Known as ‘La Ville Rose’, or the Pink City, Toulouse is made of ochre rooftops and buildings tinted in pink and earthy tones. Lodged in the banks of the Garonne River and the Canal du Midi, Toulouse is France’s fourth-largest city but one that still goes unnoticed. However, this French city has a lovely charm to it that calls out to those who love to explore lesser-known cities.
Toulouse is a very lively city and home to one of the largest universities outside Paris. It boasts impressive food markets, is often awoken by the sound of live music, and visited by people who recognise great charisma when they see it. Toulouse’s enchanting quarters, colourful shops, and historical churches are the main targets of the affection of its visitors, but the city has much more to offer.
We’ve made a list of the best things you can do in Toulouse, so, if you’re getting ready to visit, don’t go before we tell you what you can’t miss!
The Basilique Saint-Sernin is a masterpiece of Romanesque art and if you’re truly passionate about architecture, you have to make sure you visit it from both the outside and the inside. This building is unique because it’s been rebuilt throughout the years, so it has absorbed a little bit of every architectural style. The inside is as impressive as the outside but we have a feeling that you’ll be awestruck when you go in. Don’t miss it!
Historical Walking Tour of Toulouse
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
2. Explore the Place du Capitole
The Capitole is the city hall and the heart of the municipal administration of Toulouse. This elegant building is located in a beautiful square - the Place du Capitole - one of the most popular areas in the city. The square is full of cafés and restaurants, where you can try local delicacies and there usually is a flea market going on, where you can buy books and vintage objects. If you have time, visit the Capitole itself and be amazed by its architecture and décor.
Place du Capitole
Address: Place du Capitole, 31000, Toulouse centre, France
Website: Place du Capitole
Come and fulfil your dream of flight at this indoor skydiving stimulator in Toulouse! The vertical wind tunnel comprises of a series of extremely powerful fans which create a column of air, strong enough to support your weight; as such creating the conditions for free-fall and exact simulation of a real skydive from a plane. You will be offered 2 flights; each flight lasting a duration of 75 seconds, which is the equivalent of three parachute jumps. However, before taking off, mandatory training regarding the positions to adopt during the flights is required. Lastly, make sure to put on your best smile as you will be filmed throughout the flight.
From: 73.85 USD per person
Duration: 1 hour
Timing for flights: Begins at 10 am and held at an interval of 1 hour until 8 pm
4. Go for a walk through Jardin Japonais
Southern France can get very hot during the summer, so if you’re visiting Toulouse at this time of year, you’re going to need somewhere refreshing and relaxing to recover from the heat. Jardin Japonais is that place. This stunning garden will give you the break you need and time to reflect.
Filled with beautiful plants, Jardin Japonais has that characteristic Japanese look and it even features a meditation space. When you’re there, you’re free to breathe in fresh air and enjoy the beautiful natural landscape that surrounds you.
Address: Jardin Compans Caffarelli, Boulevard Lascrosses, 31000 Toulouse, France
Website: Jardin Japonais
5. Watch the sunset at Quai de la Daurade
Quai de la Daurade is the place you want to be when the sun starts setting. Sit by the river and admire the landscape around you: the pink and earthy tones of the buildings, the water flowing downstream, the sky changing colours. How dreamy does that sound? There’s nothing quite like watching a sunset by the water with the ones you love. Wait until the bridges light up and then go have dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants.
Quai de la Daurade
Address: Quai de la Daurade, 31000 Toulouse, France
Website: Quai de la Daurade
6. Don’t miss the Musee des Augustins
The Musée des Augustins de Toulouse is another museum you can’t miss when visiting the city. This fine arts museum is the impressive home to a collection of sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. Every piece of art came from France and the sculptures have a very important role in representing the region and its bonds with Romanesque style. The building in which the museum is set dates back to the 14th century and used to be a convent. If you’d like to know more, you have to visit it!
