Coming to France, do not forget that there is a very charming and gentle but no less vibrant place here, where is considered a “fairyland”, that is Toulouse. Neither as magnificent as Paris nor contemplative, ancient like Lyon. Bringing a gentle but dynamic, modern beauty, that is what makes Toulouse city different. So, is Toulouse worth visiting, how to visit Toulouse, what to do in Toulouse and how to plan a budget trip to Toulouse for the first-time perfectly? Let’s check out our Toulouse travel blog (Toulouse blog) with the fullest Toulouse travel guide (Toulouse tourist guide, Toulouse guide) from how to get to Toulouse, best places to visit, best time to come, what to eat as well as top things to do in Toulouse to help you maximize your trip as follows!
- What to buy in Paris? — 25+ must buy souvenirs, gifts & best things to buy in Paris
- Paris travel blog — The fullest Paris travel guide for first-timers
- Avignon travel blog — The fullest Avignon travel guide guide for first-timers
- Where to take best photos in Paris? — 17+ good spots & best places to take pictures in Paris you should know
- Bordeaux travel blog — The fullest Bordeaux travel guide for first-timers
No matter what time of year you come here, Toulouse will still welcome you with the freshness and excitement of a young city but still have the gentleness of a heritage city. During my first days in France, Toulouse gave me a warm and peaceful feeling like at home.
France is famous for tourists from all over the world because of its ancient architecture, gentle and poetic natural landscape. Along with that is a rich culture and unforgettable dishes. To fully experience those things, you should choose for yourself the Toulouse journey.
A brief introduction to the city of Toulouse (#toulouse blog)
Toulouse is a beautiful city located in the southwestern part of France, the capital of the French department of Haute-Garonne and of the Occitanie region. The city is located on the banks of the Garonne River, 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea, 230 kilometers (143 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean and 680 kilometers (420 miles) from Paris. It is the fourth largest city in France, with 1.060.000 inhabitants as of May 2023. In France, Toulouse is known as the “Pink City” (La Ville Rose). The Toulouse is France’s fourth-largest, after Paris, Lyon and Marseille, and ahead of Lille and Bordeaux.
For many years, Toulouse has always been voted as one of the most beautiful cities in France. Toulouse has an area not too large, so getting around in the city is also quite comfortable. Not only attracting tourists with an ancient and peaceful beauty, Toulouse is also considered one of the cleanest cities in France, a city without dirt.
As the capital of the European aerospace and space industry, and the fourth largest city in France after Paris – Marseille – Lyon, Toulouse is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Southwest of France. Not only that, but this is also the intersection between many different cultures and a heritage land of France with unique architectural works such as Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, Augustins museum, St. Etienne Church, Saint Sernin Church, Place du Capitole and many castles have left their historical imprints.
You can confidently wear light-colored clothes or wear white and black shoes all day without worrying about dirt. There are garbage cans everywhere in the city or public places have separate areas for smokers. Truly a civilized city, isn’t it!
When should you visit Toulouse?
The weather and climate in Toulouse are quite mild. You can travel Toulouse in most seasons of the year. In the two seasons, spring and summer, the number of tourists from all over the world flocking to Toulouse always increases very high. That also leads to the price of services such as restaurants, hotels will also increase. If you don’t want to have to jostle and wait, you should come to Toulouse between June and August every year. You should not come here in winter because the weather is quite cold, wet and often rains, which greatly affects your journey to discover Toulouse.
In addition, winter in Toulouse is quite cold and rainy, so tourists rarely come here in this season because the weather will affect a part of your journey to explore the city!
How to get to Toulouse? (#toulouse travel guide)
Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, French name: Aéroport de Toulouse-Blagnac; airport code: TLS) is located about 7 km northwest of Toulouse city center and partly in Blagnac, in the Midi-Pyrenees region.
You can land in Paris then catch the train or bus to Toulouse. The major cities of France are connected by high-speed trains, so moving is quite easy and does not take much time.
Getting from the airport and Toulouse city center? (#toulouse guide)
Airport Shuttle: The airport is well connected to the bus system. Shuttle service connecting the airport with Toulouse bus station. Shuttle bus departs 20 minutes/trip. Routes 30 and 88 serve various locations in and around the city.
