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Toulouse is the chief city of Haute-Garonne in the Occitanie region of France. It stands north of the Pyrenees on the River Garonne, halfway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France (after Paris, Marseille and Lyon), with a metropolitan population of 1,470,899 in 2020. It's known for its rugby, its aerospace industry and for violets, which are used to make bonbons and liqueurs.

Understand[edit]

The part-Gothic cathedral

The city was a Roman settlement, "Tolosa", and the smaller inner streets still follow the ancient layout. After Rome fell, it became capital of a Visigoth kingdom, but the region was roiled by secular, dynastic and religious wars, such as those against the Cathar heretics. The Dominican Order was founded in the city in 1216 to win back the Cathars to orthodoxy by peaceful preaching, but when that didn't work the Pope launched a crusade and massacre. Toulouse and its realm thereby lost independence and in 1271 were annexed to the Kingdom of France.

In the fourteenth century, Toulouse was devastated by pogroms, the Black Death, famine, and war. In the fifteenth century, it became wealthy from its monopoly on "pastel," a blue pigment extracted from woad plants, only to slump again when the monopoly was broken by indigo imports from India. It suffered several fires, the worst in 1463, so it was re-built in brick rather than wood. An 18th century boom led to a spate of construction in pink terracotta brick, giving rise to its nickname La ville rose. The university flourished: founded in 1229, it's one of the oldest in the world, and now has over 100,000 students. Fermat pondered his theorems here in between his legal work. On 10 April 1814, Toulouse saw the last battle of the forces led by Wellington out of Spain against Napoleon - neither side were aware that Napoleon had already surrendered. Marshal Soult held the city for a day then fled.

The city missed out on the Industrial Revolution, but in the 20th century its distance from Germany and Britain made it a safe base for the fledgling French aviation and defence industries. These burgeoned by the end of the century so Toulouse has become a major centre of aviation and spaceflight. A tenth of the inner city population work in aerospace, and Airbus is the largest employer in the region.

Office de Tourisme, Square Charles de Gaulle (Metro: Capitole), +33 5 1742 3131. TM-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su 10:00-18:00. The Visitor information Centre is in the square east side of the Capitole.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

1 Toulouse–Blagnac Airport (TLS IATA)). The airport is 8 km west of the city. It has flights at least hourly from Paris (Orly Airport and CDG). Other domestic destinations include Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, and Strasbourg. International flights include Algiers, Amsterdam Schiphol, Berlin, Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels, Casablanca, Frankfurt Airport, Lisbon, London (Heathrow, Gatwick & Stansted), Madrid Barajas, Manchester Airport, Munich Airport, Oran, and Venice. You may also see strange "where's that??" destinations on the departure board - these are technical and service flights by Airbus. With luck you may spot the ginormous Beluga Airbus, capable of transporting entire wings. The airport has the usual facilities including car hire, and there's a Novotel close by. Toulouse-Blagnac (Q372615) on Wikidata Toulouse–Blagnac Airport on Wikipedia

Onward travel options in 2023 are:

  • Airport Navette runs from Arrivals Gate C to the main railway station, taking 25 min via 4 downtown stops, every 15 min 06:00-00:00. Single fare is €9, valid for 90 min for transfers onto city public transport.
  • Tisseo Bus towards Blagnac, whichever departs next. Bus 30 brings you to Odyssud-Ritouret and Bus 31 to Pasteur - Marie de Blagnac, both on Tram line T1 from MEETT to the city. Ride the tram all the way to Palais de Justice (Metro B) or get off at Arènes for west bank and Metro A. This connection runs every 10-20 min from 06:00 to midnight and takes 50 min, for the princely sum of €1.80. The direct Tram T2 has been discontinued due to the construction of Metro Line C.
  • A taxi to central Toulouse costs about €20.
  • Shuttles can be arranged to other destinations such as Andorra - a good option if you're laden with ski gear.

By train[edit]

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in France.

