August news & events in/around Toulouse
“Les vacances d’août” are here and making themselves felt to those of use who are still in Toulouse. Our normally slow pace of life slows to a snail’s crawl, sidewalks empty, and I find myself gravitating towards the Garonne. During the month of August, the city of Toulouse hosts a massive event in the Prairie des Filtres park along the river. Called “Toulouse Plages” (Toulouse beaches), it features sporting activities (including beach volleyball), dance, fitness classes, board games, water activities, and more – all for FREE! (schedule and information here.)
Other than Toulouse Plages, events in the city are pretty non-existent in August. So this month, my food events section will feature wine festivals in nearby wine regions. It’s a perfect, low-cost escape for an afternoon or a few days (unless, of course, you come back with 6 cases of wine in the trunk of your car…don’t say I didn’t warn you). Most of these festivals have an inexpensive entry fee that includes a tasting glass that allows you to sample from local winemakers and discover the amazing wealth of wines in southwest France. I can’t think of a better way to spend the month, can you?
P.S. Check out the schedule of summer and fall tours for the Marché Victor Hugo or the Chocolate & Pastry tours and don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you’re looking for something special. Tours will be continuing throughout most of August (except for the Victor Hugo tour which will be off for two weeks due to vendor closures).
The food events you won’t want to miss:
2-4 August – Fêtes des Vins de Gaillac
If you’re looking for an easy weekend getaway from Toulouse, look no further than the Fêtes des Vins in Gaillac the first weekend in August. Be safe and take the train (or stay overnight) so you can take advantage of the opportunity to sample the vast array of wines available from one of Toulouse’s closest wine regions, as well as delicious food, music, and closing fireworks on Sunday night. 6 € per day or 8 € for a weekend pass (wine samples free with admission). Event website
8 August – Fête du Vin des Vignerons Indépendants du Lot
As part of the Été du Malbec (Summer of Malbec), winemakers in the AOC Cahors and IGPs Cotes du Lot and Comté Tolosan are having a party in Puy l’Évêque along the banks of the Lot river. 4 euros buys you a tasting glass and a raffle ticket. There is also children’s activities, food, music and more. Facebook event page
13-16 August – Festival du Madiran
Madiran is a wine region about 150 km from Toulouse, so it makes a great overnight trip. This wine festival actually celebrates TWO appellations in SW France that share the same regional footprint – Madiran (for red wines) and Pacherenc du Vic Bilh (for sweet and dry whites) – for 4 days of wine tasting, workshops, food, music, and more. Take note though, that this event is Tuesday through Friday, unlike other weekend wine festivals. Event website
23-25 August – Fronton Saveurs & Senteurs
The third week of August is Fronton’s annual wine festival – 3 days of tastings, food, music, activities, and more (including a giant strawberry tart on Sunday!). Buy a tasting glass and sample from over 20 Fronton winemakers. There’s no train station, so it’s not easy to get to without driving, but well worth your time to explore the incredible wines from our region! Event website.
What I’m Reading/Writing
If you didn’t have a chance to read my article in the summer issue of Haute Life Toulouse (or even if you did), the expanded version is up now on the Taste of Toulouse blog! Find out where to get the best ice cream in Toulouse, as well as what the difference is between European and North American styles of ice cream.
The enticing applications for the gourmet market at the Cartoucherie (ladepeche.fr)
A huge gourmet food hall is planned as part of the redevelopment project for Les Halles de la Cartoucherie (opening planned in Spring 2021). 140 applications were received to fill 25 slots. Read more about it at the link above (break out the Google translate if needed, as this article is in French).
Find Chef Constant’s dishes at affordable prices at Le Bibent’s food truck (actuToulouse)
Have you seen the food truck parked next to Le Bibent, just off Place du Capitole? Le Bibent is a historic brasserie in Toulouse, now owned by famous French chef Christian Constant. The new food truck serves some of the same food from Le Bibent (cassoulet, beef stew, Caesar salad) in more affordable “to-go” formats, as well as sandwiches (even a vegan option!). Definitely check it out if you need a quick bite to-go near Capitole.
15 Helpful Words for Talking About Wine (New York Times)
Not sure how to describe what’s in your glass? This helpful article goes beyond the stereotypical “notes of cherries” type of wine descriptions to teach you useful descriptors and ways of analyzing what you like (or don’t) about what you’re drinking. I tell my guests that one of the hardest things about learning how to taste is finding the words to describe what you taste – not actually the tasting itself. This article is a great start.
The accidental rebirth of Occitania (National Geographic)
A beautiful article about the region of Occitanie (“Occitania” in English) that talks about Occitan language and culture and how it is being preserved, the history of this region, the special spirit here, and what life or traveling is like in “the other South of France.” A must-read.