Toulouse Local Customs

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    Bilingual street signs

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 15, 2015

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    The streets in Toulouse have signs in two languages, first French and then Occitan, the traditional language of southern France, which like other regional languages in France was long suppressed, ridiculed and sometimes even forbidden by the French central government.

    Hardly anyone in Toulouse actually speaks Occitan any more, but not everyone is willing to just let it die. You can buy books in Occitan, and a few years ago they experimented with making bilingual announcements in the Toulouse Métro.

    There were no bilingual street signs until 2001, but since then they have become more or less the norm, at least I don’t recall seeing any street signs in Toulouse (“Tolosa” in Occitan) in 2014 that were not bilingual.

    The street in my first photo, “Carrièra del Coronél Pèire-Maria Espinasse 1875” in Occitan, was named after Colonel Pierre-Marie Espinasse, who actually wanted the street to be named after his father, not himself. In his will, Colonel Espinasse donated a large amount of money to the city (either for the public schools or for the church of Saint-Aubin, depending on which website you believe) on the condition that the street be re-named in honor of his father, who had been a member of the National Convention that ruled France during the Revolution, from 1792 to 1795, and subsequently a member of the Council of Five Hundred from 1795-1799.

    Second photo: Rue Vélane (“Carrièra de Na Velana” in Occitan) was apparently named after a woman called Madame Avellane in the 15th century. By coincidence, “Vélane” is used in the Harry Potter books as the French translation for “the Veela”, who are “a race of semi-human, semi-magical humanoids reminiscent of the Sirens of Greek mythology”, according to the Harry Potter Wiki, which adds that their looks “and especially their dance is magically seductive to almost all male beings, which causes them to perform strange actions in order to get nearer to them.” By a further coincidence, Rue Vélane in Toulouse is the location of Le Gîte Vélane, a refuge for women who need help for instance because of domestic violence.

    Third photo: Rue Joseph Lakanal (“Carrièra Josèp Lakanal” in Occitan) was named after another member of the Convention of 1792-1795, identified on the street signs as a “Conventionell” in French or “Convencional” in Occitan.

    Fourth photo: Rue Peyrolières (“Carrièra dels Pairoliers 1282” in Occitan) was named after the boilermakers who settled in this street during the Middle Ages, alongside other metal craftsmen such as bell-makers and gunsmiths. (According to the newspaper La Dépêche.)

    Fifth photo: Rue Petrarque (“Vanèla Francesco Petrarca” in Occitan) is an alley or narrow passage named after the Italian poet Petrarch (1304-1374). All you loyal readers of my Avignon intro page might recall that Petrarch had a day job in the Papal bureaucracy. I quoted him at length regarding his description of Avignon in the fourteenth century as “the most foul and stinking city on Earth.”

    Website: http://www.atscaf.fr

    Next: The Augustinian Convent

    Rue Espinasse Rue V��lane Rue Joseph Lakanal Rue Peyroli��res Rue Petrarque
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    Fake Parisian houses

    by Nemorino Written Mar 8, 2015

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    At first glance, this building in the Old Town of Toulouse might seem to be made of stone blocks just like a typical 19th century building in Paris. But in fact it is made mostly of local bricks that were painted to look like stone blocks (except for the balconies).

    Our guide explained that there are no stone quarries in or near Toulouse, so building a house entirely out of stone would have been prohibitively expensive.

    Second photo: Later I noticed this building near my hotel on Rue Bayard. If you just look at the front façade, and don’t get up too close to it, it really does look like a Parisian stone building from the 19th century.

    Next: Hôtel de Bernuy

    Brick, not stone Brick, not stone
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    The arrival of the wounded, 1914

    by Nemorino Updated Feb 25, 2015

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    Thanks to its location in the south-west of France, Toulouse was far removed from the battlefields of the First World War, still known today in France as The Great War.

    But the horrors of war were soon felt down here as trainloads of wounded soldiers arrived at Matabiau Station and were taken by tram to the various hospitals in Toulouse and the surrounding region.

    A hundred years later, an outdoor photo exhibition on Square Charles de Gaulle behind the Capitole recalled these scenes of the first months of The Great War.

