Visited: March and Xmas 2000, Xmas 2001, Xmas 2002, September 2003, June 2004.
Moved here: March 2005
Toulouse is known throughout France as La Ville Rose (The Pink City) because it is mostly built with red bricks — unlike Paris, for example, which is mostly built with white bricks. It is also the city where Yves comes from and where his family still live.
When I arrived in France for the first time ever (March 2000), I stayed with Yves and his family for a week before we moved to sunny Scotland to live. During that week, Yves showed me around Toulouse and around a fortified city called Carcassonne which is about a 40 minute drive away from Toulouse.
We returned for another 3 weeks over the Christmas season in 2000 and I got more than acquainted with the French tradition of spending all day and night eating. In between meals, we managed to squeeze in time to visit the city centre and see the Christmas markets.
The Christmas markets are held annually in La Place du Capitole. In 2000 and 2001 they had some electronic puppets (called 'Marrionettes') moving to music. The puppets were dressed beautifully in fancy dress with masks and hats. There were about 8 different sets and each came to life separately when the lights shone on their stage and the music began to play. In Xmas 2001 and 2002 we spent another 2 weeks each time in Toulouse and did a lot of sightseeing in the nearby Pyrenées and villages.
We went to Toulouse again in September 2003 to enjoy a week of summer sunshine instead of the annual wintry Christmas visit. I really enjoyed the warm weather especially after Scotland's miserable excuse for summer and we also took a two day trip out to Narbonne and the beach — we even had barbequed prawns! :)
In 2004, we spent another summer's week in Toulouse in June. We had a barbeque nearly every day and basked in the gorgeous temperatures of 30°+. We also took a short two day trip out to Collioure and Argeles sur Mer.