Capital of the French province of Occitaine, this beautiful city offers a classic French adventure, with delicious food and local gastronomy, stunning architecture and a chilled vibe that has led it to be voted the city most French people would want to move to.
By plane – Air France operates flights from Paris on a regular basis with an approximate flight time of 30 minutes. Multiple European budget carriers also fly to Toulouse from several European and North African cities, including London (1 hour 30 mins), Frankfurt (1 hour 45 mins) and Marrakech (2 hours 30 mins). From the airport, you can catch the shuttle bus straight into the centre of the city, which operates every 20 minutes and takes around 30 minutes to Jean D’Arc or Jean Jaures metro stations.
By train – SNCF operates multiple routes from domestic cities including Paris (6 hours), Bordeaux (2 hours) and Marseille (4 hours). Also, it can sometimes be cheaper to fly from nearby Beziers or Carcassone and take a train from there to Toulouse. You are able to travel to Barcelona by train via a change at Andorre-L’Hospitalet (7 hours).
By car – Toulouse is a lovely place to add onto a road trip of Europe, major highways run from Paris (7 hours), Bordeaux (2 hours 30 mins), Marseille (4 hours) and Barcelona (4 hours).
Toulouse city centre is rather compact so location is never a problem! Majority of the hotels are located near the Place du Capitole, right in the centre, although you can easily walk anywhere in the ‘pink city’ of Toulouse.
Hotel des Beaux Arts – As the name suggests, this boutique hotel’s entire philosophy revolves around the art world. As much a gallery as a hotel, these beautifully acquainted rooms overlook the Garonne and are a stone’s throw from Pont Neuf. The hotel is fronted by a wonderfully charming brasserie serving up some of the best French classics.
Grand Hotel de l’Opera – Located slap bang in the centre of the city, overlooking the famous Place du Capitole, this former monastery dates back to the 17th century and has a wonderfully refined style and charm.
Villa du Taur – Another boutique style hotel, Villa du Taur is nestled amongst the cobbled streets of Toulouse, near to Place du Capitole. You can relax within its contemporary rooms and dine on modern French gastronomy at Sixty Two (the hotel’s well known restaurant).
Hotel St Georges – Recently renovated, Hotel St Georges offers excellent value comfortable rooms just around the corner from Jean Jeaures metro station, and also boasts a bar serving up cocktails in the evening.
La Cour des Consuls – Centrally located, this charming 18th century residence provides intimate and cosy rooms. Guests can enjoy modern French cuisine and celebrate the liquid gold of France with an excellent selection of Champagne based cocktails within the bar.
La Maison -Located outside of the city centre, 10 minutes from the airport, this alternative option is a striking house and gardens that has been extensively renovated in recently years to offer rooms with a wonderful blend of modern and classical features and a swimming pool to die for.
Cassoulet – An absolute classic of French cuisine and a local speciality. Made with white beans, duck confit and local sausages, this dish is not to be missed on your visit!
Truffade – As well as being served in a Cassoulet, the Toulouse sausage is absolutely delicious served on its own and is distinctive for its lean flavours and slightly reddish colour.
Foie Gras – Goose as opposed to duck is favoured in the Toulouse version of this famed delicacy known across the world and can be found piled in produce markets in the city, so definitely give it a try if you’re a novice to French cuisine.
Aligot – This cheese and mashed potato mix is usually made from Tomme de Laguiole cheese and served with a typical Toulouse sausage.
The Violet – An emblem of Toulouse gastronomy, the violet flower is used in many forms of cooking, such as seasonings, jams and liquors. The city has even has a dedicated celebration to it each February.
Le Murano – Run by ex-TOP Chef contestant Valentin Neraudeau, this wonderfully refreshing modern restaurant right next to Jean Jeaures offers classic French delights such as duck and smoked salmon, with intriguing modern Asian twists.
L’Entrecote – For the carnivores amongst you, tuck into some no nonsense steak in this institution. Get here early else you’ll find long queues waiting to devour their famous beef in a secret sauce with endless portions of French fries!
Michel Sarran – Only open during the week book early to secure a table at this two Michelin star house of gastronomy. Combining traditional French flavours with a twist the dishes here are a work of art.
L’Autre Salon de The – If you’re looking to stop for a sublime afternoon tea, this is the place to be. As well as offering wonderful coffee, the main stars of the show here are its array of desserts. From crumbles and tarts to brownies and gateau, tuck into a sweet morsel whilst exploring the city (be warned the portions are HUGE).
Marche Victor Hugo – The city’s most prominent produce market is a haven for foodies. With endless stalls of cheese, fish, meat, game, saucisson sec, salami and many many more, you will quickly watch the day disappear past as you explore its nooks and crannies sampling delicious food.
Wine – I mean, what else? When you’re exploring France, why would you ever drink anything else. Although not quite as famous as some of its neighbours, Toulouse sits within Midi-Pyranees and boasts a small number of AOC wines including Gaillac and Cahors.
N5 Wine Bar – Voted the best wine bar in the world in 2017, this bar is one not to be missed. Whilst boasting 300 wines by the glass, the wine is not all this place has to offer and its incredible tasting menu of over 20 small plates is a gastronomic feast in itself.
DAda – Not far from the beautiful Garden Japonais, delve into delicious cocktails and an excellent wine list in this quirky establishment with almost Alice in Wonderland-esque decor.
Stroll along the Garonne – The River Garonne snakes its way through the centre of the city and on a clear day is one of the most beautiful places to take in the sunshine and wander along its banks.
Check out the museums on a rainy day – From the fine art within Musée des Augustins to Aeroscopia where you can explore the Airbus A380 there’s a museum to widen anyone’s mind! You can pick up a Pass tourisme allowing free or discounted access to the museums (and free public transport).
Lose yourself within the garden – Le Jardin Japonais is the epitome of zen, with its beautiful pavilion, bridge and flower beds, giving you the time to lose yourself in an ultimate state of relaxation.
Explore Toulouse’s churches – The grand Basilica of Saint Sernin and Couvent des Jacobins are landmarks of Toulouse, and both are worth a visit. The Basilica has been previously labelled as one of the greatest French churches, with stunning architecture and interior design.
Go Christmas shopping – If you happen to be in the city during December, you can’t miss the famous Christmas market that springs up in Place du Capitole. Wander around its stalls and explore the vendors selling local crafts, food and drink.