Bonjour from Toulouse and Carcassonne! This is Blog Team 2: Charlton, Grace, Alena, and Fiona!
Blog Team 2 hard at work giving you a glimpse into our journey!
This weekend the program took an excursion to the beautiful city of Toulouse, which is approximately two hours South-East of Bordeaux. Toulouse is known as “la ville rose,” or the pink city, due to the pinkish color of the brick buildings.
Toulouse, “La Ville Rose.”
After arriving in Toulouse, we got settled into our hotel rooms and got bundled up to go explore the city. Dr. Caldwell took us on a walking tour where we learned a lot about the history of the city. Most notably, we took a long detour into the Basilique Saint-Sernin, a beautiful Romanesque-style Basilica in the center of the city. Probably because we are an odd-looking group of American teenagers, one of the curators asked if we wanted to see more of the cathedral. Most of us took him up on his offer and were lucky enough to climb up to the second floor, the “tribunal.”
The Basilica Saint-Sernin
A beautiful sunset at le Couvent des Jacobins
After the basilica, we went to see “Le Couvent Des Jacobins,” a Gothic-style monastery. This was also so beautiful, and there was a garden there that we were admiring when the sky decided to completely downpour on us. Luckily, there was a chic cafe across from the Place du Parlement, so that became the next stop on our tour–we admired the Place du Parliament as we drank some Chocolat Viennois (hot chocolate with whipped cream).
Macalah, Molly and Fiona, all smiles with their chocolat!
The place du Parlement
From there, we went to a restaurant called Le Point d’Ogre where we celebrated Grace’s 21st birthday over three courses – and lots of wine! We hit a record of 3 ½ hours for one meal. Some popular choices for food were: gateau du canard (duck cake) and pied de cochon (pigs feet).
Celebrating Grace’s birthday
Out for dinner in Toulouse
On Saturday we traveled to Carcassonne to explore the medieval fortified city and castle. We spent the morning exploring the corners of the city, the education museum, and the candy shops. In the afternoon we explored the inside of the castle and walked along the surrounding wall admiring the beautiful views of Carcassonne.
A beautiful view contrasting the medieval, fortified city of Carcassonne with its lower, modern counterpart.
A group shot (minus Sarah) in front of the medieval city
Charlton, Zach, and Julia standing on the castle wall looking out on the city beyond the castle.
After a morning well spent exploring Carcassonne, the group was treated to lunch at the Compte Roger, where we were able to try a local dish called Cassoulet. Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole that was initially created by the Romans. When it was first created, Cassoulet consisted of pork, sausage, goose, duck, pork skin and fèves (fava beans). The recipe later substituted fèves for white beans. The chef explained his dishes and the wines offered to us, and finished his explanation by telling us his cooking is so good it can make the sun come out. After leaving a finally sunny Bordeaux just to spend two days full of rain in Toulouse, we were hopeful. And then, what do you know – just as we took our first bites of his delicious entrée, the sun finally peaked through the clouds!
Toulouse’s specialty dish, the cassoulet
Another of our chef’s beautiful plats, chicken and risotto
Back in Toulouse on Sunday, we spent some time in the art museum La Fondation Bemberg at l’Hôtel d’Azzézat (a renaissance structure) as well as exploring the inside of the Place du Parlement’s Capitolium building. Sunday morning hit the group hard after a Saturday night out in Toulouse, and almost everyone was fast asleep as we rode the train back to our lovely home in Bordeaux.
Sebastian, Macalah, Emily, Lessi and Azlyne exploring artwork at Fondation Bemberg
Alena and Sarah in front of some of the artwork in Place du Parlement
We’ll see you next week as Blog Team 3 gives insight into student life at our French universities. As always, on s’adapte!
Grace, Alena, Charlton, and Fiona