Whether you’re a regular visitor to the Greater Daglan Area, or a first-timer, I’d recommend a trip to the city of Toulouse, if you can spare the time. It’s about two hours by train from Gourdon, the station that often serves people from Daglan. You could of course drive (highways are excellent), although traffic within the city itself can be pretty congested.
Over the years, my wife Jan and I have become fairly familiar with the place, and happy to be there. You might like it too.
We visited Toulouse again yesterday, because I had my annual check-up by the charming surgeon who performed spinal surgery on me in April 2014, Dr. Pierre Moreno.
Because we were finished at the Centre Toulousain du Rachis (the Toulouse Spine Centre) not much after 11 a.m., we called for a taxi and headed to la Place du Capitole, the city’s central square. Here’s what it looks like:
Why even consider a trip to Toulouse? Lots of reasons. La Ville Rose (the Pink City) is France’s fourth largest, has lots for tourists to see (historic sites, galleries, museums and so on), supports much of the country’s aerospace industry (Airbus), and is home to the huge University of Toulouse (founded in 1229).
I confess that Jan and I haven’t explored many of the typical tourist attractions, and are quite content to use the area around Place du Capitole as our base. The square is usually busy, but not packed; it’s lined with shops and cafés and restaurants; both pedestrians and cyclists travel through it regularly; and it has a young, fresh, cosmopolitan feeling.
So yesterday, for instance, I had a coffee at a sidewalk café while Jan shopped for clothes (she happily scored a lovely blouse) and cosmetics (including my favourite shaving products, on sale at Sephora) . Then we walked along the covered gallery past any number of shops and cafés, and had a pre-lunch drink at Les Tenors, on a table out on the central terrace.
Then it was lunch at a favourite spot, the Grand Café de l’Opéra. I won’t go on and on about it, as I’ve written about the restaurant previously. (For a fuller description of the restaurant, and more details on central Toulouse, see “Hearty fare in fair Toulouse,” posted July 9, 2014.)
The food is always good, the place is large and comfortable (and nicely air-conditioned), the (all-male) staff is made up of professionals who are friendly, polished and efficient. In short, it’s the kind of French café you would expect to find in a good movie.
There’s lots more to learn about Toulouse, and if this has piqued your interest, you can find lots more useful information on sites like Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor. You can also take a look at the information here: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/france/articles/10-amazing-things-to-do-and-see-in-toulouse/