Our Blog - Our Second Toulouse Apartment
We started in a very small (Studio) "Gite" or a vacation home, for 3 months. We then moved mid-July into this apartment, which was a bit larger, which we'll stay in for a year.
So I'll start with where it is. In the map below, you can see a few things. You can see the Garonne River on the left and then the Canal du Midi on the right side (the water). There is a road that lines the canal (we call this the "outer loop" and then another "ring" road which is Boulevard d'Arcole at the top, then changes name to Boulevard Lazar Carnot as it heads south, ending at about the big green circle at the bottom for the Jardin Royal. Inside of that "loop" is referred to as the HyperCenter of the city. You can see that our new apartment (the red blob at the top) is just at the edge of this HyperCenter loop.
This is the top view (both map and satellite) ... the purple star is our apartment. You can see that our building is actually not on the street but, in fact, is within a courtyard off of the street. You can see two skylights in the 2nd picture .. those are the 2 bedrooms on the top floor of our little duplex. We are on the end, so we have people on the right side of us, but nobody on the left side, nobody above, and nobody below.
I mention that we are not on the street. Here you can see the exterior of the building that is on the street and a big blue door. This is the door that opens into the courtyard. So you open these doors and walk (or drive) into the courtyard and there is where you will find our duplex apartment (on the left) and the open garages (on the right). The 2nd picture shows the exterior, well, part of the exterior. The curved windows on the top are our apartment .. there are 2 of these windows, one in the living room and one in the dining room. You actually enter the apartment from a door which is basically at the right edge of the picture, and it goes immediately up a set of stairs where the little rectangular window is. The blue doors on the ground floor is a storage area for someone else. The second picture shows our little car in the garage. It is covered but there isn't a door on it.
So, you open the door on the ground floor and you come directly into this staircase up to the main floor of the apartment. So, I've tried to draw out (I know, I failed art class) the layout of the main floor. As you come up the stairs, there is a powder room directly in front of you. To the right is the living room (with a closet) and to the left is the dining room, kitchen, and a storage room that contains both the hot water heater and the refrigerator. I've also included a few pictures of a couple areas in the living room. In the corner nearest the closet, there is a glass desk and chair, which is where we are keeping the Mac and iPad (along with charging the phones). Then the main area of the living room has a TV table (with our new BIG 49" TV) along with a sofa, recliner and round coffee table. There are a couple other chairs (they look like wood dining room chairs that were just stuck in here). The living room has one of the large, round-topped windows that opens to allow the cool breeze in. There are a couple areas on the wall with the windows that allow us to put out some of our knickknack decorations that we've collected throughout the world. You can also see that we've put up a few pieces of our artwork (Paris, the Old Course at St. Andrews, along with 2 papyrus's that we picked up in Cairo). These allow it to feel more like "our" home even without our own furniture.
On the other side of the stairs from the living room is the kitchen and dining room. That side of the apartment has the exterior wall visible, which is brick and stone (this is VERY typical of a Toulousane house, we are told). The kitchen is a U-shape with granite counters and a glass-topped half-wall that overlooks the dining room. Mind you, I would prefer that to be open and not have the glass, but that isn't really my choice right now. It has a full-sized dishwasher as well as a stove-top that has 3 gas burners and 1 electric burner (this was odd .. I had never seen one in the US that had a combination of gas and electric burners). There is also a microwave and oven (not quite full sized). It came with the toaster and hot water pot ... the Nespresso maker, crock pot, and the rice cooker are ours. Then you move into the dining room, which also has these big doors that open onto the courtyard. The dining room itself is fairly large, able to have a large rectangular table with 6 chairs.
Then up another set of stairs to the top floor and another bad graphic :-). At the top of the stairs, you either turn right (into the master suite) or left (into the guest area). Both have closets that go along one side although these are like 1/2 sized closets due to the sloping roof (the master also has a set of cubby-holes to put clothes or things in). It has a skylight with a cover that can be opened or closed to allow in or block the light and an ensuite bathroom with a stand-up shower. The closets are behind the small white doors that you see and a side area that has a dresser (with towels on it) and a small window. You'll also see fans .. there is no air conditioning in this apartment, which was one of the only concessions that we made. We basically had to choose between air conditioning and garage + multiple bathrooms (you can see which one won out!).
The guest room (for us, or just a 2nd bedroom) also has the closets on the low-roof side (although less of them) and is furnished with 2 twin beds which can be put together to make a doubled bed. Like the master, it has a skylight and a full bathroom. The guest bathroom also has the laundry area, which has a small washer, a dryer, along with a drying rack. And yes, that is a TINY little washing machine!