The connection between sports and “living well” is practically a given for many rugbymen, even elite level players. Didier Lacroix, now President of the Toulouse Stadium, invites us to discover the sporty and festive side of the city.
What does Toulouse have to offer in terms of sports?
First and foremost, its legendary clubs. I’m thinking of Fenix Handball which has been playing in the Division 1 for 30 years now and which has maintained its spot among the top teams in the league. Of course, we have the TFC which has some extremely talented players. The club’s president is Olivier Sadran, whom I hold in very high regard. Not to mention the TO13, who made sports fans proud on the road to the English Championship with the League One. And what would Toulouse be without the TOEC Dauphins? This club has been a Toulouse icon since its creation in 1908 and boasts a mind-blowing track record with 90 swimmers selected for the French national team, a number of French records under their belt, and national championship titles in both individual and relay races. And, of course, you have our Toulouse Stadium, which has been representing the city since 1907 and has won the French Rugby XV Championship a staggering 20 times, ranking it alongside Leinster, as the most successful club in France and Europe!
Toulouse also offers its residents a full range of equipment, much of which can be found downtown. Simply lace up your sneakers and you’re ready to go. Trust me; I do it all the time. Not far from Le Pier Toulouse Hotel, you have two tennis courts and great places to do your morning run. You’re living the dream as you move along the Garonne river of the canal, either on foot or on your bicycle. Something for everyone…
Toulouse is also a great city for young people who want to go out often, see a match, and then have a drink. The city comes alive after a match, offering plenty of opportunities to celebrate the third half with fellow sports fans. Pre- and post-game celebrations also take place on site at the Toulouse Stadium brasserie. Whatever the league or the magnitude of the club, it’s important to celebrate before and after the game! It’s a way to bring people together, to share, and to open dialog between the players and the fans… It can also be a great opportunity to incorporate culinary, musical and cultural experiences. The rugby I grew up with included a pre-game meal where, for the Yves Du Manoir challenge, the teams ate together before the match. Needless to say, I cherish those memories, and all of these social elements built around the sport are essential to me.