Hotel shuttle: Some hotels in the area provide airport transfers upon request: Courtyard Toulouse Airport, Holiday Inn Express Toulouse Airport, Holiday Inn Toulouse Airport, Novotel Toulouse Aeroport, Pullman Toulouse Airport , Radisson Blu Hotel Toulouse Airport.
Tram: Toulouse Airport is also connected to the city center by the TISSEO T2 tram line. The tram departs every 15 minutes, moving between the airport and stops at Arènes and Palais de Justice. Total one-way trip time is 21-32 minutes.
Taxi: Taxis are always available at the airport, outside the arrival halls, between gates B3 and C1.
Train/bus: From Paris or other cities in France, you take the train to Toulouse (Toulouse Matabiau station) by the SNCF and OUI bus system for 27 euros or more/way.
Car rental: Car rental agencies are available at the airport: Avis/ Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Goldcar, Hertz, Sixt. All of these agents are located in the common area outside arrival hall C.
How to get around Toulouse?
Besides, when you get around Toulouse you can travel by public transport such as bus, metro or metro. With an extremely developed transportation system, more than 101 different bus routes, a metro system consisting of 2 lines T1 and T2, a metro system including lines A and B, giving visitors a variety of choices and options.
Metro / Bus: There are 2 metro lines and many bus lines of the Tisséo system with a fare of 1.60 euros/way, you can buy a 10-time ticket of 13.40 euros.
Bike: There are 253 automatic bicycle rental points under the Vélo Toulouse system, so you can easily find a bike for yourself and cycle around the city for 1.20 euros/day or 5 euros/ 7 days, at each bike rental point with a map of that area.
On foot: Toulouse is not a very big city, so you can walk to most of the touristy inside the city quite comfortably. This is definitely the best way to explore the city.
What to do and where to go in Toulouse? (#toulouse travel blog)
La Ville Rose (#toulouse travel blog)
Toulouse has a youthful and warm color not only because it is a young city that attracts a large number of domestic and foreign students to study, but also because of the name “pink city”. Since Roman times, the architecture here has been made up of light pink to dark orange fired bricks that alternate throughout the city. So, a strolling around the city to admire this color and watching people passing by is also an interesting experience.
Midi Canal and Neuf bridge
After a bold French lunch, I walked along the great avenue Jean-Jaurès, enjoying the peaceful feeling of the city, watching the clear green water of the Midi canal. This is one of the greatest constructions of the 17th century and was recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1996. The canal joins the largest river in France – the Garonne, while crossing the middle of the river Garonne is Neuf Bridge – one of the famous places that many tourists enjoy visiting. The bridge connecting the two banks of the city center since the 16th century is like a romantic picture but no less classic, with brick houses, museums, hydroelectric dams and large parks. In the summer, you can leisurely breathe in the fresh air and stroll under the green trees, visit churches and busy markets, typically Carmes market.
If you are still wondering where to go in Toulouse, surely the Midi Canal will be a great suggestion for you. This is a beautiful canal with peaceful and poetic natural landscape. Here, visitors will be immersed in a green natural space, enjoy the fresh, airy and extremely pleasant atmosphere. It seems that all the worries of life will disappear when you come to the Midi Canal.
Crossing the Garonne River, the Neuf Bridge is one of the interesting tourist spots in Toulouse. Built in the 16th century, Neuf Bridge is the central bridge connecting the two banks of the city. Standing on this bridge, you can observe most of the famous buildings around and relax watching the Garonne river flowing by. In addition, on the bridge is also installed a telescope to help visitors see the whole city of Toulouse in sight.
Church of Saint Aubin
Address: 45 Rue Pierre-Paul Riquet, 31000 Toulouse, France
Hours: Wednesday, Saturday, Monday: Closed
In an ancient city like Toulouse, there is no shortage of quaint sites for us to explore. One of the most famous churches in Toulouse is the Church of Saint Aubin. This church is quite special and it is unlike any other church in the world because it has no bell tower, no dome. However, this is always a very attractive tourist spot in Toulouse.
Located in the west of Toulouse city with its unique architecture and decoration, it is a perfect blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The church, which dates back to the mid-19th century, is a fascinating historical landmark when visiting Toulouse.
Stadium Municipal de Toulouse
Address: 1 All. Gabriel Biénès, 31000 Toulouse, France
As the 7th largest stadium in France, this place has hosted some Euro 2016 soccer matches. This is not only the home ground of Toulouse football club, but also used to organize football matches.
