Monday, December 14, 2015

Homage to Old Pilots - Hôtel le Grand Balcon, Toulouse

"A legendary hotel for more than a century 
A 4 star establishment of charm and excellence in Place du Capitole Le Grand Balcon, designed by Jean-Phillippe Nuel, offers a perfect harmony between fashion and tradition."  
From the hotel brochure

tel le Grand Balcon, Toulouse
We are delivered to our hotel on arrival day to an entry off the street to the left in this picture. I don't see this what seems it should be the entrance for a couple of days, and the Club Med sign misdirects my thoughts. The streets angle off in so many directions from the hotel and the Place du Capitole that I am perpetually lost. On the occasions that I venture out on my own, I pay close attention to my route so I can get home, but in a group, I rely on whomever claims to know the way to the hotel. On this segment of the trip, our group consists of our leader, two other women traveling alone, including me, and one couple. We have all previously traveled with each other so we are not strangers.

The reception desk consists of two of these polished cylinders, offset from each other, with laptops on each. How very digitized it is in this century-old hotel.

In my post flight stupor, before my overnight nap, I stand in line here, waiting to check into the Grand Balcon, studying the reflection of the floor tiles in the curved surface of the reception desk.

There's a cocktail lounge to the right of reception. Portraits of three pilots, among them Antoine Saint-Exupéry, probably best known in the US as the author of Le Petit Prince, hang along the wall in the lounge. The pilots flew between Toulouse, France, and Barcelona, Spain, for what became the first civilian international airmail service, founded in December, 1918. It expanded into the first transcontinental civilian airmail service a couple of months later, flying into Casablanca, Morocco. The pilots were habitués of the hotel.

The breakfast room is to the left of reception, the view here from the interior of the room.

I cannot find exactly where I read  it. I looked online for something about the hotel before the trip. There I'd seen photos of the interiors of the rooms, where a mood of flight is suggested. So my room decor isn't a total surprise. Here, read the text which accompanies a photo of Saint Exupéry's room and get a notion of the intended ambiance. Even my room had most of the amenities listed.

I use this particular picture of my room for the pale gold of the lights. Otherwise this would seem to be a black-and-white photo.

I'm on the "first" floor, European style, "second" floor in American. I have no balcony, but I can open the windows.

There's my flat screen TV, and beyond it a sitting area with a small table to work at, my Nespresso machine, and the hotel information folder. I never turn my TV on here, unusual, as I ordinarily seek out a news station in English.

My bathroom is huge and there is no enclosure around the shower. It finally dawns on me that this is a handicapped room, a go-anywhere set-up that will accommodate a wheelchair. This is my traditional in-a-bathroom-mirror photo. There is an abstract painting on the wall behind me, lending a splash of color to the decor.

My shower has a window onto the sitting area, shielded from view only by a filmy curtain with the cloud motif. It wasn't even pulled closed when I arrived. I suppose there are those who like a view out to the street while they shower.

I just like this pic with the lights reflected on the TV screen. The lights appear whiter during the dark of night outside the windows.

There is pedestrian movement throughout the night , , ,

. . . some moving faster than others.

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