Jolimont – Reflections from above.
To the east of the historical centre of Toulouse is a hillside neighbourhood called Jolimont, not far from where I live.
For visitors to Toulouse there are a couple of unique places of interest around Jolimont. The cemetery Terre-Cabade et Salonique and the Parc de l’Observatoire.
If you venture up on foot from the centre of town, take la rue du 10 avril. The street name references the last of the Napoleonic battles which took place on the 10 april 1814, known as the battle of Toulouse. On your right you will see the church of Saint–Sylve. Unfinished, it was constructed in a néogothique style with bricks and stones from the Garonne River.
Inside you will see terra cotta statues and stained glass windows that evoke religious figures from Toulouse, including Saint Sylve. There is a little neighbourhood park behind the church which is very quiet for weary travellers hoping to enjoy some shade. You may even run into a charming ginger cat that is always seeking company and cuddles.
Continuing uphill before you arrive at the Park of the Observatory you will see a giant brick column.
This unusual and imposing obelisk, known as la Colonne stands in the middle of the garden of Felix Tesserand. It was inaugurated in 1839 to commemorate the battle of Toulouse.
The battle took place on Easter Sunday; hundreds died and thousands were wounded. Napoléon had actually abdicated on the 6 April but Soult didn’t receive this information until the 11 April, after the battle and the heavy losses had already occurred. The architect Urbain Vitry, who was fascinated with Egypt, created the 30 metre high monument.
Beyond this little park lies the Park of the Observatory. You will notice a few small buildings with round roofs amidst the flowers and trees. The domes house observation instruments. The park was created to rehouse the Observatory from la rue des Fleurs. The creation of the park and observatory was to assure a zen environment for the savants, so that they would be able to observe the skies more clearly and without distractions from city centre.
Also located here is the Society of Popular Astronomy. Visit: www.saptoulouse.net
You can come from 21h30 on Friday evenings when, during clear weather, you can observe the skies with the aid of their equipment. The last Friday of each month free conferences replace free visits.
téléscope 83 centimètres
This is another quiet park to visit when you want a bit of peace and tranquility.
As you exit the park you will see the column again up close. Moving past the column with the Police station on your right as you walk down the allées des Acacias you will see a big wall up ahead. Turn left on Avenue de la Colonne and then right on chemin de Callibens.
Here lies an impressive cemetery. I walk through it sometimes when I take the metro instead of riding my bike to work. The cemetery is divided into two parts by the road; Terre-Cabade and Salonique.
The cemetery is the creation of Urbain Vitry. Unlike the cemeteries of Père Lachaise and Montparnasse in Paris, there are no popular international icons buried here. There are many important locals buried here however including architects, artists, heroes of la French résistance and important military, religious and business people.
It is a beautiful cemetery if one can say such a thing. Sculptures and busts, at least one by the sculpteur Falguière, who was from Toulouse, line the streets of this vast hillside location where you can easily get lost.
I am amazed by the idea that some families have been in the same place for so many years, able to establish themselves and have the generations that follow do the same and all come to rest in at the same site forever.
Some gravesites have an air of abandonment to them. Maybe their descendants can no longer afford to pay for the upkeep of their tombs or maybe they have moved on as well. Some of the gravesites are marked for ‘perpetuity’, meaning that their ancestors ensured that they could stay for all eternity.
As a Burmese Austrian first generation Canadian agnostic ex pat, a home ‘in perpetuity’ in a city cemetery isn’t really something I aspire to even though I imagine it might be calming to know where your forefathers live and where your final resting place will be.
In any case you can appreciate the beauty and tranquility of this final resting place for so many prominent citizens of the city of Toulouse, far from the madding crowd.
I hope that you liked this post on Jolimont. Follow me to keep up with my travels around Occitanie.