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Or not Toulouse?.....Sorry.

I'm looking for French people's advice on Toulouse. I really like the look of it, it intrigues me. And more generally, how does it rank amongst French cities that are not Paris? I'm up for other suggestions, just I know Paris and am looking to explore more cities and regions. Also, if you were heading to either the extreme south-west or extreme south-east coast, from here, ie Bayonne/Biarritz or Perpingan, French Catalonia area, where would you recommend?
I'm not French, but I'm there pretty often, so I'll take a stab at it...

I often putter about in the area from Nice north. Toulouse is lovely, but don't neglect Montpellier, Nimes, Avignon etc.

As to Bayonne/Perpignan, the two areas are completely different...Atlantic and surfing vs. Mediterranean and floating, cooler versus hotter in summer even if minimally, Basque vs. Catalan like, although there is bullfighting in Bayonne, different foods, you name it they're different.

If you're going to be in Toulouse, maybe Perpignan makes more sense?

You have to do your research...see what each area has to offer, and if you have to choose, choose the one that most interests you.

Fwiw, I like the area of France bordering on Spain on the east, but Perpignan itself doesn't have a whole lot to offer, in my opinion.


I find and to be very helpful. Be sure to check out the forums.

Can't help you with meeting French women. I'm the only woman who posts here. It's rather a forum for genetics and history/archaeology, that sort of thing, although you're welcome to post about other things. There are a lot of choices.

In my personal experience the rudeness of Parisians is rather exaggerated, but then I've lived and worked in N.Y.C. for a long time, so perhaps my standards are different.

I'm not saying I like rudeness, but I do like directness, and I have to admit I find some of it rather funny. It helps if you're able to give it makes you feel better, and I think they quite like it too.

I am aware that a lot of variables are at play; whether you're female versus male, what nationality you are, what religion, your own attitude. When in a different country, I try to do as the natives do, so as not to give offense. In the case of France it comes easily as I come from a neighboring country. I adore almost everything, and it shows. That always helps. Whether you're in France or Italy, it helps, for example, if you don't loudly proclaim, when the breakfast baked goods come out, "Haven't they ever heard of bacon and eggs here?" :)

In Italy we have "Stendhal syndrome", when tourists are overcome through sheer sensory overload, often, but not exclusively when viewing our art. It's sometimes called the "Florence syndrome", or the "Italy syndrome".

A train line from Paris to Venice used to be called the "Stendhal"; I don't know if that's true any longer.

I didn't think the Japanese were so sensitive, but in Italy as well they seem to suffer more from these collapses than most of our other tourists, although perhaps it's because it's their first experience in the west?
Hi, thanks for your extensive reply. I do really want to visit Montpelier, and Nimes, the Cevennes as well, I was thinking separately, though I guess I could do it all in one, depends on the schedule. Toulouse does look beautiful and the food sounds good. I know this is a bit weird, but with ocean warming as well happening fast, I think Catalonia might be more at risk of white sharks, stingers etc than the Atlantic. I also think the Atlantic might be cleaner because of the lack of tides in the Med, but maybe French Catalonia, is far enough 'around' that it is cleaner...? I don't find Parisians rude, though I haven't been for a while. Frankly I think the whole 'rude arrogant French' thing is just a deeply boring cliche, from a bunch of people who want to stay in a predjudiced anglo-saxon enclave. I don't find it rude or inhuman compared to London, no way. I love Paris though. I haven't explore other cities at all, I got the Toulouse idea from google maps(!), and Nimes looks amazing there too. I wouldn't do all that idiot tourist stuff, don't worry. I could do Toulouse then Nimes and Montpelier, that sounds good. I'd probably be going around autumn, but as I'm English it wouldn't be cool to me. I'd swim late in the year as well. When I holidayed as a kid I swum inland, in pools, I like the idea of pool and lake swimming, I guess you could do that in the Cevennes. Oh, and.....there's nothing wrong with Italian ladies!
Wish i spent more time in Toulous, but was there just for the day, which otherwise looked like a very nice town. I remember having dinner on the Main road just off the river. Had to fly there to get to Cauterets ( a very nice skiing resort in the Pyrenees).

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