After Gary Lineker, who was born in Leicester, we have great news from another famous citizen of the city of Leicester: Toby Flood, the 28-year old Rugby player, who played for the Leicester Tigers until recently and now plays for the Toulouse rugby team, takes up French! In an interview with the BBC Toby says: “I have found many similarities between the history in Toulouse and Leicester, which is one of the reasons that made me want to join this club.”
In fact, both Leicester and Toulouse were founded by Romans: Ancient Roman pavements and baths remain in Leicester from its early settlement when the city, a Roman military outpost, was called Ratae Corieltauvorum. Also Tolosa (Toulouse) was first mentioned in 2nd century BC, when it became a Roman military outpost.
Today languages play an important role in both cities for different reasons: Alongside English, around 70 languages and dialects are spoken in Leicester, among which Gujarati, Punjabi, Somali, Urdu and Polish are the most popular. Toulouse on the other hand is one of the few cities in Europe where still Occitan can be heard! Today the minority language Occitan is only spoken in Southern France, Italy’s Occitan valleys, Monaco and the Val d’Aran in Spain!
Last but not least, Stade Toulousain is considered one of the best rugby union clubs in all of Europe! The Leicester Tigers are, at the same time, the only club to have qualified to play in every Heineken in which English teams have participated, and are also the most successful English club in Europe!
Summing up,there are lots of good reasons for Toby Flood to immerse himself into French now and continue his promising rugby career alongside his comrades in Toulouse! In fact, Toby, who already started with Rosetta Stone, says: “I have thoroughly been enjoying Rosetta Stone, it is brilliant!”
Bonne chance to Toby Flood for his endeavours en France 😉