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  • Musee des Augustins Musee des Augustins Toulouse, France
    The Musee des Augustins de Toulouse is a marvelous fine arts museum that is located in a former Gothic convent in Toulouse, France. The magnificent collection of paintings and sculptures have come from the Middle Ages to the turn of the 20th century, with the paintings more metropolitan in latitude, and the sculptures pertain to the Occitan culture of the area with a superb collection of Romanesque sculpture. The base of the collections come from the appropriation of church property during the French Revolution, and the taking of private collections from emigrants, but in this city, the most notable belonging to the cardinal de Bernis and Louis-Auguste le Tonnelier, baron de Breteuil. The church became secularized in 1793, and in the 19th century, the church and chapter house were increased with display galleries that were designed by Viollet-le-Duc, and accessed by a wonderful Gothic Revival large stairway that included a number of elaborate vaults. The museum is one of fifteen that started in the municipal centers, with a decree. The minister of interior, Jean-Antoine Chaptal wanted the collections to exemplify paintings that represented all the genres, schools and masters. With numerous shipment coming to the museum until 1811, this museum was augmented by the artworks of Philippe de Champaigne, Guerinco, Rubens and Pietro Perugino. Today, the paintings include the extraordinary works of such notables as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Neri di Bicci, Maurice Utrillo, Lorenzo Monaco, Maurice Denis, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Pietro Perugino, Berthe Morisot, Edouard Vuillard, Bernardo Strozzi, Camille Corot, Guido Reni, Eugene Delacroix, Guercino, Jacob Jordaens, Edouard Monet, Carlo Maratta, Gustave Courbet, Rubens, Anton Van Dyck, Antoine Jean Gros, Aelbert Cuyp, Freancesco Guardi, Phillippe de Champaigne, Francesco Solimena, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-Lebrun, Sebastien Bourdon, Pierre Mignard, Claude Joseph Vernet, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Jean-Baptiste Oudry and Nicolas de Largillierre. The wonderful sculpture collection is mainly the rescues of the museum curators, like Alexandre du Mege, who gathered the sculptures before they could be destroyed with religious buildings in the 19th century.

  • Basilique Saint-Sernin
    This ferry goes across Lake Champlain taking cars and passengers to three The spectacular Basilica of St. Sernin that is located in Toulouse, France, was the former abbey church of the Abbey of St. Sernin or St. Saturnin, that was constructed in Romanesque architecture between 1080 and 1120. It was built on the site of the previous basilica that was built here in the 4th century and holds the first bishop of Toulouse, Saint Saturnin or Sernin. The abbey of St. Sernin was a very old foundation, that was raised in status and importance with the donations of Charlemagne, who gave a large amount of antiquities, resulting in the stopover of pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela and eventually became a stop itself. It is this present structure that was created to take care of these early pilgrims. The abbey's plans were used in building the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which started in 1082, and was such a magnificent copy that it was done either by St. Sernin's architect or one of his best students. In 1218, when Simon de Montfort was besieging the city, the stone that killed him was thrown for the roof of the famous abbey. Viollet-le-Duc renovated the church in 1860, but since they varied from the original designs, they are today being taken off to bring it back to its former glory. Although it is called a basilica, the church is different in some ways from the usual plans for basilicas in the early Christian architectural designs. Bigger, and made of brick, it is a cruciform structure, with vaulted ceilings, and radiating chapels that were made to contain the special antiquities. Another difference is the ambulatory, which was used to walk around the church, while mass was being said, without bothering the attendees, so they could see all the beautiful relics that were in the chapels and nave. That is why the basilica has been inferred to be a pilgrimage plan instead of the usual basilica plan. On the outside, the bell tower, is the most visible part of the church, since it divided into five tiers, containing Romanesque arches, was built in the 12th century, while the top two were done in the 14th century. The spire that sits atop all these was put on in the 15th century. The most ancient section of the church is the chevet that was constructed in the 11th century and contains 9 chapels. The inside is 115x64x21 meters, or 450x195x65 feet, and is considered huge for a Romanesque church, with the center nave being barrel vaulted and the four aisles having rib vaults supported by buttresses. Under the transept and tower, there sits a stupendous marble altar that was consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1096 and designed by Bernard Gilduin. Saint Honoratus is also buried here, with the crypt housing many antiquities from other saints. The church's organ is a huge three-manual Caville-Coll pipe organ that was constructed in 1888, and is believed to be one of the most prominent organs in the country.