2 Toulouse-Matabiau Station. TGVs run from Paris Montparnasse every hour or two and take 4 hr 30 min via Bordeaux. From Lyon the quickest takes 4 hours, but you usually have to change at Montpellier. Trains from Marseille take 4 hours via Arles, Montpellier, Narbonne (for Perpignan, Girona and Barcelona) and Carcassonne. From Madrid travel via Barcelona and Narbonne. From the Spanish north coast travel via Bayonne, Pau and Tarbes. A slow winding line also crosses the Pyrenees via Latour from Barcelona: see "Go next". Gare de Toulouse-Matabiau (Q373449) on Wikidata Gare de Toulouse-Matabiau on Wikipedia

By road[edit]

18th-century building on Place Sainte-Scarbes

From Paris the quickest is usually straight south on A10, A71 and A20. You can also stay on A10 to Bordeaux then turn inland on A62.

From the Med coast including Barcelona take A9 to Narbonne then A61 west.

By bus[edit]

FlixBus runs twice a day from Paris Bercy Seine (10 hr non-stop) and once from Marseille (6 hr via Nîmes and Montpellier).

They run from Barcelona five times a day (6 hr via Perpignan) and from Madrid once (10 hr non-stop).

Andbus runs from Andorra la Vella 2-3 times per day, taking 3 hours.

The bus station is just north of the main railway station and is on the Metro. The airport shuttle bus terminates here.

By boat[edit]

Toulouse is the mid-point of the "Canal des Deux Mers" linking the Atlantic with the Mediterranean. The eastern part, the Canal du Midi, is the most interesting, as it climbs out from Toulouse over the hills then down through Carcassonne and Béziers to reach the Med at Sete. The western part parallels the River Garonne down through Agen to Bordeaux and the Gironde estuary. You'll need to hire a long-boat and set aside several weeks. Check ahead in case any canal sections are closed for repair.

Get around[edit]

The Capitole at night

Toulouse is a big city, but the historical centre is compact, between the Garonne River and Metro B Line. You can walk to most attractions.

Bus, tram, metro lines and cable car are operated by Tisseo. Tram T1 starts downtown at Palais de Justice, crosses the river west to Arènes interchange, then runs north to Beauzelle and the MEETT - get off in Blagnac for the airport bus. (Tram 2 is axed.) Metro line A runs southwest to northeast, from the University through Arènes and the railway station. Metro line B runs north–south, passing the main railway station and Palais de Justice. Two other lines are actually suburban trains: Line C west to Colomiers and Auch (can be taken with a Tisseo fare between Arènes and Colomiers), and line D south to Muret. Buses run along all the main streets but don't come into the pedestrianised core of the city, except the free city-centre shuttle (M-Sa) - no bus stops for this one, just wave at the driver.

A single ticket paid on the bus costs €2 in 2023. A ticket from a machine or kiosk for any Tisseo transport is €1.80, a book of 10 is €15.10 and a one-day pass is €6.80. Validate your ticket on boarding, and it's good for transfers within one hour (within 90 min to and from the airport.) Services become sparse late evening, but there's an extensive night network.

Taxi operators include Taxi Toulouse (+33 5 6120 9000) and Capitole (+33 5 3425 0250). Pre-book to avoid long waits for a ride.

Bike rental is organised by Town Hall. First you need to buy a ticket at velo.toulouse.fr or at a bike station. A one-day ticket is €1.20 and a 7-day pass is €5, longer hires are available. You have unlimited journeys, for no extra charge for the first 30 mins, then the meter starts ticking.

Avoid going downtown with a car as parking is seriously limited. Try using a suburban metro or tram station as a park-and-ride.

See[edit]

Palm tree vault of Couvent des Jacobins

City centre[edit]

The old centre of Toulouse is east of the River Garonne: it's compact and most places of interest can easily be visited on foot. It's bounded to the east and north by Bvd Lazare Carnot / Bvd de Strasbourg, and to the south by the cathedral, Rue Metz and Pont Neuf.

