Toulouse Holidays

A city that’s in the pink

‘La Ville Rose’ – the Pink City, as Toulouse is affectionately known – gains its colour from the soft local stone which lends a romantic air to its streets and landmarks. But this is also a vibrant commercial centre, with the violet as an emblem, and which has historically been the home of the pastel trade – a blue dye extracted from the pastel plant. This is very much a town of many different colours. This is France, so food and wine are an important part of Toulouse holidays. There are some excellent food markets dotted around and a distinctive cuisine, with specialities including ‘cassoulet Toulousain’, a bean and pork stew, and ‘garbure’, another meaty stew with cabbage.

The largest city in the Occitane region, Toulouse is also an ideal base for excursions to Carcassonne and many local vineyards. Once happily fed and watered, visitors on a holiday to Toulouse can enjoy a wealth of heritage, including the Roman-era Saint-Sernin Basilica, the Gothic Jacobins Convent and the beautiful Renaissance Hotel d'Assezat, as well as an atmospheric criss-cross of canals. Superb shopping, a strong showing of contemporary galleries and funky street art, and a world-famous rugby club are just a few of the joyous elements of this rosy southern city.

All resorts in Toulouse

Three tips for a top trip

Try VeloToulouse

With 550 kilometres of bike trails and the VeloToulouse self-service bike scheme free for the first half hour, it’s easy to get around Toulouse on two wheels.

Visit Marché Victor Hugo

The covered Victor Hugo market is heaven for in-the-know foodies. Make sure to try one of the restaurants above it – they’re very affordable, and the menus are impressive.

A stunning view for free

The 6th floor of the Galeries Lafayette department store offers a fabulous vista over the rooftops of the pink city – and it won’t cost you a penny.

Best attractions to see in Toulouse

Ravishing riverbanks

On the banks of the Garonne, you can enjoy riverside sunbathing or a scenic walk, particularly along Promenade Henri-Martin and at the Place de la Daurade.

Super street art

Historically a colourful city, street art is now an accepted and celebrated part of the cityscape in Toulouse, with Jardin d'Embarthe and many more bringing art and life to the city.

Cathedrale Saint-Etienne

This is famous for its organs, which appear suspended in the air, while its central location makes it a good starting point for a day’s exploration.

Your Toulouse questions, answered

Toulouse is a humming cultural centre that hosts a variety of festivals each year. Research ahead and you might be able to time your trip to take in one you fancy.
You might be stuffing your suitcase with treats from the food markets, but for a classic taste of Toulouse, think violets – candied, in jams, mustards, bath products and more.
Toulouse is famous for its rich history and culture. Landmarks, such as the Place du Capitole and Pont Neuf Bridge, are instantly recognisable. The city also has several museums, including the Museum de Toulouse, Musee Saint-Raymond and Georges Labit Museum. In recent years, Toulouse has become more known for its aerospace industry, with industry giants and exciting start-ups moving their headquarters to the city. Aerospace Tech Week, an annual event that includes conferences and exhibitions, is held in here.
Despite not having the reputation that such cities as Paris and Lyon have for being nightlife destinations, Toulouse still offers plenty for a fun-filled evening. The trendy neighbourhood of Carmes is incredibly popular for its late-night restaurants and lively bars. With plenty of busy bars close to the river, Place Saint-Pierre is the ideal spot for an unforgettable night out. For those looking to party into the early hours, Place Wilson has a mix of busy nightclubs.
With its proximity to Spain, Toulouse has a healthy aperitif and tapas culture, with busy post-work bars providing an ambient soundtrack to the evening ahead.
Toulouse is a very family-friendly destination. The city is home to over 160 public parks ideal for kids to have fun in, with the Jardin des Plantes park providing a play area and pony rides. Many museums cater for all ages with interactive exhibits and collections that are the ideal way to spend an afternoon. The city also has the popular Parc Zoologique de Plaisance du Touch safari zoo, while the indoor adventure K’ptainpark is sure to tire out younger ones.
If you're after impressive architecture and charming cafes while still being close to the hustle and bustle of the city centre, the neighbourhood of Jeanne d’Arc is ideal. If you prefer a more relaxed bohemian atmosphere, then the Carmes district, with its countless bars and organic markets, shouldn’t be missed. But should you want to be close to everywhere and not mind the cost, the city centre is probably the best option.
The city centre is small and most landmarks are within easy walking distance, so a long weekend is typically enough if you're short on time. However, if you're in no rush to see all of Toulouse’s sights, spend a week. This allows more than enough time to visit the city’s museums and sites of importance, and plenty of opportunities to visit the mix of restaurants and bars.
Toulouse is perhaps best known for cassoulet, a bean stew that includes either duck or pork sausage. Holding the honour of being given protected status, Saucisse de Toulouse, or Toulouse sausage, is typically made with pork, garlic and wine. Desserts are also popular in Toulouse with nut pies known as Tarte aux Noix; caraque, green tarts with fondant; and fenetra, a cake traditionally made with almonds, lemon and apricots, available in most French patisseries.