TWO DAYS IN TOULOUSE | LA VILLE ROSE

I recently got to spend two beautiful days in the south of France with Klorane. We headed to Toulouse – known as La Ville Rose (‘The Pink City’) because of it’s peachy/pink architecture. We spent our time discovering the history of Klorane, eating the best food, and exploring the local vineyards. It was such a lovely trip because it was a particularly small group – I much prefer these types of work trips because you feel as though you get to know everyone a bit better, and it feels much more intimate…

I thought I’d give you a little run through of where we stayed and what we saw – it’s impossible to put together travel guides when you’ve only spent a fast amount of time in one place, so this is more of a diary entry rather than a must see recommendations…

When we landed in Toulouse, we were whisked away (to what felt like the middle of nowhere) for lunch. We arrived at Cuq En Terasses – the most charming little guest house and restaurant. I noticed the Michelin-Star before entering, and immediately got excited. The meal was absolutely insane, and the host really had thought of everything – we didn’t stay here overnight, but I can only imagine how accommodating and peaceful a weekend here would be. The little hilltop retreat is surrounded by countryside – our meal setting overlooked greenery for as far as the eyes could see, it was a truly magical experience that I will never forget…

Next, we headed to our home for the evening – Castres Le Carla, an estate that Pierre Fabre (founder of Klorane) bought back in 1972. It has since become a magical place dedicated to meetings and work getaways for the Derma-Cosmetics groups. The main thing I took away from this trip was how different the lifestyle seemed to be from back home – everything from Le Carla to the Klorane headquarters seemed so blissfully peaceful and unlike any work life structure that I’d delved into before. Pierre Fabre even decided to build the Klorane headquarters (also home to other french pharmacy brands such as Avène), just outside of Toulouse to increase employment rates for an area that, back then, was poor and without much opportunity.

You might have caught a glimpse over on my Instagram stories, but the Klorane offices were like something from the future – huge glass exteriors surrounded by botanical gardens, and even a lake for the staff to enjoy. I spoke to a few people that said they often cycled/ran around the premises before work started, if that isn’t the dream day at work then I don’t know what it is. Obviously this kind of lifestyle is a huge rarity by todays standards, but it really did get me thinking about how fast paced work culture can feel back home. I’ll always be a city dweller, but I suddenly found myself imagining a new life in the south of France

Top summer travel tip: pick up a couple of the Avène thermal spring water sprays and never be without one. They are a life saver for those hot and humid times when you feel like your body is about to melt into a puddle. They are another French pharmacy favourite of mine, and my saving grace for those times when I need to refresh on the go…

It was around thirty degrees whilst we were in Toulouse, so naturally I panic packed and just threw a lot of floaty dresses in the direction of my suitcase. I wore this checked Zara dress for the evening meal at Le Carla, and I really can’t recommend it enough. I find Zara massively hit and miss, but this dress is a dream to wear in the heat. Light, floaty, but still looks put-together for an evening occasion. I guess I should also address the elephant in the room – yes, I did opt for a beret despite the weather. My summer getaway hair is a force to be reckoned with, so some sort of hat is necessary when you only have a fifteen minute window to get ready. I didn’t find it too hot either, and it really does give the outfit a very vintage feel indeed – I sort of look like I’m strolling up the drive of my manner house here, awaiting posh dinner guests, or welcoming home my husband… 

Dress – Zara | Shoes – Castaner | Beret – vintage | Bag – Staud Clothing 

The next morning it was time for a quick breakfast (in the below room), and then off to the Klorane offices for a day of exploring the new Cornflower collection, and learning more about how the company curates their ingredients. We learnt that Klorane plant a lot of their own fields so that their ingredients are grown close by, and that they are constantly striving to be more ethical and responsible with their footprint. I’ve been using their new Cornflower micellar water for a couple of weeks now, and it has to be one of the best I’ve ever used. At first, I was worried it would have a strong floral scent, but it’s actually a range developed with sensitive eyes in mind. Oh, and it has a pump which pleases me way more than it should…

Blouse – LaRedoute | Skirt – vintage Burberry| Shoes – Zara

We then headed to the second hotel of the trip – Grand Hotel de’l Opera, a luxury hotel situated right in the heart of the city. You couldn’t really wish for a better location, a few steps from the hotel reception and we were in the main square of Toulouse. I loved the surroundings and the colours of this hotel so much, it really had so much character to it that a lot of luxury hotels can lack. It felt traditionally french everywhere you glanced – from the pink toile wallpaper, to the wooden chairs draped in velvet and tassels…

I spent a lazy morning in bed watching French TV and testing out some of the newer Klorane Products. The micellar water really stole the show for me – I have super sensitive eyes and it’s has been a dream to wipe across my face on a cotton pad during this crazy heatwave. Cornflower is known for it’s calming properties too, so it’s been keeping my little stressed eyes from getting sore post travelling. It picks up any dirt on my face, and looks very chic sat on my bathroom shelf. My bathroom is slowly transforming into a mini French pharmacy full of lotions and potions, and I’m not mad about it… 

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I’d love to go back to Toulouse and discover more about the city and the people that live there. Work trips always leave me with a strong sense of wanderlust because it’s impossible to see everything in a couple of days. You get a glimpse of a new place, a different way of life, and then before you know if you’re boarding the plane back home to write about it from your laptop…


Photographs by Adriana

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