  • 1 Basilique Saint-Sernin, 7 Place St-Sernin (Metro: Jean-Jaurès), +33 5 6121 8045. A red-brick church from the 11-12th century, it may well be the largest Romanesque construction in the world, partly because it was an important stopover on the pilgrimage to Santiago. Huge as it is, it's the only remnant of the former Abbey of Saint-Sernin. Notable features are the great bell-tower, the gates, the "ambulatory" passage, and the thunderous organ. In the 19th century the church was "restored" by the famous French architect Viollet-le-Duc: some of his re-imaginings of the Middle Ages are now being undone. Saint Sernin or Saturnin (d 257) was one of a group sent from Rome to christianise 3rd century Gaul; he was martyred by being dragged to death by a bull. Basilica of St. Sernin (Q1010268) on Wikidata Basilica of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse on Wikipedia
  • Saint Raymond Museum (Musée Saint-Raymond), Place Saint-Sernin (next to Basilica Saint-Sernin, Metro: Jeanne-d’Arc), +33 5 6122 3144. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. An archaeological museum with Roman artefacts from around Toulouse as well as the largest collection of Roman busts found in France. The site in ancient times was a necropolis then a hospital for pilgrims on the road to Santiago. The present building is from 1523 and became a museum in 1892. Adult €5, conc €3. Musée Saint-Raymond (Q1376) on Wikidata Musée Saint-Raymond on Wikipedia
  • 2 Notre-Dame de la Daurade, 1 Place de la Daurade (Metro: Esquirol), +33 5 6121 3832. Daily 09:00-18:00. This church was founded in 410 AD as a pagan temple to Apollo but demolished in 1761. The present neoclassical building was completed in 1883 and restored 2017-19. Notre-Dame de la Daurade (Q2887166) on Wikidata Notre-Dame de la Daurade on Wikipedia
  • 3 Cathédrale Saint-Étienne, Place Saint-Étienne (Metro: François Verdier), +33 5 6152 0382. Daily 08:00-19:00. This great ramshackle edifice is partly Gothic but mostly Dog's Breakfast - the medieval builders made a hash of things on a sublime scale. They half-built one church, abandoned it, started building another, abandoned that, while other sections were added and added instead of starting over with a clear site. The Archbishop of Toulouse has to come to work in this Frankencathedral. Toulouse Cathedral (Q2737833) on Wikidata Toulouse Cathedral on Wikipedia
  • 4 Hôtel d'Assézat, Place d'Assézat, +33 5 6112 0689. Closed. Great mansion house built in the 16th century in Renaissance style for a rich merchant. It now houses the personal art collection of Georges Bemberg (1915-2011). In 2023 it remains closed. hôtel d'Assézat (Q3145715) on Wikidata Hôtel d'Assézat on Wikipedia
  • 5 Capitole (Metro: Capitole), +33 5 6122 3412. Daily 08:30-18:45. Magnificent red-brick building in Neoclassical style, lording it over the pedestrianised main plaza. It houses City Hall (with a grandiose "Salle des Illustres") and the city's main theatre. They no longer do guided tours but you can see much of it free. Free. Capitole de Toulouse (Q2351013) on Wikidata Capitole de Toulouse on Wikipedia
Quay beneath Pont-Neuf
  • Notre-Dame du Taur is at 12 Rue du Taur 100 m north of the Capitole. It was built at the spot where St Sernin's body broke from the bull that had dragged him to death; this legend is uncannily similar to those of Mithras. His remains were later transferred to the basilica and the present church is from 14th-16th century in pink-brick Gothic.
  • 6 Musée du Vieux Toulouse, 7 Rue du May (Metro: Capitole or Esquirol), +33 5 6227 1150. Apr-Nov M-Sa 14:00-18:00. Museum of the history of the city. Adult €5, conc or child €3.
  • 7 Pont-Neuf means "New Bridge" but it's by far the oldest bridge across the Garonne river, built 1544 to 1626. The arches aren't symmetrical - they were supposed to represent the face and haunches of a lion, but you'll need a lot of imagination to visualise that. The water-tower ("chateau d'eau") at its west end hosts photography exhibitions.
  • 8 Pont Saint-Pierre 500 m downstream also has pleasant river views.
  • 9 Couvent des Jacobins, Rue Joseph Lakanal (Metro: Capitole), +33 5 6122 2382. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Deconsecrated mother-church of the Dominicans (called Jacobins in France because their first convent was in Rue St-Jacques in Paris). Built in Gothic red brick, it contains St Thomas Aquinas' relics. It's now a museum, enclosing the convent, refectory, chapel of St Antonin and Salle Capitulaire. Adult €5. Monastery of the Jacobins (Q2759640) on Wikidata Church of the Jacobins on Wikipedia
  • 10 Musée des Augustins, 21 Rue de Metz (Metro: Esquirol), +33 5 6122 2182. Th-M 11:00-19:00. Fine arts museum set in a former Augustinian monastery surrounding two delightful cloisters. Free. Musée des Augustins (Q2711480) on Wikidata Musée des Augustins on Wikipedia
  • 11 Jardin Japonais Pierre-Baudis, Bvd Lascrosses (Metro: Compans-Caffarelli), +33 5 6227 4848. Daily 08:00-20:00. Incorporates the typical features of a Japanese garden, including a lake, a tea pavilion and a planted garden consisting of a dry waterfall, as well as the obligatory lanterns and red bridge. Free. jardin japonais de Toulouse (Q3162611) on Wikidata