    Second photo: The arrival of the wounded at Matabiau Station on September 12, 1914.

    Third photo: A reminder that the “French troops” in The Great War were not only from France, but also from the French colonies in Africa and the Middle East.

    Fourth photo: The peaceful scene behind the Capitole in the summer of 2014, with the Centenary photo exhibition off to the right. The Donjon in the center of the photo houses the Tourist Office of the city of Toulouse.

    Address: Square Charles de Gaulle, Rue du poids de l'huile, 31080 Toulouse
    Directions: VélÔToulouse stations 1 and 2
    Aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Website: http://www.cultures.toulouse.fr/-/toulouse-14-18-episode-6-les-gares-des-lieux-strategiques.
    Related review: The Battle of the Somme, 1916 on my Paris page.

    Next Toulouse review: The Caravan

    Arrival of the wounded, 1914 Arrival of the wounded, 1914 The French troops, 1914 Behind the Capitole, 2014
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    walk pont St Pierre,see La Grave

    by gwened Written Oct 31, 2013

    all along the garonne there are bridges but none more important and historical than the Pont Saint Pierre. A symbol in the city rose.

    Walking it is always a must for me when in town, walking along the garonne river and the canal du midi is a must; typically the life of the city.

    The pont Saint-Pierre de Toulouse passes over the river Garonne ,and link the place Saint-Pierre to the hospice de la Grave. it is a bridge in flat metallic construction totally redone in 1987.

    The first bridge here also called Pont Saint-Pierre was built between 1849 and 1852. it was a bridge in wood, with tolls! where folks and horse wagons went by and from. The bridge rest on two pylons of stone and bricks, reinforce by metal cables.

    During the great flooding of 1875, an engineer from the city made divide the cables. VEry badly damaged. The bridge was given to the city in 1904 to manage, when it eliminated the toll and prohibits the passing of wagons. When the city decided to rebuilt the bridge in 1927, they chose a suspended bridge, with metal armor, judge too esthetique. 60 years of traffic and money were raised in 1984, eventually 3 years later the new bridge was build with 240 meters long. Money well spent.

    The next thing you see is the hospital of the gravel or hospice de la grave; an institution as well link closely to the bridge. a long history I will try to make it shorter
    Sitting on almost six hectares . Its name comes from the gravel where it has been built along the Garonne . The hospital served during the middle ages to sick populations of the plague and then from 1647, as a place of great withdrawing of beggars, prostitutes and alienated. it is quoted for the first time in a Charter of Raymond IV in 1197. From 1508 to 1514, hospital was expanded and renamed the hospital Donostia as claimed saint helps combat the plague disease. In the 17th century, Toulouse is affected by the deadliest plague. As in all the rest of the France, in 1647, Donostia hospital becomes the General Saint-Joseph de La Grave hospital because Saint-Joseph was the patron of workers and its attributes are poverty, charity and humility.
    Until the Revolution, the hospital runs on operating a Foundation, autonomous institution placed under the authority of the Archbishop, the capitouls and members of the Royal Parliament. In 1720, the payment of annuities is too heavy, the directors announced that bankruptcy is imminent. In 1760, the hospital fell into bankruptcy and the directors resigned. In 1765, the Council ordered the sale of annuities, land and other lands of the hospital. The great withdrawing of the poor begin again at the expense of the city. In 1778, Alexis Larrey was appointed surgeon-major of the La Grave hospital. After the Revolution, the crisis is affecting the hospital and economic anarchy is rife. 1789, the municipality of Toulouse takes the power of the hospital. In 1793, the Grave was renamed charity Hospice. In 1797, the la Grave hospital annex neighbouring military premises that came from the former convent of poor Clares of Saint-Cyprien. He became the largest hospital in the city with an area of 6 hectares.
    Hospice de La Grave is also known for its famous chapel Saint-Joseph de la Grave. It is one of the most famous monuments of the Toulouse because easily identifiable from the banks of the Garonne River.The first stone of the chapel of the Grave is laid in 1758 by Gaspard de Maniban, first president at the Parliament of Toulouse. The works are often interrupted and are completed as in 1845. Indeed, it was with important issues of collapses. Its foundations have been replaced by concrete and the dome has the particularity to be wooden, covered with copper because with its brick finish and its metal cover, the dome weighed more than eight tons.

