the Earth through the natural sciences, the museum also aims to show the relationship between human beings, nature and the environment.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 6 :
Under the Second Empire, the decision was made to set up the major military commands, with a Marshal of France at their head. Adolphe Niel inaugurated this command on his return from the Italian campaign. He required a palace, and building began in 1863. The Niel Palace on your right is Toulouse’s most prestigious 19th century building. Today, the palace houses a military high command and its staff.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 7 :
Canal du Midi
This masterpiece of engineering was built under the reign of Louis the 14th on the initiative of Pierre Paul Riquet. This brilliant engineer collected taxes for the king, and devoted his entire fortune to achieving his dream, which was to link Toulouse to the Mediterranean by a waterway, to develop the transport of both goods and people. The canal took 14 years to build. 12,000 workers dug more than 241 km of the waterway with their pickaxes. Since 1996, the Canal has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 8 :
Halle aux grains
On your left, the superb hexagonal building with brick and pebble facades is called the Halle aux Grains meaning Market Hall. After being an indoor market for grain trade, then a sports centre, the Halle aux Grains became a concert hall in 1974, appreciated for exceptional acoustic qualities. Today this hall is inseparable from the Capitol National Orchestra.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 9 :
Toulouse’s National Theatre, the TNT, is on your left in the street leading to the boulevard. Named the Theatre of the City, it is a national dramatic arts centre. The main theatre is an 898 seat amphitheatre. It has preserved the majestic entrance of the former building on this site, the Conservatory of Music, as well as the remains of a Gallo Roman wall in the basement.
Discover Toulouse, Canal du Midi, step 10 :
To your right, at the top of the Allées Jean Jaurès, you can see the Multimedia Library, called the Médiathèque José Cabanis, and named after the writer and academic from Toulouse. Built in 2004, the library is an important cultural centre dedicated to reading, information, new technologies and leisure activities. It is housed inside the Marengo Arch, an imposing blend of wood and terracotta. At the top of the library a superb terrace provides a panoramic view of the city.