Toulouse, the fourth-largest city in France, has been a hotspot for visiting tourists every year. Popular for its art, history, and culture, Toulouse has been attracting people of all kinds. If you are looking to travel out of the city just for a bit, to see what else France has to offer, continue scrolling. From majestic towers and castles to museums showcasing the artworks of local artists, this article has got you covered! Read on to learn more about the top day trips from Toulouse, France, and see what the neighboring cities and towns have to offer.
Just 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Toulouse, Montauban has been at the top of must-visit places for many as it is a very unique city with much to offer. For starters, almost every building in Montauban is built out of reddish bricks, giving a very warm and pink look to the city. One of the most popular attractions here would be Place Nationale, which is a central square surrounded by brick townhouses. In addition to checking out the beautiful architecture, you can also grab a bite at the restaurants and cafes just under the arches of the building. Or if you are an early riser, you might just make it in time to catch the morning market!
A medieval town just 85.2 kilometers (53 miles) northeast of Toulouse, Cordes-sur-ciel has withstood the test of time, remaining a stunning fortified town in France. This classic commune in the Tarn department continues to offer a wide variety of things to do. From a simple walk through the medieval town to learning about its heritage to visiting craft shops and galleries, Cordes-sur-ciel will keep you wanting more. Drop by La Maison du Grand Veneur and La Maison Gorsse to witness some of the prime examples of early 14th- and 15th-century Gothic architecture.
Duration: 1 day
Gaillac is also a popular place to visit that is near Toulouse as it is only around 57 kilometers (35 miles) away. Gaillac was previously a colony during the Gallo-Roman period, but it has shot to fame and prosperity due to the monks cultivating grapes. Now, this city has many vineyards producing a range of fine and delectable wines that many hold in high regard. In addition, Gaillac has a festival called Fairies of China that you must visit as it is the largest Chinese cultural event in France.
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Albi boasts specialist museums, historic monuments, and animated old-city streets, and it is only around 85 kilometers (53 miles) away from Toulouse. The top place to go in Albi would be Albi Cathedral, which was erected in the 13th century. This cathedral was built using bricks, and it’s still serving its original purpose of conveying the authority of the Catholic church. The building looks majestic on the outside and elegant inside as it features the largest and earliest set of Italian Renaissance frescoes on its high vaults. In Albi, there is also a museum that showcases the works of the 19th-century artist and illustrator Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Duration: 8 hours
Around 73 kilometers southwest of Toulouse, Saint-Girons is a town bustling with activities, consisting of shops and buildings that are perfect for sightseeing. Begin your trip at the Saint-Girons tourist information office to get a detailed guide on which landmarks to visit. A walk across Old Bridge and Palace of Justice is perfect for sightseeing as you are greeted with splendid views, perfect for taking photos. Farther down the bridge, take a look at a tribute dedicated to those who have died in the war. This is located near the statue of a grieving widow.
Situated between France and Spain, Andorra is 119 kilometers (74 miles) south of Toulouse. Despite its small area, Andorra is renowned for its mountains and eye-catching landscape, making it an ideal tourist spot for those who wish to indulge in the natural world. While Andorra is worthy of travel all year round, visiting in winter allows you to engage in winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding at popular ski resorts, including Grandvalira and Arinsal and Pal Ski Area.
A village set on the ridge above the river, Najac is 81 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Toulouse, and it is one of the most beautiful villages in France. Many people visit Forteresse Royale de Najac, arguably the most popular attraction in the commune, which is high on a hilltop at 150 meters (492 feet). The castle is tall and majestic. Even after many years, the integrity of the structure has remained, and the building still looks as astounding as ever. Besides the exterior design of the castle, there are more to look out for, such as the secret passage leading out of St. Julian’s Chapel or the dungeon that once held Knights Templar captive.
A commune in Southern France, 65 kilometers east of Toulouse, Castres remains a location rich in culture and rife with Renaissance mansions, galleries, and even landmarks documenting the dispute between the Catholics and Protestants. For art pieces by renowned artists like Picasso and Goya, head down to Musee Goya, a cultural art museum with a vast array of works from paintings to sculptures, including Spanish art such as ceramics and weapons. If you wish to visit somewhere one of a kind, do consider Jardin de l’Évêché, which is a unique garden made of boxwood hedges, much akin to a maze, even containing flowerbeds and a chestnut grove at the back.
With a rich history since Celtic times, Cahors is a small city that is 115 kilometers (71 miles) away from Toulouse. It has developed and evolved over the years and has now become a city famous for its wine and food—namely, truffle and foie gras. The UNESCO site Pont Valentre is a hit among visitors. It is a medieval bridge that was built in the 14th century and is 172 meters (564 feet) long with a total of eight arches and three towers.
Just 74 kilometers (46 miles) away from Toulouse, Moissac is a wonderful place to visit. It is known for its artistic heritage preserved in the medieval Moissac Abbey. This destination is also famous for Saint-Pierre Abbey, a UNESCO site that comprises many remarkable sculptures. There are 76 exceptional capitals for you to discover here, which make this monument the oldest historiated cloister in the world. It depicts scenes from the three eras of the church—Old Testament, New Testament, and the life of the first martyrs.
A town in southwestern France, Lourdes is situated approximately 133 kilometers (83 miles) from Toulouse, at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains. Lourdes is known for the sacred Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes, which is considered a pilgrimage site for many. When here on a day trip, do drop by the area that surrounds the Catholic shrine, consisting of several churches and places of worship. Other religious sites in Lourdes that are worth visiting include Moulin de Boly (the birthplace of Bernadette Soubirous) as well as Le Cachot.
Duration: 8 hours
Carcassonne is a heavily fortified city that is 93 kilometers (58 miles) away from Toulouse. It has castle walls and towers built to defend from any enemy incursions. When you visit Carcassonne, it is a must to check out Château Comtal, which is a medieval castle. Here you’ll find strong and sturdy walls coupled with 52 towers going on for about 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) around the old upper city, dutifully protecting the area from any harm over the years.
Duration: 5 hour
Step back in time in these rustic cities
Even though over the years France has developed to become a powerful nation, many of its cities have retained their original architecture and culture, resulting in a modern country with a rustic touch. Come visit these places that are just a short drive away from Toulouse, and travel back in time and relive the past, especially the medieval era.
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