Unlike, for example, Franche-Comté, Midi-Pyrénées doesn’t relate to a historical French region. It was created in the 1970s so that Toulouse could be capital of it. Job-creation on a grand scale. It worked, and Toulouse, formerly a bit out-of-the-way (think Taunton) is now Europe’s fastest-growing city. In 1999 Toulouse paid off its debts and became France’s first large city ever to achieve solvency. Toulouse is now exempt from overdraft charges and probably gets free ski insurance and AA membership.
In the Middle Ages, Toulouse was ruled by the Counts of Toulouse, including Chorso (c.790) Beggo (806-816) and Odo (886-918). No mention is made of Harpo. Little is known about these early rulers, except that Odo married Garsenda, daughter of Ermengol of Albi, and “probably had three children.” This suggests a degree of absent-mindedness inappropriate in a man of high office.
Mathematician Pierre de Fermat wasn’t absent-minded, he just ran out of space. He scribbled in the margin of a book “I’ve found the answer to this seriously-difficult maths problem (Fermat’s Last Theorem), but there isn’t room in this margin to tell you what it is.” Of course, if he hadn’t written all that stuff in the margin, there might have been room to tell us what the answer was. And in any case, scribbling in printed books is hardly a thing to be encouraged. Let’s hope Toulouse Library fined him for defacing public property.
A certain amount of defacing went on in the 1968 Paris student riots. Daniel Cohn-Bendit (born in Montauban) became the students’ leader and spokesperson by advocating anarchy and sexual freedom. Visit any Hall of Residence today and you’ll agree, he probably achieved those things. Cohn-Bendit’s first revolutionary act was to interrupt a government minister (who was opening a swimming-pool) to demand free access to the girls’ dormitory. He is now a respected MEP. Gordon Brown take note.
Less fortunate, politically, was playwright and journalist Olympe de Gouges (also of Montauban,) who advocated equal rights for women, but made the mistake of doing so during the French Revolution. The climate of Liberté, égalité, fraternité might have seemed favourable for her feminist ideas, but instead, she was sent to the guillotine. Some revolutionaries are more equal than others.
Artist Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa wasn’t equal either. He was born in Albi, into an aristocratic family which claimed lineage from Chorso, Beggo and Odo. After 1000 years of strict in-breeding, the Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa gene pool was in pretty bad shape. Poor Henri had weak bones and, when he broke his legs as a teenager, they never grew again. Undeterred, Henri threw himself into the bohemian life of Montmartre (see our guide to Ile de France) where, in a brief 20-year career, he created 737 canvases, 275 watercolours, 363 posters and 5,084 drawings.
Henri is credited also with the invention of Tremblement de Terre (Earthquake) a light, refreshing apéritif of half Cognac and half Absinthe (see our guide to Provence). Henri’s last words, possibly referring to his doctor, were “Le vieux con!” Way to go, Henri.
© 2008 richardheacock @ mac.com
Midi-pyrenees Property SelectionListed below are the departments in the region of Midi-pyrenees; the number of properties in each department are denoted in brackets - click on a department to see the properties available.
All the properties in Midi-pyrenees by department.
(Number in brackets = number of properties)
Ariège Property (183)
Aveyron Property (51)
Gers Property (281)
Haute Garonne Property (349)
Hautes-Pyrénées Property (1)
Lot Property (362)
Tarn Property (160)
Tarn et Garonne Property (190)