Experience Transat

7 Things to Know Before you Visit Toulouse

Share the article

Located in the south of France, Toulouse is unfortunately often overlooked as a tourist destination in favour of its admittedly stunning surroundings. In fact, there is a wealth of things to do in Toulouse that aren’t nearly famous enough! Plus, the city retains a friendly, approachable vibe — something that can’t always be said of its more popular urban counterparts.

Planning to visit Toulouse soon? Here are a few fun and useful facts to pique your interest and get this trip going.

1. Toulouse is very, very old

Quoi faire à Toulouse - La basilique Saint-Sernin - things to do in Toulouse
La basilique Saint-Sernin © Toulouse Tourisme

Did you know that Toulouse is over 2,000 years old? The city was founded by the Romans all the back in the 2nd century BC, when it became a Roman military outpost due to the Garonne which made the city a naturally suitable option for trade across the Pax Romana. There are even remains of the Roman wall that can be visited named the Gallo-Roman rampart of Toulouse.

2. Toulouse is famous for its pink hues

Quoi faire à Toulouse Occitanie - things to do in Toulouse
© Toulouse Tourisme

Toulouse is known as the “Pink City” because most buildings in the city used pale-coloured brick that change in hues throughout the day, ranging from a warm orange to a deep magenta. With an abundance of astonishing architectural details laid out in a labyrinth of pretty streets, Toulouse is a highly photogenic city to explore and wander in on foot without a care in the world.

3. Toulouse is an aerospace hub

Today it is the fourth largest city in France, partly because of the aerospace industry. In fact, it’s the largest centre for aerospace in all of Europe as the home of the European Airbus headquarters, the SPOT satellite, and the French space agency. Since 2003, Toulouse has been the French city with the fastest growing GDP per capita. This performance has been driven by the growth of high-tech industries.

Space buffs planning to visit Toulouse shouldn’t miss a visit to Cité de l’Espace and its impressive immersive experiences.

4. Toulouse has incredible food

Toulouse and Languedoc, on a wider regional level, are famous across Europe for their strong culinary traditions. The most iconic being the cassoulet, of course, which is a slow-cooked stew consisting of pork meat, duck confit, white Tarbes beans and a Toulouse sausage. It can be found in most restaurants in the city centre, but the best place to get it is Chez Émile or Le Bibent.

Other must-eat traditional dishes in Toulouse include Fenetra cake, anything violet-based like liqueur or candy, goose foie gras, duck breast, and local cheeses like Tomme des Pyrénées and Roquefort Aveyron.

5. Toulouse is great for culture aficionados

Quoi faire à Toulouse - things to do in Toulouse
© Toulouse Tourisme

Toulouse has kept its strong artistic heritage. One of the most popular attractions, Les Abbattoirs, is not a slaughterhouse… at least not anymore. It has been restored and is now an incredible museum of modern art with over 2,300 pieces of work.

There are plenty of other museums in Toulouse, big and small, like the Resistance Museum, Bemberg Foundation as well as the Museum of Medecine and Medical Instruments (!), to name a few. Write these down for a rainy day!

6. Toulouse is home to France’s most iconic canal

Canal de Midi, Toulouse, France

Toulouse is great for wanderers. Louis XIV had Canal du Midi built in 1667 as a 240-kilometre long shortcut from the Mediterranean Sea to Toulouse. It is now rightfully so regarded as one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century and, consequently, is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site.

It’s fairly easy to explore from the city centre, too, whether you opt to hire an electric bike or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, by barge.

7. Toulouse is a rugby city

Toulouse residents love rugby and the city is home to the beloved “Les rouges et noirs” at Stade Toulousain. If indeed you are planning to visit Toulouse and are adamant about participating in this highly memorable experience, make sure to book rugby tickets far in advance. It is otherwise unlikely that you will find tickets to the sold-out games. Then again, the next best thing is watching a match with locals in a local sports bar; the high-octane enthusiasm and cheer will be hard not to notice anyway!

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

You may also like

Paris addresses from our flight attendant Anne-Sophie, who has been there many times. Museums, cafes, galleries and other secret spots!
Here are a few ideas on how to make the most of the Alpine winter, even if you’re more of an “après-ski by the open fire” type.
Out of the almost 500 UNESCO sites in Europe, here are 12 that, according to us, must be seen in a lifetime.
Here’s a dream itinerary for a French Riviera trip with your best friend, including beaches, historic towns, rooftop restaurants and more.

Travel with Air Transat