Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Le coeur vivant de la Cité


On my past visits to this corner of France, I have never spent much time in the center of Toulouse, the fourth largest city in France, after Paris, Marseille and Lyon, so yesterday my Soreze friend M showed me some of her favorite sights in the "living heart of the city".

Though construction on the original building to house the regional government in the center of Toulouse was started in 1190, the
current façade of Le Capitole (the Town Hall, above), built of the distinctive pink Toulousian brick, dates from 1750. Inside we visited les salles Gervais, des Illustres et Henri-Martin to view the walls and ceilings painted by Paul Gervais, Benjamin Constant and others, and Henri Martin (impressionist stylist) respectively.
Then we walked a few blocks over to Les Jacobins, church and cloister. The church is an amazing space with 92-foot-high ribbed vaults supported by “palmiers”, single columns whose ribs fan out resembling a palm-tree. The church was part of the former monastery of the Dominicans, an order founded in 1235 to fight the Cathar religion. It is the site of the final resting place of the remains of St Thomas Aquinas, the Dominican priest, theologian and influential philosopher of the 13th century.


As we walked back through the city to the metro station, the students from the University of Toulouse, first established in 1229 and the second largest in France after Paris, were out enjoying the sun.

I felt like I'd just started to get to know la Cité. I'll have to find the time to make the short drive from Soreze again soon.

Bisous,
N2

3 comments:

swallowtail said...

stunning photos, I want to crawl into them! were you amazed that this was all there, right next town? wow.
I really love the reflection one...

Derek said...

OK not unimpressive for a brief visit to Toulouse - like the melange of pictures where you cram four or five into the space of one . . .as it was my fault you only spent a brief time there this week IOU a moment or three in the Salon de The (but 'tea'rhymes so much better!) and here is that promise for all the world to witness (well Swallowtail anyway)

swallowtail said...

witnessing....

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