The bed at the Grand Balcon hotel was particularly comfy and we slept deeply, despite having woken myself coughing and with a migraine in the early hours. Fortunately the triptan worked its magic and we were able to enjoy breakfast just a few metres from the hotel, at the Florida Cafe.

We both ordered the ‘complete breakfast’ so that Rich could eat all the pastries, leaving me two lots of ham and eggs. Whilst gluten free products have been readily available in the larger supermarkets here, they’re not so easy to find in the cafes and restaurants. For 8 euros each though and a seat right on the Place du Capitole, we couldn’t complain. Ok we could have because the eggs weren’t cooked properly and you’d expect better of the food in France, but we’re British and chose to suffer in silence. We could have eaten at our hotel, but thought 18 euros each a bit steep.

Today was market day in the square, but despite it’s size it offered mainly tourist tat, so we headed for the waterfall in the park surrounding the Toulouse tourist office, and watched two deliriously happy toddlers playing in the fountains. Whilst the little girl restrained herself and paddled, the little boy let rip and repeatedly ran through the tallest water spouts. Scenes like this always remind me that adults should remember to play more, rather than worrying about what others might think.


Back at the hotel we finished packing, and walked up Rue de Remusat to the Jeanne d’Arc airport shuttle bus stop. Whilst we waited we made a mental note of the very busy fruit and veg market on the same street, should we decide to come back to the city for a long weekend and self cater.

The bus was almost full so we had to sit separately. For me this meant sitting behind an Irish family, with a daughter who must have been at least 19, and who insisted on spreading her lags and flashing her knickers every few minutes. I’d have understood if she’d had learning difficulties for instance, but given that she was holding a conversation with her mum all the while about her university course, it was a bit disconcerting. I’d have expected her parents to say something, but when we passed the Canal du Midi and the mum declared that “I’ve never been one for canals. They’re a bit too straight for my liking”, I stopped expecting any such thing.

Having arrived at the airport two hours before check-in because we were too tired to carry our bags around whilst we looked at more sights, we headed straight the the magnificent airport lounge – ‘8E Ciel’. In the UK, you tend not to expect much of airport food unless you’re prepared to pay a small fortune to access the first class lounge, and we never are. In Toulouse, you’re able to access such a lounge for free, and for a very reasonable price are served French food at its best. I had Toulouse sausage, potato puree, mustard sauce and grilled tomatoes; whilst Rich enjoyed a starter of asparagus ‘cappuccino’ puree with tempura fried asparagus, and a pudding of grilled peaches on violet biscuits. Beats lunching on a snickers bar that’s for sure, and made a very fitting end to our trip.