Toulouse bleg

I’ll be there in a bit, though I won’t have enough time to leave town.  What should I do?  I thank you in advance for the suggestions, dining included.  And do I have a good overnight option right next to Amsterdam airport?


I would recommend a tour of the Airbus factory at Blagnac Airport. Seeing an A380 in person (as well as the "Beluga") is pretty neat. I would also brush up on your French. I was there in July and my limited French skills helped out a lot.


I hope this comment reaches you; I regard it as very important.

Toulouse may be a big city now, but it is still smack in the middle of the cassoulet belt, and you are cheating yourself if you do not order a really good cassoulet before you leave. I recommend Le Colombier, 14 Rue Bayard, phone They use goose confit instead of duck, which is becoming something of a rarity. Order a bottle of malepere to accompany it and skip breakfast. Not actually starred, but Michelin is a racket anyway.

We built a whole vacation around cassoulet last year...

I remember visiting Toulouse for a conference and being taken to a very nice (high-end, but not stuffy) restaurant, where cassoulet was one of the chef specialties. Delicious, but nobody could finish it. Most people left more than half of it. The waiter then took the bowls complaining (he looked somewhat disappointed) that we were some kind of wimps for not finishing the plate. Apparently that was a tradition of the place, to serve an oversized portion and then get mild abuse from the staff for not being able to handle it. ;)

Amsterdam: I suggest the "CitizenM". I used the one in AMS city, it's an interesting concept (check the website), and I assume the one at the airport is also fine.
- Olaf

What you need to know is a favourite schoolboy joke.

I say, I say, I say, can you describe a matelot's trousers?

Yes: Toulouse and Toulon.

There are two hotels right in the Amsterdam airport - in the terminal and,IIRC, inside security. If you're just looking for a place to sleep overnight between flights try them. Sorry I can't remember the names, but I do recall that they differ somewhat in price and luxury, so take your pick.

I'd certainly recommend one of the hotels within Schipol airport - the Mercure. It's well appointed and is located in Lounge 3.

Yes, thanks. The Mercure is one of the ones I was thinking of.

This is singularly one of the best ideas out there for improving the travel experience. Transiting via Europe from the U.S. West coast to East Africa, with two back to back Long
Haul flights, the ability to check-in to a hotel, for a family, even for a few hours, is priceless. Beyond the sheer hassle factor of the size of Heathrow, the fact that a brand new terminal 5, could not incorporate any concept beyond shopping mall with airplanes, is one of the reasons I abandoned that airport despite decades of passing through and thousands of BA miles.

The Musée des Augustins has a nice collection of Impressionists, and some impressive sculpture.
Also, check out the bridges. My favorite is the Pont Neuf, which (IMHO) is best viewed from the Pont Saint-Pierre. The nearby Hôpital de La Grave has beautiful stained glass in its rotunda.

Some 30 years ago I recall sitting in a red brick courtyard of one of the main churches (late medieval I think but cannot recall which. It was not huge). It was evening - sunset or thereabouts - of a very hot late summer day. The sight and sounds of the swallows swirling above us was truly memorable and something I have not forgotten.

I've moved to Toulouse. France's most tourist free gem . Just sit in one of the pavement cafes around the Place de Capitol and people watch. 180k students , usually brilliant weather. If you want to b aculture vulture Saint Severin the romanesque cathedral is five minutes away, and the old town is all around . The EADS facility , as an earlier commentator said , is well worth visiting . Not so much to see A380's being built but to understand the politico/economic Franco-German links that put the whole Eurozone discussion into perspective . .

The rediscovery of monumental sculpture in western Europe took place at St-Sernin* - the Porte Miegeville. Also see the Gelduinas reliefs in the ambulatory. The church is a beautiful example of Romanesque, too - pray for a sunny day.

*Art historians debate this, but unless you're partial to Santiago de Compostela, this is it.

You may also enjoy the Rijksmuseum satellite inside Schiphol, if you've got some time to burn there.

