Toulouse

Called the Pink City because of the colour of its buildings, Toulouse is one of the most vibrant cultural cities in France, the cradle of aviation and space research.
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Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, with almost 500,000 inhabitants,Toulouse (Toulouse in French) is the fourth largest city in France.

The cradle of aviation and space, Toulouse has one of the most advanced technology parks in terms of research. Its space vocation has blended perfectly with its historical soul, with its rich architectural and cultural heritage.

Also called the Pink City, due to the rosy colour of its red brick buildings, which glow in the warm light of sunset, Toulouse is also a city that welcomes many students and tourists every year, attracted by its warm and convivial atmosphere.

Things to do in Toulouse

Toulouse is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway: within a single city, overlooking the banks of the Garonne, history, gastronomy, sports and space technology are harmoniously combined. Even with only a few days at your disposal, you can visit wonderful museums, admire historical buildings and observe the progress of aeronautics and space research.

A lively and effervescent university city, Toulouse is renowned for its imaginative cuisine that blends perfectly with traditional specialities such as cassoulet and foie gras. It will also please sports fans, who can watch a rugby or football match in the Stadium Municipal where the local team, Toulouse, plays.

The Capitol

1Capitole de Toulouse, Toulouse, France

An emblematic place of the pink city, Place du Capitole is one of the main places not to be missed during a visit to Toulouse. Entirely pedestrianised, the elegant square, surmounted by the huge Occitan cross, is surrounded by pretty pink brick buildings, symbols of the city that house the town hall, theatre and the famous Capitole. The palace, with its severe and majestic style, houses the Hall of the Illustrious.

A starting point for exploring the city, Place du Capitole is also the perfect place to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Toulouse, lingering at the many outdoor tables and cafés overlooking the square.

Basilica of Saint-Sernin

2Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse, 7 Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse, France

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the basilica is one of the largest Romanesque buildings in France. Named after the first bishop of Toulouse, construction began between 1070 and 1080, only to resume in the 13th century after a long pause. This produced a series of interventions that led to the alternation of stone and pink brickwork and an interior consisting of five naves, a transept with three aisles and a bell tower with an octagonal base.

Considered a holy place by pilgrims, it houses the relics of St Saturninus and magnificent paintings.

Jacobin Church

3Pl. des Jacobins, 31000 Toulouse, France

An exceptional example of Gothic architecture, this brick giant houses the relics of St Thomas Aquinas. The Jacobean convent is a jewel of medieval art. A gigantic building, sober and original, it houses a unique church. Austere on the outside, it is striking inside for its luminosity, the lightness of its vaults and its double nave ending in a spectacular 22-rib stone palm tree.

Its walls are entirely painted in trompe l’oeil in imitation of marble, which is nobler than brick, while the cloister, the ancient refectory, the chapel of the Virgin and the chapel of St. Antonin, offer moments of freshness and tranquillity and host concerts and exhibitions.

Hôtel d'Assézat

4Place d'Assezat, 31000 Toulouse, France

During the Renaissance, the city, enriched by the pastel trade, saw sumptuous residences flourish, including the Hôtel d’Assézat, clearly inspired by the square courtyard of the Louvre.

The sumptuous main courtyard frames the two façades, punctuated by ancient columns and linked by the staircase tower. Nicolas Bachelier, the architect, worked for many families in Toulouse. The building, bequeathed to the city of Toulouse in 1895, houses a number of learned societies including the Académie des Jeux Floraux, the oldest literary society in Europe created in 1323.

Canal du Midi

531200 Toulouse, France

Several canals cross the city: the Canal du Midi, the Canal de Brienne and the Canal Lateral à la Garonne. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Canal du Midi connects Toulouse to Sète on the Mediterranean Sea.

Built during the reign of Louis XIV by Pierre-Paul Riquet, it was completed in the 19th century by connecting it to the Canal Lateral à la Garonne in order to navigate towards the Atlantic. This enchanting waterway, surrounded by avenues of plane trees and beautiful countryside, can be explored on foot, by bicycle or by boat.

