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Clare
Clare

Day 9: Toulouse

This morning we left Perpignan behind to travel on to our next destination: Toulouse. First of all we had to take a train to Narbonne, which brought back some painful memories of the time we tried to walk from Narbonne to Narbonne Plage, not realising that they were 16km apart! The journey to Narbonne was actually quite pleasant, but when we changed there onto a faster train to Toulouse, it was so chaotic that we felt like we'd accidentally transferred to the Balkans instead. Having booked our tickets quite far in advance we had two seats reserved, but when we arrived at the right carriage we found our seats were already being occupied by someone else and her suitcase. She refused to move because she said that someone else was sitting in her reserved seat, so she suggested that instead we went to sit in someone else's seat. We reluctantly did that, but then the person who one of the seats belonged to turned up and he in turn went to sit in a different person's seat, so that by the end of the exercise I think almost everyone had a seat but no one was sitting in the right one!

It was just before 2pm when we arrived at the main station in Toulouse.

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The aparthotel we were staying in was not far away and our booking confirmation said that we could check in at 2pm, so we headed straight there. The staff on reception weren't terribly efficient, but when they had eventually checked us in and we made our way up to the 8th floor where we were staying, we found that the cleaners were still working there and our room wasn't ready at all! Luckily they were very friendly and we just had to sit in reception for 15 minutes while they finished our room.

It was immaculate by the time we did get into it and after some brief unpacking we set out for a walk around Toulouse. Our apartment is in a good location and so it was only a brief stroll to the Capitole.

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The town hall building is really beautiful...

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...and this turretted building may win the prize for being the most impressive tourist information office ever!

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We got a town plan from the tourist information and started to walk towards the cathedral, which Tim couldn't remember seeing from when he lived in Toulouse.

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Having now seen it, it seems like it ought to be hard to miss - it's an enormous building!

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The square around the catehdral is full of beautiful old buildings...

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...and the cathedral has an attractive facade too.

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Around the corner from the cathedral we found a large memorial for those who died in World War One.

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This was the start of a series of parks which ran into each other.

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The central park had some slightly disturbing statues...

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...but also a very pretty fountain.

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We could see that the town had put a lot of effort into preparing for the football championships.

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We left the parks behind and wandered through the town some more until we came to the river Garonne.

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It was just as pleasant here as we remembered.

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The final stop on our tour of Toulouse was the basilica of St. Sernin.

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This is a UNESCO world heritage site, being the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe.

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We'd walked 8 miles by this point so decided to call it a day and find somewhere to have dinner. We haven't been to Toulouse since 2010 which feels like a long time but it's lovely to be back and we're looking forward to some day trips to places in the surrounding area over the next few days :)

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