Toulouse 2019 : Part 1 2

It’s almost two weeks since I was in the city of Toulouse to do a training that aims to prepare me for my next job in Reunion. In short, as I have never worked in a control tower, this internship is important to reactivate dormant knowledge for more than 20 years ! Do not worry, I will also be learning on Reunion Island. I’m not going to work immediately as I used to in Aix-en-Provence … It’s weird to come back to the campus of the school I attended in 1997. As John Harper would say, an impression of Deja vu.



New buildings have been renovated, new spaces created but for most of the campus, nothing has changed … It’s quite obvious inside. No, nothing has changed ! The population has changed it. In my old good days (yes it sounds old dumass …), we had very few foreigners on campus. Today, ENAC (National School of Civil Aviation) trains as many as more foreigners. Which is quite strange. We are underemployed globally throughout France, but it is more interesting to train foreign controllers because it brings in more money ! On top of that, the decisions come from above concerning the French recruitment, the ENAC does only form the quotas of pupils that one sends him. But what I find more revolting is that the instructors responsible for training foreigners are French air traffic controllers ! So basically, we are understaffed as I told you, but we further impoverish ATC structures (Towers and en Route Centers) to supply ENAC with instructors who will be in charge of training people who will not work in France ! But what are unions doing ??? It was my rant here. End of the parenthesis …



Let’s go back to the city of Toulouse that I had not seen for a long time. It too has not changed much. In talking to some people, I was told that it was mostly in the periphery that the changes took place. The historic center has not moved much. Oh yes, like all big cities, the traffic is just a hell … That’s what jumps out at me. Beyond the congested traffic, it is the large number of city dwellers who use other type of transports such as bicycles, scooters and also skates or longboard for the youngest. It’s a pretty impressive ballet in the streets with all these different users cohabiting in the streets. The roads are much wider than in Aix-en-Provence and there are almost everywhere bike paths which forces us pedestrians to be even more attentive because the danger can not only come from cars, but also from bicycles or scooters !



Toulouse is not famous for its sunny days. It’s not Marseille, but it’s not Brest too. It is relatively beautiful. I have been lucky since the beginning of my stay to have good weather. The temperatures are quite high and clearly the summer plays extra time. I decided to cut this blog related to Toulouse in 3 parts for my 3 weeks there. As you can imagine, it is in relation to slideshows that I will present on this city. John teased me about this training by asking me if it was relative to my work as air trafic controller or if it was just an excuse to hang out in the streets of Toulouse ? Well the answer is in the picture below. This is your writer in the new environment that will soon be his.



It’s just a simulator but as you can see, it’s quite impressive and most of all realistic. The immersion is real even if it is not perfect. For info, at home the sky will be blue and I will not have to control Airbus A380 (nor British Airways too …). So yes it’s a serious training, but fortunately I also have free time. I live close to the city center, which allows me to go whenever I want. Besides I do not hesitate and as soon as I returned to the hotel, I take the opportunity to go for a walk 1 hour or 2 in the streets of Toulouse. On weekdays I rarely have more time. By cons weekend, I have no constraint and I can go hang out as I want.



The photos gathered in this first slideshow were made during my first week in the city of Toulouse. There are many people on the streets during the week and even more on Saturdays. Sunday is quite calm. A bit like in Aix-en-Provence or any French city I guess. I found it simple enough to take pictures in Toulouse. The population is quite young and dynamic. As I know the city a little bit, it was a bit easier to find me in the city. Nevertheless, I practically did all my photos in the same street this first week. It is the Rue de Metz that brings me to one of the nerve centers of the city: Esquirol Square. It was not voluntary because it’s not the kind of place I usually enjoy. It’s a big and wide street. I prefer alleys where proximity allows me to make closeup. But it was interesting to work more airy compositions.



Here I am finished with this part 1 relating to the city of Toulouse. You can find below the slideshow for this first week.



All the photographs were made with the Ricoh GR.

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John Harper

That was a fascinating 6:09, man there’s some absolute gems in there and even an architectural shot! Seems to me that the good light and sun follow you everywhere. Obviously they added some grey sky in the simulator just to prepare you, but really that was pointless because it’s always sunny in J C-M world! Presumably they were simulating Brexit with the queues of British Airways planes stuck on the ground and the ATC ignoring them. Incidentally we’re going to Paris for a few days and our return flight is the day after Brexit (if it ever happens). Can you… Read more »