Each year in the beginning of July three of the beautiful squares of Toulouse: Place du Capitol, Place Saint-Georges and Place Saint-Pierre become during the afternoon or evening hours dance rings for tenths of entwined couples who passionately follow the music of a band or a DJ: it is Tangopostale the Tango Festival of Toulouse time!
While it might sound a little odd the, Tango, the post (“postale”) and Toulouse have things in common.
The tango, this sensual and spontaneous dance, now inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage List, is recognized of course by the majority as the emblematic dance of Argentina and Uruguay.
Few people know however that the person who contributed arguably the most to the worldwide fame of tango, the composer and singer Carlos Gardel was born in Toulouse, France on the 11th of December 1890 under the name of Charles Romuald Gardès.
At the age of two Charles with his mother immigrated to Argentina and settled in Buenos Aires. Carlos Gardel, as he became, is considered the most important “tanguero” of the first half of the twentieth century.
For the connection between tango or better put its birth country Argentina and the post we need to look at the first chapter of the aviation history, chapter in which Toulouse played a major role. It is “Aéropostale”, the courier airline founded Toulouse, initially known as Latécoère lines, that established in 1928 the first airmail link between Europe – Toulouse – and South-America – Buenos Aires (with the crossing between African continent – the town of Nadal – and South-American continent – Rio de Janeiro- still a 9 days trip by ocean liner! ). In May 1930 Jean Mermoz, an Aéropostale pilot, is the first to link exclusively by plane France and South-America.
The second event that takes time also each year in the beginning of July (or sometimes at the end of June) is “Fénétra”.
Fénétra Festival is a traditional celebration held Toulouse since the Gallo-Roman times, in the first centuries of the Christian era, when it was called “Feretralias”, a festival dedicated to the ancestors long time gone.
Nowadays the festival gathers folkloric groups from all over Europe that present their dances and music in different locations in Toulouse (this year was the “Jardin des Plantes” park). Some photos from the 2017 edition of Fénétra.
Hi, I am Carla. I am living and working in the beautiful city of Toulouse, France.
I like history, travel and... the southwest of France and try to share through this blog information about events that might be of interest to the travelers to this part of the world!