Accommodation in Toulouse

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The first inhabitants and Tolosa
Toulouse begins with the Volques Tectosages, a Celtic tribe that stayed in the Garonne valley since 3000 B.C. By the third century A.D. Toulouse, Tolosa, had built its first city wall from what is now known as Place du Capitole to the Place du Salin and the Place du Parlement. It was its strategic position, laying between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, that interested the Romans who colonized it in the second century A.D. But it is also this strategic positioning that allowed for a prosperous wine trade and allowed it to grow and exist through those early years. Saint Saturnin brought Christianity to the city. He was later killed by a heathen mob who tied him to the tail of a bull. You can find many places named in his honor and his martyrdom today, Taureau, meaning bull is reflected in Rue du Taur and Notre-Dame-du-Taur. The Saint-Sernin basilica and the Matabiau station are named after him. Matar bios means "to kill the bull".

The barbarian invasions
Toulouse was invaded by the barbarians starting in the fifth century. Although, the Vandals were stopped by the Gallo-Romans, it was the Visigoths that made the city their empire's capital. By the sixth century they were invaded by the Franks who took over the city. After these years of invasion, it managed to stay peaceful until the ninth century. Toulouse became the capital of the County of Toulouse during the Middle Ages, being governed by Raimond II. This proved to be a time of expansion.It was ruled by city nobles and stretched beyond its walls to what is now known as Place Saint-Sernin, to Saint-Michel and to the west on the bank of the Garonne. Things changed by the twelfth century when the nobles lost the city to the Capitouls.

The Cathars
The Cathars, a heretical sect tried to gain a foothold in Toulouse in the twelfth century. They were vanquished when the king sent in troops, led by Simon de Monfort. However, as a result of this, Toulouse was at the mercy of the Inquisition. It was at this time that a Dominican monastic order in the couvent des Jacobins was founded, a theological university was started in 1229 and there followed an intellectual and artistic period.

Pastel Merchants
By the fourteenth century there followed a period when Toulouse experienced a downturn, experiencing the Hundred Years' War, famine, floods and fires. However, by the year 1420 Charles VII brought to Toulouse the Parlement a judicial body. The Pastel merchants who dealt in woad, a plant used for blue dyeing, exported this throughout Europe, and changed the city. They built exquisite mansions such as Hotel d'Assézat and Hotel de Bernuy and ushered in a period when fine arts and design flourished. Toulouse was a city that has experienced many prosperous times and hard times. It was soon after this prosperous time that the Pastel merchants suffered major financial disasters due to indigo, a much less expensive dye, was now imported from America. This was followed by a major civil war between Calvinists and Catholics, leading to fire, leading to famine and an outbreak of plague lasting up to the seventeenth century. As time passed, the city pulled out of these terrible times and there followed an industrial period where projects like the building of pont Neuf, Place du Capital and the Canal du Midi were completed.

The Age of Enlightenment and Growth during the 19th Century
This industrial period of building was continued starting in the 1750's when Toulouse built the Jardin Royal, the Grand-Rond, the Canal de Brienne, Quai Dillon, the Patte-d'Oie area, Place Wilson and the Place du Capitole. In1761 Jean Calas was accused of murdering his own son who wanted to become a Catholic. Although Calas claimed he was innocent, he was sentenced to death and burned alive in 1762. This led to widespread condemnation of Parlement's persecution of Protestants in Toulouse's society and inspite of being held back by religious intolerance and the Inquisition, the city changed over the 1700's and moved into a period of modernization. The Capitouls' reign came to an end by the French Revolution of 1789 and Toulouse finally came into the modern world, electing its first mayor. By 1856, the Matabiau station was opened, and boulevards replaced the city walls of the medieval town. Toulouse had entered the nineteenth century and the modern age.

The 20th Century: the Age of Aeronautics
The first part of the twentieth century brought a major rise in population to Toulouse by immigrants fleeing from fascist dictatorships were from northern France in 1914, Italy in the 1920's and Spain in 1934. Toulouse went through an industrial revolution, the catalyst being World War I, which led to the arrival of chemical industries. Then in the 1920's Latecoere aircraft factory was built and the start of France's airmail service, the Aerospatiale, an internationally-known aeronautics company changed things further. During the Occupation in World War II, Toulouse was a center for the French Resistance. It saw a new wave of immigration due to the war in Algeria. This caused a move toward the suburbs. Since the war in Algeria, there has been a major growth in the electronics and space industry. It is the leading area for aeronautics, with attractions in the field for tourists. Toulouse is France's fourth largest city. It has France's second largest university and is the aeronautic's capital. Visit the centuries of history in Toulouse and make the most of all that the area has to offer the history enthusiast in your hire car.


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