You know, I was really excited about my summer here, although during term time all the students at my uni here were telling me that Toulouse over the summer isn’t as much fun. They maintained that it’s like that in all student cities when the large student population is gone home and you feel like you’re living in a ghost town. It´s true that there are much less students here as well as fewer student and Erasmus parties, but Toulouse is busy as always. Even more so, I would say, as the good weather allows the city to organise events from dawn till dusk.
Place de la Daurade during La Fete de la Musique ( one of my favourite spots just by the river)
I am honestly blown away by how much is the city doing or its inhabitants. Three cheers for the mayor! There are plenty of events going on all the time, musical events, festivals in the town, sports events. The city has so much to offer. My favourite one is definitely so called Toulouse plage (Toulouse beach) where they basically transformed a huge park into a ´sports centre´. You can go there and play beach volleyball, badminton, tennis, golf, ping pong, tons of board games, take a class of salsa, Zumba or aikido, try kayaking and much much more. The Toulouse plage teams are ready to lend you any equipment you might need and the best part is that it’s all for free!
I´ve already done a lot of travelling, but I´ve never ever seen a city as friendly as this. It´s said that people in the south of France are really lovely and friendly (almost like Glasgow, haha), so you can basically join anyone at Toulouse plage and ask if you can play with them, so that’s a good way to make friends easily. I spent lots of time there and as I was working everyday at a computer till 6 pm, during the evening and at the weekend I was trying to keep myself busy. I legit think I´ve never done as much sport as I have this summer.
Us playing tennis on one of the courts available for free all around the town
Apart from Toulouse plage, there are plenty of lovely cycle paths by the Garonne, and several around Toulouse, and as the weather is always good you can go out anytime you want. If you don’t have a bike, you can rent a Toulouse bike, for around 2 euros a day! There are many beautiful spots to go for a run as well. So you can appreciate the beautiful surroundings while enjoying your run.
My favourite activity has to be watching the sunset in Toulouse. The city is called ´la ville rose´ (pink city), primarily because of the pink stone used to construct the buildings. The sun reflections on these buildings and on the river every evening are always really special and breath-taking. I think I must have about hundreds of pictures of sunsets in Toulouse on my phone, as they were always unique. There is also a hill called Pech David in the city. It’s not far away from a metro station, and from there you have a view all over the city and Garonne and it’s a perfect place for watching the sunset or even falling stars in August.
A few of the evening sunsets
If we felt too lazy to play sports, my flatmates and I used to sit by the river and enjoy a bottle of good wine and cheese. Unlike in Glasgow, where it’s forbidden to drink outside. Real ´ Toulousains´ know that the best way to enjoy your evening is to make some sandwiches, bring some beer and bottles of wine and sit by Garonne after a hard day at work.
Oh how I’m going to miss all those precious summer evenings when I could go out only in a dress without wearing a jacket.
This summer in France was also special as the European football championship was held there. There were a few matches on the stadium in Toulouse as well as a huge fan zone where, apart from watching the game on the big screen, you could win goodies or play games.
During the matches the city was busier than ever and the bars where full of fans of different nationalities. Living with 3 Italians I used to go to a bar with a group of 15 Italians and cheer for Italy (if not for Slovakia or for Scotland).
Even though there was so much to do in Toulouse, because I am working every day from 9 to 6 I decided to get the most out of my summer by travelling a lot. Toulouse is in the mid-south of France, so very well located. It only takes an hour and half to go to the sea or to the mountains. A lot of the time we just rented a car for a weekend and went to the Pyrenees or to Narbonne (the closest beach to Toulouse). I´ll talk about places to visit in the south of France in my next blog and I´ll also talk about my job and what it’s like to work in France and with French people.
Thank you for reading my blog and don´t forget to get in touch!