Photographer's Note

The word 'daurade' in French means 'sea bream'; but it appears the name of the basilica and the neighbouring square beside the Garonne does not refer to a sea-going fish, unless the opening of the Canal Midi in the 17th century so excited the Toulousains that they imagined the bream would swim up this far from the sea. No, the name of the Place de la Daurade and the Notre Dame de la Daurade beside it on the right comes from the Latin word 'Deaurata' meaning 'covered by gold'. The basilica was built on the site of a pagan temple and later a monastery. When it became a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was covered in a mosaic attached to a background of gold leaf, which is where its name comes from. The present rather squat, slab-like building dates from the 18th century and contains a very impressive Black Virgin.

The Place de la Daurade itself is one of Toulouse's finest, only a short walk from the Capitole in the centre of the old city, and forming a very pleasant open green area beside the Garonne on the east side. The moored boat in front of it is a restaurant, but tourist trips on the Garonne start and end there as well.

Interestingly, a quick search for the word 'deaurata' shows it was also used in the scientific name of a species of Antarctic mollusc, or sea snail, with a shell that indeed appears to have a golden sheen.

In the late Autumn the reflected light does seem to create a golden glow. The photo was taken from the west side of the river, on the Pont Neuf. The tower in the background is that of the Church of the Jacobins.

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Additional Photos by Andrew McRae (macondo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2978 W: 101 N: 5253] (20449)
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