  • Fondation Bemberg
    The Fondation Bemberg was the brainchild of Georges Bemberg, a unique individual who started his love affair with art and the artistic expression at an early age, and by continued tenacity built a marvelous collection that might have disappeared had he not started the foundation. His family was originally from Cologne, France, when during the 18th century his ancestors were head of the Lutherian community. They moved to Argentina to help with that country's development, although the family always had ties with their mother country. Georges was raised in France, and was instantly involved in the country's culture, being an apt and enthralled student, with a universal interest in humanity. During these formative years it became evident that he was drawn to beautiful objects, and had his first experience with that lifelong love affair, when while attending Harvard, he came across a gouache by Picasso in a New York dealer's gallery and purchased it for $200. The event enflamed his passions and ever so slowly over the ensuing years he built a spectacular collection based on his own tastes and interests; restricted only by his financial position at the moment. He had an uncle, that died early in his life, who had been a student of Picasso, which just seemed to nurture his passion. He first stayed in New York for a while, during the war, and then went to Paris, where he embraced the art world, and started meeting art dealers and going to all the galleries looking for another piece of artwork for his growing collection. In the 1960s, he soon found he also had a desire for bronzes, and soon these wonderful objects found their way into the collection. Not content with just one form of artistry, he delved into music and literature; becoming an excellent pianist and eventually writer with numerous published works. He thought about becoming a composer, but didn't want to contain himself to one field. He had been influenced by Nadia Boulanger, which is one of the main reasons for going to Harvard in Cambridge, where he had met many wonderful American composers at her home, while it was here that he discarded his plans for becoming a composer and started writing. He had graduated from Harvard with a degree in English and French literature, and entered into the circles of the New England writers, like Edmund Wilson and John Dos Passos. Presently he spends his time traveling between New York, Paris and Buenos Aires, always on the search for a fantastic opportunity to add to his impressive and fantastic collection.

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Local Restaurants in Toulouse
  • le19
    Appetizers include; house made foie gras flavored with Banyuls wine and fruit chutney; roasted duck filled with thyme, grape and apple marmalade, with sweet onion and cider sauce; chopped sardine pepper tomato marmelade and basil cream; salmon in veggie stock with citronella. A La Carte items; chopped sardine pepper tomato marmelade and basil cream; scallops with serrano ham and figs; chestnut capuccino with wild mushrooms and hazelnut cream; salmon house made rillete with spinach and ricotta; fried gambas with ginger and lemon; fried foie gras escalope with apple grape and calvados; veal T-bone with fresh pasta and chanterelles; loin of lamb with potato puree, truffle oil and roasted figs; entrecote steak with sautéed potatoes and mushrooms; roasted duck fillet with thyme, grape and apple marmalade with sweet onion cider sauce. All fish is freshly caught from the sea and the meats are from local animals raised in France.

  • Le Bon Vivre
    Cold starter include; chilled tomato soup with basil, green salad, salad of foie gras, duck gizzards, duck pieces, apple, avocado and grated carrot, hearts of little gem lettuce with shavings of ewe's milk cheese, curly lettuce salad with pieces of crispy duck; selection of lightly cooked veggies with lemon mayonnaise, duck platter with foie gras terrine, duck pieces and warm duck crackling, served country toast, pot of traditional potted pork pate, bigorre ham platter, selection of cold cured pork meats from Bigorre. Hot starters include; soup of broad beans with preserved duck and meat stuffing; broad beans cooked with onions, carrots and bacon. The main courses include; confit de canard - preserved & grilled duck leg with house made French fries; tete de veal is veal's head with gribache vinaigrette and steamed potatoes with gribiche vinaigrette with hard boiled egg & capers; brochette de coeurs de canard which is thin slices of duck hearts and seasonal veggies; noisettes de lagin poelees is pan fried rabbit with parsley with tagliatelli; aiguillettes de magret de canard is thin slices of duck breast with garlic and peach sauce; poulet du gers grille is grilled farm chicken with shallot sauce; magret de canard grille is grilled duck breast with house made French fries; cote de porc noir de bigorre poelee which is pan fried pork chop with seasonal veggies; marcarondade d'Huguette which is Huguette's special pasta, tagliatelli, pan seared foie gras, fresh mushrooms and truffle shavings; cassoulet aux deux confits which is traditional south west France bean stew with duck, pork meat and beans from la famille Patacq; pave de morue poche which is poached cod with garlic mayonnaise with steamed veggies; rognons de veau poeles which is pan fried veal kidneys with mustard and red peppers.

