Tag Archives: shoppers

Totally Terrific Toulouse — Part 2

Today’s highlights are a walk through the streets of the ‘Pink City’ of Toulouse in the Midi-Pyrenees. It was a cold and wintery 3 days there, so you’ll notice that there is very little in the way of blue skies!

Today’s post shows you a few glimpses of the Rue du Taur area with its charming pink brick buildings, narrow streets, wrought iron details, and medieval history.

The origins of the Rue du Taur are actually rather grim! This was the street where St Saturnin, first Bishop of Toulouse, was tied by the ankles to a charging bull and then dragged to his death at the instigation of the pagan priests who were headquartered at the site of the current Capitole plaza.

The basilica of St. Sernin (St. Saturnin) is the large cluster of buildings at the top of the Rue du Taur and it is all that remains of a formerly vast abbey complex.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Site Basilica of St. Sernin (St. Saturnin) in Toulouse, France.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Basilica of St. Sernin (St. Saturnin) in Toulouse, France.


 

Shoppers on Rue du Saur in Toulouse, France.

Shoppers on Rue du Saur in Toulouse, France.


 

A slight curve in a narrow road filled with soft pink-coloured brick buildings in Toulouse, France.

A slight curve in a narrow road filled with soft pink-coloured brick buildings in Toulouse, France.


 

Man sitting on a bollard in front of the Notre Dame du Taur church entry reading a guidebook.

Man sitting on a bollard in front of the Notre Dame du Taur church entry reading a guidebook.

 

Clad in a full fur coat and fur hat, a woman bustles through the shopping district on Rue du Taur in Toulouse, France.

Clad in a full fur coat and fur hat, a woman bustles through the shopping district on Rue du Taur in Toulouse, France.


 

Our journey down the Rue du Taur ends as the street opens up into the vast plaza in front of the the Capitole de Toulouse, a government and arts complex covering over 2 hectares (4.4 acres) right in the heart of Toulouse and rebuilt in the 1700s-1800s in the same spot as the original Roman Capitolium.

 

Rue du Taur terminates at the vast plaza containing the Capitole in Toulouse, France.

Rue du Taur terminates at the vast plaza containing the Capitole in Toulouse, France.

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The plaza in front of the Capitole building in Toulouse is frequently crowded with both tourists and local residents.

The plaza in front of the Capitole building in Toulouse is frequently crowded with both tourists and local residents.

 

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Barcelona Market Shopping At Night

Photos of the day for today are from the huge enclosed market — the Boqueria Market — which was dedicated in the mid-1800s and which is easily accessed from the wide and tree-lined pedestrian walkway of La Rambla.

We had a pleasant stroll though this market and took a small packet of chocolate truffles back to our apartment. It was quite a happy and lively atmosphere and I was surprised to see just how many people were out at night buying their fruit, vegetables, and all other manner of food products.

 

Cut fruit dealer at the Boqueria Market in Barcelona, Spain


 

Happy night-time shoppers in the Boqueria Market in Barcelona, Spain


 

 

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9 Days to Christmas In A French Town

Taking a break from all of the photos and articles on Spain for a glimpse of a French town when there are 9 days left before Christmas.

The local town council has attached Christmas trees to the lamp posts on both sides of the bridge over the river.
 

Cyclists on the bridge in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

View from the bridge in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France at Christmas time


 
This charming little dog was waiting for his/her owner to finish shopping in the toy store.
 

A little dog waits patiently for its owner to finish shopping in the toy store.


 

A little dog waits patiently for its owner to finish shopping in the toy store.


 

The weekend market now has a wintery Sunday version that has vintage goods for sale. It was quite enjoyable to be able to walk freely through the bare-branched avenue of trees without being jostled by the large throngs of people that attend the Saturday market. We didn’t actually find anything we wanted, but it was certainly was pleasant to walk in the fresh air and have a look around.
 