    Symbols of Toulouse.

    the pont St Pierre and the dome of chapel bridge st Pierre and Hospice de la Grave la grave and the garonne
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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Occitan language

    by GentleSpirit Written Sep 27, 2013

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    Toulouse is the center of what is traditionally considered Occitania, which includes Southern France, parts of Spain and Italy. Occitan as a language is considered endangered as its usage is dropping so dramatically. It is a romance language which seemed like a mixture of Catalan, Spanish and French, though it has been around as a distinct language for some 1200 years. Friends from Toulouse told me that only the old folks still really use it very much and it has mostly been replaced by French,despite the fact that some quarters are trying to increase usage among younger people.

    In Toulouse you will see street signs in both French and Occitan and sometimes you will hear it when you are on the Metro.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Langue d'Oc

    by hquittner Written Aug 23, 2009

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    The statue to Peire Godolin (Goudouli) (1580-1649) in the Place Wilson leads to this comment. I am not a French scholar, but I was exposed to some "langue d'oc" during a French literature survey at University. (I thought its rougher character more exciting than the mellifluous regular French). Perhaps it was the Cajun argot which is the only French I hear, occasionally. With a dictionary I can read Mistral (and often can guess the "off" words). Maybe there is a deep instinct because my family name is postulated to come from the Catalan-Provencal region over 1000 years ago (via Hungary). I think it is exciting that the beauty of such a language drives some young people to still cultivate it. We have experienced this also in Arles and seen the Sandenga in front of the Cathedral in Barcelona.

    The Poet Godolin in the Square Wilson The Sign
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    Fine Art in Toulouse

    by mikey_e Written Dec 23, 2008

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    Toulouse is probably best known for its leadership in aerospace studies and the aerospace industry, but that is not to say that the city does not have a creative side. Indeed, all you have to do is marvel at the architecture and monuments of the city centre to get a sense of just how impressive the artistic temperament of the city’s residents is. The Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain also gives you an idea of that tradition, with several very interesting outdoor mosaics that can be admired (free of charge) in the courtyard outside of the museum.

    Mosaic 1 Mosaic 2 Mosaic 3 Mosaic 4
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    Saturday Market

    by mikey_e Written Dec 21, 2008

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    Lots of cities still have market days, and in Toulouse Saturday happens to be the day when farmers and other gather in the Place du Capitole to sell their wares. This isn't really a farmers' market in the sense that you can only purchase edible goods. On the southern part of the Place you will find all the delectable edibles - baked goods, fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, olives, sweets and the like. As I was staying in a hotel, I didn't buy anything that needed to be prepared, but the baked goods were to die for.

    The northern side of the square hosts all the non-edible stalls, which are, of course, dominated by booksellers. There are a few people who come in to sell things related to home repairs or cheap clothes, but your best bet is actually with the booksellers. I picked up a few cheap paperbacks to tide me over from Toulouse to Barcelona - including Rivières pourpres, an excellent book, but it scared me out of sleeping from San Sebastian through to Barcelona. In general, a great way to replenish your physical and intellectual energy before heading off to more siteseeing in Toulouse.

    The booksellers and others More booksellers The fruitsellers
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    The Occitan Language

    by mikey_e Written Dec 13, 2008

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    For those who speak French, it will be apparent (maybe not immediately) that the name of the region of which Toulouse is the capital - Langue d'Oc - means Language of "Oc". The indigenous language of Toulouse, Occitan, was once widely spoken throughout southern France and, in the 12th and 13th centuries, was the language of a vibrant poetic tradition that influenced much of Western Europe. Occitan was surpressed after the French Revolution in favour of French, but the rapid decline did not come about till the last century, as mass communication, urbanization and improved national education combined deal a near-fatal blow to the language. Despite the fact that many people no longer use the language as a daily tool of communication, it is undergoing a renaissance, and more young people are learning it. It is also used with greater frequency in the media, schools and universities, and, as you can see, it is also used on bilingual street signs in Toulouse. Occitan is a romance language that is closest to Catalan (not French) and that has numerous regional varieties, of which Provençal is one. Lenguadocien, spoken around Toulouse, is the medial dialect. Its name comes from "òc", which means "yes" - the Romans had no specific word for yes, so the romance languages had to make up their own. The Franks came up with "oïl" (later "oui") from hoc ille, while the Occitans used "òc". Books in and on Occitan can be bought at most major bookstores in Toulouse.

