Toulouse blends history, gastronomy, sport and high technology into a beautiful riverside city. Settled on the banks of the Garonne River since the Iron Age, the Old Town at its heart is home to many museums and historical religious buildings.

    Toulouse is very famous for its food, including specialities such as the cassoulet and the foie gras that you can sample in many restaurants in the city centre. From joining a slow pace cruise on the Garonne River to attending a rugby match in the city stadium, there’s little chance of you getting bored in Toulouse.

    What are the best things to do in Toulouse?


    Capitol Square

    Snap some photos at the Place du Capitole

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Capitol Square is the heart of Toulouse. Dating back to the 12th century and covering almost 2 hectares, the Place du Capitole is technically “Toulouse City Hall Square”, but for visitors, it’s the main starting point of their stroll in the Old Town. It’s also the perfect place for a lazy afternoon watching people passing by, comfortably seated on the terrace of one of the many cafés and restaurants that border the place. The stylish vintage style of the buildings that surround the square makes Place du Capitole a very photogenic spot.

    Location: Capitol Square is right in the centre of Toulouse


    photo by Tournasol7 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Old Town of Toulouse

    Wander around a charming vintage neighbourhood

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    The Old Town of Toulouse sits just southwest of the Place du Capitole and it stretches along the right bank of the Garonne River. You can wander along narrow pedestrian streets bordered by vintage houses wearing the warm peach colours that gave the city its nickname, la Ville Rose (literally ‘the pink city’). During your stroll, stop by landmarks such as Notre-Dame de la Daurade Basilica, the Pont-Neuf, or one of the many museums found in this quaint neighbourhood, to fully take in the down-to-earth atmosphere of Toulouse.

    Location: Just southwest of the city centre on the east bank of the Garonne River


    Garonne River

    Discover the historical centre of Toulouse aboard a slowly cruising barge

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo

    The Garonne is a 600 km river that departs from northern Spain and head north to pass through Toulouse before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean near Bordeaux. You can join a sightseeing tour on a barge that takes you through the historical part of the city, and along the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the adjoining Canal du Midi. To make the cruise even more enjoyable, indulge yourself with a cruise that includes a lunch aboard the boat or stop at a stylish restaurant on the banks of the Garonne River.


    Space City

    Explore outer space at this high-tech theme park

    • Families
    • Photo

    Located just southeast of Toulouse city centre, la Cité de l’Espace (Space City) takes you on a memorable trip through 250 interactive exhibits that aim to help you learn more about our universe. From stepping into the replica of the Mir space station to observing the surface of the Moon through a large telescope and exploring the solar system in a planetarium, la Cité de l’Espace is a fascinating theme park, especially with children. Headphones with an English-speaking audio tour guide are available.

    Location: Just south of Parc de la Plaine, about 5 km southeast from the city centre

    Open: Change depending on the season, but roughly from 10 am to 5 pm. Call in advance to be sure it’s open

    Phone: +33 (0)5 67 22 23 24


    Saint-Cyprien District

    Discover a popular and cosmopolitan district

    • Budget

    Saint-Cyprien is a popular and cosmopolitan part of Toulouse, on the left bank of the Garonne River. Coming from the Old Town, just cross the Pont-Neuf and you’ll be in Saint-Cyprien. This unpretentious yet trendy neighbourhood is famous for its small grocery stores and restaurants dedicated to exotic products and foods. The Saint-Cyprien roofed market and Les Abattoirs, the modern arts museum, are among the main landmarks of this pleasant district. Alternatively, head along the Garonne River, just south of the Pont-Neuf, for a relaxing stroll through the Parc de la Prairie des Filtres.

    Location: Right opposite the Old Town on the west bank of the Garonne River


    photo by Didier Descouens (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Basilica of Saint-Sernin

    Visit one of the largest Roman buildings in Europe

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    The Basilica of Saint-Sernin is one of the most famous religious edifices in Toulouse. Dating back to the 11th century, it’s one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the Route of Santiago de Compostela in France. Just 400 metres north of the Place du Capitole in the centre of Toulouse, it’s a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. The visit of the basilica is free, with a small fee to get into the crypt. Take a jumper as it’s rather chilly down there.

    Location: In the city centre, 400 metres north of Place du Capitole

    Open: Monday-Saturday from 8.30 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 8.30 am to 7 pm


    Stade Toulousain

    Watch a rugby match at Stade Ernest-Wallon

    Stade Toulousain is the name of the mighty Toulouse rugby team. If you love rugby and come to Toulouse during the Top 14 season, between August and June, you should go and attend a match at Stade Ernest-Wallon, the home ground of Stade Toulousain. They’re one of the best rugby teams in Europe and the ambience at their matches is as festive as it is friendly.

    Location: Stade Ernest-Wallon is located in Sept Deniers district, in the northwest of Toulouse


    Place Saint-Pierre

    Head to this festive place for a drink after dark

    • Nightlife

    Place Saint-Pierre is a popular nightspot that hosts a lively bar scene. Located on the right bank of the Garonne River, some 500 metres east of the Place du Capitole, it’s the meeting place of students and any who want to party after dark. Bars such as Chez Tonton, Le Pub Saint-Pierre, La couleur de la Culotte and Le Saint des Seins are particularly popular joints where you can enjoy drinks and snacks in a festive ambience, especially the nights when the local rugby teams plays (and even more so when they win!).

    Location: On the west bank of the Garonne River, on the eastern side of the Old Town


    photo by Jybet (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Victor Hugo Market

    Discover the richness of Toulouse cuisine in this quaint roofed market

    Marché Victor Hugo (Victor Hugo Market) should be near the top of your bucket list if you’re a foodie. Just a 5 minutes’ stroll from the Place du Capitole, it’s a roofed market that covers a 4,000 sq metre area, filled with food stalls and restaurants. From delicatessens to butchers to cheesemongers, you’ll find the finest products of the region and be able to sample genuine local dishes and wines at the cool bars and restaurants on the second floor. Its central location makes Victor Hugo Market a bit pricey, but it’s a great place to discover the rich gastronomy of Toulouse and the region.

    Location: 400 metres northeast of Place du Capitole in the centre of Toulouse

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 2 pm


    Cassoulet Toulousain

    Dine on the most famous food speciality in Toulouse

    Cassoulet is the must-sample speciality of Toulouse. The precise place of origin of this rich, hearty dish remains unclear, but it definitely comes from the southwest of France. Made of white beans, slowly cooked duck or goose, pork sausages, pork skin and vegetables, cassoulet is a filling dish that’s full of flavour and really suits the rural character of the region. Accompany your cassoulet with a regional red wine such as a Madiran or a Marcillac for the best local dining experience.

    Location: Chez Emile on Place Saint-Georges and La Cave au Cassoulet in rue Peyrolière are 2 famous restaurants for cassoulet in the centre of Toulouse.

    photo by ignis (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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