Roasted Stuffed Duck le19 Toulouse, France

 

Loin of Lamb le19 Toulouse, France

 Grilled Duck Breast Le Bon Vivre Toulouse, France

 

Poached Cod Le Bon Vivre Toulouse, France 

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  • Cathedral St-Etienne Cathedral St-Etienne Toulouse, France
    The Bourges Cathedral, or the Cathedrale Saint-Etienne de Bourges is a beautiful cathedral that is dedicated to St. Stephen, and found in the city of Bourges, France, near Toulouse. It is here that the Archbishop of Bourges resides. The land where the cathedral sits is close to the northeast corner of the Gallo-Roman walled city, where the churches have been constructed since the Carolingian period and most likely since the beginning of the bishopric around the 3rd century. This church was constructed as a replacement for the mid 11th century building, remnants that still exist in the crypt. The starting date of this present cathedral's construction is not known, although there is a paper from 1195 that shows monies spent on the reconstruction, convincing the church's hierarchy that the building was already underway. The eastern end of the building sticks out beyond the walls of the Gallo-Roman era and to knock down the walls anytime had required the permission of the royal house; which was given in 1183; showing that any construction had to be started after that date. The choir could be used, but not complete by 1214, while the nave had been completed by 1255. It was consecrated in 1324, with the west side being finished by 1270, with the tower work taking much longer. There were structural problems with the south tower, which necessitated the addition of a buttress tower in the mid 14th century, and the north tower was done in the 15th century's end, however it fell in 1506, which wrecked the north facade. The tower and portal were built using the contemporary design and lasted. Some of the prominent people in the cathedral during the 13th century included William of Donjeon, the archbishop from 1200 until he died in 1209, and canonized by the pope in 1218 making him St. William of Bourges, and his grandson Philip Berruyer, who was archbishop from 1236 until 1261 and led the last stages of construction. During the French Revolution, a lot of the Ducal Palace and the chapel were destroyed, so the tomb effigy of Duke Jean de Berry was moved to the cathedral's crypt, along with numerous spectacular stained glass windows that had been made for the chapel by Andre Beauneveu. It, the cathedral, was never damaged as much as other churches during the revolution and French Wars of Religion, thus making it fairly safe during both World Wars. It was put on the World Heritage Sites list in 1992. The cathedral is noted for its unity of design, which can't be found in any other cathedral built during the High Gothic period, showcasing two marvelous horseshoe aisles that wrap around the nave and choir. The Great Tower is a replicate of the one at the Louvre and is the symbol for royal power. The statues that are integrated into the facade, smile at the tympanum of the Last Judgment, that welcomes the judgment of Christ. The cathedral has kept most of its ambulatory glass that dates from 1215, and the iconography that has been included in many of the windows uses typology, like the Old Testament episodes that prefigure events in the life of Christ, and much symbolism, like the pelican pecking her breast so her young can feed on the blood or the lioness that is licking her malformed cub into shape; all giving theological messages. The other windows include parables of the Prodigal son, the Good Samaritan, the Apocalypse and the story of Dives and Lazarus.

