Travel to the Canal de Garonne

Day 1 Toulouse

Canal de Garonne


 

(in 395 Km.) Toulouse: This is our first trip with bicycles, so to park the car with the bike rack we look for a place away from the center but at the same time close to what will be our route. For this we choose the Jardin des Plantes, a public garden, Old Botanical Garden of 7 hectares, that with the "Grand-Rond, Boulingrin" and "Jardin Royal de Toulouse" is part of a set of three gardens connected by various gateways.

Toulouse - Grand Rond
Toulouse - Grand Rond

We walked down several streets using the bike lanes. Many of these share traffic with cars or buses. However people are pretty respectful, but precautions should be maximized. We arrived at the Garonne and to avoid the car, we went down to the river bank, up to the Pont-Neuf (linking the center with the popular neighborhood of Saint Cyprien) next to the old pilgrim hospital (Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques) and the park of la prairie des filtres. It was built between 1544 and 1632. Highlight the holes in the pillars, designed to withstand the severe floods of the Garonne.

Toulouse - Pont Neuf
Toulouse - Pont Neuf

We entering a couple of streets towards the old town (Rue de Metz/Rue de l´Echarpe) to see the Assezat hotel, one of the most beautiful buildings in Toulouse, which houses the Bemberg Foundation. We come back and continued along the bank of the Garonne until the church of La Dorada (Notre-Dame de la Daurade or Sainte-Marie de la Daurade), located next to the Fine Arts building. It is a building constructed between 1764 and 1883 noted for housing the Black Madonna of la daurade, but was later called Daurade (from "Deaurata") because the mosaics covered by gold. This wooden statue is highly revered by the people of Toulouse (particularly by pregnant women) even though the X century original was stolen in the XIV and its replacement burned at the Capitole Square during the Revolution of 1799. The current carving was made in 1807.

Toulouse - San Sernin
Toulouse - San Sernin

We left the Garonne and go towards the center, to the Basilica of St. Sernin, one of the emblematic buildings of Toulouse, the largest Romanesque church of Occitania and the second oldest in all of France after Cluny Abbey. It is a sanctuary built on the site of the tomb of St. Sernin or St. Saturnin, bishop of Toulouse martyred around the year 250. In 1998 the basilica was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the description: World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France. Stresses its octagonal tower with 5 levels and 64 meters high, the apse (with nine radiating chapels separated by stretches of apse.) and especially the south door of the main nave, known as Porte Miégeville.

Toulouse - Capitolio
Toulouse - Capitolio

We passed in front of the church of Notre Dame du Taur and arrived at the Place du Capitole, a monumental square and neuralgic center of the town. Here is the greatest civil monument of the rose city. it is the Capitole or Capitol that houses the Town Hall. Only the Henri IV courtyard and gate survive from the original medieval buildings. It was in this courtyard that the Duke de Montmorency was decapitated after his rebellion against Cardinal Richelieu. Inside the Capitole is open to the public the Salle des Illustres, with its magnificent frescoes and where you can see the busts of local celebrities and works of artists of Toulouse from the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Toulouse - San Esteban
Toulouse - San Esteban

Due to time constraints we can not visit places like the convent of the Jacobins, Saint Aubin or Canal du Midi and n the way back we passed in front of the Musée des Augustins, until reaching the St. Stephen´s Cathedral (cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toulouse). The exact date of the original building is unknown; the first mention of a church building on that site is found in a charter of 844. In 1073 the bishop of Toulouse commenced work on a more elaborate structure. The cathedral is the only church in Toulouse which has retained its original stained glass windows. The oldest are the fourteenth century. Also highlights the organ and an altarpiece of Pierre Mercier and Drouet made in 1670 The most original feature of the building is to present two very different parts: a Romanesque part in the area of ??the nave and a Gothic part in the chorus. Both churches were joined in the sixteenth century by Jean d´Orleans.


 

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Canal de Garonne