Airbus Factory (near Blagnac airport)
With tickets from 15.50 euros/person, you will be able to visit the Airbus A380 production line, for non-European tourists will need to register 2 days in advance to visit.
Church of the Jacobins
Address: Pl. des Jacobins, 31000 Toulouse, France
Hours: 10 AM–6 PM/Monday: Closed
The 700-year-old church of the Jacobins is always amazes visitors with its exquisite Southern French Gothic Architecturee. Take a lot of time to walk in this tranquil setting and admire every corner, corridor, clock tower.
Place du Capitole
A few streets away from Saint-Sernin church is the famous Capitole square, where I can admire historic buildings dating back to the 16th-18th centuries such as the Crowne Plaza (1 of the 3 famous 5-star hotels in Toulouse), or the Hôtel de Ville building, the National Capitol theater with an architecture characterized by 8 columns built of pink bricks in the facade.
Victor Hugo Market (#toulouse travel guide)
If you’re lucky, you can even take part in some of the markets held in the Capitole square or stop by the nearby Victor Hugo market and munch on some oysters. Victor Hugo Market dates back to 1896 with a larger area than the markets of Carmes and Saint Cyprien. Here, you can not only enjoy fresh seafood, sausages, cheese and dried fruits, but also treat yourself to a great lunch with the signature appetizer of foie gras served with fig jam, toast and some black pepper, followed by duck confit dish cooked to perfection with just the right amount of tenderness, served with french fries with a few lettuce leaves. To make your lunch perfect, you should order a glass of white wine to sip, indulge in the enticing scent of the nearby pastry stalls and think about your next schedule.
Basilica of Saint-Sernin
Address: Basilica of St. Sernin, 7 Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse, France
The church was built in Roman architecture, the decoration details are also elaborately designed and detailed from the bell tower to the glass windows. The church was completed in the 13th century, with many areas for visitors to visit such as the chapel, the 6-storey clock tower or the tomb of Saint Sernin.
I started an energetic summer day with a hot cappuccino and a croissant at La Mie Câline bakery, then visited the Basilica of Saint Sernin, one of the largest churches in downtown Toulouse and of Europe. Decorated in Roman style with meticulous attention to detail, along with a huge bell tower and intricate sculptures, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
Toulouse Cathedral (Cathedrale St-Etienne)
Address: Pl. Saint-Étienne, 31000 Toulouse, France
Hours: 8 AM–7 PM
It was built in the early 13th century and was recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1992 as a typical work of medieval Gothic architecture in France.
Arc de Triomphe
Referring to the Arc de Triomphe, perhaps visitors will think of the magnificent city of Paris, but in the pink city of Toulouse, visitors will also admire a triumphal arch that is not inferior. The Arc de Triomphe in Toulouse has eight stone pillars, which are a memorial to the fallen Haute-Garonne soldiers.
Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi
Address: Palais de la Berbie, Pl. Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi, France
Hours: 10 AM–12:30 PM, 2–6 PM
Lautrec Albi Museum is also one of Toulouse’s historic landmarks where visitors will admire a unique artistic paradise. The museum has many great collections of the world and many works of contemporary art.
Address: Jardin Compans Caffarelli, Bd Lascrosses, 31000 Toulouse, France
Hours: 8 AM–8 PM
If you are a nature lover, Toulouse is a great place to visit with lots of parks and luxuriant trees. The most special is the Japanese Garden (Jardin Japonais) created in 1981, inspired by gardens in Kyoto, located in the heart of Compans Caferelli area. With a large area and located in the middle of a ground of nearly 10 hectares, this place includes manicured trees, many green meadows, including a plant exhibition, a lake and many other attractions. Everything seems to blend together to create an oriental flair in the heart of Europe.
In the garden, there are hundreds, thousands of different types of ornamental plants that are cared for and trimmed very carefully by gardeners. With bold Japanese style, visitors here can admire rare oriental scenery along with a variety of activities such as plant exhibitions, lakes…
If Amsterdam (Netherlands) is famous for the legendary Amster river, or the city of light Paris with the poetic Seine river, Toulouse boasts the Garonne river like a silk strip crossing the city, creating an impressive space. statues, with the harmony of architectural works. The rivers seem to have created soft touches, an open space, contrasting with the industrial landscape of dynamic Toulouse.
