…and it is still a beautiful, happy place.
We arrived at the gate in Dublin and suddenly moved back into our habit of only speaking French outside the apartment – to each other and to everyone else. It is SO lovely.
The bags arrived safely – but they have a new control scheme on the belt that only spits out the next bag when there is a gap in the carousel. Perfect French engineering – teaching baggage to behave “doucement” – softly and with good manners. Our taxi driver sped past another driver with 2 cm clearance between the mirrors – and bet us that he knew exactly when we were about to arrive – which in old Toulouse is a feat worth bragging about. And he did. Dropped us direct – and right on the doorstep.
The kind AirBnB host who met us at the door paid us the ultimate kindness, “Alors Elisabeth – elles sont francophones – tu m’as dit qu’elles etait anglophones.” (I write only in English, so he expected the same…and I speak much more relaxed and fluent French here than I do in Canada…because here I am focussed on communicating rather than on speaking – so I speak better and it matters less…) …but he made my week.
The flat is beautiful – at least 200 years old (I think more), with a private sunny courtyard, BOTH a dishwasher AND a seche linge (dryer – unheard of luxuries!), a carriage door access from the street, the baker “juste a cote” and the epicerie (grocer) around the corner. The cordonnier (shoemaker) who fixed my red cowboy boots in 2006 is just around the corner too. Our hosts were pleased that I remembered. I am happy to be home again.
Jessica and I went immediately to Place du Capitole, and found the Wednesday market in time for some shopping. Both of us came home with des jolies robes (dresses) – hers “au style mode” – mine simply “souriante et heureuse” (smiling and happy). Our sizes worried the vendors – we have to explain that we are Canadiennes and understand that we are much larger than the French so they shouldn’t worry about the sizing – but the fit must allow for Canadian winters! …and there are discussions about the thickness and colour of clothing, and des cabanes (tiny collapsible outdoor changing cabins – really!), and directing him to hold the mirror up, and then down, and so on. Markets are my favourite place to practice languages, and the vendors here are so delightful!
Then we went to Heyraud – our favourite expensive shoe store – you can’t believe what they have done – the same beautiful and elegant style of shoe – not just in several colors – but slightly modified in trois tailles de talon (three heights of heel)! Tellement practique! Tellement beau!
We had salads and desserts at the WRONG time of day (5pm) in a very unfashionable resto for tourists (it’s OK sometimes!) and then went out at 9:30 to get the rest of the meal (foie gras – of course).
Jessica has proven herself une bonne dame francaise – she remembered to close the volets (shutters – we have proper blue volets Touloussaine!) before bed. This is always a puzzle of engineering – and well worth figuring out. We will sleep the sleep of the dead tonight in a completely dark and quiet flat.
Tomorrow I will add a photo of the carousel to the post…it was SO beautiful in the sunshine today…and Rebecca – we didn’t get lost ONCE – or even look at the map!!!