Further out[edit]

Jupiter, Saturn and an Ariane 5 rocket orbiting Cité de l'Espace
  • 12 Les Abattoirs, 76 Allee Charles de Fitte (Metro: Saint Cyprien - République), +33 5 6248 5800. W-Su 12:00-18:00. Vast former abattoir now housing a contemporary arts museum, and there is also a nice garden overlooking the Garonne. Adult €9, conc €6. Les Abattoirs (Q3230368) on Wikidata Les Abattoirs on Wikipedia
  • 13 Musée Paul-Dupuy, 13 Rue de la Pleau (Metro: Carmes), +33 5 3122 9540. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Museum of fine and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to 1939. Dupuy (1867-1944) was an art collector whose wealth came from pickled gherkins. Free.
  • 14 Jardin des Plantes, 31 Allée Jules Guesde (Metro: Carmes), +33 5 6122 2922. Daily 08:00-20:00. You'll think you're walking into a monastery: the gardens were part of an old Carmelite friary before expanding south. Free. Jardin des Plantes, Toulouse (Q3162572) on Wikidata Jardin des Plantes, Toulouse on Wikipedia
  • Muséum de Toulouse is the Natural History Museum, north side of the gardens at 35 Allée Jules Guesde. It's open Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, adult €7, conc €5.
  • 15 Musée départemental de la Résistance & de la Déportation, 52 Allée des Demoiselles (Bus L9), +33 5 3433 1740. Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00. Stark depictions of wartime events. Free.
  • Musée Georges Labit, 17 Rue du Japon (200 m north of Resistance Museum). Closed. Asian arts and Egyptian antiquities museum in an exotic garden built in 1893. It remains closed. Georges Labit Museum (Q167182) on Wikidata Georges Labit Museum on Wikipedia
  • 16 Airbus Visit, Allée André Turcat, Blagnac (2 km N of Toulouse airport), +33 5 3439 4200. M-Sa 09:00-19:00. Advance online booking is essential, via Manatours at least 2 days in advance. There's a 90 min guided tour of the Airbus A350 production line in the JJ Lagardere factory (possibly the biggest building in the world) then a visit to the Aeroscopia Museum. Tours nowadays don't take in the older factory in the Clement Ader building. Adult €25 for tour + museum, conc €21.
  • 17 Cité de l'Espace (Space City), Ave Jean Gornod (5 km E of centre off A61. Metro to Jolimont then bus 37 towards La Plaine, or bus 15 from downtown and walk.), +33 5 6722 2324. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Scientific theme park with interactive exhibits on space travel and replica spacecraft. Most suited to 5-14 year olds. Adult €25, child €18 (July & Aug €27 / €20.50). City of Space (Q1094325) on Wikidata Cité de l'espace on Wikipedia
  • 18 Halle de la Machine, 3 Ave de l'Aérodrome de Montaudran (Train: Montaudran), +33 5 3210 8907. Daily 10:00-19:00. See demonstrations of crazy custom contraptions, plus the chance to ride on a huge animatronic Minotaur, which costs the same again. Adult €11, conc or child €8. Halle de la machine (Q78338188) on Wikidata Halle de La Machine on Wikipedia
  • L'Envol des Pionniers is a museum of aviation history, at 6 Rue Jacqueline Auriol next to Halle de la Machine, open Tu-Su 10:00-18:00.

