Romanesque Architecture, Roman Sculpture, and French Pastries

My last day in Toulouse started, again, late, and with brunch, this time at Bapz, a place meant to look like an English-style tea house. Incidentally, it was where I had beans for breakfast for the first time in my life — next to yet another salad.

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Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse

The Basilica of Saint Sernin, or Saint Saturnin, is the only extant building of what was once the Abbey of Saint Saturnin. A different basilica once stood on this site, originally erected in the 4th century by order of the bishop at the time, St. Silvius of Toulouse. It contained the body of Saint Saturnin (whom I mentioned briefly here), who was the first bishop of Toulouse, c. 250.

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The importance of the site increased once Charlemagne donated a number of relics to it, making it an important stop on the route to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. The present building, presumably larger to accommodate the vast number of pilgrims that visited it, was constructed in 1080-1120, with later additions.

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, it is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, if not the world.

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Musée Saint-Raymond

The Musée Saint-Raymond is an archaeological museum that opened in 1892, and it’s located right next to the Basilica of Saint-Sernin.

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It is located on top of what was originally a Christian necropolis, and later served as the site of a hospital, a prison, stables, barracks, among others, until it became a “museum of ancient and exotic decorative arts” in 1891. Its collection consisted of ethnographic objects, furniture, coins, medals, and archaeological objects from all periods.

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In 1912, a new curator — Émile Cartailhac — took over the museum, and the subsequent reorganization yielded what came to be known as the Cluny of Toulouse. The structure was rebuilt in 1946-50, and it became the archaeological museum of Toulouse in 1949, housing the collections of Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages of the city.

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This piece is titled “A Weird Dream,” and it was created by the French artists Amandine Urruty and Nicolas Barrome for the WOPS! Festival of 2015.

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Before leaving for the airport, I stopped at Perlette for this pistachio-raspberry deliciousness. As soon as I sat down on one of their cushioned chairs, it started to pour outside. It couldn’t have been a cozier goodbye to this city ❤

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