Winter Solstice – a stroll on the quai

Winter Solstice – a stroll on the quai

Winter solstice: here we are again, the earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted as far away from the sun as possible with the fewest hours of sunlight and maximum dark hours of the year. 

No wonder it’s so cold! Actually, it was freezing cold this morning but the sun is out now and it’s gorgeous this afternoon.

Notre dame de la Daurade on the right

Quai de la Daurade 

The stores are full of last minute shoppers and the riverside is somewhat calm. It’s a wonderful day for a stroll along the quai de la daurade.

This square gets its name from the church behind the park, Notre dame de la Daurade. The  basilica was established in 410 when Emperor Honorius allowed the conversion of pagan temples to Christianity. During the 5th or 6th century a church was erected and decorated with golden mosaics. The name daurade means gilded or golden.

front view of the Daurade

The little park offers an exceptional panorama of the Garonne river and the emblematic monuments and views of Toulouse, including le pont neuf which was constructed between 1544-1632. 

le Pont Neuf

You can’t miss the Hotel Dieu Saint-Jacques, the former hospital, used  from the 12th to the 18th century. 

Hotel Dieu and la Grave (dome) with the pont St Pierre on the right

The quai is a former mooring place for boats, barges and wash boats; it used to be the nerve centre of the water and textile trades.

The dome of la Grave is being restored

The Garonne has its origin in Occitan and translates to “who carries the stone”. The Canal du Midi was used at the time to transport this stone which came from the Pyrenees.

Les Pêcheurs des Sables

the square where Pecheurs de Sable restaurant is

As legend has it the outdoor restaurant here, where everyone comes for ice cream in the summer, is actually an old morgue. It was here that the bodies of the drowned were brought and exposed for the families to identify.  A trickle of water was poured over the dead bodies to avoid the oppressive smells of decomposition. Do you prefer vanilla or chocolate?  

Once upon a time les pêcheurs de sable, or sand fishermen, earned their keep from a profession that no longer exists. In pairs, they set out together on their vessels.  One held the boat while the other raked the sand. By mixing it with lime they made the cement that holds bricks together.

The great flood of 1875

On the 23 June 1875 the Garonne breached its banks and devastated the city of Toulouse. The southern neighbourhood of St. Cyprien bore the brunt of the flood. Over 200 people died and over 1000 buildings were destroyed.

la Garonne

The somewhat bleak views of the river during winter are so beautiful in their own way. The leaves have turned and the skies are menacing and spring is around the corner. We just have to get through the bleak mid winter and hope we don’t get locked in again!

Les Toulousains love to hang out down here and admire the view from this spot, so close to the centre of town.

a place to admire the view

I hope you have enjoyed this post : winter solstice – a stroll on the quai! Happy winter solstice to you all!

Follow me to keep up with me on my travels around beautiful Occitanie…….à bientôt Christina


  1. Yes, it does look cold in your photos.
    When I went to the Place de la Daurade, people were dancing in the shade of the trees because it was too hot out in the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

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