Opened in 1892, the Victor Hugo halls are home to the most famous and largest market in Toulouse. Today, the market welcomes close to a hundred highly reputable merchants, friendly restaurants, and nocturnal festivities.
Many dream about having a stall at the Victor Hugo Market. The products sold must live up to the location’s reputation, however. Outside the halls, you can find traditional sellers of fruit and vegetables, and even florists. Once inside, however, the big names of Toulouse stand out: Samaran foie gras, Marty’s matured meats, Bellocq seafood. There are also the new kids on the block: Eléonore’s cabbage, duck by Papaix Et Fils, and Nico’s steaks, among others. In any case, people love doing their gourmet shopping here during the week and meeting friends or family on a Sunday lunchtime at the counter at Chai Vincent… You have a drink together before going upstairs and enjoying a meal in one of the restaurants.
Above the halls, the restaurants are located side by side and you make your choice as you walk along the passageway. There are five in total, and they all have a few small tables on the terrace with a view onto the Victor Hugo neighbourhood. They reportedly serve products bought at the market, but people come here more for the friendly family atmosphere that is typical of Toulouse rather than for the gastronomical delights. Even so, people tend to go for the local specialities such as Gersoise salad, foie gras, duck, pig’s trotters, and the best meat cuts, especially at the restaurant Le Louchebem. For a very reasonable price, no less. It’s no coincidence, then, that on Sundays when the clock strikes two in the afternoon, you will come across many families, groups of friends, and rugby teams. It has become quite the tradition.
Quickly becoming another tradition in the Pink City, the Victor Hugo nocturnal festivities attract crowds. Organised four times a year and lasting from 6.30pm to 10:30pm, they are meant to bring clients and merchants together for an evening of discussion among gourmets. However, more than 4,000 people turn up to savour meat boards, enjoy a few glasses of red wine, and listen to the street bands in charge of musical entertainment. It is an evening for jovial night owls rather than food lovers. But who would argue with that?