Category Archives: Occitanie

Top Attractions in Toulouse, Episode 31

Top Attractions in Toulouse

Toulouse Saint Sernin, Top attractions in Toulouse
Saint Sernin Basilica, photo Annie Sargent

Today, Elyse shares with us the Top Attractions in Toulouse. It was hard to limit ourselves to 7 because this is our home town, but we have to start somewhere! No more excuses, you need to come visit Toulouse! Why do we say something so bold? We tell you all about it in this, episode 31 of the Join Us in France Travel Podcast.

It is significant that this is episode 31. Do you know why?

As a native of the city, Annie is proud to report that Lonely Planet recommends our home as one of their Top Ten destinations in Europe for 2014. To which we say: What took them so long?!

If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.

Episode Highlights

  • Top Attractions in Toulouse
  • A city in the shape of a heart
  • Tearing down the fortification walls
  • A charming city
  • A city for young people
  • 7 things you should not miss when you come to Toulouse
    1. Saint-Sernin Basilica
    2. The Capitole and the reception gallery “Salle des Illustres”
    3. Les Jacobins
    4. Renaissance mansions in Toulouse
    5. Walk along the banks of the Garonne River
    6. The Canal du Midi
    7. Food Markets in Toulouse
  • The first two weeks of August are dead in Toulouse
  • The 4th July party for Americans in Toulouse
  • Civil wedding in Toulouse
  • Other top attractions in Toulouse: City Parks
  • Aviation in Toulouse
  • Food in Toulouse
  • Conclusion: How to come to Toulouse

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Carcassonne France, Episode 23

Carcassonne France, Medieval Jewel in the Southwest of France

Carcassonne France

How much do you know about Carcassonne? Are you thinking about going to see it for yourself? I have to encourage that because what a place and what a story!

But be warned: it’s a touristy place. If you go without any preparation, you might be there with bus-loads of other visitors. Listen to this episode where we share all the secrets to a great visit to Carcassonne.

Let’s start with this fact: Carcassonne France is the largest intact medieval walled city in all of Western Europe. It is like walking into a medieval dream. And because it is so stunning visually, it attracts a lot of visitors.

Are terrible crowds in Carcassonne a fatality? No. Choose your day and if you can’t choose the day, at least choose your time. The crowds are only there for a few hours a day.

And, whatever you do, listen to the story of the Cathars and how Raymond Roger Trencavel became a local hero fighting a cruel northerner named Simon de Montfort.The story will make the city come to life for you!

In this episode we also explain how the Walled City fell into disrepair and would have been dismantled were it not for the efforts of Prosper Mérimée and Viollet-le-Duc.

Are you ready for a world-famous local specialty? How about some local wines? It is all in this episode on Carcassonne France.

And if you’re in France with children, we can guarantee that it will awake their imagination and they will want to play knight and damsel. Nothing says that adults can’t do the same.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: the walled city of Carcassonne is a UNESCO world heritage site, because there are few places in the world where old stones and history collide so beautifully.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Episode Highlights

  • What is Carcassonne?
  • How big is it?
  • Where Is Carcassonne?
  • Historical Background
  • Roman Times
  • Carcassonne France today, the climate and industry of the modern city
  • HĂ´tel de la CitĂ© in Carcassonne
  • The Cathars
  • The Count of Toulouse
  • The Cathar Religion Takes Root in Occitania
  • What Is the Cathar Religion?
    • The Cathar Consolamentum
    • Aristocratic Women and the Cathar Movement
    • Cathar Geographical Expansion
    • Simon de Montfort, the Vilain
    • The Crussade Against the Cathars
    • No Water within the Walls
    • Trencavel, the Hero
  • Carcassonne After the Cathars
  • Carcassonne Gets a Second Set of Ramparts
  • The “Lice” in Carcassonne (FYI, nothing to do with head lice!)
  • Carcassonne Becomes Part of the Kingdom of France
  • Carcassonne the Impregnable City
  • The new city of Carcassonne
  • The Walled City Falls to Ruins
  • Prosper MĂ©rimĂ©e and Viollet-le-Duc Save Carcassonne
  • 1850 Renovations of Carcassonne
  • Back to the Hotel de la CitĂ©
  • Tips on the Best Way to Visit the CitĂ© de Carcassonne
  • Entrance to the Medieval City of Carcassonne Is Free
  • The Shops in Carcassonne
  • The Secret of the Wall
  • Conclusion

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Carcassonne France

 

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Episode 22 Canal du Midi

Bridge over the Canal du Midi
Photo Peter Gugerel

The Canal du Midi is a wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Site and Europe’s best engineering achievements of the 1700s. This long-awaited canal was designed to open up the landlocked area of Toulouse to commerce and make it possible to go between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean without going all the way around Portugal and Spain.  The man who designed the Canal du Midi and carried the project, Pierre Paul Riquet, was a man of the Enlightenment who brought human as well as technological innovations to the Southwest of France.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

By now, the Canal du Midi is not as vital to commerce as it once was, but it has not lost any of its charm. Amateurs of slow travel take cruises on the canal by the thousands each year, and many more enjoy walks and bike rides along its beautiful banks. You should definitely include a stop on the Canal du Midi next time you visit Southwestern France!

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Continue reading Episode 22 Canal du Midi