Halfway between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, Toulouse occupies a prime position in southwest France. Known as the Pink City, it’s home to pretty terracotta buildings and a vibrant, Basque-infused food scene – book your stay now with Culture Trip.
Toulouse has often been overlooked in favour of the big-screen magnetism of Paris, the vineyards of Bordeaux and the coastline of the Côte d’Azur. But with a lively combination of student bustle, arthouse allure and picturesque cobblestone streets, La Ville Rose will easily leave you tickled pink. Here’s our pick of Toulouse’s best boutique stays.
La Galerie owner Guy is an avid art fan, and the hotel name isn’t the only giveaway. The three guest rooms are bursting with charisma, each reflecting distinctive artistic styles, from Pablo Picasso to Joan Miró. Arty trinkets, prints and sculptures are delicately placed throughout the hotel, which is only a five-minute walk from the Grenier Theatre. A flick of a paintbrush away is Cambard metro stop, which will get you into Toulouse city centre in 10 minutes.
Built in 1890, this traditional Toulouse home has been given a contemporary architectural spin, with four bedrooms including cubic four-poster beds, and colourful ergonomic furniture. The handy self check-in service reduces any rush to arrive during set hours, but try to catch host and keen traveller Marie-Ange, who’ll be delighted to share stories about the souvenirs dotted around the upstairs lounge.
Enjoy a first-class experience during your stay at La Cour des Consuls, an 18th-century townhouse-turned-boutique hotel. Chic rooms reflect the city’s urban style, decorated in monochromatic colours. King-sized beds, rainfall showers and Nespresso machines come as standard. A real highlight is the Michelin-star restaurant, Le Cénacle, which serves Mediterranean fare, fronted by chef Thomas Vonderscher. Enjoy a champagne cocktail in the bar beforehand.
The Appart-Hôtel Clément Ader, with its contemporary design, is perfect for those looking to be at the heart of Toulouse’s most vibrant areas. Choose from a one- or two-bedroom apartment sleeping up to six people, each one kitted out with a fully equipped kitchen, some with a terrace or balcony overlooking the city. Hotel benefits include on-site underground parking and a daily breakfast buffet, as well as a heated outdoor pool, sauna and fitness centre.
Picture yourself waking up in the heart of La Ville Rose with a view over the Place du Capitole. This is what you’ll enjoy while staying at the Grand Hôtel de l’Opéra, formerly a grand 17th-century convent. Book the Prestige room for a romantic weekend away, and ask for the balcony option for views of Toulouse’s pink-tiled rooftops. Downstairs, dine on duck foie gras at the Michelin-star restaurant, Les Jardins de l’Opéra.
The Pullman combines modern, funky interiors with a top location on the new Ramblas in central Toulouse. Sip a cocktail at Le 84 before heading to South West, the on-site bistro for hake with penne and a chocolate caramel fleur de sel tartlet. Other perks include a fitness centre and complimentary buffet breakfast. Families will be pleased to hear that interconnecting rooms can sleep up to seven people, plus children under the age of 12 stay for free.
Located in the historical part of Toulouse, the Hôtel des Beaux Arts is more than just a hotel: it is a sanctuary dedicated to modern art. Each of the 17 rooms has a signature style, decorated by local artists with varying styles from street art to Japanese portraiture. Start your day with breakfast in the vaulted café – expect warm croissants and freshly squeezed juice. Adjacent to the hotel, you’ll find Brasserie les Beaux-Arts, which has been serving French cuisine for 30 years.
Le Grand Balcon is a 1930s boutique hotel in the centre of Toulouse that will charm you with its aviation-inspired decor. Couples should opt for the Deluxe Double with its king-sized bed and Nespresso machine, while the larger Suite accommodates four with views over the Place du Capitole. In-room massages are available on request. If you’re staying over a weekend, you can sleep in: the breakfast buffet of bread, croissants, cereal and fruit juice is available until 11am.
Beneath Villa da Taur’s redbrick exterior, this boutique hotel is decorated with local contemporary artwork, creating an atmosphere more akin to a gallery than a hotel. Standard rooms come with luxury touches, such as rainfall showers, eco-friendly toiletries and an Illy espresso machine. Opt in for the à la carte breakfast with fresh baguette and eggs to order – which can be enjoyed in your room or downstairs at the café.
Alexis James contributed additional reporting to this article.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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