Business trips are usually nothing to write home about – unless of course you find yourself installed in a flea-pit of a hotel for 3 long nights, or that the hours spent during the day toiling over design principles and other riveting technical topics are compensated by evenings on the terrasse in the main square Capitole (see pic) sipping wine/beer, or tucking into great regional specialities that use just about every part of a duck, not least of which the liver (foie gras) is pretty ubiquitous everywhere you go. What has the humble duck done to deserve this?!

Toulouse is great place to work – and the 20,000 or so employees at the Airbus complex outside Blagnac enjoy a campus lifestyle that I can get quite accustomed to – for example, wine is more than tolerated in the staff canteen at lunchtimes (it’s a disciplinary offence to consume alcohol in workplaces in the US and most companies in UK), the buildings are set amidst lush greenery and nice open spaces to allow workers to profiter from the famous Toulousaine weather of heat without the humidity – which is ostensibly why Airbus picked this location as a manufacturing base for aircraft fuselage.

Now, a couple of bonne addresses to note: Le Bon Vivre on Place President Wilson (my brochette of ducks hearts was proficiently grilled), Le Frog & Rosbif on Rue de l’Industrie (a brewery pub serving delicious beer and sporting big TVs for those Brits who can’t live without Premiership football), La Couleur de la Culotte on Place St Pierre (funny name, but also offers great views of the Hotel Dieu across the Garonne) and finally Les Mangevins (which unfortunately I ran out of time to visit) where the food is charged by weight and you can gorge yourselves with unhealthy amounts of said foie gras and beef (at least as much as you wallet can withstand!), whilst the owner – a garcon boucher – recounts witty stories of the riots in 1968 etc …

The next of of these workshops is in Washington DC. Perhaps, I’ll blog from there, but then again … perhaps not!

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