10 Must See Things in Toulouse

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Toulouse, or Toulouse for the French, is a lovely city located in the Occitania region and that has acquired the nickname of "pink city" because of the color that its buildings take on at dusk.
It also owes its fame to the vastness of Gothic and Romanesque churches and architectural monuments: over the centuries the French rulers and powerful have made it, over the centuries, a city rich in history and surprising views. Read on to discover the 10 things to see absolutely in Toulouse, France.


  1. Piazza del Campidoglio and Capitole
  2. Church and Convent of the Jacobins
  3. D'Assezat hotels
  4. Japanese garden
  5. City of Space
  6. Canal du Midi
  7. Basilica of Saint-Sernin
  8. Eglise Notre Dame De La Daurade
  9. Des Augustins Museum
  10. Toulouse Cathedral
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Piazza del Campidoglio and Capitole

Piazza del Campidoglio, in French Place du Capitole, was designed by the painter Antoine Rivalz and was first opened in 1730.
It is the true hub of city life in Toulouse, the true heart of the historic center and right here also dominates the famous building called "Capitole", a majestic monument, whose facade is characterized by 8 large pink columns, known throughout the world as an absolute masterpiece of th century neoclassical art and emblem of Toulouse.

Today it has become the seat of the Town Hall and the Teatro du Capitole and inside you can find the Hall of the Illustrious, full of paintings that evoke the history of Toulouse and the personalities who have defined the city.
Inside the courtyard you can see a statue of Henry IV, while at the rear there is the square dungeon dating back to 1500. Used in ancient times for defensive purposes, over time it became the seat of the municipal archives and gunpowder deposit. Today, however, it houses the Tourist Office. In the center of the square, on the pavement, the Occitania or Toulouse Cross is represented.

  • in the historic center, the closest Metro stop is Capitole, line A; being exactly in the center of the city, it is perfectly reachable on foot from many main attractions, for example it is just a 5 minute walk from the Church of the Jacobins - Get directions
  • the square is always accessible; the Capitole is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 19:00, Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00, closed on Saturday
  • the entrance to the Capitole is free

2 - Church and Convent of the Jacobins

The first bricks were laid back in 1230 and construction work continued until 1380, a period in which, in addition to the original Convent, the church, the cloister, the chapter house, the refectory and the chapel of Sant'Antonino were added. Today the whole complex is recognized as the most important example of Gothic art in the Languedoc, as regards the monastic buildings of the period between the XIII and XIV centuries.

The exteriors appear "massive" due to the presence of red bricks, while the interiors are lighter and more pleasant; right here is the famous palmizio, a large column 23 meters high in the shape of a palm and which has the task of supporting the vault of the choir. The cloister located inside is really impressive and great for a nice walk enjoying the silence of this place. Among the curiosities to know, the Church inside, since 1369, houses the remains of St. Thomas Aquinas, the famous founder of the Dominican order. Since 1840 this complex has been declared a Historical Monument of France.

  • at Place des Jacobins; 350 meters from Piazza del Campidoglio, 5 minutes on foot; the nearest Metro stop is Capitole, line A - Get directions
  • Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
  • admission to the Church is free; admission to the Convent costs € 5,00 full price, € 3,00 reduced

3 - Hotel D'Assezat

Building that has become an emblem of the Renaissance, it is located in the square of the same name and it is one private house of Pierre d'Assézat, a merchant who lived in 1500 who commissioned his ambitious project to the architect Nicolas Bachelier. His palace included the superposition of the three architectural orders, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian.
It belonged to the d'Assézat family until 1700. Since 1914 it has been classified as a Historical Monument and has since become the Museum of the Bemberg Foundation.

Inside today it is possible to admire a path on art in the West from the period between the end of the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. It is divided into 3 floors: on the first there are works of art, paintings, furniture, bronzes and the works of Tintoretto, Cranach, Clouet; the second floor houses modern, impressionist and post-impressionist works by Manet, Picasso, Dufy, Vlaminck and entire rooms dedicated to Bonnard and the Fauves; finally, the basement hosts public and private events. It could be a special experience to sip a tea or eat something on the terrace under the loggia located in the internal courtyard of the building, which remains open from April to October.