City of Space

6Av. Jean Gonord, 31500 Toulouse, France

Almost unsuspectedly, Toulouse is known as the most important aerospace centre in Europe.

To celebrate its technological vocation, it has created the City of Space, a 35,000 m2 science and entertainment park: it houses playful and interactive areas, an exhibition of legendary aircraft from all eras (Concorde, Caravelle, Super Guppy, A300B, etc.) to discover and learn all about space, flight, time and our planet. Recognised for its scientific value, the Cité also aims to be a place of entertainment accessible to all.

Some of the attractions are truly unmissable: you can climb aboard a Concorde, enter a flight simulator, observe a 360° planetarium that perfectly simulates space, immerse yourself in the three-dimensional vision of space at the IMAX cinema with a giant screen and 3D glasses, observe real-size spacecraft up close, including the Russian Mir orbiting station and the Soyouz spacecraft, or even admire the reproduction of the 53-metre-high Ariane 5 rocket.

The Victor Hugo covered market

7Pl. Victor Hugo, 31000 Toulouse, France

The Victor Hugo covered market is a must during your stay in Toulouse: more than 80 exhibitors with an unlimited choice of fresh and regional products await you. You’ll find fishmongers, butchers, pork butchers, tripe and chicken vendors alongside greengrocers, bakers and confectioners, cheesemakers and even dairymen.

But you will also find restaurateurs, wine merchants or excellent spice and olive stands. In fact, you can eat while sitting on one of the market’s barrels or in one of the various restaurants set up on the first floor of the building, which highlight the local products sold on the ground floor.

Saint Cyprien District

8St - Cyprien, Toulouse, France

Overlooking the left bank of the Garonne, on the opposite side of the city centre and reached by crossing Pont Neuf, Saint-Cyprien is a very popular and cosmopolitan district of Toulouse.

In recent years, it has rapidly become trendy, attracting cool restaurants with exotic menus and small shops selling excellent gastronomy. It is the perfect place to go out in the evening and mingle with the neighbourhood’s citizens.

Culture has also found an important place here: you can choose between the Prairie des filtres, where many summer events take place, le Château d’eau, an interesting photographic museum and les Abattoirs, a museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art.

Place Saint-Pierre

9Pl. Saint-Pierre, 31000 Toulouse, France

Just a few metres from the Sain-Cyprien district and 700 metres from Place du Capitole, Place Saint Pierre is the nerve centre of the evening nightlife: here you will find many clubs and restaurants open until late at night, attracting especially the young people and university students who populate the district.

You will reach it by crossing the recently built Saint Pierre bridge, which replaced an old suspension bridge. Thanks to clever lighting at night, it is one of the city’s most popular attractions.

Pierre Baudis Japanese Gardens

10Jardin Compans Caffarelli, Bd Lascrosses, 31000 Toulouse, France

Located in the heart of the Compans-Caffarelli park, the Pierre Baudis Japanese garden surprises with its exoticism. A place of meditation and rest, it was created to reproduce a synthesis of the gardens of Kyoto, Japan, built between the 14th and 16th centuries.

It consists of all the characteristic elements typical of Japanese gardens: a symbolic representation of the mineral, plant and water worlds, adorned with decorative elements. You can admire a crane island, a turtle island with nine rocks, a lake, a tea pavilion and a planted garden consisting of a dry waterfall, Japanese steps, a lantern, a red bridge, an island of paradise, Mount Fuji and the stones of the three saints.

Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Daurade

111 Pl. de la Daurade, 31000 Toulouse, France

Built in the 5th century on the remains of an ancient temple, its decoration favoured gold leaf mosaics, from which it took its name Daurade. In the 9th century, the basilica was integrated into a Benedictine monastery and the structure was enlarged with a central nave and cloister, on the site of which the School of Fine Arts now stands.

The imposing neoclassical architecture stands out in the city and houses the famous Black Madonna, patroness of pregnant women, as well as monumental paintings of the cycle of the Virgin Mary’s life by the painter Joseph Roques.