Musee des Augustins
Address: 21 Rue de Metz, 31000 Toulouse, France
Website: Musee des Augustins
7. Marvel at the inner beauty of Theatre du Capitole
The Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse is an opera house located within the Capitole. It is home to an opera company, ballet company and symphony orchestra. The inside of the theatre is incredible and you’re going to want to watch a performance here not once, not twice, but as many times as you can.
Some of the best opera and ballet performances in France can be seen on stage in this 18th-century auditorium so, do some research, buy your tickets, and enjoy!
Theatre du Capitole
Address: Place du Capitole, 31000 Toulouse, France
Website: Theatre du Capitole
8. See the unique Church of Les Jacobins
The Church of Les Jacobins is not the same as the convent/monastery we’ve previously mentioned. However, it has the same mysterious, horror-story setting feeling to it, and it will make you want to grab your camera and snap some shots, even if you don’t want to go inside. But you should definitely go in: the architecture of the building and the stories attached to it will certainly spark your interest. Give it a try!
Church of Les Jacobins
Address: Rue Lakanal, 31000 Toulouse, France
9. Walk along the Canal de Brienne
The Canal de Brienne connects the Garonne River with the Canal du Midi and the Canal de Garonne. This stunning canal has beautiful margins, perfect for a walk under the shade of lush trees. Especially during hot days, this is the preferred walk for both locals and tourists but still a calming place to enjoy the company of your travel companions and get away from the centre of the city.
Canal de Brienne
Address: Canal de Brienne, 31000 Toulouse, France
Website: Canal de Brienne
10. Admire the work of French artists at Foundation Bemberg
Foundation Bemberg is a private museum that showcases a permanent collection of paintings, bronzes, and art objects from the Renaissance and the Modern French School. If you’re interested in art, this place needs to be part of your itinerary: after all, one of the best ways to understand a country’s culture is through its art and this museum has plenty of artworks created by French artists. See for yourself!
Address: Place d'Assezat, 31000 Toulouse, France
Website: Fondation Bemberg
Hop onboard with Airplus Hélicoptères and prepare to max out your memory card during this helicopter ride. Take the chance to observe Toulouse from a vastly different perspective and marvel at the magnificent landscapes of craggy mountains and sinuous fjords from miles above the sea level. Regardless of the duration of the ride – 15 or 30 minutes, you will be able to capture some of the most incredible photographs, most often reserved only for postcards.
Helicopter flight in Muret near Toulouse
From: 102.66 USD per person
Duration: from 15 minutes to 30 minutes
Take your pick between a pendulum plane or a 3-axis plane and buckle yourself in for a breath-taking sight of Toulouse’s terracotta-pink architecture and the lush green landscape of Haute Garonne as the light-weight crafts lift off and climb higher into the sky. Take a breath of fresh air up in the open cockpit of the pendulum plane and enjoy an exhilarating adventure, flying with the breeze in your face. This flight is definitely not meant for faint-hearted; some guests likened it to a trackless amusement ride, out in the open, being tossed around like a ping-pong ball in the buffeting winds.
Microlight plane flight
From: 68.68 USD per person
Duration: 25 minutes to 1 hour
The ‘Jacobins’ is a Dominican monastery dating all the way back to 1229 and is a unique example of southern gothic design. You won’t see many places like this in your life: its mysterious, almost ominous look will attract you like a magnet, even if you weren’t planning on visiting. This medieval convent is a must-see, regardless of how religious you are. You won’t regret it.
Toulouse Tourism Pass City Card
Duration: 1 day
Toulouse: Museums, places of worship, and riverbanks
Toulouse can be seen as a city rich in history and historical landmarks. But all its museums, places of worship, and important buildings are not only what makes it special. Its refreshing canals with stunning walks by the river make it even more romantic and add a strange feeling to it, the feeling that you may have been thrown into a movie set.
The city has an obvious kind of beauty but a less noticeable charm; some can say it’s nothing they haven’t seen before but those with eyes that can look upon its past and memories are unable to think that this city isn’t unique in many aspects. When you visit it, allow yourself to be guided by the city itself into its extraordinary past and you will understand, too, how special it is.
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