Toulouse? Why don't you see a Stade Toulousain game -- one of France's top rugby teams ( Rugby is a very important part of life in the midi.

Agreed, Toulouse is home to arguably the world's greatest rugby club. The city is mad for rugby and the fans are great. If the rugby world cup is ongoing when you visit watch a France match at a rugby bar, if it isn't watch Stade Toulousain live.

The Airbus factory tour has to be a top priority. As much as I was raised on the mother's milk of "there's no such thing as good industrial policy". Airbus is a very interesting case. It would be a good topic of discussion here. It has clearly displaced Boeing as the number one commercial aerospace manufacturer, a neck and neck race, for which Airbus has finally pulled ahead.

The two operate a duopoly, with decision making that is straight out of game theory to the chagrin of many airline industry buffs who imagine the two to be naturally ruthless competitors. Which they are only half the time. More than any other industry I follow, the the two prime assemblers, are somehow proxies for national identities among Americans and Europeans, resulting in an a very long running flame war between engineers, and industry insiders on Somehow, Aircraft assembly carries that cache as a nations clearly demonstrable technological sophistication.

Get ready for all the canard you can handle

I can tell you where to get a brilliant foie gras creme brûlée if you are one of the 3% of people who don't find that repugnant

Go to Victor Hugo market in the morning and eat upstairs for lunch at one of the second floor eateries

Get trashed at lunch with Jean Paul Azam of TSE on 1.5L bottles of his grandfathers wine

Walk the canal and river next to TSE

Do not, I repeat do not, eat the indian food

P.S. There is a list of good restaurants floating about, prepared by an economist I can't remember. But all the picks are now full of Americans and food is blah.

After missing a mid-Atlantic connection to Iceland in 2000 (daily flight), I was put up in the AMS Golden Tulip airport hotel. Decent but the room was small by American standards. My dnner of course was Indonesian riijstafel (Rice Table) (OK when a lone diner, fantastic with a group).

A few years later I was in a wedding party in Curacao, and I finally convinced a couple of folks to go to the rice table for lunch. They were amazed. Next day we had a group of 16 there for dinner.

I wholeheartedly endorse the recommendation of staying in the citizenM Hotel at Schipol. I stayed in the one downtown in Amsterdam overnight just a few days ago and had no complaints.

For a gastronomique choice you can try the Michel Sarran (with two macarons/michelin stars) and it's near TSE. They have a dégustation lunch option.

Quoting Chris Blattman: "There is a list of good restaurants floating about, prepared by an economist I can’t remember."
Glen Weyl had a list of restaurants on his website but the link seems dead.

Quoting martin "Some 30 years ago I recall sitting in a red brick courtyard of one of the main churches (late medieval I think but cannot recall which. It was not huge)."
It should be les Jacobins, one of my favorite places also.

Cassoulet is great especially in winter, but if you have time you should try one in Castelnaudary (approx. 60 km from Tlse).

A bientôt!

Just enjoy the city. No need for plans!!!!

Sheraton at Schipol is a 3 minute walk from the main terminal. All indoors. Hilton is 10 minutes, last 50 meters outdoors.

Um, Unblinkered, there is a hotel attached to Heathrow Terminal 5. It just opened a little later than the terminal did. It's a Sofitel, I think, and pretty good.

As for Toulouse, the Blagnac/Airbus tour would be good. But, before and after cassoulet, simply wandering around would be good. Perfect time of year. St Sernin is red brick, even though built in 1080 or so - fascinating building.

R.H.. Attached is the problem, inside would have been the answer. I have 28 U.S. West coast to East Africa round trips via Heathrow, and they involve 21 Hrs total flying time with a 7 hour layover when westbound. 7 Hrs is not long enough to exit the terminal, and passport control, check-in, and clear security on the way back. despite being an anglophile, It is for this reason that I have abandoned LHR for Schlipol.

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