FIPDes out in the Southwest of France

September 21-24, 2022

While starting this third semester on the brand new AgroParisTech campus has been extremely exciting for us all, it has also been challenging to get back into the typical “metro-boulot-dodo” rhythm. Going on this trip to Toulouse and its surrounding for 4 days, while those days being very busy, have energized us all for the next couple months.
From visiting a factory producing one the most famous French delicacies: macarons, to getting lost at the CFIA between all the new robots being developed for our industry, we really did it all.
After a couple hours of train and public transport, we all arrived on a Wednesday night to Toulouse, eager to get a good night of sleep to be ready for the next day. Indeed, we were thrilled to spend the day at the CFIA, where more than 300 companies were present to discuss with us their equipment and technology for the food industry and others. We ended the day visiting the beautiful city centre of Toulouse, with its pink tiles and historical monuments. A lot of the students discovered some of the South-western specialties such as duck meat and even foie-gras. Now of course we could not leave Toulouse, one of the main student cities in France, without enjoying a pleasant cocktail and a good chat all together before heading back to our hotel.

CFIA inToulouse

The following day we headed to Ajinomoto, a food company originating from Japan. They welcomed us with chocolatine (and not “pain au chocolat” as this is the southwest!), coffee, presentations about the company, and walked us through their Macarons production lines. The students were able to discover how such French delicacies can be produced on an industrial scale. After a good lunch, we all put our minds to work on questions asked by the company. We learned about the umami flavour: MSG, but also about amino acids.

Visit at Ajinomoto

Finally, our lovely bus driver named Norbert, came to pick us up and to drop us at the Gîte du Terly: a hostel found on the way of the Saint Jacques de Compostelle walk, owned by a former FIPDes team member: Clémence, working there with Lucie, also a previous member, who held a small bakery there. We all shared a lovely dinner together composed of nothing but local and homemade products: foie-gras, fig jam, vegetables from the neighbours’ garden, walnut cake…

Le Fournil du Terly

That next morning, we had a lovely French breakfast, with Lucie’s brioche and Clémence’s homemade jams. We went on a beautiful walk in the French countryside (and may even have gotten a little lost) and watched Lucie make us pizza with Cantal cheese: to die for.


In the afternoon, Norbert drove us to Capdenac-le-Haut. This village felt like it had stopped in time. We visited the church and wandered around the beautiful medieval village, where we were greeted not by 1, not by 2, but 3 cats! Jackpot. Norbert then drove us back to the Toulouse airport, where we all enjoyed the picnic that had been prepared by our two hosts and headed back home to our RER B. But this time, with a smile on our faces, and with heads filled with beautiful memories.

Eléonore Boisseau, France, Cohort 10

“The trip was a great combination of learning, team building and experiencing the south of France. We learned a lot from this trip, not only by visiting the factory, but also by trying different traditional meals.” – Bogdan Dinić, Serbia, Cohort 10
“The trip provided a great opportunity to visit a big Food company such as Ajinomoto and learn about their Production process, R&D and Food safety Aspects. It was very productive and fun. Also visiting the countryside and experiencing authentic French cuisine and culture was an experience to remember for life.” – Zain Ali, Pakistan, Cohort 10
“The trip was amazing in the fact that as an international student from India, I got an immersive experience of the French life with delicious food in the countryside. The visit to the industrial line at Ajinomoto was very informative in the practical sense and gave great insights on how the recipes needs to be tweaked for industrial level convenience.” - Adrija Choudhury, India, Cohort 10

- Updated November 2022 -