Do[edit]

"Les rouges et noirs" play Rugby Union
  • What's on? For local events read La Dépêche du Midi or Intramuros, or watch TV Sud or the local section of France 3.
  • Take a walk along the river quays.
  • Théâtre du Capitole hosts the opera house and orchestra, Box Office +33 5 6163 1313.
  • 1 Canal du Midi Canal du Midi on Wikipedia is the eastern and more interesting section of the "Canal des Deux Mers", and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It starts from the River Garonne to the northwest, circling city centre so its first few km are walkable. But the best sections are further out, as it climbs the hillside then descends through Carcassonne and Beziers towards Étang de Thau on the Med. So you probably want a bike or canal barge to explore it.
  • Rent a bike: see "Get around".
  • Rugby Union: 2 Stade Toulousain ("Les rouges et noirs") play Rugby Union in the French Top 14. They're seldom out of the top places and so qualify for European tournaments - they've won the European Rugby Champions Cup a record four times. Their home ground is Stade Ernest Wallon, but big matches are often played at the Stadium de Toulouse.
  • Rugby League: Toulouse Olympique or TO XIII play in the English RL system Feb-Sept. They were relegated in 2022 and now play in the English Championship. TO XIII share Stade des Sept Deniers (aka Stade Ernest-Wallon). Their second-string team Toulouse Olympique Broncos remain in the French Elite One Championship, playing Oct-March at Stade de Minimes.
  • Football: Toulouse FC were promoted in 2022 and now play soccer in Ligue 1, the top tier in France. Their home ground is 3 Stadium de Toulouse (capacity 33,000, formerly "Stadium Municipal") on the river island 1 km south of city centre. In 2023 it was this ground, not the rugby stadium, that staged matches in the Rugby Union World Cup.
  • Golf: a dozen courses around the city, such as Golf de Toulouse 5 km south.
  • 4 La Grainerie, 61 Rue Saint-Jean, Balma (5 km east of centre), +33 5 6124 3391. Performing arts theatre with a special interest in circus.
  • 5 L'Usine, 6 Impasse Marcel Paul, Tournefeuille, +33 5 6107 4518. Theatre and artists collective.
  • La Kermesse[dead link] is a music festival at the Pony Club near the airport, next held 16-19 Aug 2023.
  • Piano Jacobins is next held 6-29 Sept 2023.

Work[edit]

You need eligibility to work in the EU and a good knowledge of French. The catering / hospitality sector is always hiring. Aviation is the big business here but they mostly seek technical skills for long-term jobs.

Eat[edit]

Filet of duck breast with slice of foie gras

Local specialities are:

  • Duck, for instance canard confit (roast duck leg) or canard foie gras (duck liver pate).
  • Cassoulet is a stew made with white beans, meat (such as Toulouse sausage), and pork skin.
  • Violets used to make candy.

The areas around Place du Capitole, Bvd de Strasbourg and Place St Georges are lined with cafes and restaurants.

Budget[edit]

  • 1 L'oasis, 41 Rue Pargaminières. 11:00–02:00 (–03:00 Sat, 11:30–01:00 Sun). This Turkish place is quite popular with students, and it's not hard to see why when they serve a generous portion of good food at low prices. €7–10.
  • 2 Les Halles Victor Hugo, Place Victor Hugo. Tu-Su 08:00-13:30. The ground floor is a big food market. Upstairs are five little restaurants open until 15:00, with a string more on the street east.
  • Le Gout en Train, 5 Bis Rue Caussette (south side of Les Halles Victor Hugo), +33 5 6230 0808. M-F 11:00-14:00. The best of the cluster around the market, with home-style cuisine.
  • Restaurant Le May, 4 Rue du May (50 m west of Musée du Vieux Toulouse), +33 5 6123 9876. M-Sa 12:00-14:00, 20:00-23:00. Good value home-style cuisine at this cosy brick-lined bistro. French cuisine.
  • Le Safran, 8 Rue de la Bourse (block north of Hôtel d'Assézat, Metro: Esquirol), +33 6 8223 8702. Th-Sa 12:00-19:00. Simple authentic vegetarian Moroccan dishes, charming boss.
  • 3 Au Gascon, 9 Rue des Jacobins (Metro: Capitole), +33 5 6121 6716. M-Sa 11:30-14:00, 19:00-22:00. Cuisine of Gascony, the southwest corner of France. Great value for the quality.
  • 4 Caminito, 3 Rue des Gestes (Metro: Capitole), +33 5 6123 5174. M-Sa 12:00-15:00, 19:00-23:00. Authentic Argentinian cuisine such as empanadas in a friendly atmosphere.
  • 5 Chez nous les Libanais, 6 Rue Jean Suau (Metro: Esquirol), +33 7 6703 9603. Daily 12:00-23:30. East Med staples such as falafel, kebabs and shwarma, in an authentically chaotic ambiance. Cash only.
  • La Faim des Haricots, 2bis Rue du Puits Vert (50 m south of Musée du Vieux Toulouse), +33 5 6122 4925. Daily 12:00-22:00. Vegetarian / vegan restaurant with a wide menu or choice from the buffet.
  • 6 La Gouaille, 6 Rue Joutx Aigues (Metro: Carmes), +33 5 6125 6566. Daily 19:00-23:30. Regional fare in a friendly atmosphere.

