Toulouse- France’s fourth-largest city, the centre of European aerospace and space exploration industry, as well as a very pretty city in itself. I’ve had the pleasure to visit Toulouse a few times, first time in 2016 and most recently in December 2018. So it happened, that on both of these occasions I’ve had a chance to go for a run and explore the city.
In April 2016 I started by crossing the historic city centre and the Place du Capitole with its grand Capitole. These days it acts as the city hall and a theatre.
Next, I crossed the river Garonne via the characteristic and famous 16th-century bridge Pont Neuf. I rang along the Garonne upriver for a few kilometres.
Having backtracked a bit along the Garonne I crossed it via another bridge and headed towards the Canal du Midi, along which I ran back to my hotel. The 240-km long canal connects Toulouse with the Mediterranean Sea. It is a bit of an architectural marvel and a grand 17th-century engineering achievement. Since 1996 it has been listed in its entirety as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I woke up early on a cold, dark December morning and set off straight for the Canal du Midi. I ran along it towards a basin where three canals meet: Canal du Midi, Canal de Garonne and Canal de Brienne. From there I ran north along Canal de Garonne for 2 kilometres and returned the same way. This may seem boring, but I was keen to just enjoy an uninterrupted stretch for a few kilometres, with no road crossings and what not.
Next, I ran along Canal de Brienne (weirdly, named after some bishop and not after Brienne of Tarth) straight till the Garonne. From there, after a short jog through the city centre, I made it back to the hotel.
To sum up, I recommend Toulouse as a good place where one can enjoy a run. The river and the canal network allow for both an intense speed session as well as a relaxing jog.
Last but not least, with the approaching Christmas holidays I’d like to wish all my readers Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And those of you who run, have a great running year 2019, filled with good training and successful races :).