  • Church of Les Jacobins
    The conventual whole of the Jacobins of Toulouse, in France, is an old convent of teaching friars, and the church is a beautiful example of the monastic construction that occurred in the 13th and 14th centuries, consisting of bricks and a jewel of the Languedocien Gothic architectural style. The entire church is a monument to harmony, on the exterior, with the actual construction happening in various stages. There is a splendid contrast between the outside and inside, with the lightness of the interior against the austerity of the exterior. The double nave is separate from the church with columns that span over 60 feet in height, and as it comes to the nave, get taller by some 20 feet, with ribbed vaults that stop in the radius of the palm trees that embellish them. The luminescent environment reflects the direction of the new friars that listened to the humility of Saint Dominique, the founder of the sect, while new esthetics come into play during the latter part of the 13th century.

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  • Cite de l'EspaceCite de l'Espace Toulouse, France
    The Cite de l'Espace or the City of Space is in reality a theme park that is geared towards the exploration and conquest of space. It opened in 1997 and sits on the outskirts of Toulouse, France, with 2 million visitors coming here to enjoy it already. A full scale model of the rocket Ariane 5 is seen here, with the Mir Space Station and Soyuz modules in attendance for the public to view. There are two planetariums, one is 140 seats and the other is 280, that show fantastic views throughout the day. The park is also equipped with many displays, some interactive, like the control room near the Ariane 5, giving visitors the pleasure of preparing for a launch of the rocket, then directing its flight and finally putting a satellite into space. The terradome, which is a terrestrial half sphere 75 feet in circumference, gives the history of space starting with the Big Bang theory and into the creation of the solar system. A new building, called Australia, opened in 2005, and has a new 280 seat planetarium, that is equipped with the hemispherical screen of 1800 feet, an IMAX cinema that shows the Space Station in 3D, and a 3D film that is on the International Space Station, the Stellarium and conference rooms. The history of the cite starts with the inauguration by Dominique Baudis, deputy mayor of the city and Claude Haignere, former cosmonaut and godmother of the cite. In 1998, the full scale version of the Mir Space Station was opened and in 2000 the millionth visitor came to the cite. One month later, the Terradome was opened, and two years to the month, a permanent exposition hall devoted to Mars was opened. In 2003, it was the starting line for the 13th Tour de France, as well as being made a handicapped equipped place for four different kinds of handicaps. In 2005, Australia opened which is the 6th continent and contained the new planetarium and IMAX theater. In 2006, a space devoted to children was opened, called la Base des Enfants.

  • Museum of Toulouse/Museum of Natural History/Botanical Gardens
    The Toulouse, France natural history museum contains a collection of 2.5 million objects that sit within 10,000 square feet of display rooms. As you enter the museum, you will notice the skeleton of a quetzalcoatius, the biggest known flying reptile that ever existed, with a wingspan of over 36 feet, and a stuffed Asian elephant. After these sights, you will begin a leisurely walk through the history of life. Along with the pre-history and palaeontology, this collection contains many other beautiful specimens, like the ornithology collection by Victor Besaucele's with its magnificent 4500 specimens of birds from temperate zones and the palearctic areas of the world, with numerous oceanic types. The adjoining botanical gardens help visitors learn about the relationship of plant, animals and man. Greenhouses that measure some 1000 square feet are home to many unusual types of plants, like the plants that don't touch the ground, stone plants, carnivorous plants, cactuses, and creepers.

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  • Galerie GraalGalerie Graal Toulouse, France
    The Graal Gallery in Toulouse, France is a wonderful gallery to learn, experience and purchase fine art before it becomes to rich a purchase for your budget or tastes. Advice given by the site explains about the acquisition of art, in whatever form you chose to acquire. Firstly, if it appeals to you, and you are interested in buying, you should gather all the information that you can by speaking to the gallery owners, and more preferably, to the artist themselves. Buying a work of art is an act of love, and you should always purchase the piece yourself, never leaving it up to another to do that. You will learn to trust your own intuition, tastes and heart, since it is going to become yours, enjoying its beauty for years to come. Don't ever worry about the fame of the artist, it is your choice and decision. After you have acquired the painting, you need to frame it with a wonderful frame, not just a common frame that is bought off the shelf, or something that is plain, you want your painting to stand out, to jump into your face and space with excitement and beauty. The last suggestion is to not just visit galleries, but rather anyplace that sells art, like Sotheby's, Christie's or Drouot. At the Grail Gallery, you have over 800 works of art placed perfectly in 2500 square feet of space that include 50 masters artworks and famous artists as well. Art is an excellent investment, not prone to the cyclical ups and downs that is ordinary in real estate or the stock market; and in many countries will allow you some tax benefits, depending on where you live. The unbelievable gains that can be made on magnificent works of art constantly stimulate the marketplace, with more investors deciding on artworks as a way of investments and securities. The Graal also has a service that will help you place your newly purchased art in the best possible place for its viewing and appreciation.

