Hello travelers, welcome back to start another french adventure. Today it’s up to another big city, that is, Toulouse. There will be much to explore, so we will need all your energy, but it will be beautiful as always! But first let us introduce you Toulouse (meanwhile you will also have the opportunity to recover your energies!).
Toulouse is the capital of the Occitania region and is crossed by the Garonne and is located in the southwestern region of the country. It is the fourth most populous city in France and has 11 cantons. Cultural center of Occitania, it has received the nickname of “Pink City” because of the color that dominates the city, in particular on its ancient buildings. There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the romanesque basilica of Saint-Sernin and the Canal du Midi. The cultural life of Toulouse is very rich and with intercultural traits due not only to its history, but also to the large amount of foreign students present in the city, which favor an atmosphere of great cultural exchange. One of the major cultural events organized in the city is the Cartoon Forum, where dozens of production houses exhibit their projects. In addition, Toulouse is home to the famous Airbus aircraft manufacturer, located at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport. This city also has its own motto: For Toulouse totjorn mai (For Toulouse, more and more).
To know more (what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
Backpacks on the shoulder and go straight into the main world of the city, the cultural one.
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS…)
- Basilique Saint-Sernin: it is one of the main churches of Toulouse and the best example of Romanesque architecture. It has many awards and titles. First of all it is registered in the UNESCO World Heritage Site and then it is considered an historical monument of France; all this also for the fact that it is one of the stop-over of the Way to Santiago de Compostela in France. So from now on every description of its beauty and importance would be decidedly obvious. The exterior has a high tower, to be specific a bell tower, and the Miégeville portal, open on the south side. The structure has a particular and very wide shape. The interior is full of precious testimonies (an example is the organ); it is not very bright but the lights there give it life and charm.
- église des Jacobins: historical monument of France, the church is part of the complex of the Order of the preaching friars. The structure is made entirely of red bricks and is considered a great example of Gothic art. The interior has a cloister, the refectory, the chapter house, the chapel of Sant’Antonino, the tomb of San Tommaso d’Aquino, its magnificent columns, its frescoes and stained glass windows. Very beautiful and suggestive both internally and externally (with its high bell tower), it is worth a visit; as well as the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Daurade.
- Musée des Augustins: it is a museum of fine arts that owns a collection of sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century and a collection of sculptures that represent the Occitan culture of the region. However the collection is particularly rich in Romanesque works. The particular structure (a little different from the usual buildings we use to see) also has a cloister, several rooms and in addition it is predominated by the typical red bricks.
- Hôtel d’Assézat: it is a historic building in Toulouse that houses the museum of the Bemberg Foundation with an art collection from the 15th to the 20th century. This palace is one of the most beautiful testimonies of the Renaissance and was built by the architect Pierre Assezat (from which the structure takes its name). The beauty of the structure is exceptional as well as its courtyard which opens the access doors to the museum. The interior is amazing too, there is so much to admire and learn. For contemporary and modern art you can visit Les Abattoirs museum.
- Muséum de Toulouse: it is a natural history museum, one of the largest natural history museums in France, containing millions of specimens. Inside we find several exhibitions related to five particular themes, among them: the earth, the biodiversity, the paleontology, the future, the ecosystem and much more. Amazing is the window overlooking the botanical garden, the small wild park and its library. You will suddenly be transported to a fabulous world made up of many beautiful and interesting things to see.
- Musée Saint-Raymond: it is an archaeological museum located in the 16th century Saint-Raymond palace. Like other museums also this one has the predominance of being built with red bricks. The palace doesn’t seem like a palace, it has a rectangular shape with small towers on the sides, very particular. However, the museum does include a collection of objects from the early 2nd millennium BC. until the 8th century AD (wow!). There are also a collection of sarcophagi, a set of busts displayed in a beautiful large room (and very nice we can add, as it is bright and characterized by arches).
If you prefer to visit an archaeological museum but focused on asian art, there is the Georges Labit Museum and its beautiful structure says a lot about its originality and “diversity” (in a positive sense).
- Aeroscopia: around Toulouse there are several aviation-themed museums like this one here, a modern museum with several french planes. There are many models, from the oldest to the modern ones and in some of them, moreover, it will be possible to get on board, without forgetting also virtual reality opportunities. The property also houses a shop where you can buy some souvenirs. A very interesting place, even for those who are not interested on the topic.
