Journees du Patrimoine, or Heritage Days, make up one of my more favorite weekends. Each September, FR opens up places that are normally closed to the public or are in private hands. (Actually, these heritage days are a European initiative, but we’ve only been present for the FR ones.)
A few years back, the missus and I made the 45-minute schlep south to Martres-Tolosane, home to the region’s faience craftwork and took the opportunity to visit two privately owned chateaux.
Last year, we visited Palais Niel and the altar and crypt of St. Sernin Basilica. On our way to and from these places, we also stopped at some other sites that we had never taken the time to visit before. All in all, it’s a great way to see some otherwise hidden gems.
This year, my two main goals were to see the inside of the chapel at the Hopital de la Grave and to visit the administrative home to the prefecture.
First, the chapel. Longtime readers will perhaps recall that Elyse the Magnificent Tour Guide led a group of us one day to the Hopital de la Grave. The chapel dome is one of the landmarks of the Toulouse skyline. Alas, whilst you can visit the hospital grounds, the chapel is normally off limits. But not during the Journees du Patrimoine.
For more pix of the chapel and the hospital grounds, click here.
After leaving the hospital, I took the short walk to Eglise St. Nicholas, which for some reason was the home church for Toulouse-area sailors. From the outside, it’s not all that much to look at, but on the inside it is surprisingly pretty:
There’s even some a spectacular Pieta-esque sculpture:
Then, after a discouragingly long search for parking, I was back in centre ville Toulouse to visit the Clary Mansion, also known as the Hotel de Pierre, or House of Stone. Unlike virtually the rest of Toulouse, this building has a stone facade (brick is the predominant building material in this clay rich area). And what an extravagant facade it is:
To see more photos from the institute, click here.
Then on Sunday, the lovely missus and I were able to visit the administrative home of the prefecture. Sure, it doesn’t sound like much but it is housed in the former archbishop of Toulouse’s ‘palace’ (it’s not really a ‘palace’ but it is quite nice).