  • at Place d'Assezat; 600 meters from Piazza del Campidoglio, 8 minutes on foot; the nearest Metro stops are Capitole and Esquirol Get directions
  • Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 13:30 to 18:00
  • full € 8,00, reduced € 5,00 for students, children and young people aged 8 to 26; free for children under the age of 8, disabled people and carers, museum curators, journalists, students of art history and architecture.

4 - Japanese Garden

The Jardin Japonais Pierre Baudis were built in the period between 1400 and 1600, the era of Muromachi and Edo.
Although the garden is located in the administrative district of the city, shows its distinctly exotic character: offers an oasis of relaxation for lovers of meditation and rest and is typically oriental with the recreation of the plant, mineral and aquatic world.

Particular also for the its typical decorative elements such as the Zen garden, the surrounding wall, small bridges, lanterns and even a particular gazebo for tea, designed on the model of the Katsura palace (th century, southwest of Kyoto).

  • at Jardin Compans Caffarelli, Boulevard Lascrosses; 1,5 kilometers from Piazza del Campidoglio, 20 minutes on foot; the closest metro stops are Compans Caffarelli and Canal du Midi Get directions
  • open every day from 7:45 am to 19:30 pm, closing time may vary depending on the day, we recommend that you consult this site
  • free

5 - City of Space

Not everyone knows that the city of Toulouse is known for being the Europe's most important aerospace center! The Cité de l'Espace is a science and entertainment park that refers to the aviation industry: the City of Space, however, is not the typical amusement park that we will expect to find, precisely because several attractions are interactive, that is, they give anyone the opportunity to interact with science and discover a new world of knowledge.

Among the main attractions you can find: a 360 ° planetarium that perfectly simulates space, an IMAX Cinema equipped with a giant screen and 3D glasses to observe in three dimensions of space, life-size spacecraft, including for example the Russian Mir orbiting station which was visited by a total of 96 cosmonauts, and the Soyouz spacecraft. Finally, the most interesting attraction is certainly the reproduction of the Ariane 5 rocket, 53 meters high.

  • at Avenue Jean Gonord; 5 kilometers from Piazza del Campidoglio; reachable by metro A to the Jolimont stop or by metro B to the Ramonville stop and then take bus 37; or by bus 16 directly from the center - Get directions
  • open from 10:00, closing times vary from day to day, we advise you to consult the official website before organizing your visit
  • tickets starting from € 16,00, you can buy different tickets and packages according to your needs directly on the official website

6 - Canal du Midi

It is known as the "Canal of the two seas" as its path joins the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean: this channel is 240 kilometers long, connecting Bordeaux, Toulouse, Haute-Garonne and the Pond of Thau up to Sète, then to the Mediterranean.
The advocate was Pierre-Paul Riquet, who had the work begun in 1666, continuing it until 1681.

This extraordinary work of engineering is a unique tourist destination and not to be missed: you will have the opportunity to take long walks, take a bike ride along its banks or navigate the waterway thanks to the companies that organize day trips along the Garonne and the canal. It is an essential destination registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996.

  • 1,5 kilometers from Piazza del Campidoglio, 19 minutes on foot; you can walk along it starting from Le Pont Neuf, one of the oldest in Toulouse, heading both along the coast to the right and along the left one heading south; the metro stop closest to this at Le Pont Neuf is Esquirol Get Directions
  • always accessible
  • free

7 - Basilica of Saint-Sernin

This magnificent Basilica is dedicated to San Saturnino, first bishop and martyr of Toulouse and art historians have it recognized as the most beautiful Romanesque church in Europe.
Its construction began between 1070 and 1080, a decade after which the works stopped and resumed in the period of great splendor of southern France, in the thirteenth century, and after which the appearance of the basilica continued to change until reaching the Modern physiognomy that sees alternating stones and pink bricks, both in the interior consisting of 5 naves and a transept with 3 naves, and externally in the octagonal-based bell tower. On the right side there is also a Renaissance arch that leads to the Miégeville Gate, embellished with sculpted capitals where you will also find the statues of St. James and Peter on the sides.

This sacred place is particularly loved by pilgrims because, inside, it also contains the relics of San Saturnino and the Vera Croce.

