By: SHUBHANGI SRIVASTAVA
MSc. Tourism & Hospitality Marketing & Management (Toulouse)
“Airbus is located in Toulouse”
That was my very first revelation of the existence of a city which has been home for me for the past 4 months . The introduction was done on a humid June day in Mumbai by my instructor . I am pretty sure I got the spelling wrong in the first few instances . I learnt that it’s a French city which manufactures the aircrafts which would be my office for the coming years. Little did I know in 2008 that I would one day be studying here.
As a foreigner hailing from a completely different background , atmosphere , culture and zillions of other anomalies ;I had my own apprehensions before choosing Toulouse as my home for a considerable length of time. Not to mention the age old (mis)conception of “French attitude”. After being a customer service professional for a substantial length of time , I had the better sense of not judging a book by its cover.
I thus landed in Toulouse in May 2016 in a typical bid to check the waters or “have a look”. The first thing which caught my eye was the simplicity of the metro trains (weird , I know!) I was welcomed by the perfect weather and cordial people. International student office is a testimony to this fact.The fact that locals try to “elp” (read help) you even after linguistic differences was truly remarkable.
I would not say that it made me feel at home immediately , however, Toulouse had a peculiar warmth and coziness which is lacking in any other big city. Being a student city, Toulouse offered me convenience in daily life , simplicity in living , amazing group of friends and wine to die for.”Bonjour” and “merci” became a part of my daily parlance. Saint Pierre turned out to be my favourite spot for a lazy evening stroll, lavender products reminded me to treat myself and the famous Toulouse sausage was a delicious caution to watch my weight ! Toulouse is a rare combination of a developed city which still has its heart in place. It lacks the daily hustle of a big city and the too relaxed atmosphere of a small one.
I found my happy medium in this Pink City.
PS : Being an Airbus fan helped too !