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Jacques Verdier, a journalist, is based in Toulouse, the city which is considered to be the capital of French rugby. He is the chef editor of “Midi Olympique”, a weekly newspaper which is devoted to current news about the world of rugby.
“What I really like about Toulouse is the joint influence that the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Oceans have on the climate with the dry strong hot southerly Mediterranean winds and the more humid westerly oceanic winds. As a result we never know what the weather will be like from one day to the next. Toulouse is also characterized by its beauty: its Roman red-brick buildings speak for themselves. The warm colour with its red and orange hues takes on another relief when it is lit up by the sun. I really appreciate the Tuscan or Florentine side of the “Pink City”. I believe that Italy’s influence on the city is even stronger than that of Spain, despite the fact that the city has a big Spanish community. One of the places I prefer is the “Place Saint-Pierre”, a place where students meet up, on the banks of the River Garonne. I also love the quays which run along the River Garonne facing the hospital of La Grave.
Personally, I’m from the region of Comminges, the Piedmont of the Pyrenees, which is a fabulous area. I also like the Lauragais a great deal, with prime sites like the Canal du Midi, tourism centres such as Castelnaudary or La Montagne Noire and its many pretty villages. The paradox is that visitors must make a thirty-minute car drive in order to reach all of these landscapes which are as wonderful as they are varied. Lastly, Toulouse is the heart of French rugby. Every child who is born in the region plays rugby or at least has heard about this sport. In the other parts of France, each village has its football team and here there is a rugby team. It is ingrained in the local culture.”