Journees du Patrimoine 2011

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.

The backside of the chapel.

The inside isn’t anything all that spectacular but…the view of the cupola is superb.
 

Thank goodness the sun came out for a bit on this otherwise cloudy day.

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:

The walls are gorgeous.

There’s even some a spectacular Pieta-esque sculpture:

What a stunning surprise inside of a dark little church.

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:

A standout in Toulouse architecture.

To see more of the building and its courtyard, click here.
 
For the last stop of the day, I went and visited the Institut Catholique de ToulouseThe school was originally founded way back in 1229 and these days is one of the few private, religious universities in FR. But what’s cool about the place is the abundance of Roman-era walls and artwork found on the site:
 
 
 

Some of the Roman ruins now built into the site.

There are even mosaics and sculpted pieces:
 

Medusa, if I had to guess.

 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).

The courtyard with St. Etienne Cathedral in the background at the entrance.

They too have Roman-era artwork, but the piece that got my attention was a headless and blue winged female figure:
 

Going for an arty shot.

To see more of the place and its garden, click here.
 
Only another year before the next such weekend takes place. Wonder if we’ll be here to experience it.
 
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About skinsphins

The stories of a 'never out of the country until we moved to France' American.
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One Response to Journees du Patrimoine 2011

  1. Pingback: Journees du Patrimoine – Toulouse | Newmans of Leguevin

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