Postcard from Toulouse, France: Flavors with a different accent

Above: Vegetarian version of the generous planches found at Prosciutteria

When traveling and eating out every day, sometimes you crave breaking out of the regional mode. A wild abundance of vegetables was our goal when we ducked into Prosciutteria on Rue des Filatiers. We found ourselves well-rewarded with a vegetarian appetizer board, so abundant we shared and ordered nothing else. Well, aside from wine. Subsequently, we found their salads and bruschetone equally as fresh and good.

Rue des Filatiers was our neighborhood, so we tried several other casual spots there as well, all with fine street-side people-watching opportunities. We found ourselves grabbing amply filled empanadas to-go for cocktail-hour snacks from El Almacen – Empanadas. Miss Fish appeared to be brand new, or only recently reopened, and boasted a nice variety of seafood. It seems a place that should prove particularly popular with British travelers missing their fish and chips.

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Postcard from Toulouse, France: Arts festival reflected on contemporary condition

“Going from Nowhere. Coming from Nowhere,” a neon installation by Maurizio Nannucci, casts reflections onto the Garonne River during Le Printemps de Septembre.

When we were in Toulouse this past fall, several of the city’s major museums were closed for remodeling, COVID or a combination of the two reasons. They were all scheduled for reopening in early 2022, so probably have unlocked their doors by now.

The arts were not being ignored though, particularly during Le Printemps de Septembre, a month-long city-wide celebration that ran through mid-October. The theme for the 2021 festival was “Sur les Cendres de l’Hacienda/On the Ashes of the Hacienda,” a theme selected pre-pandemic and promoting artists who expose disaster, stand up to it and look ahead. For the gallery-hesitant, the night-time illuminations along the banks of the Garonne River were stunning.

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Postcard from Toulouse, France: How to fall in love, one quirky detail at a time

Above: 19th-century molded terracotta caryatids

Walk and walk. And, even at the risk of stumbling, always look up. The rewards are rich, and you will be smitten.

An architectural embellishment I’ve never noticed elsewhere is the frequent usage of lacy, “picado” metalwork at the top of windows in Toulouse. Hoping someone will provide a proper term for this or know of other places it is found. Sometimes the wrought-iron designs on balconies echo those patterns, and often elaborate wrought-iron railings meticulously match the carved or molded work adorning the buildings. And the contrasting patterns of brick and stone are striking and distinctively Toulouse.

These architectural details range about six centuries or so in age, but this randomness represents how they are encountered around the city.

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