Last week, Toulouse held their version of carnival, a pre-Lent celebration of excess. Hordes of people took to the streets on Saturday to dance and follow the parade from St. Cyprien to Jean Jaures.
I have to admit some naivety here, because I had no idea this level of carnival took place outside of South America or New Orleans. Perhaps having no expectations made this night even more fun.
We met up with the parade at Francois Verdier and the excitement was contagious! Huge floats with music and dancers on board lurched by while tossing confetti. Dancers, drummers, and people in masks were everywhere. We joined in and followed alongside a West Indian themed float with a rotating lineup of rappers. My favorite sight had to be the women wearing the classic bejeweled bikinis that come to mind when you think of Rio’s carnival: so many feathers and sparkles!
The finale came when the parade reached Jean Jaures and a giant effigy, Monsieur Carnaval, was lit on fire. He represents all the wrongdoing people do throughout the year, so in an act of catharsis, people sing and cheer as the flames grow higher. And then the party continues!
Our own party continued to a bar called El Dorado. Just as with experiencing the parade, walking into this club felt like we had left France and entered South America. The dancers were wall to wall so we had to shimmy up to the bar. I strongly believe the best mojitos in southern France are made here. Man, I’ve been dreaming of them ever since!
Another memorable night in Toulouse under our belts!