It’s simple to see why, given that tourism has the potential for a little meteoric leap – literally if you visit Toulouse’s Cite de l’Espace. Getting from point A to point B in the city centre is a doodle, the city is less crowded, and there is a wonderful diversity of different things to do.
Toulouse may have a fascinating history that dates back to 257 AD and boasts Europe’s largest Romanesque Basilica, but the city’s aviation sector also plays a role because it echoes the past, present, and future. Toulouse throws in more flying delights along the route, from stars to starlings.
During the week, the city is a popular destination for business travellers. Toulouse is now gaining a reputation as a stylish European weekend getaway destination. Check out our list of things to do in Toulouse, France, and book your flights to Toulouse.
Toulouse’s Historic Center
The Capitole, unquestionably the heart of Toulouse, is everyone’s starting point on the centre plaza. Toulouse’s central hotspot is surrounded by a plethora of cafes, restaurants, hotels, bars, and outward streets. The distinctive pink tint of the brickwork in certain of Toulouse’s buildings has earned it the nickname “The Pink City.”
The Capitole is steeped with history as well. It was here that St Saturnin, Bishop of Toulouse, was martyred in 257 AD. It was utilised by the Romans in the thirteenth century, and it served as an army barracks during the French Revolution!
It is now used as a city hall and as a wedding location for Toulousain couples.
Museums, historical sites, and art galleries
The Basilica of Saint Sernin is one of Toulouse’s most visited historical sites. It is Europe’s largest surviving example of Romanesque architecture. If you’ve ever seen Toulouse marketed, the prominent thumbnail or postcard shot will almost certainly be of St Sernin. The façade of this UNESCO World Heritage Site features a bell tower and spire that were constructed in the 15th century.
The Jacobins Museum in France is a great example of Gothic architecture from the 13th to 14th centuries.
The Jacobins Museum in France is a great example of Gothic architecture from the 13th to 14th centuries. It is well renowned for housing the bones of historic philosopher Thomas Aquinas and for having an interior ‘palm-tree’ look created of brick columns to support the apse vault. Further exploration will reveal the internal Jacobin gardens, as well as various rooms housing permanent and temporary exhibits!
The Musee Des Augustins is a must-see in Toulouse, as it houses artwork dating from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. It will also host a temporary exhibit called ‘Toulouse in the Renaissance’ from March to September, which will feature intriguing paintings, sculptures, sketches, weapons, manuscripts, and more from the city’s Renaissance period.
Aerospace & Aviation
Cite de l’espace is a theme park and museum that you might easily spend several days exploring. There are useful instructional exhibits and life-sized replicas of space craft, as well as various interactive games like sticking your hand through an astronaut’s glove, that give you with an endless amount of things to see here!
The Aeroscopia Museum offers a fascinating look into aviation’s past. Not only does it host multiple real-life aeroplanes, but it also houses the Concorde and the Airbus, the company’s iconic aircraft. Aeroscopia caters to the aviation enthusiast as well as the curious cat.
Canals & Rivers
If Toulouse were a human body, the River Garonne would be its spine, running all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. During the day, go along the sidewalk between the bridges, St Pierre and Garonne, to get a closer look and admire its beauty. If you’ve already seen some of the artwork in Toulouse, the Capitole has a number of renowned masterpiece paintings of the Garonne from recent decades.
Don’t miss this: flocks of Starlings soar randomly throughout the skies at night, as if they’re performing a choreographed routine. It’s an absolutely breathtaking sight!
The Canal du Midi near Toulouse sometimes lives in the shadow of the Garonne, but it shouldn’t. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that connects the Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas and is over 300 kilometres long. In Toulouse, take a barge ride down the canal or go cycling alongside it.
Markets & Cuisine
The Toulousain Cassoulet is the city’s most famous culinary dish, a flavorful pork and white bean casserole.
Restaurant Emile (13 Spot Saint Georges, 31000) is a great place to experience Toulouse de Cassoulet for the first time. If you wish to follow our recommendation, order the crayfish ravioli as an appetiser; it’s delicious!
Victor Hugo Market (named after the author) would be the place to go if Toulouse had a stomach full of food. This is, for many, the most important attraction in Toulouse. You could spend breakfast, lunch, and dinner here, with an abundance of great delicacies ranging from local fruit to fresh seafood.
What are the finest lodging options in Toulouse?
Spend your money at the Grand Hotel de l’Opera, a magnificent structure that was once a monastery. Admire the bright five-star design and antique-styled rooms here.
Hotel Albert 1er is a modern and cosy hotel on rue d’Alsace that won’t break the bank. In Toulouse, look for these and more hotels.
Do you have any other recommendations for Toulouse?
St Aubins Market, which is open on Saturdays, is a true Toulousain market worth visiting. It’s the locals’ weekly shopping destination, full with junk, punk, vintage, and cheap street cuisine.