  • at Place Saint-Sernin; 550 meters from Piazza del Campidoglio, 6 minutes on foot; the nearest metro stops are Capitole or Jeanne d'Arc - Get directions
  • from June to September from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 to 19:00, Sunday from 8:30 to 19:30, from October to May from Monday to Saturday 8:30 to 18:00, Sunday from 8:30 to 19 : 30
  • the entrance to the Basilica is free; entrance to the crypt costs € 2,50

8 - Eglise Notre Dame De La Daurade

Historical Monument of France since 1963, this splendid church is located along the banks of the Garonne river and has acquired the title of Minor Basilica since 1876. It houses the Black Virgin, the protector of the city and its future mothers, which was further embellished in refined dresses designed for example by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Christian Lacroix.

The church was originally erected in the fifth century on the foundations of an ancient temple and its decoration sees a privilege of gold leaf mosaics from which it takes its name precisely "Daurade". During the ninth century it was integrated into a Benedictine monastery and was made wider as a nave and cloister were added. The latter now houses the school of Fine Arts. Unfortunately, the church underwent changes as it was demolished at the end of the th century and then completely rebuilt.

  • at Place de la Daurade, 550 meters from Campidoglio Square, 7 minutes on foot; the closest metro stops are Capitole and Esquirol Get directions
  • Saturday and Sunday from 10: 00 12 to: 00
  • free

9 - Des Augustins Museum

This is the Toulouse Museum of Fine Arts. Initially the building housed the Augustinian order and was built between 1309 and the th century. To date, it preserves a collection of sculptures of Occitan and Romanesque culture and paintings from all over France attributable to periods between the Middle Ages and the early twentieth century.

The church, the cloister, the chapter rooms and a lovely garden were then annexed to the convent. The process of acquiring the works preserved here ended in the year 1811 and saw the birth of one total collection of over 4.000 works, which mostly result from the confiscation of Church property during the French Revolution. All the pieces of the collections have been wisely arranged following a chronological criterion and a strategically studied order: the Gothic sculptures, for example, have been placed in the Gothic rooms that overlook the cloister; th century painting, such as the paintings by Corot, Courbet, Ingres and Delacroix, in the Red Room; or the religious paintings created, for example, by Perugino and Rubens inside the church.

  • at Rue de Metz, 21; 600 meters from Piazza del Campidoglio, 7 minutes on foot; the nearest Metro stops are Esquirol and Francois Verdier Get directions
  • Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, Wednesday open until 21:00; Closed on Tuesday
  • full € 5,00, reduced € 3,00, free for under 18s, for Pass Tourisme holders and every first Sunday of the month

10 - Toulouse Cathedral

Known in France as the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toulouse, its construction began in the thirteenth century and continued until the seventeenth century. However, this particular religious building it still remains unfinished today.

It is famous for being unusual and eclectic: it combines two Gothic styles, the Southern Gothic massif and the Northern Gothic, which turns out to be brighter.
The marble altar is in Baroque style, together with the stained glass windows, among which we find a famous one, the so-called "stained glass window of the King of France "depicting King Charles VII and the dolphin, the future Louis XI.

The chapels are full of paintings and reliquaries that together form many small and interesting museums. Above the heads of the faithful, at least 20 meters from the ground, a huge organ can be seen. Riquet, the famous designer of the Canal du Midi, is buried here.

  • at Place Saint-Étienne; 900 meters from Piazza del Campidoglio, 11 minutes on foot; the nearest metro stop is Francois Verdier. Get directions
  • from Monday to Saturday from 8:00 to 19:00, Sunday from 09:00 to 19:00
  • free

Plan your stay in Toulouse: info on flights, hotels and tours

Tolosa it is not the typical big city crowded with mass tourism, is rather a city in step with the times and in continuous expansion, extremely safe, on a human scale and offers the opportunity to have an experience within the reach of all budgets.

Life is not excessively expensive and public transport is quite efficient: for those arriving by plane, the center is well served by both buses and the automatic metro.

But Toulouse is also one city ​​with a mild climate for most of the year, we therefore recommend, to fully enjoy its beauty, to rent a bike to be able to visit it freely both in the morning and in the evening

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