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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.
Learn traditional folk dances at a free "Bal Occitan" on 11 September at the Place de la Trinite. A live band will play the dance music and there will be an open-mic session after 11pm for those who want to join in. diversdanse.org
More than 6,000 people will run the Toulouse Marathon on 26 October, watched by 25,000 spectators. Street artists will turn the route into "Around the world in 42,195km". marathon-toulousemetropole.fr
The Christmas market will be open in Toulouse from 28 November to 26 December on the Place du Capitole. More than 130 chalets will be selling gifts, decorations, Christmas trees, hot wine and tasty snacks.