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Terracotta walls and roof tiles give Toulouse an overall pink hue. However, the city’s emblem is a violet. Toulouse is a city of contrasts.

On one hand, you have the old town alleyways. On the other, Airbus and Cité de l’Espace. Over here, there are medieval churches. While over there, there’s the Saint-Cyprien district buzzing with artisans and artists. With the city centre radiating around the Place du Capitole, Toulouse is brought to life by its terraces, beach-like riverbanks, parks, gardens and a student community of some 122,000 young people. You won’t be able to resist taking some time out here, wandering, relaxing and partying until the early hours. There are markets, shops, bistros, galleries and a whole cultural scene to tempt you. Toulouse is not just a source of inspiration, but also a city of creation and recreation.


in Les Abattoirs museum of modern and contemporary art. Housed in a 19th century industrial building, the collection includes over 2,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photos and installations. Works by Saura, Tapies, Fontana, Rauschenberg, Dubuffet, Duchamp and Soulages are on display. On Allées Charles de Fitte, you’ll find the Musée de l’Affiche poster museum, known as MATOU, which is well worth a visit with an impressive collection of illustrations, postcards and graphic design. More traditional but no less iconic, we have the Hotel d’Assézat, one of the most famous Renaissance buildings in Toulouse, plus Saint Etienne cathedral and the Muséum de Toulouse natural history museum next door to the Jardin des Plantes – a stunning botanical garden.

A Stroll

along the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, around the alleyways or in some of the dozen or so colourful markets. Let yourself be guided by your moods and desires. Why not enter the doorway of the Couvent des Jacobins, a gothic brick-built masterpiece. Or the Musée Saint-Raymond archaeological museum, housed in a 16th century building. Then there’s Quai Lombard, with its 18th century façades and wooden galleries. When it comes to parks, Toulouse has around ten. The locals’ favourite is La Prairie des Filtres by Pont-Neuf running alongside the Garonne river. It’s an ideal spot for an impromptu picnic.

Jardin japonais toulouse

The unexpected

with the Japanese garden, created in 1981 in the Compans-Caffarelli neighbourhood. It’s well worth a visit for the tea pavilion, oriental plants and lake. You can also visit the Saint-Sernin flea market, held every Sunday morning. You’ll find vintage jackets, rare books, silver household items and designer armchairs at this fabulous bazaar. There’s also the Halle de la Machine museum, where you’ll find a minotaur sculpture as you embark on a journey through myths and legends, suitable for all ages.