Toulouse Museum of Fine Arts

1221 Rue de Metz, 31000 Toulouse, France

The Augustinian monastery, a fine example of southern Gothic architecture, is classified as a Historical Monument and today houses the Toulouse Museum of Fine Arts.

The museum’s collections, which today comprise more than 4,000 works, have been amassed over time, first through revolutionary seizures, then by acquiring the collection of the former Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture of Toulouse and finally the works from the numerous buildings destroyed in the 19th century, to which were added the deposits of the national collections, acquisitions, bequests and donations from the City.

The most interesting parts are certainly the Gothic sculptures and 19th century painting, which includes paintings by Corot, Courbet, Ingres and Delacroix in the Red Salon and paintings by Perugino and Rubens.

Halle de la Machine

133 Av. de l'Aérodrome de Montaudran, 31400 Toulouse, France

In Toulouse, there is a surreal place that seems to have come out of the world of the imagination. It is La Halle de la Machine: in an immense aviation hangar, immense mechanical machines are housed, reproducing animals of gigantic dimensions.

You can climb on the shoulders of an enormous minotaur or a giant mechanical spider . One of the most spectacular attractions is the Carré Sénart roundabout: giant buffaloes carry moving fish heads on circles of mechanical insects. This merry-go-round is based on movement: verticality, horizontality, rotation, intersections that generate a complex interplay of perspectives between users. It is an invitation to share in the excitement of an imaginary journey through the heart of a fantastic scenario. 18 metres wide and 14 metres high, the rotunda can accommodate 48 people, including adults and children.

Carmelite Quarter

1416 Pl. des Carmes, 31000 Toulouse, France

We recommend a stroll through the heart of the old town, in one of the most charming areas of Toulouse. At the centre of the Carmelite quarter, the Carmes covered market attracts fans of gourmet specialities.

The area’s colourful façades and lively streets lead to pretty little squares. The bars, wine cellars and restaurants will delight your taste buds and make this place a must for a night out.

Saint-Etienne District

15Saint-Etienne, 31000 Toulouse, France

A stone’s throw away from the lively Carmes district is the chic, bourgeois quarter of the city centre. Behind imposing gates you can spy the mansions of Renaissance merchants and the Chapters, former rulers of the city.

The Saint-Étienne cathedral in the heart of the district surprises with its architecture and is surrounded by picturesque streets that will take you straight back in time to the Middle Ages. Far from the hustle and bustle, photography enthusiasts will not be insensitive to the charm of this district and its architectural treasures. The boutiques and art galleries of the big brands will delight the most curious.

Bourse - Daurade District

16Quartier de la Daurade, 31000 Toulouse, France

This is the place for shopping in Toulouse: a stone’s throw from Place du Capitole and Rue Alsace-Lorraine, known for housing the big names in fashion, the city’s former merchant district boasts numerous designer boutiques, vintage addresses, second-hand shops and concept stores.

But the real surprise is hidden at the end of the shopping streets: the lively quays of the Daurade await you, offering a breathtaking view of the Garonne and making the neighbourhood a reference point for Toulouse’s nightlife. It is the ideal place to enjoy a drink on one of the many terraces overlooking the river or an informal dinner in this bohemian neighbourhood.

Saint-Aubin District

17Rue Saint-Aubin, 31000 Toulouse, France

In the streets of the Saint Aubin district, a busy and colourful craft market is held on Sunday mornings. Locals and visitors alike will love the relaxed atmosphere that emerges from this corner of the city nestled between the old town and the Canal du Midi.

Few people know it, but Saint-Aubin is also nicknamed the Montmartre of Toulouse. Like the famous district in Paris, the unmissable Rue de la Colombette has had the status of a free commune since the end of World War II. Artists, artisans and merchants have found their home here and contribute greatly to the dynamism of this popular neighbourhood while the Saint-Aubin church combines Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic styles to create an unusual architecture.

