Canal du Midi
The Canal du Midi was named so in 1789 by French revolutionaries — fun fact, Southern France is colloquially known as “le midi,” and so this name would translate to, “the Canal of Southern France.” Don’t you just love imaginative names?
Previously, it had been known as the Canal Royal en Languedoc, or Royal Canal in Languedoc, and was considered to be one of the greatest constructions of the 17th century — its price (17-18 million livres) placed it as the second largest construction in the country, right after Versailles.
And it’s not small. It borders Toulouse on its eastern and northern borders, covering a length of 240 kilometers (150 miles), and makes for a pretty place to take a long, long walk.
Jardin de Compans-Caffarelli
I made a small stop at the Jardin de Compans-Caffarelli, which shares a space with the Jardin Japonais Pierre Baudis, which was… unexpectedly closed. No sign, no warning, no nothing. I was sad, and confused, but I was also in a nice park, so I made the best of it and kept walking.
Canal de Brienne
While the Canal du Midi is very pretty, I’m personally partial to the Canal de Brienne. First inaugurated in 1776, it connects the Canal du Midi with the Garonne River, and it covers a distance of 1.56 kilometers (0.97 mi).
After this I took a well-deserved break and stopped at La Fiancée to gorge myself on what were were quite possibly the best pancakes I’ve ever had in my life — second, of course, to my dad’s (duh).
This beauty is by Miss Van, a Toulousian street artist. The name of the piece is La Symphonie Des Songes, or “The Symphony of Dreams,” and it was completed in 2016 as part of the Rose Béton festival of that year.
Jardin des Plantes
The Jardin des Plantes covers a total of 7 hectares (~17 acres), with walkways, statues, and plenty of flowers. It was originally the third botanical garden founded in Toulouse, back in 1794, and became officially a park in 1885.
But that still doesn’t explain… the chickens.
The first inkling I had that something was off was when I heard something and realized that it was a rooster crowing near me. And then realized that he was surrounded by 5-6 hens. They all stared at me with their tiny, beady eyes, so I walked away, fearful of their pointy beaks.
But it didn’t stop there — they were everywhere. I saw 2-3 roosters, each with his pack of hens, crowing and walking around the park like they owned the place. The best part? They’d randomly start running and screaming at the top of their tiny avian lungs, terrifying people as they went.
I highly recommend stopping at Trait Papier (for all your stationery needs) and at Trait Objet (for all your expensive stuff needs) to have a looksie and do some shopping. Personally, I wanted to bring the entire paper store home with me (I only took, like, half).
Also, if you’re searching for a lookout over Toulouse, you can go up to the terrace of the Galeries Lafayette, which is home to a(n expensive) lounge bar — Ma Biche sur Le Toit — where you can enjoy a(n overpriced) drink while looking at the city from above. My waiter was very nice, though.