Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Toulouse Day 1

Well I am going to start with last night as we arrived yesterday and on our way to dinner we walked past the Notre Dame Dalbade. Located in the Carmes district. The name of Dalbade comes from the tradition of coating it with white, lime. The rather austere building is typical of The southern Gothic architecture. Ravaged by a fire in 1442, it was rebuilt at the end of the 15th century. Its bell tower was long the highest in the city with its 91 meters and collapsed brutally in 1926.

This relief was in the Chapel Notre Dame Mont Carmel.

The front entrance to the church was so unusual with this painted relief.

This beautiful painting on the side of the dance studio really caught our eye.

Today we headed out to explore Toulouse on foot and came across this delightful building.

Our first stop was at the Notre Dame Du Taur the current church was built starting in the 14th Century on the spot where, as legend has it, where St. Sernin (Occitan for Saturnine, from the Latin Saturninus) was detached from the bull that dragged him to his death. The church has a large bell-gable with numerous battlements and a triangular gable typical of the Toulouse region.

Our next stop was Saint Sernin the largest Romanesque church in Europe, the Basilica of Saint Sernin in Toulouse is notable for its imposing architecture and important medieval sculptures and frescoes.

The first Bishop of Toulouse was Saturninus, who in 250 AD met a violent death for refusing to worship pagan gods. Roped to a sacrificial bull by mobs gathered on the steps of the Capitoline Temple, St. Sernin was dragged down the main street of Toulouse (then known as Tolosa) to his death.

The relics of St. Sernin attracted many pilgrims from the start, but visitors really began to pour in with the rise of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the early 11th century. Toulouse is along a main route to the Spanish shrine, so a larger church was soon required to cope with the crowds stopping to pray at the tomb of St. Sernin.

Construction on the present Romanesque church began around 1080, starting with the chevet and transept at the east end. A surviving inscription tells us that the altar was consecrated by Pope Urban II on May 24, 1096. Work continued on the nave until about 1117, when the collegiate church was elevated to the status of an abbey and attention shifted to the cloister and necessary monastic buildings. The west end was never completed.

Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

Chapel of Saint Sacrement

The Musee Saint Raymond classified as a historic museum in 1975, the Musée Saint-Raymond, is one of the rare, existing examples of medieval, academic architecture in Toulouse. The Antiquities Museum of Toulouse, displaying aproximately 1000 pieces of daily life of the Celts and Romans in Toulouse and the surrounding region.

Hygeia Goddess of health


Minerva with the owl shaped helmet

A relief of Persephone being captured by Hades




The Convent of the Jacobines, is a large brick building whose construction started in 1230, and whose architecture influenced the development of the Gothique méridional (southern Gothic) style. The relics of Thomas Aquinas are housed there. In the two centuries following the dissolution of the Dominican Order at the time of the French Revolution it served various different purposes before undergoing major restoration in the 20th century. In the early 21st century it is a museum.

We strolled along the Garonne River

The Pont Neuf

The Notre Dame de la Daurade basilica which was built on the site of a Roman Temple to Apollo, endowed by Galla Placidia in about 415 CE and beginning life as the Saint-Mary Basilica of Toulouse. Hereafter it served as a chapel for the Visigothic Kings of Toulouse. In the 9th century the church became part of a Benedictine monastery and in the 11th century a Romanesque nave was added. During the period of the troubadours, it was a center of poets and members of the Company of Gay Science, who held their jocs florals (floral games) in honor of the Black Virgin every May. The original cupola was destroyed in 1703 after threatening to collapse. A new dome was erected in 1760 but only a year later the whole building had to be demolished, the dome having compromised the integrity of the walls. Apparently during the demolition a statue of Aphrodite was found among the rubble. A reconstruction project began in 1764 but the ambitious plans were delayed and finally made impossible by the construction of the quays and walls of the Garonne River on which the Basilica sits. The plans had to be modified, and the nave of the original basilica serves today as the transept. Work on the project was interrupted again by the Revolution. As a consequence, the basilica, though dedicated by Pope Pius IX in 1876, was not finished until 1883.

In 109 CE, legend has it that the Roman Consul Cepio drained a lake at the site of the current Daurade Church looking for the legendary “gold of Toulouse” taken from Delphi by the Volcae Tectosages, uncovering a statue of Pallas Athena in the process. (Athena, incidentally, was one of the goddesses sometimes represented as black).

The name Delphoi is connected with "womb" and may indicate archaic veneration of an Earth Goddess at the site. Apollo is connected with the site by his epithet Delphinios, "the Delphinian", i.e. either "the one of Delphi", or "the one of the womb."

Notre Dame de la Daurade has other powers. She has often been called upon in periods of drought to bring rain, which is in keeping with her role as a fertility figure.
When it became a church dedicated to the Virgin, it was decorated with a gold leaf background covered by small pieces of mosaic tiles which was behind the origin of its name “Deaurata", meaning covered with gold.

The chapel of Notre Dame de la Daurade occupies the southern end of the transept. The effigy itself surmounts an altar decorated with lily motifs. Even the lamps to either side of the statue are suspended from brackets formed to look like lilies. The altar is made out of ceramic, and the wall behind the effigy is made up of a mosaic depicting God the father and a host of angels. The Black Virgin herself stands upright with the infant Jesus upon her left arm. She holds a baton stiffly in her right arm. Her body is draped with a real dress. Both Mary and Jesus are crowned, and an ovaloid halo of stars surmounts the pair.

In this the monogram of Mary is surmounted by a crown and radiates rays of light; four cherubs look on. Underneath is an upturned crescent moon around which the serpent has wrapped itself.

Perhaps the most curious motif of the chapel is the serpent, which is repeated in at least six separate images throughout the basilica. The most striking is a mosaic on the floor directly underneath the Virgin. The mosaic depicts a jaunty fellow, his tongue flickering over the apple.

We walked past the building of Fine Arts.

The Musee du Vieux Toulouse - The collections of the museum of Old Toulouse has the ambition to present itself as a history book, telling the story of the city of Toulouse through a rich iconography, works of art and objects that have been patiently gathered for a century by enthusiasts. It is the only establishment in the city that has extensive collections on these themes.

The art of dying cloth etc blue prior to Inigo was to use woad.

The old stamps used for decorating

Place du Capitole, a huge pedestrianized open space in the heart of Toulouse, serves as the main city square. Flanked by grand municipal buildings, the square includes the long neo-classical facade of Capitole, the city hall, built in the 1750s.

The current city hall (Hôtel de Ville) and Theatre National du Capitole orchestra and opera house, this building is remarkable with its 8 columns of pink marble on façade, Henry IV courtyard, the place where the Duke of Montmorency was killed.

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