Mid-range[edit]

Interior of Café Bibent
  • Le Bibent, 5 Place du Capitole (Metro: Capitole), +33 6 4871 7365. Daily 08:00-00:00. You're paying for the sumptuous interior, but this is high-end cuisine, and the fixed-price menu is good value.
  • 7 Le Délicatessen, 11 Rue Riquet (one block east of Bvd Carnot; Metro François-Verdier), +33 5 61 62 49 00. Daily 17:00-02:00, Sa Su 18:00-02:00. Busy tapas bar with friendly atmosphere that offers meals, beers on tap and a real happy hour. Tapas here are tasty and generous. It's a popular place so it's better to get there a little earlier in the evening.
  • Le Restaurant, 28 Rue Peyrolières (east side of Notre-Dame), +33 5 6752 2268. Tu-Sa 12:00-13:30, 20:00-21:30. High standards for a small menu of classic French cuisine, but not much for vegetarians.
  • 8 Le Perche Pinte, 1 Rue Vélane (Metro: Carmes), +33 5 6153 5171. M Tu 12:00-13:30, W-F 12:00-13:30, 19:30-21:00. Outstanding cuisine for what you're paying, book or get there early.
  • 9 Aux Pieds sous la Table, 4, 8 Rue Arnaud Bernard 6. A team and a welcome at the top. Local products cooked with passion. The service is very warm and attentive. More than reasonable in view of the quality of the products. Original dishes, elaborate, homemade, a lot of work behind. Very welcoming staff and a beautiful ambiance.
  • Le Soulier is a branch of Aux Pieds sous la Table at 3 Place Montourlieu near Grand Rond.
  • 10 Le Bistrot de L'Etoile, 6 Rue de l'Étoile (Metro: François Verdier), +33 5 6163 1343. M-F 12:30-13:45, 19:30-22:00, Sa 19:30-23:00. Charming bistro with regional cuisine.
  • 11 La Gazette, 30 Rue du Rem Saint-Etienne, +33 5 6121 1581. Friendly place, friendly team. Always a pleasure to come and eat in this warm little place, the meal is always delicious, exceptional prawn risotto. For lovers of duck breast it is tasty and melts in the mouth. Large terrace.

Splurge[edit]

  • Genty Magre, 3 Rue Gentymagre (one block north of Rue Metz, Metro: Esquirol), +33 5 6121 3860. closed until 6 Sept 2023. Simple authentic cuisine superbly done. The set menu is great value.

Drink[edit]

Airbus Beluga ships aircraft parts
  • The George and Dragon is a lively British-style pub with TV sport. It's at 1 Place de Peyrou 150 m west of the Basilica.
  • Hopscotch, 3 Rue Baour Lormian (block south of Capitole). Tu-Sa 16:00-02:00, Su M 16:00-00:00. Scots-themed pub with food, micro-brewery and huge selection of whisky.
  • The Classroom is an Irish pub at 42 Rue Pargaminières 300 m west of Capitole.
  • 1 La Beer Fabrique, 12 Ave Etienne Billières, +33 6 9535 1917. Brewery organising classes where you brew your own.
  • 2 Le Biergarten, 60 Grand Rue Saint-Michel (Metro: Saint-Michel Marcel Langer), +33 5 6173 8377. Tu-Sa 17:00-02:00, Su M 17:00-00:00. Just what you need to enjoy the local ambiance, a trad Bavarian beer garden.
  • The Botanist is an English-style alehouse with good grub. It's at 33 Bvd Maréchal Leclerc south flank of the Japanese Garden, open M-F 09:00-02:00, Sa 15:00-03:00, Su 12:00-02:00.
  • Distilleries: Maison Victors or Straw Bale Distillery make pink Pastis. They're in Vacquiers 20 km north, tours by arrangement.
Bear Brothers 10 km south in Auzeville make vodka, gin, and raw spirits for liqueur manufacturers.
Black Mountain 10 km west past the airport make Occitan Whisky.

