Our 2012 Cathedralquest to France day 20 a visit three churches in Toulouse .


Day 20 Saturday, September 22


 We slept a little later this morning.  There are washers and dryer down stairs for the residents to use, so Kathleen went down and put a small load in the washer and then had breakfast in the breakfast room.  We finally figured out that the 1st floor of the apartment building which is part of the Pullman Hotel is really 9 floors up so we are on the 8th floor of the apartment section but are really 17 floors up.

After finishing the laundry, and some lovely down time, we started walking to the Basilica of St. Sernin.  I was anxious to visit it not only because it is a beautiful and famous church, but my research on a model by Jean Louis Piroux could only be purchased in the book store.  



 As we approach the church, they were having an antique “yard sale” all around the church. Everything imaginable was spread out on the walk and the crowd was very large. 




We went into the church,  and I immediately looked for the book store which turned out to be one small counter against the back wall.  They didn’t have the model.  A very helpful young man said he hadn’t seen it in some years.  He wrote out on a piece of paper in French what I wanted so I could hand it a lady in the museum across the street.  We went there and she didn’t have it either but we did find 2 of Instant Durable post card models – Mausolee de Glanum and Theatre Antique. 

 We went back across the street and visited the church.  The young man then gave us a map on which he marked the location of several bookstores that might have the model.



St. Sernin is the most famous and the most magnificent of the great Romanesque churches in the South of France and has one of the largest collection of holy relics. The site was home, in the late fourth century, to a Basilica containing the body of St. Sernin, who was from Languedoc, the first Bishop of Toulouse and was martyred in 250 by being tied to the legs of a bull he had refuse to sacrifice to pagan gods, which dragged him down a flight of stone steps.

With the donation of numerous relics by Charlemagne, the church became a focus of pilgrims from all over Europe, and also a stopping place for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

The present building was constructed to meet those growing needs. It was begun in 1080 and completed in the mid-14th century. General restoration was undertaken in 1860 by Viollet-le-Duc, whose works we have seen numerous times on this trip. St. Sernin is constructed from red brick and white stone. The apse which was begun in the late 11th century has more stone whereas the nave is built almost all of brick. The apse is the oldest part of the building and it forms a magnificent ambulatory of five chapels.  The five tier octagonal belltower stands above the transept crossing. The three lower tiers are embellished with early 12th century Romanesque rounded arches. The two upper stories were added 150 years later. The spire was added in the 15th century.



The interior was designed to accommodate large congregation, with room for choir of cannons and consist of a nave flanked by double sided aisles, a broad transept, and a chancel with an ambulatory from which five radiating chapels open off. Beneath the dome of the transept crossing is an altar table of marble from the old Romanesque altar.


We started walking to more churches and the Capital and found a Subway so we had a sandwich. Is always fascinating to find a great number of American fast food restaurants in European cities.  

Across the street was another church called, Church of Notre-Dame du Taur. The current church was built starting in the 14th Century on the spot where, as legend has it, the bull stopped after dragging St-Sernin thus the name" Our Lady of the Bull" . The church has a large bell-gable with numerous battlements and a triangular gable typical of the Toulouse region. It's recently restored façade which extends considerably higher than the adjacent buildings, attracts the attention of those walking from the Place du Capitole to Saint-Sernin.  Because the street was so narrow and the façade so tall it was impossible to photograph the entire front.

It was rather unusual inside with a lot of dark wood, framed paintings on the wall and a large mural of the bull dragging St.Sernin.







Around the corner was the Capital building, a huge building with a very large square in front filled with people.  There was a sign on the street indicated a little train ride so we took it. We got to see sites that we would not have been able to see walking.






We came back to the square and walked to another church – The Jacobins Church which is a Dominican Church.  




 The interior was wonderful.   Down the center of the entire church nave were columns that radiated into the vaulted ceiling. The one in the front, in the apse, is call the Palm Tree.  Surrounding the column of this column was a mirror, which allowed you to see up to the “palm tree” easily.  It was a very unusual effect.  It was very beautiful.  Near the front was the reliquary of Thomas Aquinas. And then, all of a sudden a blond lady in a long aqua dress stepped up in front of the reliquary and started singing an Ave Maria in a beautiful soprano voice.   Her voice echoed throughout the church.   When she finished, she stepped down and spoke to a few people and disappeared. 


We left and stopped in a bookstore that the clerk in the bookstore at St. Sernin recommended….no luck on finding the model.   Then we walk back past the Capital and found our way back to the street where we live.   It was now about 5:00 pm.  We probably walked ten miles today.  When started out it was cool and overcast and we wore our jackets.  By afternoon it was very hot.   Toulouse is a very large and very busy city.  Of the 1.2 million inhabitants,  I think we saw at least half of them today.  When people get married the wedding party drives through all the narrow streets honking their horns.  There must have been a dozen weddings today.

 About 7:00 we went next door to the Pullman hotel’s bar.  A very nice young man, Bastein, waited on us.  We were the only people in the bar.  The bartender spoke very good English so we are able to communicate.  They had Jack Daniels, so I was happy.  After we finished our drinks, we crossed the lobby to the SW restaurant.  It was very tastefully decorated in shades of cream.  He brought us another round of drinks and talked to us more.   For dinner I had a wonderful piece of salmon and asparagus risotto, and Kathleen had –what else- duck!  Kathleen had chocolate soup for dessert-we’ll remember that – chocolate soup! 



Day 1 - Paris

Day 2 - Sens

Day 3 - Vezelay 

Day 4 - Abbey Fontenay, Semur-en-Auxois, Vezelay -

Day 5 - Beaune

Day 6 - Beaune, Autun, Citeaux, Chateau du Clos Vougeot-

Day 7 - Cluny  

Day 8 - Cluny 

Day 9 - Paray-le-Monial and Clermont-Ferrard

Day 10 - Le Puy-en-Velay 

Day 11 - Avignon 

Day 12 - Avignon to Nimes

Day 13 - Avignon

Day 14 - Marseille

Day 15 - Marseille

Day 16 - Marseille

Day 17 - Marseille to Aigues-Mortes

Day 18 - Carcassonne 

Day 19 - Carcassonne to Toulouse  (posted 10/6/15)

Day 20 - Toulouse

Day 21 - Albi

Day 22 - Toulouse