Shoppers at a winter outdoor market in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France in December 2012.


 

Shoppers at a winter outdoor market in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France in December 2012.


 

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Barcelona Nights Out: Photo of the Day – Shoppers and Diners

In contrast to our own home town here in the South of France which practically rolls up the sidewalks on weeknights, you certainly can’t say that about a weeknight in Barcelona!

The photo below was taken on the very busy Passeig de Gracia at night. Note the happy women taking a break on the bench surrounded by all of their shopping bags as other people continue to stream by.
 

Two unidentified women rest on a bench as people walk by at night on the busy shopping district in Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona, Spain.


 
Strolling, laughing, running into friends, people are definitely out an about and not racing to get home and sit behind closed doors.
 

Happy Barcelona, Spain citizens out and about on a week night on Passeig de Gracia


 
And in this photo, people are just beginning to think about going out to dinner and filling up the tables at the very early hour of 8:30 PM.
 

Diners begin to slowly fill the tables of a sidewalk cafe in Barcelona, Spain.


 
We found an upscale ‘toy store’ for grownups called Vincon that carried everything from fabbo art and office supplies to a stunning array of kitchen goods. I had what we called (in Deb and Mark verbal shorthand) ‘a tile store moment’ when there was actually so much in that store that I didn’t know where to look first! I managed to get some shots that weren’t filled with people (and trust me, that was quite difficult), but the store was absolutely packed. At the front entry there were a row of waiting room style chairs for the people who were sitting and patiently waiting for someone else to finish shopping so they could go home.
 

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1-Vincon exterior
2-Pantone Display
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5-Kitchenish
6-Waiting While They Shop
1-Vincon exterior
2-Pantone Display
3-Moleskin Display
4-Bialetti Bonanza
5-Kitchenish
6-Waiting While They Shop


 
Barcelona is an amazingly vibrant city and I can’t wait to go back!

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Crushed By Crowds and Crabby

Note to self — no matter which of us says to the other one, “Oooo! They have a really big market over at (insert location of choice). Want to go?” — the default answer in a humongous city the size of London should always be no-no-no-no-no. This also falls under the category of ‘How to spoil a perfectly lovely day on the weekend.’
 

Jammed up in the crowds at Camden Market


 
But wait — it gets better. Not once (are we slow learners on occasion?) but twice on the same weekend we sampled a market. At least on the second try I took zero pictures and we walked briskly through the crowds and out the other side in less than five minutes with me saying “This is not the way I remember things being.”

Am I getting old and crabby? (don’t answer that!) Or has my tolerance for being crushed by crowds, smelling too many overlapping food aromas, hearing music playing loudly that I outgrew decades ago, seeing people draped on every available surface, and looking at items that I could find on Ebay simply erased my joy in the whole ‘market scene’ rather a lot?

I choose to regard this minor case of a shock-horror moment — complete with remarks from my husband to the effect of “If you could see your face, Deborah!” — as another time capsule moment when things were viewed from a different perspective 17 years ago. Otherwise, the population boom in London really has resulted in a population boom at the large markets and they are no longer a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Camden Lock

Crowds on every waterside walkway at Camden Market

It isn’t strictly a ‘young scene’ although the preponderance of people sitting, standing, or elbowing their way through the throngs on the waterside walkways did appear to primarily be in the under-30 category.

Elsewhere there were people in attendance of all shapes, sizes, and ages — gamely picking through the goods on offer, slurping down a latte or a chai tea, or simply people watching.

I continue to read that this market is a recommended place to go when you visit London. But unless you have lived a deprived or rural or shopping-zone-free life, I cannot for the life of me understand why a guidebook writer would find this place thrilling.

Crowded shopping in the Camden Market halls

So, if a crush of crowds with pointy elbows and massive feet, a plethora of ‘cuisine’ smells, dated music sounds, and so-so merchandise makes you as crabby as it made me, this might just be a place to avoid!

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