Up very early this morning, when the muezzin called, and into the taxi by 5am!! We were at the airport by 5.20 ready for our 7.30 flight to Paris!
We had a coffee whilst waiting, then hopped on the plane and flew to Paris.
Straight on to the train station at CDG. It is pretty easy to find, once you know!! There is a little train that runs around the terminals and the car parks, and at Terminal 2 is the SNCF station where the TGV's and Rapides leave for other destinations. The metro for Paris leaves from here too, and also from Terminal 3.
We got to Terminal 2 and found the station then found out that the train was delayed by 20 minutes! We had an hour to make a connection at Montpellier-St-Roch so that was OK.
We got on the train and had a nice comfortable trip to Montpellier, J eating from the buffet car on the way. At Montpellier I had a lovely quiche from the Brioche D'Or chain that is in most stations and airports, the quality of which most cafes in Sydney can only dream about!
We arrived in Toulouse around 7.30 that night, and as it was still light we found our hotel quite quickly. It was near the station, but set back from the street and it was fantastic!! It was a tripadvisor recommendation and I will also be recommending it there! The hotel was the Privilege Appart-Hotel Clement Ader. It is brand new, a lovely modern apartment-hotel with heated pool, spa, laundry, parking etc (laundry was such a welcome relief after not having one on the boat!). The staff were beyond helpful, and even let us leave a bag there for the week we were walking, as we were returning for another night at the end of the walk.
The restaurant they recommended was The Winter Garden, at 2-4 Rue des Gestes. It is a family owned business, father and 2 sons, and it is an absolute gem. The food is sensational, the showmanship and passion of the family second to none. When describing the menu one son told me that when he ate the dish for the first time, he cried (the chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms). The room is small but overflowing with warmth and charm, and everyone is talking and no-one is drowned out because there is no music only the sound of laughter and talk, and the smells of food and wine. Such a warm and happy place! And the service is amazing, one only has to think of wanting a glass or another bread or dessert, and they are there to provide. As another son told me 'Jamais deux sans trois' - never two without three - and though he was referring to a glass (or two or three) of wine, I think it covers many many things!
Our entrees were house-made ravioli stuffed with fromage frais and with a capsicum sauce, and a goats cheese toast.
My main - the house specialty chicken, a supreme stuffed with Winter stuffing (I think mushrooms, walnuts, garlic) in a mushroom cream sauce with their superb dauphinoise potatoes
and J's fish, a salmon fillet baked en papilotte with leeks and carrots and wine
and our shared dessert, a chocolate marquise with creme anglaise
and of course 3 glasses of wine!!
We were seated next to an American couple, and over dessert they told us that there was a night circus in the Capitole square, which we had passed on our way to the restaurant. So after dinner we walked back to the square.
It was full of people. It was about 10.20pm by now, and there were several hundred peoople here
after a few minutes wait the lights dimmed and the buildings were lit
the first act was some tumblers and bouncing acrobats, then came a tightrope walker, walking on a rope suspended between the roof of the Capitole and a cherry picker (and another light show on the buildings)
then a balloon monster came out to look at the tightrope walker
they both finished and the crew threw huge balloons down to the audience who batted them back and forth until all were popped
the light show on the buildings changed again and again, until it became blue sticks, then red, then brown and back to blue and flames shot out from the flame throwers
and then another monster came out..
then they twined around each other and changed colours and played - it was beautiful!
they were controlled by some of the crew with poles and string, so clever!
The lights on the buildings changed again, the monsters (all 3) went home, and then the fireworks began! As a finale, the buildings were lit again with coloured lights
and then they went out. Everyone applauded, then we left the square and walked home.
A really lovely evening, just being in the right place at the right time!