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    Visitez un avion de légende

    by Klod5 Written Aug 16, 2007

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    Spécialisée dans le tourisme industriel et technique, la société Taxiway propose de visiter un avion de légende : le Concorde. Le site Airbus de Blagnac accueille deux des dix-huit appareils existant encore aujourd'hui. La visite dure 1 h 30 et donne aux visiteurs l'occasion de monter à bord de l'avion mythique.

    COMME A L'AÉROPORT
    Dans le hall d'accueil à l'aspect du corps d'un A380, les visiteurs passent par le bureau d'enregistrement où on vérifie leur identité, avant de prendre la direction la salle d'embarquement. Une exposition sur les différents modèles d'Airbus et une boutique permettent de patienter avant l'appel du guide. Le guide arrivé, la cinquantaine de visiteurs prend place dans le bus : décollage imminent.

    « QUEL BEL OISEAU ! »
    La visite commence avec le premier Concorde. Cet avion d'essai a transporté ministres et présidents dans les années 70. Déco très « seventies » avec table en Formica orange et sièges en sky marron pour cet avion qui n'a plus volé depuis 20 ans.

    BIENVENUE À BORD !
    Les visiteurs peuvent ensuite prendre place dans le second Concorde du site, avion commercial celui-là. Chacun peut alors goûter au confort des sièges, imaginer un décollage à 400 km/h pour rejoindre la Côte Est des États-Unis pour la modique somme de 55 000 francs (8000€ environ), prix d'une traversée de l'Atlantique à l'époque où le Concorde était encore en service.

    Toulousains ou touristes, petits et grands, tous sortent enthousiastes de cette visite. « C'est à la portée de tout le monde, spécialistes d'aviation ou néophytes comme nous », explique cette famille nantaise en vacances à Toulouse. « Et le mieux est de coupler cette visite avec celle des ateliers de l'A380, comme nous l'avons fait ce matin. C'est très intéressant et ça change des musées habituels ! Toulouse est la ville de l'aéronautique, cela aurait été dommage de passer à côté ! »

    Visites le mercredi et le samedi : 9h30 ou 14 heures. Tarifs : adultes : 11€, enfants : 9,50€, gratuit pour les enfants de moins de 6 ans.

    Concorde
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    Théâtre Garonne - saison 2007-08

    by Klod5 Updated Jul 1, 2007

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    Au Théâtre Garonne, la saison 2007-2008 s'annonce copieuse et alléchante :
    De mal en peor Ricardo Bartis /...
    Derniers remords avant l'oubli Collectif Les Possédés
    Young people, Old voices Raimund Hoghe
    Seagull-Play (La mouette) Enrique Diaz - Cia dos...
    Nouvelle Byzance Théâtre Tattoo
    Fées David Bobée / rictus
    Manège Alain Béhar
    La Busta Cia Scimone / Sframeli
    Bar Cia Scimone / Sframeli
    Nunzio Cia Scimone / Sframeli
    La Festa Cia Scimone / Sframeli
    Il Cortile Cia Scimone / Sframeli
    Augustes Petit Théâtre Baraque
    Titus Dood Paard
    Basso Ostinato Catherina Sagna
    Probablement les Bahamas Louis-Do de Lencquesaing
    Face au mur Hubert Colas / Diphtong...
    Cap au pire Sami Frey
    "Sauve qui peut" pas mal comme titre tg STAN
    (Not) a love song Alain Buffard
    Opérette sans sous, si Marco Berrettini / *Melk...
    *Melk Prod. goes to New Orleans Marco Berrettini / *Melk...
    Forces Brunot Meyssat /...
    Le jour des meurtres dans l'histoire d'Hamlet Thierry de Perretti
    Rien que cette ampoule dans l'obscurité du théâtre Georges Appaix / La...
    Nusch tg STAN / Rosas
    Big 3rd Episode (Happy End) SUPERAMAS
    Entracte Josef Nadj

