Things to do in Toulouse
The soft rose-coloured bricks that give Toulouse its nickname, 'The Pink City', belong to beautiful historic buildings that make up the town centre. The Capitole building is the star attraction, with both municipal offices and the Théâtre National du Capitole housed within. The 12th-century St Sernin Basilica is among the largest in the world. Other beautiful buildings worth visiting include the Hôtel d'Assézat, the Musée des Augustins, and Les Jacobins Monastery, which houses relics of Thomas Aquinas.
Toulouse's attractions are not limited to the historical. The Cite De L'espace theme park celebrates the city's large aerospace industry with flight-themed interactive exhibits and a huge planetarium. This amusement park masquerading as an educational museum will enthral children and adults alike.
Boat trips are a great way to relax and take in the sights of Toulouse, and are conducted along the Garonne River. Pretty parks such as the Japanese gardens also offer space to sit and relax or run around and play. There are many parks and green spaces in Toulouse, which adds to the aesthetic appeal of the city.
Cite De L'espace
This theme park in Toulouse has its head firmly in the clouds, dedicating its 8.6 acres (3.5 hectares) to celebrating flight and outer space. Children will love exploring full-scal…
Cite De L'espace
This theme park in Toulouse has its head firmly in the clouds, dedicating its 8.6 acres (3.5 hectares) to celebrating flight and outer space. Children will love exploring full-scale models of rockets and space stations, and teens will enjoy the feeling of anti-gravity in the Gyro simulator. There's a moon-walk simulator; and the enormous planetarium, IMAX theatre, and Terradome show educational films about space flight and the history of the universe. The park is located on the outskirts of the city, and is a great activity for the whole family. Visitors will need a full day to explore the whole site and there are guided tours and audio guides available. There is a restaurant at the park, and a shop which sells a variety of fun, educational books, movies and toys.
St Sernin Basilica
Of the many beautiful buildings in Toulouse, the St Sernin Basilica is one that should not be missed. The church, built from the region's distinctive rose-coloured bricks, is the l…
St Sernin Basilica
Of the many beautiful buildings in Toulouse, the St Sernin Basilica is one that should not be missed. The church, built from the region's distinctive rose-coloured bricks, is the largest Romanesque church in Europe and contains many beautiful frescoes and sculptures. The Basilica was built around 1100, and contains many relics, as well as the graves of Saint Sernin and Saint Honoratus.
Saint Sernin was the first Bishop of Toulouse and was martyred in the year 250; it is largely due to his remains in the crypt that the basilica is an essential stop on the pilgrimage of Saint Jacques de Compostela, which culminates in Arles. There are also some 19th-century treasures on display for visitors, including chalices and ciborium.
The main attraction, however, is the building itself, which is astounding in its size and design and quite unlike most churches found in France. The mix of architectural styles from different centuries is what makes it feel so original. There are free guided tours of the basilica on weekends but they are conducted in French only. Although entrance to the main area of the church is free, visitors will have to pay small amounts to enter certain areas.
While Toulouse is known as the 'pink city' for its facebrick buildings, Albi, a UNESCO heritage site and historical city, is often called the 'red city' due to the spectacular crim…
While Toulouse is known as the 'pink city' for its facebrick buildings, Albi, a UNESCO heritage site and historical city, is often called the 'red city' due to the spectacular crimson hue of the buildings at sunset. With a skyline dominated by the magnificent Cathédrale Ste-Cécile, there is plenty to see in the medieval town centre. Just wandering around the picturesque and ancient streets of the old city is the main attraction.
Albi is also known as the birthplace of famous French painter Toulouse-Lautrec, and there is a great museum containing more than 600 of his works, along with those of Degas, Matisse, and Roualt. There is also an interesting museum dedicated to explorer Jean-François de la Pérouse. The Cloitre de la Collegiale Saint Salvy is also a lovely, serene religious site to visit in Albi. And the Park Rochegude is a small but beautiful park, formerly the garden of an aristocrat, which boasts a wonderful collection of trees.
Situated on the lovely River Tarn, this historic city is a popular excursion from Toulouse. Albi is only an hour or so away from Toulouse by car, so easily reached on daytrips.