Toulouse

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Travel time to Toulouse is roughly 2.5 hours and the handy Flybus Airport Shuttle (€5), which departs every 20 minutes from the main terminal, will get you into the city centre in less than half an hour.

Due to its balmy climate and picturesque scenery, you could happily spend a Toulouse vacation lounging on a deck chair, but that would mean missing out on the city’s rich cultural heritage. Distinguished by its pink brick buildings, ‘La Ville Rose’ is home to a plethora of museums and galleries, boasts two UNESCO World Heritage sites and enjoys an enviable gastronomic culture. With a 100,000 strong student population, the city buzzes with youthful activity. 

Food


Toulouse offers a host of culinary delights. Foie Gras, Cassoulet, Armanac (the oldest eau de vie of the south west), Toulouse sausages and Roquefort cheese are just a selection of the local products that make foodies drool. Sizeable artisan markets are hosted every week, offering a wide range of typical food from the region. Keep your eyes peeled for the local specialty: Fenetra, a marzipan, apricot and lemon cake.

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Sport

Toulouse is rugby crazy and with good reason. The local side, Stade Toulosain, has won the European Cup more times than other team (although the mighty Munster did manage to topple them in 2008). If you get a chance, they’re worth watching live. They play home games in the Stade Ernest-Wallon and the Stade Municipal, which they share with Toulouse’s Ligue 1 football team. 

Theme Park 

To keep the kids happy, look no further than Cite de L’espace, a space exploration theme park. The park features full scale models of the Ariane 5 Rocket, the Mir Space Station, and the recent Mars rover, ‘Curiosity’. It also hosts a large planetarium and an IMAX cinema screen, so it should be an easy way to trick them into a learning experience! Tickets cost €20 for adults or €15 for children under 16.

Five for free

  • Stroll the Garonne

    The Garonne, originating in the Pyrenees, is the lifeblood of the city. When the weather is good (and it usually is), the banks of the river are full of locals walking, talking and basking in the sunshine.

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  • The Basilica of St. Sernin

    The Basilica of St. Sernin is the largest and finest Romanesque church in Europe. Built in the 11th century, it is located on the site of 4th century Basilica which contained the body of Saint Sernin, the first bishop of Toulouse. The Basilica features a crypt containing the relics of 128 saints, and a thorn said to be from the Crown of Thorns. Unsurprisingly, St. Sernin has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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  • The Canal Du Midi

    The Canal Du Midi is Toulouse’s second UNESCO World Heritage site. The 240 kilometre canal connects the Garonne River to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean. Today, the canal is a wildly popular tourist attraction with many people rowing, canoeing, cycling, walking or fishing there. You can also rent luxury barges and travel up the canal in style, but this is unfortunately far from free.

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  • Palace du Capitole

    This inviting pedestrianised plaza sits at the very heart of Toulouse. The square is enclosed by grand municipal buildings, including the imposing neo-classical facade of the city hall, or Capitole. Built in the 1750s, the pink brick Capitole building also houses the Théâtre du Capitole opera house. Full of students, buskers and liquid lunchers, the square is the ideal spot to order a glass of wine in one of its many cafés and watch the world go by.

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  • Museum de Toulouse and Botanic Gardens

    With over 2.5 million items spread across 3,000 square metres, Toulouse’s natural history museum has something for everyone. Multiple interactive exhibits really make the museum come to life, while for outdoorsy types, there are also wonderful adjoining botanic gardens to explore. Entrance is free for children under six, and free to all on the first Sunday of the month. However, adults will have to pay around €6 on a regular day. 

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