Violets are a symbol of Toulouse. It is said that they were introduced to France in the mid-19th century by Napoleon and became famous throughout Europe by the beginning of the 20th century. They lost their popularity after a harsh winter in 1956, but made a comeback in 1985 after becoming officially protected by the national horticulturists association.
Students had the chance to visit La Maison de la Violette in Toulouse this week, where they learned a little bit more about this special flower. Violets have between 30 and 40 petals as well as a white heart. They are cultivated from November to March and must be given special care as they can suffer from different plant diseases. In addition to being used for medicinal purposes (aiding in respiration and soothing headaches), offering someone a violet can be a discreet way of declaring your love for them.
Students enjoyed tasting several products made from violets. Some favorites were dark chocolate, mustard, herbal tea, honey and jam. Afterwards, we browsed the lovely little shop where students picked up souvenirs to take home to family and friends, and perhaps a little something for themselves!