- Halle de La: seems a museum but it is more an immense room with a collection of machines that personify different animals, some giants and others smaller, on which some of them can also be climbed. It is so much fun and beautiful especially for the little ones. We have experienced a situation like this in another french destination, do you remember it?
- Château d’Eau: previously it was a water tower (that fed numerous city’s fountains), now it is a museum of the history of photography, the oldest in the city. Beautiful the collection of the great masters of photography and beautiful its structure entirely built with (the famous) red bricks. Still on the theme of water, a museum on energy of the water is the Espace EDF Le Bazacle. Everything is very well explained and structured.
- Astronomy is a sector very much felt in Toulouse, for this reason if you want to know more about this world you cannot miss the Observatoire de Toulouse (also its suggestive structure in the middle of nature deserves a lot).
- Terre de Pastel Museum: this is a very particular museum, as it shows the secret of the blue color, its nuances but also its origin. Furthermore, you can see how the color of a piece of cloth is dipped. It’s all very interesting, even if the blue color isn’t your favorite!! Its small shop is also nice.
- Musee du Vieux-Toulouse: this is a museum that tells the history of the city of Toulouse, located in a very beautiful historical building, it houses a collection of old objects, paintings and much more. In addition, the museum also contains a small courtyard.
Some of the theaters we can find in Toulouse are: Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Cafe-Theater Les 3T, Casino Théâtre Barrière de Toulouse, La Cave Poésie.
We continue entering into the world of entertainment. Let’s go!
- Pierre Baudis Japanese Garden: this is a wonderful japanese-style garden perfect for those who want to spend a few hours away from the chaos of the city. It contains all the characteristic elements of the eastern area: the mineral world, the vegetable world and the aquatic world with typical decorative elements such as the wall, the bridge, the lanterns and a tea pavilion; and then its characterizing plants or trees (the famous cherry trees).
- Jardin des Plantes: is a public garden, located right in the center of Toulouse, which is part together with three other gardens (Boulingrin and Jardin Royal) of a trio located southeast of the city. Among waterfalls, ponds, sculptures there is truly a world in this vast area. The peculiarity of the garden are the chickens left free to walk everywhere, attracting many passersby.
- La Prairie des Filtres: it is a beautiful park by the river. The atmosphere you breathe there is total freedom and a total immersion in the greenery. Many people stop there placing a towel and lying on the grass to enjoy moments of total relaxation and peace or why not, on summer days to take some sun.
- Pech-David: it is a hill located on the south of the city and consists of a large green area. Mainly it is a popular and famous place for its magnificent view over the entire city and even on the Pyrenees chain. So beautiful, don’t miss it!
- Canal du Midi: it is one of the most visited and loved attractions (not surprisingly it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site). A nice feeling is to walk among the side banks of the river lined with trees. There are various locations where you can see the canal as it is present in many parts of the city. There are various ways to travel the road, on foot, by bike (on the specific cycle path) or comfortably seated by boat for a direct visit of the waters.
Excellent is also the walk along the Garonne river right in the center of Toulouse. We warn you that in the evening, wow, it’s so fascinating!
- A must-see bridge is the Pont Saint Pierre which crosses the Garonne that connects Saint-Pierre square with the Saint Cyprien district. It is possible to visit both by bike and on foot in the appropriate spaces. Its night view is spectacular thanks to its lighting system. A must!
- Around the city there are many narrow streets and squares to visit, let’s see them: Capitole is a vast squares of the city, as well as the heart of Toulouse and home to the opera house and the town hall (so beautiful in the evening because of the lights). In the arcades below there are bistros, bars, cafes, restaurants. This is where the various city markets are often held. Place Wilson is a square that marks the entrance to the city and consists of a fountain. Around there are many shops, a green area with a typical carousel. Everything is very concentrated but very suggestive. Place Saint-Pierre, a small square with a river view and a meeting center for most university students in the city. People stop here to have drinks or sit on the steps to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Another small little square is the Square Charles-de-Gaulle, it is also very pretty. Place de la Trinité a square in the center of Toulouse, very small but very pretty with a fountain in the center and a bar and a few shops on the sides. Or more, the beautiful and ancient Place Saint-Étienne which belongs to a specific section of the Unesco heritage.
