Sunday, 20 September 2015

Interrailing the South of France: Toulouse and Carcassonne

Toulouse is known as the pink city, and it was the next stop on our trip across the South of France.

Whilst not as charming as Bordeaux in my eyes, the fourth biggest city in France has a lot going for it and a really unique feel.

Pale red bricks give Toulouse its signature distinct look, and the city was buzzing with life on the hot summer weekend we visited.
Hello, random performing men.
I really liked that the different areas of Toulouse all had different feels, despite the pink brick and pretty shutters remaining a constant theme throughout. And who doesn't love a French shutter?
There are lots of lovely squares, big and small. We wandered down narrow winding roads full of interesting vintage shops and independent cafés as well as big pedestrianised streets home to all the high street brands.

It's no Seine, but a walk along the river is a lovely thing to do in Toulouse, particularly along or underneath the Pont Neuf bridge.
We also went on a lovely stroll through Toulouse's three main parks - they're all connected which I thought was delightful.
Amber and I continued our church crawl, paying visits to the cathedral and the basilique, where there was a market.
My travel buddy even snapped what we considered to be a très edgy photo:

It's entitled "Girl perusing market." (Copyright Amber Bartlett 2015.)

Our fave place of worship, however, was the Couvent des Jacobins. The main church is nice, but what we really liked was the cloisters, which is free to enter if you're a student. (Sssshhhh I'm still a student as far as this is concerned.)

We sat in the peaceful calm, out of the hustle and bustle of the city, soaking up some sunshine for a long time. It was blissful.

Amber and I were lucky enough to be staying with Amber's lovely friend Cédric and his family who kindly took us out on a day-trip from Toulouse: we went to the medieval citadel of Carcassonne, which was just an hour's drive away.
It's the world's largest a really big citadel and the most beautiful old castle-slash-olde-town to explore.
Although the sun was in and out of the clouds, I still loved it. Walking round the outside is wonderful, but if you don't mind navigating the crowds, exploring inside the citadel and perusing the many shops and eateries is really interesting in my opinion.
It's perfect for a day-trip and we were super grateful to have had the opportunity to visit before packing our bags once more and heading off to the next stop on our trip: Aix-en-Provence! (Coming soon to a blog near you. And by that I mean this one.)

Yay, France!

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