Pocket Guide: Toulouse
Elegantly straddling the Canal du Midi and the River Garonne, lively Toulouse offers a range of natural, cultural and architectural things to do. As France’s fourth largest city, its status as the self-assured urban hub of the southwest is borne out by its cosmopolitan atmosphere, amazing food scene and buzzy café culture, while its central Midi-Pyrenees location makes it perfectly placed for a wider exploration of the region.
Why You Should Visit Toulouse
Nicknamed La Ville Rose – the Pink City – for its pink-tinged terracotta brickwork, Toulouse welcomes visitors to a city with one foot in the past, but both eyes firmly on the future. Steeped in history, Toulouse is a grande old dame, full of tree-lined squares, handsome buildings and riverside views. Yet it’s also home to thousands of university students and a thriving tech scene, as well as the epicentre of France’s booming aerospace industry. Unsurprisingly, the choice of accommodation in Toulouse reflects its many faces, with options ranging from centuries-old heritage hotels to smart amenity-filled business hotels, as well as hostels, B&Bs and other places to stay.
Discover the Different Sides of Toulouse
Vibrant, compact and very walkable, central Toulouse is best explored from a starting point in the atmospheric Vieux Quartier, whose labyrinthine alleys reveal their pleasures slowly. Wander south from the graceful Place du Capitole into a maze of narrow, cobblestoned streets, past contemporary chocolatiers, wine bars, brasseries and top-end boutiques. Or visit some of the city’s architectural gems, from the soaring Basilique Saint-Sernin – the largest Romanesque church in Europe – to the 16th century Hôtel d'Assézat, a Renaissance palace that now houses the Fondation Bemberg art gallery.
If river views are more your thing, head to Pont Neuf, the seven-arched bridge across the Garonne. To experience life on the water itself, take a seasonal trip on the Baladine barge, which cruises the leisurely waterways of the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Other major attractions include Cite de l'Espace; an aerospace museum and theme park situated on the eastern fringe of Toulouse, which explores mankind’s conquest of space. You can even go behind the scenes at the Airbus factory, where a production line tour sheds light on how the world’s largest aeroplane – the A380 – is built.
What Areas Are Nice to Stay in When Visiting Toulouse?
Popular leisure destinations in Toulouse include the vicinities of the Place du Capitole, the Canal du Midi, the Jardin Royal and the Japanese Garden. Here, you can expect to find a varied mix of family-run budget accommodation and inexpensive hotel chains, as well as mid-range townhouse places to stay and grand palatial hotels. Accommodation near to Gare de Toulouse-Matabiau – the city’s main railway station – is also much sought after, as are the many business hotels located around the area of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.
Whether you want a cheap Toulouse hotel near the station for an overnight stay, or a luxury property with canal or river views, Expedia’s range will have you covered. There are countless Toulouse hotels to choose from, whatever kind of stay you’re planning.