- Quai de la Daurade, a beautiful and healthy walk along the riverside right in the historic center of Toulouse and if you are still not tired, there is a beautiful bridge nearby, the Pont Neuf, where you can continue your walk. Saint-Cyprien is an extremely trendy street and famous for its delicatessen shops or restaurants that offer various local dishes. Speaking of food, if you are passionate about food or simply want to have a snack, don’t miss the famous markets, the Marché Saint Cyprien or the Marché Victor Hugo. Rue de Rome for some shopping. Rue de Metz where nearby there is the Monument aux combattants de la Haute-Garonne, a commemorative arch.
- Among the various activities to do both fun and relaxing we can find: Tactisens Escape Game Toulouse and Lock Academy Toulouse – Escape Game. Le Train Touristique de Toulouse, a sightseeing tour comfortably seated on a small train, very fun (especially for the little ones!). Les Bateaux Toulousains for a boat ride directly on the river. Lac de Sesquières for a tour with lake view, perfect! We give you another idea, if you are a rugby lover, this is the right place for you, you could attend a game in the city stadium, the Stade Toulousain. And still you can choose La Ramee Golf Leisure Center where you can do many activities such as various sports or fishing.
- If you still have some free time after your tour in Toulouse, there are many beautiful picturesque villages nearby to visit such as: Conques, Rocamadour, Saint-Cirque-Lapopie and Cordes-sur-Ciel.
Canal du Midi
Toulouse has a lively nightlife and whatever you want to do there is a place for everyone. Let’s not forget that Toulouse is a city full of students, therefore always awake and avant-garde. Among the most popular places we find the center of the city and Place Saint-Pierre.
Let’s see some places in detail:
- Fat Cat: cocktail bar
- Péniche le Cri de la mouette: disco
- Melting Pot Pub
- Moloko: bar
- The Four Monkeys: bar
- Guinguettes: small bars-restaurants along the Garonne
Here we are, it’s time for typical dishes.
- Cassoulet toulousain: it is a dish based on a typical sausage and beans. It is served in a pan that gives it an even more intense taste and, for experts, we have to say that the dish is accompanied with local red wine such as Madiran or Marcillac. It’s a caloric dish but for us who have to walk, it’s perfect because it gives us a lot of energy!
- Magret: it is the select part of the duck and it is its breast. This is a very lean meat and it can also be found seasoned or vacuum-packed.
- Cheeses everywhere and all tasty. Among the most typical cheeses we find the Xavier (which obtained a prestigious title in the Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition of craftsmen in France). It is often enjoyed in the evening on the banks of the Garonne river with crusty bread and fresh wine. What a combo!
- Fénétra: it is the typical dessert of Toulouse and is composed of pasta sablé (shortcrust pastry) with a filling of apricots, pieces of candied lemon and almonds. A real goodness!
- Violet is the symbol of Toulouse. Some legends tell that it arrived in the city brought by a Piedmontese soldier who gave it to his beloved. Many are the products based on this flower in the city. What does it have to do with sweets? Well, pastry chefs use violets to decorate dishes and prepare sweets. In addition there are candied violets, liqueurs, macarons, jams and also chocolates and ice cream.
Pavé du Capitole (dark chocolates) are a must to try or a souvenir to take home.
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’…)
Let’s go in search of good places where to enjoy these typical dishes.
- Sixta Francese Fusion: healthy and French cuisine.
- Le Restaurant: French and European cuisine.
- Crêperie le MENHIR: French, European, vegetarian cuisine.
- L’hippi’curien: french cuisine.
- Une Table a Deux: French, contemporary cuisine.
- Les Sales Gosses – Le Restaurant: French, European, contemporary cuisine.
- Le Perche Pinte: French, European cuisine, vegetarians.
- L’Emulsion: French, European, contemporary cuisine.
- Le Grenier de Pépé: French, European, vegetarian cuisine.
- Le Chat Noir Bistrot: French, European, vegetarian cuisine.
So we end our tour in Toulouse, while the journey to France continues. Follow us to discover the city where we are going to land.
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.
Below we will list the accommodations that you can find in Toulouse.