    Théâtre Garonne - 1, avenue du Château d'eau 31300 Toulouse France - billetterie : 05 62 48 54 77 - standard : 05 62 48 56 56

    De mal en peor Derniers remords...
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    Médiathèque José Cabanis

    by leosantanajr Written Jul 26, 2005

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    Very nice place where we can watch movies, read books, listen to music, etc, etc....
    It's the best choice for the ones learning french, like myself.....
    If you're studying french in Toulouse, don't miss it.....Even if you aren't a student, it's worth a visit!!!!
    It's besides the Gare Matabiau

    Main entrance
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    Flamenco in Toulouse

    by Klod5 Written Nov 19, 2004

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    Atelier de flamenco Soledad Cuesta : Un atelier à la renommée certaine, au point que Soledad a dû faire appel à deux autres profs, dont la dernière arrivée, Fani Suarez-Fuster,a longtemps travaillé avec Israël Galvan. A shop to the certain renown, to the point that Soledad should have called on two other profs, of which the last arrival, Fani Suarez-Fuster,a worked a long time with Israel Galvan.
    9 rue de la Colombette. Tél: 05 61 62 11 19.

    Atelier de flamenco La Morita : La Morita a monté son académie en 1992. Aujourd'hui, elle axe son travail sur une utilisation théâtrale du flamenco. Elle donne des cours du lundi au vendredi à 130 élèves. The Morita brought up its academy in 1992. Today, she centers her work on a theatrical use of flamenco. She gives courses of Monday to Friday in 130 élèves
    72 chemin des Argoulets. Tél: 05 61 61 05 15.

    School of flamenco danse
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    Toulouse ville espagnole

    by Klod5 Updated Nov 19, 2004

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    La casa de España : Entre les expos, les conférences, les cours de flamenco de Corina et la cafétéria-rencontre de Maria (ouverte du mardi au dimanche de 14 h 30 à 20 h 30), la casa de España est le centre culturel espagnol historique de Toulouse. Between the expos, the conferences, the courses of flamenco of Corina and the cafeteria meets of Maria (open of Tuesday to Sunday of 14 hs 30 at 20 hs 30), la casa de España is the historic Spanish cultural center of Toulouse
    85 avenue des Minimes. Tél: 05 61 47 08 87.

    L'institut Cervantes : C'est l'autre centre culturel espagnol toulousain. On y apprend la langue. Mais aux cours s'ajoute un fond de 18 000 ouvrages, 2 100 cassettes vidéo et 1000 CD. Après, il ne reste plus qu'à se faire plaisir avec le film projeté tous les mercredis à 18 h 30. It is the other center cultural Spanish toulousain. One learns the language there. But to the courses is added a bottom of 18 000 works, 2 100 cassettes video and 1000 CD. After, to make itself pleasure with the intended movie every Wednesday at 18:30 h.
    31 rue des Chalets. Tél: 05 61 62 80 72.

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    Grand Fénétra

    by Klod5 Updated Nov 3, 2004

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    Le Grand Fénétra est une ancienne tradition de Toulouse. Ce festival réunit chaque année des troupes régionales qui perpétuent le folklore local. Des groupes étrangers sont invités chaque année.
    Depuis quelques années, les communautés portugaises, espagnoles ou italiennes de Toulouse, participent aussi au festival preuve de l'évolution de la ville et de sa culture cosmopolite.

    The Grand Fénétra is a former tradition of Toulouse. This festival unites every year of the regional troops that perpetuates the local folklore. Some foreign groups are invited every year.
    Since some years, the Portuguese, Spanish or Italian communities of Toulouse, participate also to the festival proof of the evolution of the city and its cosmopolitan culture.

    Grand F��n��tra Grand F��n��tra Grand F��n��tra Grand F��n��tra Grand F��n��tra
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