The city of Toulouse, France, owes the prevalence of brick the nickname “pink city”. Its origins are lost in the mists of time. The city was born on a loop of the Garonne, where the river forks to the Atlantic Ocean spreading in its valley. Toulouse and its region will flourish under the sovereignty of the Counts of Saint-Gilles. At the gateway to Spain, open to Mediterranean, Muslim, Latin and Hellenistic cultures, the city will develop an original civilization marked by Roman law and joie de vivre. In the 12th century, the Basilica of St. Sernin was built beyond the walls of Toulouse to house the relics of the martyr.
Saint-Sernin, all of stones and bricks, remains one of the first and most magnificent examples of Romanesque architecture. At the same time, in 1152, as the counts spent their time fighting here and there, a city council inspired by the urban republics of Italy took charge of the day-to-day government of the city. These municipal magistrates with numbers of 8, in red and black dress, form the chapter. Over time, by reference to ancient Rome, they are called Capitouls and the common house becomes nothing less than the Capitol. Elected in general every year, the Capitouls represent the local bourgeoisie, who live on agriculture, rent and trade, and administer the city while remaining subject to the Count of Toulouse, their feudal lord.
In the 14th century, the economic revival and development of the textile industry, and especially the enthusiasm of consumers for a previously neglected color, blue, led to a strong demand for pastel in Europe. This is a tincture taken from a plant called a woad. It provides 7 shades of blue (royal blue, blue queen, blue of France …) at the end of a very complex treatment. The Toulouse region, and more precisely the Toulouse-Albi-Castelnaudary triangle, will become the preferred pastel production area in Europe. It will become the country of cocagne, the name cocagne coming from hull, name given to the ball of pastel ready to the marketing.