Toulouse, the capital of southwestern France, is a breath of fresh air, unravelling along the banks of the River Garonne. Celebrated as the “space capital” of France with its National Space Research Centre, you’ll find a lot more to explore over a long weekend in the capital of the Occitanie region, and you’ll be amazed at what there is to see and visit: countless churches, museums, and gardens that make Toulouse an incredible city. Explore it with Culture Trip’s list of the best things to do and see in Toulouse.
This small city park is a bit of a hidden beauty, bordered by the banks of the Garonne River on one side, the pink brick walls of the Les Abattoirs art museum on the other. In the summer, you’ll find people tanning themselves on the sloping grass banks, and groups of teens sipping coffee at the La Guinguette de Saint-Cyprien cafe by the river’s edge. If you end up staying out past dinner, not to worry: there’s the stylish Restaurant l’Hémicycle serving up seasonal three-course menus.
Locals playing petanque in the shade of towering horse chestnut trees; kids running laps around the central planted fountain; ornate baroque street lamps casting a warm glow in the low evening light… This beautifully planted historic park is a pocket-sized slice of peace in the city centre. Explore it in conjunction with the four tree-lined avenues that branch off it like the spokes of a bike wheel. You’ll also come across the Jardin Royal and the Jardin des Plantes – both just as worthy of a visit in their own right.
This impressive Victorian building is a hive of intellectual and creative activity. It’s where some of the country’s most influential minds come together to explore themes concerning science, industry and art, putting on workshops, conferences and exhibitions. It’s basically a giant think tank, with a public exhibition and kids’ activity space and cafe on the ground floor. Expect to find in-depth explorations of broad themes, such as love, using interactive and digital elements to bring the subject to life.
Alex Allen contributed additional reporting to this article.