You’ll find Chez Catherine at stall number 41 in one corner of the all-things-comestible Victor Hugo market slapbang whallop in the centre of Toulouse, France. It’s one of four bar/cafés inside this covered market that inhabits the ground floor of a large multi-storey carpark near Place Wilson. There are no seats, just lean-to woodlook formica. Catherine is the friendly, frizzy, slightly greying hostess. Of the four cafes inside Victor Hugo, Chez Catherine is the most heavily caffeinated. Customers come here for coffee and not much else.
The black gold be Lavazza here. It’s €1 a shot. There’s a stainless steel pot of sugarcubes you can delve into to sweeten up your morning kick. Rather oddly, at least on this visit, there are also some hard boiled eggs. If you’re looking for something a little harder the apperitifs and beers go for between €2 – 2.30 and you can get a ham sandwich for €2.70.
Interestingly (for France) it’s a no smoking cafe – although I believe the entire market is no smoking, like France will be in the not too dim and distant. Not much to see from your standing and drinking position apart the neighbours – a fromagerie to one side, Sergei Naudi the butcher who produces ace Saucisse de Toulouse is opposite and there’s a fairly average boulangerie ‘stroke’ patisserie next to him. The market is quiet this morning, but come on the weekend and the place heaves harder than a Sumo’s backend. Here are some more photos and the address.