Nougaro, the French poet & singer, paid the most beautiful homage
to Toulouse with his song "Ô
you take the plane and come to Toulouse, you will probably notice
the particular pink glare Toulouse has: the glare of the pink brick
of the buildings...
when it's raining in Toulouse, it looks as though the sun is always
shining, radiating warmth and light because of those pink bricks,
and the warmth with which people welcome you in the shops or in the
is the 4th city in France, but it still has that "provincial
feeling". Life is good in Toulouse...
was founded in the 4th century B.C. and has known many conflicts,
and many ups and downs ever since...
first inhabitants of the place were a Celtic tribe, the Volques.
With the Roman conquests, beginning in the 2nd century A.D., Toulouse,
with its interesting geographical position (at the crossroads of the
main trade routes of the era), and its smooth climate, became a Roman
Visigoth settled after the Barbarian invasions during the 5th century,
and finally the Francs with Clovis, the first King of the Francs,
in the 6th century
the low Middle ages (9th century A.D.), the Raimond's started making
Toulouse the independent city that became most coveted by the kings
of France, because of its wealth, and its independence.
the 12th century, Toulouse was ruled by an elected assembly: the famous
Capitouls. 12 Capitouls were elected by the corporations
(trade, artisans,...). The first assembly was elected in 1141.
more and more spiritual refinement, Toulouse was quickly seduced by
the Cathar doctrine (starting in the 11th century). And became one
of the fiercest foyer of Heresy to destroy. After the battle of Muret
(Death on the King of Aragon Pierre 2nd, and defeat of the Cathars,
despite a superiority in number, because of a lack of proper military
organization), Simon de Monfort lay siege to Toulouse, and died under
its walls... (see "the
main battles part 1").
despite the fierce resistance of the Cathars, the doctrine was finally
wiped out of the map at the end of the 13th century. The first university
was created in Toulouse, to make people (clergy) instructed enough
to "compete" with those from the Sorbonne in Paris, and
Toulouse became the second University place after Paris (it is still
the case today).
the 15th century, the cultivation of the Pastel (a flower that has
dyeing properties), increased the wealth of Toulouse which then started
becoming the "pink city" as the rich traders started building
those most famous houses in red bricks. But the Religious wars (between
Protestants and Catholics), and the emergence of the Indigo dye, were
the signal of a slow decadence of Toulouse: the Capitouls were
banned because they were suspected of being protestants, and the Catholic
church finally got a strong hold on the city.
In the 17th century, the Canal du Midi was built
by Pierre-Paul Riquet, and made the connection between the Mediterranean
sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Toulouse became a crossroads for trade
routes once again, and built a new wealth.
the 20ieth century, despite the many events occurring in the rest
of France, Toulouse's peace remained almost undisturbed.
the emergence of aviation during WW1, Toulouse, because of its geographic
situation, became the base for Aéropostale-Airmail (Toulouse
was far from Germany, and close to the Pyrenees), and that was the
starting point for Toulouse's next big adventure...
is now the European capital for Aeronautics and Space, with the Aéospatiale,
the CNES, Airbus Industries, ...