Cheap flights to Toulouse
Mouthwatering French cuisine, a compact yet stunning old quarter and a surrounding countryside that is quite simply the best in France, Toulouse has all the ingredients for the perfect holiday. Normally overlooked by tourists for cities and resorts closer to the sea, Toulouse is definitely one of France’s hidden gems when it comes to city breaks or that longer summer getaway. The main appeal of this southern metropolis just a stone’s throw from the Pyrenees has to be its spectacular architecture.
This is France’s pink city, or la ville rose if you’re in the know, thanks to the red brick used in the construction of many of its buildings. A stunning old town that changes colour depending on the light, walks along the Garonne River and parks and cafe-lined squares complete the lineup of attractions that keep tourists coming back to France’s fourth-largest city year after year. Oh, and being so close to Spain, the weather isn’t bad either, plus you can expect an almost Latin-style vibe to this city. What do we mean? Well, let’s just say things go at a rather slower pace than the rest of the country.
The Christmas market has mulled wine, ginger-bread, decorations, Father Christmas, a massive Christmas tree and a skating rink in the magical Place du Capitole.
The Jazz Festival in Marciac (29 July-15 August) is definitely worth the trip. Headliners includes Diana Krall and John McLaughlin and there are loads of free events. For the full programme see www.jazzinmarciac.com.
Get a panoramic view of the city for free from the top floor of
Galeries Lafayette Toulouse Lapeyrouse shopping mall. On the way down sort through the sales (11 January until 21 February).
The "Cite de l'Espace" is heaven for space freaks. You can explore a rocket, experience walking on the moon learn about life on the International Space Station and much more. Educational and fascinating for all the family. www.cite-espace.com
Animaparc is pretty much heaven for younger kids. They can feed the rabbits, pat the sheep and goats, ride on a massive plastic caterpillar and eat as much ice cream as you can afford. Take swimming costumes because it also has a huge paddling pool. For more information visit www.animaparc.fr.
Safari Kids is a massive indoor playground where kids up to the age of 12 can use up all their energy running around and visiting bouncy castles, soft climbing frames, 'pools' of soft balls, and more. Frazzled parents will love the coffee bar and free wi-fi. www.safarikidstoulouse.fr
The Musee Departemental de la Resistance et de la Deportation is full of intensely personal WWII memories, including a leather jacket that belonged to a resistance member. Get the English booklet at the entrance. For more information visit www.musee-resistance.haute-garonne.fr.
Escape to Cordes-sur-Ciel. Just an hour from Toulouse, you'll find museums, craft stores, and wine shops, all set on medieval cobbled streets. There's a wonderful fruit and vegetable market on Saturday mornings. www.cordessurciel.fr/en/