We’ve been following the Palsson family as they travel from Germany to the outskirts of France. And this week they settle in Toulouse, just before heading to Spain. Kimberly shares her story as she explores the world with her family of four, gaining a better perspective of others and also growing as a family while they explore new places together.
Toulouse is a charming town near the border of Spain. We are headed to Barcelona next, so Toulouse is a perfect stop along the way. From the very beginning, the people are incredibly friendly. A local shop owner asks to buy us a drink that is special to the region at a local bar the very first night. Unfortunately we have to decline as it’s past the kids’ bedtime.
We love our time in Toulouse. Here are the highlights:
Carousel. In the center of a main circle of town, there’s an adorable double-decker carousel. The kids ride it a couple times with much delight.
Les Tartines. Restaurant. Enjoy amazing food in what feels like your aunt’s kitchen. The people are really nice, and they have activities for entertaining the kids. Highly recommend this place.
Ship Playground. Along the waterfront, we stumble upon a little park filled with people sunning themselves and a huge ship for kids to climb on. I love watching the kids go nuts on a playground. It’s so sweet.
Shopping. Toulouse has some amazing shops, and they’re all on cute windy streets ready for discovery. I ripped the only pair of jeans I packed for the trip, so I finally purchase another pair to replace them. And they were on sale! Sales usually take place semi-annually in European towns, so you can usually find deals at the end of June/early July.
Meet the Meat. Restaurant. Good steaks for reasonable prices. This is an impossibility in Sweden, so we really enjoy it.
Beer Mosaic. Beer Shop with good selection, and you can grab a couple cold ones for a picnic.
Le Detaillant. Restaurant. This is more of a deli. They make us amazing sandwiches from our selection of meats and cheese. They also have a decent beer selection (and apple juice).
St. George Square. This nice plaza is brimming with cafe tables, and there’s a great little playground in the cetner. We have lunch at Au Jardin des Thes, which abuts the playground, and sip some rose wine while watching the kids play. A great place to spend some time.
Le Colombier. Restaurant. The New York Times says one must eat cassoulet here while in Toulouse. We go here for a date night. At first we’re a bit put off by the restaurant being near empty, but we realize this is a special place once the staff welcome us. Our host explains our choices for dinner. It’s the cassoulet, the cassoulet with a salad or the cassoulet with a salad and dessert. So we order the cassoulet. And it is amazing.
General Tip: Sometimes it’s best to just take an Uber. The price can vary drastically depending on the city, so make sure you check that out before you seriously consider it as an option. But after a long day spent at the playground, we opt for the Uber home instead of an hour trek. Definitely worth it.
One evening, Stefan and I get to do a little work while the kids play on their iPads. I’m feeling less guilty for their iPad time now that we’ve removed videos and filled them with educational apps (faves are Speakaboos and Homer). We also FaceTime some family members. The kids are chatty. I think a calm morning time followed by a lot of playground time makes for a cheerful and easy evening.
Another evening, Stefan and I have a date! Our Airbnb host finds us a babysitter, Pauline, who just graduated high school, speaks English well, and is super sweet with the kids. I love how comfortable our kids are with new people and that they are secure to let us go out for a night without them. Stefan doesn’t think we need a night out, but as soon as we are out the door, I watch him relax. He hasn’t quite admitted to himself how stressful it can be to be with kids 24/7, and he usually spends a ton of time away from us at work. As lovely as we are, this has to be a difficult transition.
That said, our family time is just getting better and better. I feel so much closer to my kids and my husband. Unlike a lot of other vacations we’ve taken, this one feels less about where we are than it is about who we are. I hope you are getting some quality time with your family this Summer as well.
Next stop: Barcelona, Spain! #TravelWithHomer #TravelwithKids