Our Spanish tour is over. Our faithful car has been returned. We are back at the mercy of public transport. 8 hours on a bus from Bilbao to Toulouse and its hasta luego Spain and bonjour France!
With that welcome also comes bonjour to French prices, which after Spain can be a real kick in the guts! After regularly paying €3 for a breakfast spread with coffee, orange juice, toast or croissant with butter and jam to now paying €3 just for a thumb-sized espresso, my wallet is now wincing in pain every time I look at menus.
Toulouse is a rather small quaint little town in Occitania, a kind of unofficial cultural region which covers some of France, Italy and Spain. Occitania has an important historical status, mostly for being a region used for strategic leverage first by the Romans, then the Visigoths and finally the French kings.
In today’s Toulouse, we stayed near the bus station (a strategical leverage decision made on my part) and by sheer coincidence, what also seems to be the red light district or at least the sleazy district of Toulouse. Rue de Bayard and the surrounding streets seem to be lined with peep shows, sex shops and girls dressed provocatively for no reason other than to lure you into their arms (for many hundreds of Euros of course).
The other thing I noticed about Toulouse (probably just a French thing in general) is the amount of people riding bikes. Problem in Toulouse is that a lot of the streets are very small and the infrastructure isn’t really there to accommodate cars, scooters, bicycles and pedestrians all in perfect harmony. Bikes constantly whizz past in both directions and become weapons of tourist destruction if you’re not aware!
Toulouse doesn’t offer up lots of touristic treats to knock your socks off but its definitely worth dropping by!
P.S The bus operator, FlixBus, was the company we used to travel from Bilbao to Toulouse. They also operate all over Europe with usually really cheap fares. So if you’re in the mood for some travelling….click on through!
Tip #1: Try the bagels in Toulouse cos’ apparently its a thing here. Bagelstein and Bruegger’s were our choices and neither place disappointed.
Tip #2: We didn’t make it to a film there but I would probably recommend Cinema ABC on Rue Saint-Bernard. The staff were super helpful and really tried to find us an English-speaking film that we would like but we had to leave later on that day. Plus all tickets on Wednesday are €4.
Tip #3: There is a metro system in Toulouse but I would say its not necessary unless you travel well outside the old town.