The cities on the Garonne River were once settled by the ancient Romans, so today Toulouse still has small streets and many buildings built of red brick in the Pseudo-Roman style. That is why Toulouse is called by the name La Ville rose (Pink City).
France is a place where nature is endowed with beautiful rivers. And in Toulouse, too, there is a river like a beautiful watercolor painting called Garonne. The Garonne River is the largest river in France, the two banks of the river are an indispensable scene in France: The old houses are connected together, along with the rows of green old trees stretching,…
An extremely fresh air that you can experience when you come here, stroll under the trees, breathe in the fresh air and explore the historic bridges spanning the gentle river. There will be a lot for you to discover here!
Theater du Capitole
Address: Pl. du Capitole, 31000 Toulouse, France
End a day of sightseeing with a visit to the Theater du Capitole, which many travelers consider the ideal suggestion. The theater often organizes performances of ballet or opera. The space here is not too big but elegantly designed, spacious seats and good acoustics. Opening hours are from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5:45pm.
What to eat?
After a long day of exploring, you can pamper yourself with an appetizer of snails cooked with garlic, parsley and butter (Escargot de Bourgogne) followed by a main course of Bourgogne beef cooked with wine (Boeuf Bourguignon). Otherwise, you should choose to enjoy Cassoulet stew – a typical dish of the Midi-Pyrénees region with the fleshy taste of white beans mixed with the greasy taste of duck meat. Besides, sausages served with toast and salad are also dishes that you cannot miss when coming to Toulouse.
Referring to Toulouse is referring to a unique but very rustic and rustic cuisine of the South of France. The dishes that you must definitely enjoy when traveling to Toulouse must include:
- Foie gras: It is an expensive luxury dish, probably no stranger to foodies who are passionate about European dishes. The Toulouse goose (Oie de Toulouse) is the breed used to produce foie gras fatty liver.
- Cassoulet: A famous dish throughout France, a culinary symbol of the city. In Toulouse, this casserole is prepared with duck, beans, vegetables and herbs in a way that is unique to the region. When enjoying the dish, diners will be surprised by the light, delicate taste, not fed up by the meat and very cool.
- Confit de canard (Duck Confit) : In the traditional recipe, all parts of the duck are used and salted before being cooked in fat for great flavor and tenderness.
- Saucisse de Toulouse (Toulouse sausage) is a sausage that requires a rather strict processing process. It is made primarily of lean, medium-sized meat and is recognizable for its pink, slightly reddish color. Mainly served with fries.
- Violet flower is used as a spice in some meals, cakes and sweets, there are also dishes and drinks that come from violets. Purple jam and jellies are famous in Toulouse, but you should also try purple syrup and wine. A true icon of Toulouse’s gastronomy, the city celebrates purple each year in February.
Besides, Toulouse has a variety of cakes from sweet to savory you should try. We recommends trying fenetra, tarte aux noix, savory meat pie and egg bougnette….
Where to eat?
French restaurants: Le Bibent, La Braisière or restaurants near the Jean-Jaurès metro and Pierre Goudouli park with prices from 12 euros a la carte and from 25 euros per set menu. And you should visit L’Entrecôte restaurant, which is very famous for its steak with its special sauce and apple salad with walnuts, priced at 19 euros excluding drinks.
If you want to try Asian dishes, you can visit Denfert Rochereau with Pachinee (Thai dishes) restaurant, O’Bali (Indonesia) and many Vietnamese and Japanese restaurants nearby with prices from 8.50 euros/dish and from 14.50 euros according to the set menu.
Café: There are many cafes with an average price of 1,50/2.50 euros for espresso/cappuccino, if you want to drink coffee or chocolate with ice and large size, go to Columbus for an average price of 4.50 euros.
Where to stay?
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Le Grand Balcon (Agoda, Booking)
- Plaza Hotel Capitole Toulouse – Anciennement-formerly CROWNE PLAZA (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Albert 1er (Agoda, Booking)
- ibis budget Toulouse Centre Gare (Agoda, Booking)
- Grand Hotel de l’Opera – BW Premier Collection (Agoda, Booking)
- Appart-Hotel Clement Ader (Agoda, Booking)
- Mercure Toulouse Centre Saint-Georges (Agoda, Booking)
- Campanile Toulouse Purpan (Agoda, Booking)
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Toulouse you can refer to
Read more France guide here.