  • Basilica de la Daurade
    The church of Our Lady of the Sea Bream or the Church of St. Mary of the Sea Bream is one of the basilicas in Toulouse, France, that sits on the banks of the Garonne River, by the port of the same name. Sitting next to the School of Fine Arts, it doesn't have a steeple, but the classical facade showcases the architecture that sits on the other side of this river. The church was constructed on the former site of a temple that was Dodecagonal Roman, most likely dedicated to Apollo and was crowned by a cupola. These emperors entrusted the Roman temple to Christians and the cult of the Virgin was begun at Ephesus in 431 A.D. The building of the church is devoted to the Virgin Mary that is represented by a black Madonna. It is called the church of the bream because of the beautiful gold mosaics, and it was called the Basilica of Sainte-Marie Toulouse because of the gold mosaics which was called Deaurata meaning covered with gold.  This church had its construction started in 1764, and it took almost a century to complete, with a classical stone facade and thick columns holding up a triangular pediment. The brick nave and chapels are spectacular, and can be viewed to their full extent in the courtyard of the Ecole de Beaux-Arts sitting next to it. The basilica used to be an important stopover for pilgrims on their way to the Saint-Jacques-de Compostelle, visiting here to see the black Virgin. The first statue was burned in the French Revolution, and the one that is shown today was created in 1807, and still many pilgrims come here to show their respects.

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  • Hotel d'AssezatHotel d'Assezat Toulouse, France
    A must see in the city of Toulouse, France is the glorious mansion that is called the Assezat Renaissance palace that was constructed in 1555 for Pierre d'Assezat, who was a pastel merchant. It is now the home of the Bemberg Foundation, and the city's academic societies. The main entrance is an intricately carved wooden door that opens into a courtyard that is full of majestic columns, sculpted designs and decorated windows. There is a lion that guards the entrance to the terrace, and during the summer months, a cafe is opened here.  This particular home was at one time what is called here a hotel particulier, meaning in French, it was a private home, on a grander scale. Regular homes were built along a street, with other houses on both sides, using the same dividing walls, whereas the hotel particulier had a entrance court and a garden on the rear, thereby separating it from the rest of the main traffic. These were very popular during the 18th century, with upper middle class people, as it was with Pierre d'Assezat. Most of these were free standing, as is this one. 

  • Stade Toulousain
    The city of Toulouse, France has one of the best rugby teams in Europe, the Stade Toulousain, that has been in the finals 5 times, won the European top club 3 times, the Heineken Cup once and were the French champions 17 times. The city hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and they have a professional football club, soccer, called the Toulouse FC that play in the Ligue 1. The city has been the host to the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the EuroBasket 1999. France won the World Cup beating Brazil, 3-0 in the finals, getting their first title, and becoming the 7th country to win a cup, and the first hosting country to win a cup since Argentina did in 1978. The FIFA World Cup is given to the best soccer team, considered football outside the United States, in the world, hence the title world cup. They belong to the Federation Internationale de Football Association or FIFA. This championship has been happening since 1930, every fourth year, except in 1942 and 1946, when the world was involved in war instead of exciting games. The EuroBasket is the European Basketball championships that was won by the Italian team beating Spain 64-56. It is a shame that the United States isn't involved in this exciting championship, with the fantastic ballplayers that we have. Almost every nation in Europe and parts of Asia are involved with this championship, that include Russia, Lithuania, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Turkey, France, Yugoslavia, Israel, Macedonia, Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Greece.

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May 13, 2011