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Layover in Toulouse

Flower's café. Photograph credits: Ilenia Graziani

Flower’s café. Photograph credits: Ilenia Graziani

Last week I travelled to Toulouse for work reasons,  in the free time I tried to get to know the city a bit better with some advice from locals and people that I knew that had spent some time there. Toulouse has a lot to offer to its inhabitants and to visitors but since I didn’t have so much time to spend in museums and churches, I simply enjoyed food and the beautiful sights and scenes that the city naturally provides. What I apreciated the most in the city was the multiculturality, the really beautiful architecture of the buildings and streets, people making their fast way in bikes and skates, the sofistication of transport and of course, the food.

If you are thinking about visiting Toulouse, these are my suggestions based on the useful tips that turned into great experiences and discoveries I did when I was there:

Restaurants:

  • Les salles gosses stands for misbehaved kids and it is a small restaurant with a big caracter. It is known for it’s new takes on traditional french dishes. The food here is really good and the food attitude very bald. Make your choice between 3 Entrées, 4 Plats and 4 desserts, anyway you can’t go wrong. The cucumber cream soup was very refreshing and light, the entrecote with summer truffles was a good surprise and the desserts (Tiramisù and Banoffee) sublime. I just didn’t try the foie gras entrée, even though it had an amazing look, because it is against my principles (I just can’t eat a product that I know that basically is obtained throught animal torture).
  • J’Go is a restaurant and tapas place full of life and good food. Everyone (locals, friends and even the hotel) recommended this place so I had to try it. We were received by Zavier that noticing my bad attempt to speak french, asked me from where I was from I started speaking in Portuguese right away to me. He found us a table in the back terrace, that was a probably the best place of the whole restaurant (away from the more crowded entrance). We tried some great french tapas that clearly showed the spanish influence, among them the sausage from Toulouse, beef tartar, french fries fried in duck fat, melon with prosciutto and grilled chicken. The food, environment and the way we where treated at J’Go couldn’t have been better. 

Cafés:

  • Bapz is a tea room from a british owner that is serving tea, coffee, great cakes and light meals. The place is very cosy and the cakes displayed almost in the center of the room for everyone’s joy. I had an amazing big slice of cheesecake and an Oriental tea, but I did take some time choosing from the great selection ( both teas and cakes).
  • Flower’s Café is located in the pretty and central Place Salengro. First choose a cake from the window display, have a seat and relax looking at the people passing, the beautiful buildings around you, all to the sound of fountain water dropping.

Victor Hugo Market is also a place that should also be extra highlighted in that city map of yours. The outside of the market building I have to admit that it is a bit underwhelming, located below a car park, but inside it is very clean and organized space. Each vendor displays their products in a very visually pleasant way that gives the overall market a great look. You can find fish, meat,  vegetables, bread, cakes, already prepared food and the most traditional products of Toulouse like foie gras and cheeses. In case you are a cheese fan, you must visit Fromagerie Betty or Fromages Xavier and buy yourself a great goat cheese (said to be the best cheese vendors in town).

Au revoir Toulouse!

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