Toulouse Tourist Attractions
Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, the cultural and economic center of southern France, the see of an archbishop, a university town since 1230 and chief town of Languedoc and the département of Haute-Garonne, lies on the right bank of the Garonne and on the Canal du Midi, which since 1681 has provided a link between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic by way of the Garonne.
Known as the "red city" because of its numerous brick buildings, it is rich in art and architecture, and is also the center of the French aircraft and space industry.Around 200 BC the Volcae Tectosages, a Celtic people driven from their homeland in southeastern Germany, established a settlement here. This was succeeded by the Roman fortified town of Tolosa, on the road from Narbonne to Bordeaux. The town was Christianized by St Saturninus in the third century. After the end of the Roman period Toulouse was from 419 to 506 capital of the Visigothic kingdom, and later became the principal place in Aquitaine. From 845 to 1249 it was ruled by the Counts of Toulouse. Under the treaty of Paris in 1229 Toulouse passed to the French crown along with the rest of Languedoc. The University was founded by Pope Gregory IX in 1230, after the Albigensian wars. The Académie des Jeux Floraux was founded by Louis XIV.
Place de Capitole
The hub of Toulouse's life is the busy Place du Capitole, the west side of which is lined with beautiful arcades. On the east side of the square is the Capitole, named after the old chapter (capitulum) of magistrates (capitouls) who ruled the city. In the right-hand wing of the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) is the Municipal Theater. To the rear is the Donjon, a defensive tower of 1529; in the courtyard are numerous works of modern sculpture.
Located along the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela, the basilica of St Sernin is an extraordinary pilgrimage church, and a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture.
Musée St Raymond
Eglise des Jacobins
In Toulouse, west of the Place du Capitole is the brick-built Gothic church of the Jacobins (1260-1292), with a cloister of 1307. On one side is a handsome tower, built in 1301-1304 on the model of St Sernin. The two-aisled nave has dark-veined groined vaulting, which radiates in fan form from the last of the seven central piers in the choir. The remains of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) were deposited in this church in 1974.
Hôtel de Bernuy
Notre Dame de la Daurade
In Toulouse, from the Hôtel de Bernuy, Rue J.- Suau runs southwest to the Place de la Daurade, with views of the Garonne, the Pont- Neuf (1543-1614) and the St-Cyprien district across the river. On the banks of the Garonne is the Baroque church of Notre-Dame-de-la- Daurade, built in 1773-1790 on the site of an earlier 12th C. church. Southeast is the church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Dalbade (1503-1545), with a large Renaissance doorway of 1537. Farther south is the Hôtel de Pierre (16th and 17th C.), and to the east of this the Hôtel Béringuier-Maynier (1517-1527), the earliest example of the so-called "Toulouse Renaissance" style. Around this church and in all this quarter of the town are many handsome old houses.
In Toulouse, a little way east of the Pont-Neuf, in Rue de Metz, is the Hôtel d'Assézat, the most elegant of the city's burghers' houses, built by Nicolas Bachelier in 1555-1557 for the Capitoul d'Assézat, with a beautiful courtyard.
Cathedral of St Etienne
In Toulouse, near the east end of the Rue de Metz, in a spacious square, is the Cathedral of St Etienne, dominated by its massive tower. Its irregular plan is the result of the long period over which it was constructed (11th-17th C.). The 13th C. rose window in the west front is similar to the one in Notre- Dame in Paris. When it was built at the end of the 12th C. the three-aisled nave, in northern French Gothic style, was the widest vaulted structure of the kind in Europe, with a span of 19 m/62ft. The windows date from the 14th-17th centuries, the choir-stalls from 1611, the numerous tapestries from the 16th-18th centuries.
Musée des Augustins
In Toulouse, the Musée des Augustins, housed in a former Augustinian monastery, including the chapterhouse and the cloisters (14th and 17th C.), has a large collection of sculpture, with fine examples of Early Christian sarcophagi and medieval sculpture, and of pictures.
Address: 21 rue de Metz, F-31000 Toulouse, France
Opening hours: 10am-6pm; Wed: 10am-9pm; Closed: Tue
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), 1945 Victory Day (May 8), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Bastille Day - France (Jul 14), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Remembrance Day / 1918 Armistice Day (Nov 11), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Pentecost Monday (Whit Monday) - Christian, Ascension Thursday - Christian
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €3.00, Concession or reduced rate €1.50, Child 18 & under FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
The Musée d'Histoire Naturelle is in the Jardin des Plantes, and the Musée du Vieux Toulouse (history of the town) is housed in a handsome 16th-17th C. mansion to the south of the Place du Capitole.3km/2mi west is the new district of Toulouse- le-Mirail (pop. 100,000), designed by G. Candilis.
Canal du Midi
The Canal du Midi was originally built as shortcut between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The 240 km long canal was designed in 1667 and it took 10 years, and 12,000 workers, to complete it. This was a huge undertaking in the 17th century.The banks of Canal du Midi are used by cyclists and walkers today to explore. The canal runs from the city of Toulouse down to the Mediterranean port of Sète.
Fondation Bemberg is located in a mansion completed in 1555. The restored mansion contains the personal collection belonging to Georges Bemberg.Highlights of the collection include paintings, bronze sculptures and other objects that date back to the 17th century and Renaissance.
Hôtel Resseguier was built in the 17th century for François Resseguier and now serves as a department store, Nouvelles Galeries. Visitors can admire the exterior for its stone and brick designs around the windows, the courtyard and the two rectangular towers. Inside, the top floor is a cafe that offers spectacular views of the city.
Cite de l'Espace
Cite de l'Espace is an astronomical museum with a Planetarium. Outside the museum is a park with a maze featuring technological inventions and interactive displays. Displays include the MIR space station, a replica of Ariane 5, and the Soyuz space vehicle.
Place Dupuy is a large square in Toulouse that is noted for its small-town atmosphere. The square is surrounded by cafés with a central fountain that dates from 1832. The fountain in Place Dupuy commemorates one of the battles of the Italian wars. The tall column features four water-spitting griffins and an allegorical statue of Fame.
The Toulouse Métro is a fully automated (unmanned) rubber tired system. It was opened in 1993 and is made up of one line with 10km of track, 9km of which are underground. There are 15 stations. Feeder buses serve five of the stations. Trains run between 5:00 in the morning until just past midnight.The system serves about 22 million people yearly with 29 two-car trains.
Ailes Anciennes Toulouse
A wide variety of aircraft have been gathered together to be part of this impressive collection. Of particular note is the O.N.E.R.A. Deltavieux, a Dakota, a Vampire, a German Starfighter and MiG-29 and a Belgian Thunderstreak.
Les Abattoirs is a modern and contemporary art museum with a collection of over 2,300 works. The main focus is paintings, photographs and graphic works with a small collection of sculptures. Over 700 artists are highlighted in the permanent exhibitions of Les Abattoirs.
Parc de la Prairie Filters
Parc de la Prairie Filters is the largest green space in Toulouse. The park runs from the Pont-Neuf to the Pont-Saint-Michel along the river bank. There is a public garden, bowling alley and a children's playground. Visitors to Parc de la Prairie Filters can also enjoy walking or cycling throughout.
Planète Jeux is an interactive game area that is geared to young people. The first floor features over 80 interactive video games including ski, motorcycle, formula 1 and jet simulators. The lower level of Planète Jeux is for 5 to 12 year olds with supervised workshops available.
Vault of the Carmelite nuns
Jazz Festival, Souillac
Scenic Rail Trip
There is a beautiful view of the mountains on this scenic rail trip.
Map of Toulouse Attractions