I went to Toulouse for four days to give a company’s assistants business English coaching. The company, called Pierre Fabre, has a beautiful, modern building, and the city itself impressed me a lot.
Why do I think Toulouse is awesome
The city centre has almost no cars in it. People actually arrive at a boom where they have to get access before they are allowed in with a car. This removes a lot of noise, and people are free to move around as they want across the streets and squares.
The city’s nick-name is The Pink City because of the bricks used to build most of its buildings. In my opinion it’s not really pink but rather a rustic brown, similar to that found in Brooklyn New York. It gives it a completely different look to that of Paris.
It’s clean. I told a friend living there about this and she said many Parisians visit saying how dirty it is, but this is not true at all. It’s clean, and there’s almost no visible dirt against the walls. Maybe it’s hidden away because of the dark brick colour, but you just don’t see it. It’s also a lot more modern, and there are several new buildings scattered all over the centre. There is balance, and I don’t see it becoming an old-town like what could happen to Paris with the Grand-Paris project.
The city has redone a few of the streets, and you can compare it to London’s centre. If a city had a baker who baked a city, the baker baked London as white buns using a cookie cutter. He baked Toulouse as a baguette in an open fire stove, with rough, rustic browning along the edges of the bread.
What I think can improve
Google Maps doesn’t incorporate Toulouse’s public transport. This can be difficult for visitors who would prefer using public transport to taxis or Uber.
There aren’t many parks in the city centre like there is in Paris. I know I’m spoilt for choice and Paris is a lot larger, but greening a city can surely have a positive effect for it’s inhabitants.
It was great to visit Toulouse and I will surely do it again if I had the opportunity.