Toulouse, also known as “La Ville Rose” (The Pink City), is a charming city located in the southwest of France. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture, Toulouse offers visitors a delightful blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Toulouse:
1. Place du Capitole
Start your exploration in the heart of the city at Place du Capitole. This grand square is dominated by the magnificent Capitole building, which houses the town hall and a theater. Admire the beautiful façade, stroll through the square, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of cafes, restaurants, and shops.
2. Basilique Saint-Sernin
This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts. The Basilique Saint-Sernin is one of the largest Romanesque churches in Europe and a significant pilgrimage site. Explore the stunning interior, marvel at the intricate details, and climb the tower for panoramic views of the city.
3. Cité de l’Espace
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Embark on a journey through space and science at the Cité de l’Espace. This space-themed park offers interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, and a full-scale model of the Ariane 5 rocket. Discover the wonders of the universe, learn about space exploration, and even experience what it’s like to be an astronaut.
4. Musée des Augustins
Housed in a former Augustinian monastery, the Musée des Augustins is a remarkable art museum. It showcases an extensive collection of European sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. Admire works by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Monet, and Delacroix as you wander through the beautiful cloister and galleries.
5. Canal du Midi
Take a leisurely stroll along the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage site that stretches from Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy the picturesque views, rent a bicycle or a boat, and explore the charming villages and vineyards along the canal. It’s a perfect way to unwind and experience the beauty of the French countryside.
6. Les Abattoirs
For contemporary art enthusiasts, Les Abattoirs is a must-visit. This modern art museum showcases an impressive collection of contemporary works, including paintings, sculptures, installations, and photography. The museum is housed in a converted slaughterhouse, adding an interesting architectural element to the experience.
7. Pont Neuf
Cross the iconic Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Toulouse, which offers breathtaking views of the Garonne River. Admire the elegant arches and the statue of the Virgin Mary at the center of the bridge. Take a leisurely walk along the riverbanks or enjoy a picnic by the water.
8. Jardin des Plantes
Escape the bustling city and relax in the tranquil Jardin des Plantes. This beautiful botanical garden features a wide variety of plants, including exotic species and a charming rose garden. Take a peaceful stroll, find a quiet spot to read a book, or simply enjoy the serenity of nature.
9. Saint-Cernin Food Market
Indulge in the vibrant culinary scene of Toulouse at the Saint-Cernin Food Market. Sample local delicacies such as cassoulet, foie gras, and Toulouse sausages. The market is also an excellent place to purchase fresh produce, cheeses, and wines to create your own picnic or gourmet meal.
10. Nightlife in Saint-Pierre
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Toulouse comes alive at night, particularly in the Saint-Pierre district. Explore the narrow streets filled with lively bars, clubs, and restaurants. Enjoy a night of live music, dance, and delicious cuisine as you immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife of the city.
11 Airbus Factory Tour
Toulouse is the hometown of Airbus, one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. Take a guided tour of the Airbus factory to witness the impressive process of aircraft production. Explore the assembly lines, see the construction of aircraft components, and learn about the fascinating history and innovation behind Airbus.
12. Japanese Garden
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Find tranquility in the heart of Toulouse at the Japanese Garden. This serene oasis features traditional Japanese landscaping elements, including a koi pond, bamboo groves, and meticulously manicured gardens. Take a peaceful stroll, meditate in the Zen garden, or simply enjoy the calming atmosphere.
13. Museum of Toulouse
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Dive into the rich history and culture of Toulouse at the Museum of Toulouse (Musée de Toulouse). This museum showcases a wide range of exhibits, from archaeology and natural history to ethnology and art. Explore interactive displays, learn about the city’s past, and gain insights into the diverse heritage of the region.
14. La Daurade
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Enjoy a leisurely walk along the picturesque banks of the Garonne River at La Daurade. This charming area is known for its vibrant atmosphere, outdoor cafes, and stunning views of the river and the iconic Dome de la Grave. Relax by the water, watch the boats go by, or catch a beautiful sunset.
15. Saint-Etienne Cathedral
Marvel at the impressive Gothic architecture of Saint-Etienne Cathedral. This stunning cathedral dates back to the 13th century and features intricate stained glass windows, a majestic organ, and a beautiful interior. Climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscape.
16. Les Carmes Market
Delight your senses at Les Carmes Market, a bustling market filled with enticing aromas and vibrant colors. Explore the stalls selling fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, gourmet chocolates, and much more. Indulge in local specialties and experience the lively atmosphere of this popular market.
17. Hôtel d’Assézat
Visit the Hôtel d’Assézat, a stunning Renaissance mansion that houses the Bemberg Foundation. This art museum features an exceptional collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 14th to the 20th century. Admire masterpieces by artists such as Monet, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec in a refined and elegant setting.
