Toulouse: Rendezvous with the scenic Pink City of France

Toulouse Airport Directory (TLS)
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Toulouse is easy to fall in love with; it has the calm River Garonne and rosy-toned brick buildings, that glow pink during sunsets on a summer’s day. Hence, it is fondly called, La Ville Rose. The city is located in southern France, not far from Spain. It has balmy weather almost throughout the year, providing an inviting ambience. Due to this, Toulouse is frequently visited, even by the French, as a holiday destination.

There are many attractions to visit in Toulouse, like museums, town squares, and even the UNESCO-listed Basilique Saint-Sernin. Spending time here will gradually draw out your emotions, allowing you to stay longer. Savour the moment, get a taste of French cuisine, and admire the Southern, Gothic-style architecture.

Best Time to Visit: The spring and summer are the best times to visit Toulouse. This time is ideal for two reasons: the weather and the opportunity to see the city turn pink.

How to Reach?

By Air: Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, located approximately 7 km northwest of the city, is the main international airport. It is serviced by major airlines, making Toulouse an easy city to connect to from every part of the country. You can find shuttle buses and a tram line that will take you from the airport to the city centre in 30 minutes.

By Train: Toulouse Matabiau is a major station, that is connected to the Toulouse metro. Direct trains run to every major part of the country. Since the station is located in the heart of the city, it is easily accessible via different modes of transport: taxi, metro, bus, and tram. There are TGV trains, or Train à grande Vitesse, that run from Paris to Toulouse, which take just over four hours.

By Road: The Central Bus Station, Pierre Sémard, is a major terminal for buses that run to and from Toulouse. You can find domestic and international buses, both day and overnight ones, with good service connecting to countries like Germany and Spain.  

Getting Around

Toulouse has convenient modes of transport, with buses, trams, and metros to take you across the city. Tisséo is the main organisation that manages public transport in the city. The city has two metro lines that meet at Jean Jaurès station. The tram network has two lines, which start from the Palais de Justice; they also connect the airport. Toulouse has good bus connectivity, with stops in every neighbourhood, and at tram and metro stations. One of the major transport facilities is Transport on Demand (TAD). Like private taxi services, TAD provides four on-demand lines, which can be booked with a telephone call at least two hours before departure.

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Places to visit in Toulouse

  • Basilique Saint-Sernin: This is the most treasured attraction that is on every traveller’s must-visit list. It is listed under UNESCO world heritage site and was built between the 11thand 13th The Basilica of Saint-Sernin has impressive architecture and considered the largest Romanesque church in Europe. Like other ancient buildings, it is built of red brick in a typical Toulouse style. If you are in Toulouse on 29th September, a festival called the Fête de Saint Saturnin is celebrated here.
  • Couvent des Jacobins: Built between 1260 and 1292, in a typical Toulouse style of architecture, the Couvent des Jacobins is a cultural landmark that was founded as a Dominican monastery. It has impressive Southern Gothic architecture with a tower similar to that on the Basilique Saint-Sernin. The interior is just as grand and stunning as the exterior is, with high ceilings, inspiring vaulting, 14th-century mural paintings, and relics of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
  • Canal du Midi: Visit Canal du Midi if you enjoy nature walks and cycling. It was originally built in 1667 as a shortcut from the city to the Mediterranean port of Sète, near Marseille. This canal is about 240 km long, and has paths along the banks, making it highly popular for walking and cycling. This is a great way to enjoy nature and relax.
  • Chapelle des Carmélites: Most people come to see the impressive Baroque art murals by artists like Jean-Pierre Rivals and Jean-Baptiste Despax on this 17th-century chapel. The chapel was originally founded in 1622 by King Louis XIII and his wife, Anne of Austria. Although most parts of the chapel were destroyed during the French Revolution, the wall paintings and murals were spared.
  • Musée des Augustins: An impressive cultural attraction to visit in Toulouse is the Musée des Augustins. This is a great place if you are an art lover. It has some of the most popular paintings that date back to the medieval period. Some of the paintings to see are the 17th-century religious paintings and the painting collections by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Eugène Delacroix, Camille Corot, Edouard Manet, Gustave Courbet, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The building itself is a majestic piece of art; the museum's galleries are held at the former Augustine Convent, which was built between the 14thand 16th

Places to eat in Toulouse

  • Au Pois Gourman: Inside a 19th-century colonial-style mansion, the Au Pois Gourmand offers gastronomic cuisine. With an extensive three-menu set, the food is, without a doubt, delicious. It also includes a vegetarian option for those who prefer that.
  • Aux Pieds Sous la Table: Come to Aux Pieds Sous la Table to try their contemporary cuisine and relax in the chill ambience. It is around 10 minutes’ walking distance from the Capitole and they serve excellent, homemade French cuisine using only fresh seasonal ingredients. The restaurant has a set lunch menu that changes every day.
  • Le Bibent: Toulouse’s elegant La Bibent is a must-visit. It has stunning interiors and scrumptious food. Opened in 1843, it still has that historic vibe and a museum-like setting with Mourano glass chandeliers, gilded cornices, frescoes, and imposing mirrors and statues. The menu changes as per what's latest in the season, so you get to try out their best dishes.

Shopping in Toulouse 

  • Victor Hugo Market: Here at Victor Hugo Market, or Marché Victor Hugo, the food may play with your tastebuds, since you get all sort of fresh produces directly from farm. You get delicious street food along with a variety of fresh produce.
  • Marché Bio du Capitole: One of the oldest markets in France, that sells organic fruits and vegetables, you need to visit it at least once. This is a good place for food shopping in Toulouse, with certified vendors who have been selling for decades. Located in the city centre, close to the Capitole metro station, it is open every Tuesday and Saturday.
  • Saint Aubin Market: A one-of-a-kind market where you can shop for jewellery and perfumes, clothing and handicrafts, and fruits and vegetables.Saint Aubin Market, or Marché de Saint Aubin, is an outdoor market that has everything.

Where to stay in Toulouse?

  • Hotel de Brienne: This hotel has a vibrant mix of both old and new design, giving it an edgy look. It has a rather simple exterior with floor-to-ceiling windows and a classic façade. Every wall of the hotel displays art pieces such as modern sculptures and French portraits. The main highlight of the hotel is the walk-in waterfall showers.
  • Mama Shelter: With a stunning view of the city, staying at Mama Shelter can make you feel calm. It has an opulent decor which almost makes you feel like you are staying in a tropical resort. It offers beds with a large headboard that are wooden framed, thick and large curtains, and delicious breakfast. Although these may seem quite regal, the hotels have some quirky touches, like Darth Vader wall lamps and headboards with picture frames.
  • Hotel des Beaux Arts: The best takeaway from staying in this hotel would be the view of the river. The hotel provides all kind of amenities, making your stay comfortable. You will be pampered with comfortable facilities, and delicious food. The rooms have antler-patterned wallpaper, and probably the softest bed you've ever slept on.

More reasons to visit Toulouse

  • Their very own rugby union club: Everyone who enjoys rugby knows that Toulouse has the best rugby clubs in the world. The Stade Toulousain is a professional rugby union club, and visit the Ernest Wallon stadium to watch rugby match, and before you know it you’ll be enjoying the cheer and chanting anthems.
  • Go smell the roses in their beautiful gardens: The city of Toulouse has many gardens with a variety of plants. It is the perfect place for nature lovers where you can visit to walk around, read a book, listen to music, or simply indulge in the most popular activity, relax. The locals prefer the Jardin de Compans Caffarelli since it has a large playground.
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