ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Wilson Square, Toulouse, France: remembering 17th century poet Pierre Goudouli and multiple, local identities

Updated on January 9, 2012
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
The fountain in Wilson Square in Toulouse
The fountain in Wilson Square in Toulouse | Source
Alexandre Falguière (1831-1900) Portrait, by Alexis Axilette (1860-1931)
Alexandre Falguière (1831-1900) Portrait, by Alexis Axilette (1860-1931) | Source
Map location of Toulouse, France
Map location of Toulouse, France | Source

Author of dialect writing standardized in stone?

Since France has for centuries been a strongly centralized state, the country's many regional linguistic and cultural identities are often overlooked. Here, in the southern city of Toulouse, a local writer, Pierre Goudouli (1580-1649) is honoured by a fine statue in the herbaceous Wilson Square (French: place Wilson )(1), in the Downtown area of the city.

Pierre Gouldouli (2) wrote in the Toulouse dialect of langue d'oc . Among his well known works in the local dialect is Ramelet Moundi , the title bearing a phrase which contains a number of puns or multiple references, demonstrating that, while the dialect is a non-standard form of French, it commands considerable subtlety and expressiveness. Toulouse and the south-west of France have long evidenced a strong sense of regional identity which goes back to Medieval times. Goudouli — however his name is written from time to time — is, for his part, regularly remembered as an authentic expression of this regional identity. Indeed, the former County of Toulouse was thriving long before France as a modern, unitary state came into existence.

Surrounded by an imposing fountain complex, the statue representing Pierre Goudouli was executed by the distinguished sculptor Alexandre Falguière (1831-1900) and completed in 1898. Other noted works by sculptor Falguière include a monument in honour of Léon Gambetta, at Cahors, and a bust of Auguste Rodin.

A local road is also named for Goudouli.

Returning to the name of the public square in which the statue of Pierre Goudouli is situated, North American travellers might at first be confused by its full name which the local authorities sometimes use: Place du Président Thomas Wilson . The initial reaction might be: Who was Thomas Wilson? until further investigation or reflection causes the fact to be brought to mind that Woodrow Wilson's formal, full name was 'Thomas Woodrow Wilson'. Thus, for some reason, the unfamiliar 'Thomas' has been retained by the municipality, whereas the 'Woodrow', universally used in the US, has been strangely dropped.


(1) Far more so than in the United Kingdom, which, like France, also participated in World War One, US President Woodrow Wilson is very widely honoured in France. This is mainly because of the US's intervention on the behalf of the Allies in World War One, the psychological effect of which was arguably more profound in France than in the British Empire, for which, though controversies abounded about the slaughter on the Somme, at Passchendaele, etc., the War was essentially fought on foreign, as opposed to national, soil. Thus it is that numerous French towns and cities are likely to have squares and roads named for this distinguished American President.

(2) The poet's name is sometimes written variously: Pierre Goudelin, or Péire Godelin, among other spellings. The second of these spellings is a local, Toulouse dialectal variant.

Also worth seeing

In Toulouse itself, numerous visitor attractions include the Capitole, housing the City Hall, the Saint-Sernin Basilica.

Cahors (distance: 113 kilometres) has the imposing 14th century Valentré bridge and other distinguished architecture.


How to get there: Continental Airlines flies from New York Newark to Paris (Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle ), where car rental is available; there are also domestic air services between Paris and Toulouse-Blagnac airport (Aéroport de Toulouse - Blagnac ), where car rental is also available. The French railroad company SNCF maintains services from Paris to Toulouse . (Paris-Toulouse: distance: 677 kilometres.) Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)