Postcard from Toulouse, France: Ambling along the river and canals

I know not who might have contributed this perky long-eared fellow to this arch in the Pont Neuf in Toulouse, but his perch offers a prime view of the waters of the Garonne flowing from the Spanish Pyrenees toward Bordeaux and of those wandering along its banks. Finished in 1659 yet never losing the word “new” in its name, the handsome red brick and light-colored stone bridge took more than a century to complete.

The extensive walkways and bike paths of the Grand Parc Garonne still are being expanded and enhanced, as are those along Toulouse’s narrow system of navigable canals, also dating from the 17th century. During our stay in the city, we found ourselves, like many residents, headed there for exercise. Sheltered from the noise and traffic of the streets above, colored by the weather and the angle of the sun and often tinged rose by reflections of the city’s distinctive bricks, the popular pathways offer pleasant spots to ponder life, settle in with a book, meet with friends, soak up the sun, fish and picnic.

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