Sunday, August 22, 2010

Toulouse – Lake trek

Toulouse, St Sernin flea markets 

No drummers except those driving an ambulanceMunson and I have been in the Haute-Garonne for a month now without venturing to the departmental capital . With one of the oldest universities in Europe, and now a major centre of aero-space industries, there’s plenty to draw one in. I saved our visit for a leisurely Sunday, strolling around the area between the Basilica of St. Sernin and the river Garonne.

St. Sernin is surrounded by flea markets on a Sunday, with some produce stalls targeted at the Arabic community. Other than a proliferation of men selling boxes of cigarettes, there’s not much you wouldn’t find at the markets I’ve visited in smaller towns here in the south-west.


Map picture

Munson sur Gauronne

I cut our visit short at about 3 hours as the midday temperatures were in the mid-30s and Munson had drunk dry the water spout outside the tourist office by the Capitole square.

Gimont centre ville 

I drove west through the pretty towns of L’Isle-Jourdain and Gimont. The latter sits astride a long hill, with the main commercial street (above) on the crest, and other streets falling away to each side. It has a famous Sunday foies gras market, but today was just another sleepy hot August weekend with hardly a soul to be seen.2010-08-22 Simorre

Turning south, we stopped in the village of Simorre which advertised a Brocante which is like a  yard sale cum antique fair, which often overlaps considerably with the garage sales known as a vide-grenier (literally: empty granary). A flea market – un marché aux puces -  is simply an open air market where food is not sold.

The final stop for the day – and the one most favoured by Munson – was at the Lac de la Gimone, the lake I had visited for swimming. I took him to the spot by the village of Lunax that I’d found earlier in the week. Today there were several dozen people and a few dogs picnicking, BBQing and swimming. Munson could hardly contain himself and nearly dragged me into the water as he set out to join two rubber vessels floating 20 metres offshore. We stayed there about an hour, Munson only occasionally returning to shore, and frequently having to be summoned back from his attempts to cross the lake.

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I wish I had a picture of Munson’s expression back in the car. Absolutely blissed out.

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