The unofficial capital of the Occitan region, Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France. Its population during the school year increases because it is also one of the main university cities of the country. Known as the pink city due to the color of its buildings, many may only know about it, which was the birthplace of Concorde and home of the Airbus.
But Toulouse is much more. A city with a lot of life that despite its large size is comfortable to walk. Walking or cycling are undoubtedly the best ways to discover its many attractions while contemplating how the color of the city changes from pink to orange as the sun crosses the sky above it.
There is a lot to see in Toulouse. It is a perfect destination for a weekend or to include it in a route through Midi-Pyrenees. It has enough attractions and different activities to be a perfect city to travel with friends, as a couple or even with children. Among all of them, from the hand of the blogger Cristina Monsalvo de Kris for the World we are going to give you ten reasons to travel to Toulouse that surely convince more than one to know this French city.
1. Visit the Bas í Lica San Sernin
If you like art, knowing this Christian temple will be one of the essentials in your trip to Toulouse. The San Sernin Basilica is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the French Way of Saint James. It is also the largest Romanesque church in Europe and inside it is buried San Saturnino, patron saint of the city. Do not miss the view of the apsidal chapels from the outside, surely one of the most beautiful elements of the basilica.
2. Stroll at dusk next to the River Garonne
There are several interesting places to see next to the Garonne River. From the Bas í Lica de la Daurade with its Black Madonna at Hotel-Dieu Saint-Jacques, a former hospital, and shelter the Camino de Santiago which is also part of the World Heritage. But the best of these walks along the river of the city are the views of which one enjoys. The quays, the squares, the towers or the domes of different churches together with the Garonne from the beautiful skyline of the city. The sunset is undoubtedly the best time to walk along the river to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in Europe.
3. Enjoy a garden in Japanese
Not far from the center, in a beautiful park next to the Canal du Midi, is one of the most unique gardens of Toulouse. It is an enclosure fenced in the purest Japanese style. Inside, a pond with tents, a delicate bridge, and even stone lanterns recreate a garden worthy of being in any city in Japan. The best time to visit this place in the spring. That’s when all the trees bloom and guided tours are organized to explain the hanami.
4. Contemplate paintings by Picasso
One of the most beautiful mansions of Toulouse is the Hotel d ‘ Assezat. The one that was one of the most impressive private houses in the city today has become one of the must-visit museums. This is the Fundaci or n Bemberg. First of all, it is worth going through this place because it offers the opportunity to discover the interior of this impressive home. And, secondly, because the interior collections are undoubtedly at the height of the building that houses them. In its rooms, there is furniture from different periods and on its walls, there are paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries, but also from artists such as Pissarro, Gauguin or Picasso. Are you going to miss it?
5. Walk the Place du Capitole
The Place du Capitole is the nerve center of the city. There is always some activity in it and seeing it without fences and free of stalls dedicated to different activities is almost impossible. Having the fortune of seeing it empty is a real gift. It is then when one appreciates the beauty and harmony of a square. In it is the impressive Capitole building that houses the City Hall and the Opera House. The other sides of the square are occupied by buildings built with red brick present throughout the city and that gives it that tone that has earned it the nickname of pink city.
6. Curiosear in the markets of the city
The markets of the city are many and varied. There are books, antiques and, of course, food. Among the latter two are particularly attractive: the Carmes and the V í ctor Hugo. Inside you can see stalls of meat, cheese or fish. Everything seems to be placed so that the client enters the eyes. Walking through them is an invitation to eat, something that can also be done. Either at the tables installed on the street next to the first of these markets, or on the top floor of Victor Hugo’s market. The latter also has a terrace with tables, a perfect place to enjoy the views of the city while enjoying dishes made with the merchandise sold in the market itself.
7. Look for the tolosana palm tree
They told us on a guided tour of Toulouse that someone once asked where the famous Toulouse tree was. The guide did not know what they were talking about. In a park? Next to the river? Until finally they arrived at the Convent of the Jacobins and they all discovered that what the travelers asked was because of the singular stone palm tree that is found inside the church of that convent. Until one does not enter the temple and does not reach its apse, it is not able to really understand the reach and beauty of this work made of brick and stone illuminated by the light of the tall stained glass windows that surround the church.
8. Feeling like an astronaut
You just have to get on a bus to get to the Cite de l’espace in Toulouse. It is a theme park in which they bring the visitor closer to space, to that universe that surrounds us and of which we know so little. The site is presided over by a full-scale replica of the Ariane 5 Rocket. In the park’s gardens, there is also a MIR station and a Soyuz capsule. In the latter, you can enter and lie down on one of the beds in which astronauts travel through space when they go to a space station. Another of the things that invite us to feel like those astronauts are Moon Runner, an activity for young and old in which they make us feel as light as if we were on the lunar surface.
9. Drink wine in the best wine cellar in the world
It’s official: the No. 5 Wine Bar has received multiple awards. Among them is the best “wine bar” in the world. In this place you can taste up to 500 different wines, always served by experts in the field that explain to the customer all there is to know about each of those wines that they are enjoying. It is a casual place with two environments. In the basement, surrounded by brick walls and bottles of wine one can enjoy a tasting accompanied by a series of unique tapas. If you decide to visit this place, remember to book if you do not want to stay with the desire.
10. Flights at a good price
Toulouse is a few hours drive from the Spanish border. You can also reach this French city by train. But for those of us who live in the center of the Peninsula, there is no doubt that the plane is the fastest and most convenient way to make this trip. Only one hour of flight separates Toulouse from Madrid. And if we book with some advance we can get tickets for about 50 dollars. The best way to find those flights at a good price is to use the Skyscanner metasearch engine. In it you will find the best dates and prices to organize your trip to the French pink city.
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