French Friday – Beyond Paris – To Lose Toulouse

Last week I started one of my two new guest-post series with Lindsey’s A Passion for Paris contribution. This week I am kicking off the Beyond Paris series with veteran guest-poster Nathalie Hamidi who is writing about her hometown of Toulouse (which she is actually leaving).


In a few weeks, I will be moving out of Toulouse and in another county (Tarn-et-Garonne). I will stop being a Toulousaine after living here or in the vicinity for 35 years. It means a lot to me, this story that Toulouse and I both share. I already tried to make you laugh with my last article about Toulouse: city of nocturnal emissions. There are a lot more great memories attached to this place that I want to share with you today.

“Per Tolosa totjorn mai!” It is the city’s motto. It means: “for Toulouse, always more!” Toulouse is a big city, 4th most populated city in France, and the epicenter of many great progress. For example, we are the European capital for aerospace: lots of foreign companies have a branch here to work on satellites, rockets, and planes. We also have great scientists and doctors that are working to understand autism, a topic that is very important to me.


We have a lot of great museums, with mummies, or about modern art. One of these museums is completely in the 2.0 mindset: Les Abattoirs has a website, a blog, a Facebook page, and lots of other web presence! If you can read french, I wrote an article about Les Abattoirs: un musée fan de nouvelles technologies au centre de Toulouse.

In Toulouse, there are lots of ways to have a good time with friends, and one of them is having a drink on a terrace (terrasse) under the trees, when it is hot in the summer. You can have a shot of Pastis, or enjoy any king of beverage while admiring the Garonne, which is the local river (that goes from Spain, in the Pyrénées mountains, to the Atlantic Ocean near Bordeaux), or the Canal du Midi, which is just beautiful and quiet.

Toulouse has a lot of young people around, because we have a lot of Universities. It means that the city almost never sleeps: at all times you can find people roaming the streets, partying or just walking around in friendly groups.

(source: Pont Neuf in April, photo by chantrybee)

You can’t come in Toulouse without trying some of its greatest restaurants. One of my favorites, Les Caves de la Maréchale, is located in the center town. You can also eat on a moving boat on the Canal du Midi: l’Occitania, which is very romantic.

I enjoy japanese food, and there is a great place in center town where you can eat delicious japanese meals in a japanese ambiance. Last time we were in Le Japan, there was a musician playing an ancient japanese guitar – I wish I new the name of the instrument! There is also a place where you can relax and enjoy a shiatsu session.

Every summer, when it is the 14th of July, we have fireworks over Toulouse, and the best place to watch them is in a park near the river. You can settle there during the day with a picnic, and then wait for the night to enjoy it with your friends.

Many people go in the streets to perform music during La Fête de la Musique, a yearly occurrence to celebrate music in France on June, 21st. There are a lot of licensed musicians, but also a lot of amateurs, and people walk around town to listen to them randomly.

(source: Ils dansent…, photo by Grégory Tonon)

To lose Toulouse is a bit difficult on me, after all these years. Everything I lived in this town are engraved in my memory, but lately, all I want is to get a real house with a real garden in the country, so that my children won’t be a nuisance to the neighbors when they wake us up at 6 o’clock in the morning, and they will be able to jump and run all over the place without bothering anyone.

I will keep on loving the pink city (Toulouse, la ville rose), with its violets (the emblem of Toulouse), remember that it’s where I lived, loved, learned and had fun for more than three decades.

Nathalie Hamidi blogs at “Nathalie Hamidi “ in both French and English. She blogs on several topics including life, culture and Twilight.

About Andi Fisher

I'm a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. I love to travel via my stomach eating and seeking out local artisans to feature here. I'm a big supporter of the blogging community and love highlighting travel and food bloggers for you to meet.


  1. I’ve never been to Toulouse but now I really want to go!

  2. I’m glad! ^^

  3. Sigh …..lovely Nathalie. You will learn to love your new home too, even while “la ville rose” lives in your heart.

  4. I’m sure I will Laurie! It is a beautiful place in the country side, with a little village nearby, very few but nice neighbors… maybe next time I’ll post about it! ^^

  5. I’ve never been to Toulouse, either, though I’ve been to Paris twice. Love visiting France. If only I could win the Lotto and vacation there every year. 😉

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