18. Quai des Savoirs
Engage your curiosity at Quai des Savoirs, an interactive science museum. Discover a wide range of exhibitions that explore various scientific disciplines, from physics and biology to robotics and digital technology. Participate in hands-on experiments, attend workshops, and learn through immersive experiences.
19. Le Bazacle
Learn about the historical importance of the Garonne River at Le Bazacle, a former watermill and hydroelectric plant. Explore the museum, which offers insights into the river’s role in Toulouse’s development, and enjoy the panoramic views from the terrace. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the fish ladder, where you can observe migrating fish.
20. Canal de Brienne
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Take a leisurely boat ride or rent a paddleboard on the Canal de Brienne. This charming canal connects the Garonne River to the Canal du Midi and offers a scenic and peaceful setting to enjoy water activities. Admire the beautiful tree-lined banks and the charming bridges as you glide along the water.
21. Toulouse-Lautrec Museum
Immerse yourself in the world of renowned French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. Housed in the former Palais de la Berbie in nearby Albi, this museum showcases an extensive collection of Toulouse-Lautrec’s works, including paintings, drawings, and posters. Gain a deeper understanding of the artist’s life and artistic style as you admire his iconic pieces.
22. Garonne River Cruise
Embark on a relaxing cruise along the Garonne River and enjoy panoramic views of Toulouse from a different perspective. Cruise boats offer guided tours that provide historical and cultural insights about the city while gliding along the water. Take in the picturesque scenery, including the beautiful bridges and riverside architecture.
23. Saint-Pierre Square
Explore the lively Saint-Pierre Square, a vibrant area filled with bustling cafes, bars, and restaurants. This popular gathering spot is perfect for people-watching and immersing yourself in the local atmosphere. Enjoy a leisurely meal or a drink on the outdoor terraces and soak up the lively ambiance of this bustling square.
24. Les Halles Victor Hugo
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Delight your taste buds at Les Halles Victor Hugo, a bustling indoor food market in the heart of Toulouse. This vibrant market offers an array of fresh produce, gourmet food, cheeses, pastries, and local specialties. Indulge in a gastronomic adventure as you sample regional delicacies and engage in friendly conversations with the passionate vendors.
25. Capitole Square Underground
Uncover the secrets of Toulouse’s past by exploring the Capitole Square Underground. Take a guided tour of the archaeological site beneath Place du Capitole, where you can see remains of ancient Roman structures, medieval walls, and artifacts. Gain insights into the city’s history and witness the layers of civilization that have shaped Toulouse over the centuries.
26. Musée Saint-Raymond
Journey back in time at the Musée Saint-Raymond, a museum dedicated to archaeology and ancient art. Discover the rich Roman history of Toulouse through an impressive collection of sculptures, mosaics, and artifacts. Learn about the city’s Roman origins and its significance during the Roman Empire.
27. Bike along the Canal de Garonne
Rent a bicycle and explore the scenic Canal de Garonne, which offers a picturesque route for cycling enthusiasts. Enjoy the tranquil ambiance as you pedal along the canal, passing through quaint villages, vineyards, and lush countryside. It’s a fantastic way to combine outdoor activity with the natural beauty of the region.
28. Day trip to Carcassonne
Take a day trip from Toulouse to the medieval fortress city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the well-preserved ramparts, wander through narrow cobblestone streets, and immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere. Visit the Count’s Castle and the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire to delve deeper into the city’s history.
29. Enjoy the local cuisine
Toulouse is renowned for its gastronomy, so be sure to savor the local cuisine. Indulge in traditional dishes like cassoulet, a hearty stew made with white beans, sausage, and meat, and enjoy Toulouse sausages, which are famous for their rich flavor. Pair your meal with a glass of regional wine and indulge in the culinary delights of the region.
30. La Grave and Hôpital de La Grave
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Explore the historic district of La Grave, situated along the banks of the Garonne River. This area is home to the Hôpital de La Grave, a stunning complex that includes a hospital, a chapel, and a courtyard. Admire the beautiful architecture and visit the Museum of Medical History, which provides fascinating insights into the evolution of healthcare.
31. Les Jacobins
Step into the serene atmosphere of the Les Jacobins complex, which houses the Church of the Jacobins. Marvel at the impressive Gothic architecture, particularly the remarkable palm tree-shaped pillars inside the church. Take a moment to appreciate the tranquil ambiance and the beauty of this historical religious site.
32. Visit a Rugby Match
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Toulouse is known for its passion for rugby, and attending a match is a thrilling experience. Rugby fans can immerse themselves in the lively atmosphere of Stade Toulousain, one of the most successful rugby teams in France. Cheer along with the passionate crowd and witness the intensity of this beloved sport.
33. Les Abattoirs Skatepark
If you’re into skateboarding or street art, don’t miss the Les Abattoirs Skatepark. Located near the Les Abattoirs modern art museum, this unique skatepark features colorful graffiti art and ramps for skaters to showcase their skills. Whether you’re a participant or an observer, it’s a vibrant and dynamic spot to appreciate urban culture.