Les Chalets District

18Les Chalets, Toulouse, France

A true village within the city, this small neighbourhood, nestled between the old town and the train station, is a favourite with the inhabitants of Toulouse. Here, time seems to stand still and life flows slowly. You can observe its inhabitants from the terrace of the Café de la Concorde, one of the oldest in the city.

The few residential buildings built recently are eclipsed by the beauty of the toulousaines, the low houses typical of the region. In rue des Chalets, on the other hand, bourgeois residences flourish, making this one of the quietest places in the centre.

Street art in Toulouse

In Toulouse, graffiti as we know it today began to spread in the late 1980s, influenced by New York hip-hop culture, especially in the vacant lots of the Arnaud-Bernard district.

Born on the street, they were immediately labelled as acts of vandalism and the works of the time were almost all erased. Their revaluation and rise to art status came much later and today this form of artistic expression has also found a place in Toulouse: the municipality regularly commissions huge frescoes from local and international artists.

One of the most famous works is the one created by Miss Van as part of the urban culture festival Rose Béton. Entitled The Symphony of Dreams19, this dreamy, sensual and poetic fresco, painted with a paintbrush, blends beautifully with the urban environment and depicts a female figure surrounded by masks inspired by different world cultures.

To discover the most spectacular works, the tourist office organises the Graff tour, a 2-hour guided walking tour to discover the origins and codes of graffiti in the company of a guide and a well-known graffiti artist.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Toulouse Pass

To get around the city of Toulouse with complete peace of mind and if you plan to visit several museums, we recommend purchasing the Toulouse Pass.

You can choose between a 1-day, 2-day or 3-day formula that guarantees

You can buy your subscription online and decide whether to have it sent to your home or pick it up directly from the tourist office. Shipping is only available if you book at least one week before your arrival date.

Where to stay in Toulouse

Toulouse is a young city: with more than 100,000 students, it is one of the largest student cities in France and its centre is definitely lively and dynamic.

Choosing where to stay depends a lot on the type of holiday you are looking for and the budget you have available. The historical centre is the active lung of the Pink City, a district surrounded by the boulevard d’Arcole, the boulevard de Strasbourg, the rue de Metz and the Place Esquirol. It is perfect for shopping and sightseeing, but at the same time it is decidedly noisy and crowded.

The Carmelite quarter is a small village in the heart of Toulouse with a quiet, authentic and friendly atmosphere. It feels like being in the countryside but just a stone’s throw from the banks of the Garonne: young hipsters live here, attracted by the small organic markets, restaurants and small café-bars with concerts.

The Saint-Cyprien area is one of the city’s most popular, dynamic and attractive districts. Full of attractions, it is the ideal place to find flats for rent at affordable prices.

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Getting to Toulouse

Toulouse Airport enjoys an exceptional location just 8 km west of the city, which is easily reached by public transport or taxi. In fact, to get to the centre you can take the T2 tram line (Airport – Arènes – Palais de Justice) or the shuttle bus that connects the airport with the bus station.

If you travel by train, the SNCF Toulouse-Matabiau train station is located right in the city centre, a 10-minute walk from Place du Capitole.

Toulouse Weather

What's the weather at Toulouse? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Toulouse for the next few days.

Friday 14
15°
23°
Saturday 15
15°
18°
Sunday 16
12°
24°
Monday 17
15°
28°
Tuesday 18
19°
27°
Wednesday 19
17°
21°

Where is located Toulouse

Toulouse is the capital of Occitania, in Southern France, close to the Spanish border, and is crossed by the Garonne river.

Insights on Toulouse

Toulouse Airport

Toulouse Airport

Flights to Toulouse

Flights to Toulouse

How to save on transport and entrance fees

City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.

Toulouse: City Card (with transport)
Toulouse: City Card (with transport)
Explore Toulouse at your own pace with a city card, and enjoy free entrance to museums along with discounts at dozens of participating partners. The city card is valid for 3 days from first use.
From 36,00 €

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