We arrived at our AirBnB apartment in Toulouse after a nerve-wracking two hour drive from Rocamadour. Why nerve-wracking? Not because of the French drivers, they are on the whole much better and much more courteous than in Seattle. Not because of the Autoroute speed. One hundred thirty kilometers per hour isn’t that fast. It was because I was falling asleep at the wheel! Jet-lag and high heat are not the friends of long drives.
After a very long and elaborate Moroccan dinner and a good sleep, we set out the next morning for the city center. We found a market selling mostly clothing in the square in front of La Capitole. This building is not the dry collection of government offices that I assumed it would be. It contains a museum, the Toulouse Opera, a wedding venue, and more.
Beside the square, people are lining up for tickets to the Rugby World Cup, which is being held in Toulouse.
I spotted this girl’s hair while we were having coffee. I’d never seen a triple ponytail like this before.
After coffee, we entered La Capitole to view the museum rooms. I was immediately taken by the expression in the face of the fellow above the archway.
Beyond the courtyard lies a grand entry hall with stairs leading up. The bust is of local hero Jean Jaurès, a Socialist leader.
A huge room full of very large pointillist paintings by Henri-Martin lies at the top of the stairs. You may recognize Jean Jaurès strolling in his flat-top hat.
The style of the next room is quite different. It’s devoted to the works of Paul Gervais. This is a popular site for weddings because love is the theme of many of the paintings.
The last room upstairs is the chamber where the local Council meets.
Next up is a visit to the very ornate Saint Sernin Basilica. This is one of those places where you have to watch your step. There are church officials, more often encountered in Italy, shooshing talkers, asking men to remove hats, and enforcing a certain dress code for women.
This place is BIG, and you can’t stand in front of the alter.
Behind the alter are a collection of small chapels and under it, the crypts.
With due respect to Pope Gregory, I could have mistaken him for Pope Tony Soprano.