34. Nighttime Boat Ride
Experience the magic of Toulouse at night with a boat ride along the illuminated canals. Several companies offer nighttime cruises that showcase the city’s landmarks, such as the Pont Neuf and the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques, beautifully lit up. Enjoy the romantic ambiance as you glide through the shimmering waters under the starry sky.
35. Pilat Dune
Take a day trip to Pilat Dune, located a few hours from Toulouse. This remarkable natural site is the tallest sand dune in Europe and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding forest and coastline. Climb to the top of the dune and witness the vast expanse of sand stretching before you, creating a unique and awe-inspiring landscape.
36. Toulouse Botanical Garden
Escape the city bustle and explore the Toulouse Botanical Garden. This serene green space features a diverse collection of plants, including rare species and themed gardens. Take a leisurely walk along the winding paths, relax by the pond, and appreciate the tranquility of nature in the heart of the city.
37. Explore the Pink City District
Wander through the charming streets of the Pink City district (Quartier du Capitole) and soak up the city’s architectural splendor. Admire the iconic pink-hued buildings, browse boutique shops, and savor a delicious meal at one of the many charming cafes and restaurants.
38. La Brique Rouge
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Explore the vibrant street art scene of Toulouse by taking a stroll through La Brique Rouge. This area, located near the Saint-Cyprien neighborhood, is known for its colorful and expressive graffiti art. Admire the creativity and talent of local and international street artists as you discover vibrant murals and urban art installations.
39. Jardin Japonais Compans-Caffarelli
Find tranquility in the Jardin Japonais Compans-Caffarelli, a stunning Japanese garden in the heart of the city. This serene oasis offers a peaceful escape with its meticulously manicured gardens, calming ponds, and traditional Japanese elements. Take a leisurely walk, practice meditation, or simply relax in this harmonious and serene setting.
40. Les Rives de la Garonne
Enjoy a leisurely stroll or bike ride along Les Rives de la Garonne, the picturesque riverbanks of the Garonne River. This scenic promenade offers beautiful views of the river, and you can soak up the sunshine while admiring the stunning architecture along the way. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the outdoors.
41. Pont Saint-Pierre
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Cross the Pont Saint-Pierre, a charming bridge adorned with beautiful arches and statues. As you walk across, take in the breathtaking views of the Garonne River and the cityscape. The bridge connects the historic city center with the left bank and is a lovely spot for a romantic walk or a peaceful moment of reflection.
42. Natural History Museum
Delve into the wonders of the natural world at the Natural History Museum of Toulouse. This museum boasts an extensive collection of specimens, including fossils, minerals, plants, and animal exhibits. Learn about the diversity of life on Earth, the evolution of species, and the fascinating ecosystems that exist across the globe.
43. Le Marché Victor Hugo
Indulge in a gastronomic delight at Le Marché Victor Hugo, a vibrant covered market offering an array of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, pastries, and gourmet delights. Wander through the bustling aisles, sample local delicacies, and soak up the lively atmosphere of this culinary haven. Don’t forget to grab some tasty treats for a picnic or a memorable meal.
44. Eglise Notre-Dame du Taur
Visit the Eglise Notre-Dame du Taur, a beautiful Romanesque church in the heart of Toulouse. Admire its intricate architectural details, stunning stained glass windows, and peaceful ambiance. The church is also associated with the legend of Saint Saturnin, the city’s patron saint, adding a historical and cultural significance to your visit.
45. Toulouse Plages
During the summer months, Toulouse Plages transforms the city into a beach paradise. Enjoy the sun, sand, and water activities along the banks of the Garonne River. Relax on the artificial beaches, take a dip in the swimming pools, or engage in various water sports. It’s a perfect way to cool off and enjoy some outdoor fun in the heart of the city.
46. Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Immerse yourself in the world of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Les Abattoirs). This vibrant museum showcases a diverse collection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, installations, and multimedia exhibits. Discover the works of renowned artists while appreciating the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of contemporary art.
47. Explore the Side Streets
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Venture off the main avenues and explore the charming side streets of Toulouse. You’ll discover hidden gems, quaint boutiques, cozy cafes, and local artisans. Take your time to wander aimlessly, soak up the local atmosphere, and stumble upon unexpected delights that showcase the authentic character of the city.
48. Toulouse Observatory
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Visit the Toulouse Observatory, one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the world. Learn about the history of astronomy and scientific discoveries as you explore the museum and observe celestial objects through the telescopes. Don’t miss the chance to gaze at the stars and planets during one of the observatory’s public observation nights.
49. Toulouse Philharmonic Orchestra
Indulge in a night of classical music by attending a performance by the Toulouse Philharmonic Orchestra. Experience the talent and artistry of world-class musicians as they bring the symphonies to life in stunning concert halls. Immerse yourself in the beauty of classical music and enjoy an evening of cultural enrichment.
Places and Things To Do