Buy[edit]

  • Supermarkets: the main chain within city centre is Carrefour.
  • Flea markets are on Saturday morning outside the Basilica of St-Sernin, and first weekend of the month at Allées François Verdier, at the Grand Rond.
  • Fruit & veg markets are along Bvd de Strasbourg on weekday mornings, and next to Saint Aubin basilica on Sunday morning.
  • Friperies are second-hand clothing shops. Find them especially on Rue Gambetta, behind the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and around Place de la Bourse.
  • Violets are processed into many items of giftware, such as soap, perfume, candy and syrup.

Sleep[edit]

Hotel Le Grand Balcon

Budget[edit]

  • 1 La Petite Auberge de Saint-Sernin, 17 Rue d'Embarthe (Metro: Compans-Caffarelli), +33 7 6088 1717. Clean friendly hostel less than 1 km from centre. Not much of a common area, but each room has an open kitchen and lounge area. Dorm €25 ppn.

Mid-range[edit]

Connect[edit]

Canal du Midi

As of Aug 2023, Toulouse and its approach roads have 5G from all French carriers. Wifi is widely available in public places, transport, cafes and so on.

Cope[edit]

Consulates[edit]

  • Canada Canada, 59 Allée Jean-Jaurès (200 m south of railway station), +33 6 2014 1957. W-F 09:30-12:30. This provides consular assistance to Canadians abroad. For visas or Canadian passport renewals contact the Embassy in Paris.
  • Portugal 1 Portugal, 33 Ave Camille Pujol, +33 5 6180 4345. M-F 09:00-16:00.
  • Great Britain, which isn't even the correct name of the country, is shown on Google map near the airport but the building has been derelict for years.

Go next[edit]

The bull drags away St Sernin
  • Albi was the childhood home of Toulouse-Lautrec. His ancestral home now houses a gallery of his work.
  • Carcassonne is within a day trip, but you really ought to stay overnight in its fantastical citadel, which inspired Disney Castle.
  • Following the river downstream or its parallel canal leads you via Montauban, Moissac and Agen to Bordeaux. Branching north at Montauban leads to the picturesque town of Puy l'Eveque on the River Lot.
  • Andorra can be reached by N20 unless blocked by snow. The all-seasons route is from Spain on N-145 from La Seu d'Urgell.
  • A scenic train route from Toulouse winds through the Pyrenees to Barcelona. From Toulouse main station take the local train via Vernet d'Ariège to Foix (75 min, every couple of hours.) Several trains continue for another 75 min to L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre (the closest railway station to Andorra) and Latour-de-Carol / Entveig on the Spanish border (3 hours altogether). Latour is an oddity: it's in France sandwiched between two tracts of Spain: the Spanish exclave of Llivia is just north. And it's a station with three different railway gauges: European (SNCF) standard, Spanish (Renfe) standard, and the metre-gauge "Little Yellow Train". The Spanish trains run south to Barcelona Sants 5 times a day, 3 hours. (They're classed as suburban trains so they're not on mainline timetables. Search on Renfe Cercanias for Barcelona, and use the Spanish name "La Tour de Querol".) The Little Yellow Train is a tourist train that climbs over the mountains to Villefranche-de-Conflent (3 hours, with connections onward to Perpignan). It runs twice every day throughout the year. Finding online timetables is difficult, try the Cerdagne region website.


Routes through Toulouse
ParisCahors (via ) / Bordeaux ← Agen ← Montauban ←  N Autoroute des Deux Mers S  CarcassonneMontpellier / FoixAndorra (via )



This city travel guide to Toulouse is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.