When you visit Toulouse for the first time, you will immediately fall in love with the city! The lively metropolis on the Garonne River will win you over with its historically valuable buildings, secluded walks along the river banks, culture at its best and a lively nightlife.
Toulouse, the capital of Occitania, can be described as indescribably beautiful. The "ville rose" owes this nickname to the pink-red terracotta tiles that give Toulouse's façades their warm hues.
As a university and research city, Toulouse is among the leading locations in the world in the fields of computer science, robotics, nano- and biotechnology. French aerospace technology is also at home here.
The diverse metropolis in the south of France offers ancient churches and imposing monasteries, interesting culture and tasty cuisine. Together with interactive museums, small shops and large shopping centres as well as idyllic nature experiences on the banks of the Garonne, Toulouse is becoming a popular holiday destination.
Most of our top 10 sights in Toulouse are located directly in the historic centre and can be easily reached on foot. Or you can take your bike - Toulouse is one of the most bike-friendly cities in France.
Table of contents
Old Town of Toulouse
Similar to Bordeaux, the entire old town of Toulouse is a sight in itself. The narrow streets are lined with pink mansions, small churches, cosy cafés and creative shops and boutiques that invite you to browse and discover.
Highlights of the old town include the pretty Basilica Notre-Dame de la Daurade, the pretty streets of Rue de Taur and Rue Saint-Rome (ideal for shopping) and the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Toulouse.
At the eastern end of the Pont Neuf is the Hotel d'Assezat. The magnificent castle was built in the 16th century by the builder Pierre d'Azzétat. Behind its ornate walls with the imposing entrance portal, it houses the Bemberg Foundation, which displays historical furniture and paintings.
Capitol at the Place du Capitole
To the north-east of the old town, the Place du Capitol, with its huge Occitan cross, is indisputably the most beautiful and famous square in Toulouse. Among its magnificent buildings, the Capitol, Toulouse's city hall, is particularly noteworthy.
It impresses with its neoclassical façade and the equally impressive works of art inside. The staircase and the state rooms are decorated with masterful paintings, which are accessible completely free of charge. Toulouse Opera is also housed in the Capitol.
Article: Capitol in Toulouse
Photo gallery: Capitol in Toulouse
The imposing Saint-Sernin Basilica is located around 400 metres north of the Place du Capitol. With its distinctive octagonal bell tower, it is a much-photographed landmark of Toulouse. As part of the Way of St James, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of our 10 most beautiful churches in France.
The majestic 11th century basilica houses around 250 works of art, including the masterfully crafted portals, and some marble reliefs that are also almost 1000 years old.
Article: Basilica Saint-Sernin in Toulouse
Photo gallery: Basilica Saint-Sernin in Toulouse
The second church worth seeing in Toulouse is the Saint-Étienne Cathedral from the 13th century. As the seat of the bishop, it is the most important church in Toulouse. One of its 17 chapels also contains the oldest stained glass windows in Toulouse.
The Saint-Étienne Cathedral owes its unusual architecture to the fact that two churches were once combined into one. This can still be seen today in the mix of styles and the somewhat crooked appearance of the interior.
Article: Saint-Étienne Cathedral in Toulouse
Photo gallery: Saint-Étienne Cathedral in Toulouse
The Couvent des Jacobines also dates from the 13th century and was built by the Dominican Order. The Gothic masterpiece houses the tomb of St Thomas Aquinas. The Jacobine monastery is also dedicated to him.
Particularly worth seeing are the spectacular cloister with its idyllic inner courtyard, the two-nave interior with its slender palmette pillars, the exposed frescoes and the magnificent stained glass windows.
The simple but lively district of Saint-Cyprien is located at the other end of the Pont Neuf from the old town. Here you won't find any great monuments, but countless small markets, food shops and restaurants - the perfect place to taste exotic food and, of course, Toulouse's famous specialities!
You should definitely try the hearty Cassoulet Toulousain, a bean stew with meat and vegetables, accompanied by a glass of Madiran or Marcillac.
Tip: Gourmets should also not miss the Marché Victor Hugo. The 4,000-square-metre market hall is just a few minutes' walk from the Capitol.
Rue d'Alsace Lorraine shopping street
Toulouse's shopping mile is also lined on both sides with beautiful historic buildings and leads to squares, museums and palaces worth seeing. If you don't want to buy anything, you still shouldn't miss a stroll through this architectural gem.
Tip: If you like shopping, you should also visit Galeries La Fayette. In addition to shopping, the restaurant Ma Biche sur Le Toit on the roof offers a fantastic view over Toulouse.
Space Museum Cité de l'espace
Walk on the moon, see the Big Bang with your own eyes, take part in astronaut training and visit the MIR space station - all this is possible in the Cité de l'espace, the "space city" in Toulouse.
250 interactive exhibits explain the fascination of space to visitors young and old, from our solar system to how satellites work to the origin of life on earth - an unforgettable journey through space and time!
Article: Cité de l'espace space museum in Toulouse
Canal du Midi
The Canal du Midi shows you the green side of Toulouse. This 240-kilometre-long artificial river was built in the 17th century and was an architectural masterpiece at the time.
Lush vegetation and idyllic cycling and walking paths make the Canal du Midi blend harmoniously with its surroundings. Boat trips or walks along the plane-lined "towpaths" invite you to catch your breath and unwind along the "Canal du Sud" all year round.
Article: Canal du Midi in Toulouse
Photo gallery: Canal du Midi in Toulouse