Starring in films like “Les Municipaux” or maybe “Les Municipaux, trop c’est trop”, Francis Ginibre and Eric Carrière form the comedy duo Les Chevaliers du Fiel. Francis Ginibre tells us all about his beloved city.
Who better to give us a tour of Toulouse than you? What are your favorite spots?
When time permits, and it often does, I head down to St-Michel Bridge, pass in front of Îles du Ramier, then go along the banks of the Garonne river before heading back up to Pont-Neuf downtown. Already, you will have seen a postcard-worthy side of Toulouse!
Do you still live there?
Yes, I’m very lucky. I live on the Garonne river, and every day is just sublime… The light is very pleasant and always changing. It’s beautiful against the brick. I stroll along the quays, heading up the Tounis quay, where Nougaro lived. I arrive at Pont-Neuf and walk along Beaux Arts and La Daurade square and St-Pierre square. Here, I admire the Hôtel Dieu, the Dôme de la Grave. Then you can follow the pedestrian streets up to Place du Capitole. To this day, I appreciate that Toulouse has a unique architecture that is so symbolic of the region with its brick and many private mansions. It’s a subtle richness, without being ostentatious like other cities. I just love its very distinct architecture.
You will surely call me a chauvinist! But, honestly, I love coming home to this city, with its strong identity and personality.
What do you think makes Toulouse so unique, aside from its architecture?
For someone coming here for the first time, they may be surprised by our city’s youthfulness; we have a lot of students. It’s an attractive, dynamic city. As soon as the sun comes out, the terraces fill up. As Nougaro put it, Toulouse is like Spain extended its cusp slightly. This city has a very strong festive, “bodega” aspect.
What about music?
Of course, it has its music bars, and it used to have major studios like Condorcet or Polygone, featuring the biggest artists of the time. Singers loved that Toulouse “sound”. And you have to mention Emile et Images, Pauline Ester, Jean-Pierre Mader et avant eux Pierre Groscolas, and prior to them, Pierre Groscolas, who have all contributed to France’s music culture.
Your facilities are in Toulouse; tell us more about that!
Of course! We have always based everything in Toulouse. In the 90s, we often went to Paris, but our home base was always Toulouse; it’s our HQ! This is the case now more than ever, since we set up our own production house, of which the head office is in Toulouse, along with our offices.
With Eric, we recreated the kind of music bar we loved, called the Rex. Lots of concerts and an eclectic mix of performances. We also have a theatre, Comédie de Toulouse, which books national artists as well as young up-and-comers.
Beginners today have a shot with us now. There is also Au Comptoir du Rex, where you can eat tapas and have a good time. Outside Rex, the Comptoir puts on shows as well.
Where do you go out when you are back to Toulouse?
We have our spots, for sure. We don’t always go to the same places, but they are always great venues (laughs)…
Michel Sarran, a Toulouse icon on the national culinary stage. Of course, there is the Toulouse Stadium, the pride and joy of the city, which has in the past accumulated several titles!
We also like to go to Table de Thierry Merville (Castanet), who won the world cassoulet championship which we organize every year.