Forget about Bordeaux! Toulouse is the town in France’s Southwest region you should head to. The never-ending list of culinary specialties, the cool vibe of the people and the beautiful architecture make this a gorgeous and exciting city. If you’re not convinced, here are ten reasons why you should visit Toulouse.
Toulouse is known for being Europe’s space capital so you won’t want to miss the opportunity to conquer space for a day at the Cité de l’Espace. You’ll be able to see replicas of the famous Ariane 5 rocket and the MIR space station, while young visitors will particularly enjoy the virtual reality simulators that will make them feel like astronauts.
Cité de l’Espace, Avenue Jean Gonord, Toulouse, France, +33 5 67 22 23 24
The Place du Capitole is probably the most photographed attraction in Toulouse. Recognizable by its brick façade, you will be stunned by its beauty and immensity. Don’t hesitate to go inside the square’s court and explore the numerous rooms, each one an incredible demonstration of grandeur. One of them, the Salle des Illustres, was labelled as a Monument Historique in 1994.
Walk around beautiful gardens
Toulouse is an ideal city for nature lovers. Indeed, there are many parks and gardens where you can relax, read or…do absolutely nothing! Families will prefer the Jardin de Compans Caffarelli that has playgrounds available, as well as a Japanese Garden. If you are travelling solo and in need of some downtime, or would like a serene environment for a romantic escape, the Jardin des Plantes is a good pick.
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Enjoy gastronomy heaven
French people are obsessed with food (as everyone should be), and the good news is that each French region has a plethora of traditional dishes you can try. In Toulouse, you will certainly appreciate the local gastronomy, with over 120 specialty dishes. Although cassoulet is the most famous Toulouse dish, try anything cooked with duck or goose. Just be sure to bring some loose pants with you, as you’re bound to indulge.
Every rugby expert will tell you that the Stade Toulousain is one of the best rugby clubs in the world. When in Toulouse, why not go and see for yourself? You will certainly be delighted by the festive ambiance within the Ernest Wallon stadium and, before you know it, you’ll be chanting anthems along with club supporters.
Stade Ernest Wallon, 114 Rue des Troenes, Toulouse, France, +33 892 69 31 15
Visit the best wine bar in the world
This might add more fuel to the regional dispute between Bordeaux and Toulouse, but Toulouse is also a city of excellent wines. In fact, Le Wine Bar was selected “Best wine bar in the world” by Glass Wine List in 2017. With over 3000 referenced wines, you’re sure to find something here that tickles your wine fancy. Sorry Bordeaux.
Toulouse is nicknamed La Ville Rose (The Pink City) due to the red-bricked façades seen across town. Depending on the time of day, the buildings take on different shades, which really gives an energizing vibe to the city. Toulouse has preserved many of its majestic town houses, dating back to a time when the pastel trade had made the city quite prosperous. Be sure to make a stop at the Hôtel Assezat, an emblem of Toulouse architecture that hosts the Georges Bemberg Foundation.
Hôtel Assezat, Georges Bemberg Foundation, Place d’Assezat, Toulouse, France, +33 5 61 12 06 89
Get some culture in
Museums should definitively be part of your program during your trip to Toulouse. You’ll be surprised by the originality and uniqueness of some of the collections on display. For instance, if you go to the Musée des Abattoirs in the Saint-Cyprien area, you can admire La dépouille du Minotaure en costume d’Arlequin, one of Picasso’s paintings. If Picasso is not your cup of tea, head to the Musée des Augustins, dedicated to the Beaux Arts.
Take a walk alongside the Garonne River
Walking alongside the Garonne River is a must-do when visiting Toulouse. The river crosses the city, all the way from top to bottom, making it a focal attraction. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset, or go for a jog or bike ride.
See the city by night
Cities tend to change at night—and sometimes not for the best. You won’t have to worry about that in Toulouse, as you’ll be blown away when the sun goes down. Indeed, the city lights magically enhance the beauty of the monuments and give the town a regal look. That alone is worth the trip.
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