20 Things To Do In Toulouse

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Toulouse is known as La Ville Rose, the pink city, due to the warming pink bricks used in many of its buildings. The pink city is welcoming and friendly, and a fantastic destination to visit for a city break in France. As you wander through the streets of Toulouse it is hard not to feel like you have stepped into a charming watercolour painting as its architecture, charm and old-world ambiance embrace you. The city has a charming and rich history and its culture is highly influenced by its past. Toulouse was founded by the Romans, with this ancient influence still adorning the city today. Toulouse is filled with historical architectural landmarks that are best explored on a walking tour of the city. Admire the Romanesque architecture of Basilica of Saint-Serbian, or seek out something more modern at the Cité de l’Espace.

The city is also filled with plenty of natural escapes, so follow the tranquil waters of the Canal du Midi along its tree lined path or explore this relaxing stretch of water by bicycle or boat. Lose yourself in the botanical wonderland of the Jardin des Plantes with its fragrant flowers and hidden pathways. It’s a great city to explore at a slower pace so find a peaceful cafe lined square, sip coffee, nibble on freshly baked pastries and watch street performers, soaking in the lively atmosphere.

Seek out something more substantial to eat in one of the city’s many excellent restaurants. Traditional dishes in the city include a hearty cassoulet; a bean stew with sausages and duck confit. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a delicious local wine. The city is well-placed for wine country, so after sampling different varieties at dinner, head out on a tour of a vineyard. From ancient narrow streets and glistening modern architecture to art museums and gastronomic delights, Toulouse has something to entice and excite every visitor. Explore this city further with these unmissable things to do in Toulouse.

Toulouse, France

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20 Things To Do In Toulouse

1- Visit Basilica of Saint Sernin

Basilica Of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, France
Visiting Basilica of Saint Sernin is one of the best things to do in Toulouse France for history lovers.

One of the best things to do in a Toulouse is to explore the beauty of Basilica of Saint Sernin.

The basilica was build between 1080 and 1120 in the Romanesque style and is made from the city’s traditional pink brickwork.

It is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, and is filled with intricate sculptures, frescoes depicting passages from the bible and of course colourful stained glass windows.

Thanks to its unique treasures and traditional design, the basilica was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status.

The church forms part of a religious pilgrimage route that sees Roman Catholic worshippers make their way from Italy to Northern Spain stop.

Basilica of Saint Sernin is at 7 Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse.

Recommended tours:

2- See The Artworks At Musée des Augustins

Take in a vast collection of artwork at Musée des Augustins, which is set inside the former Augustins Convent that closed following the French Revolution.

The museum is one of the oldest in France, having opened shortly after Paris’ Louvre museum in 1795.

Inside this landmark, the museum houses an impressive collection of fine art dating from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century.

There are a myriad of paintings, sculptures and tapestries displayed alongside Romanesque treasures.

One of the most popular installations is a collection of gothic sculptures by Prado that show the martyrdom of St John the Baptist.

As you explore the collection, keep your eyes peeled for sculptures and carvings dating from the museums days as a convent.

Around the cloister are several gargoyles watching over the art and visitors.

Musée des Augustins is at 21 Rue de Metz, 31000 Toulouse.

3- Cruise The River

Sunset In Toulouse
Sailing along the River Garonne is one of the fun things to do in Toulouse today.

Experience the beauty of Toulouse at a slower pace by taking a relaxing river cruise along the River Garonne or along Canal du Midi.

Enjoy many incredible views of the city including its historical bridges and interesting architectural buildings.

Cruises along the canal typically last just over one hour and cross over all 3 locks, arriving back into the city centre.

Cruises along the River Garonne run between July and August, offering excellent views across the Dôme de la grave and Pont Neuf.

Toulouse offers river cruises during the daytime, with some special boats running at night.

4- Enjoy Art At Foundation Bemberg

Georges Bemberg, a philanthropist, created Foundation Bemberg in 1994 as a way of sharing his private collection of art with the public.

The foundation showcases a variety of western works of art dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

This unique collection is inside the stunning Renaissance Hôtel d’Assézat in its Venetian Hall, Fauve Room Louis XIV Room.

The collection is displayed in period-style rooms filled with appropriate furniture and decorative items.

Fondation Bemberg is at Hôtel d’Assézat, Avenue Jean Pierre d’Assezat, 31000 Toulouse

5- Attend The Opera At Theatre du Capitole

A great cultural thing to do in Toulouse is to spend a night at the theatre, a grand and architecturally beautiful opera house that puts on world-class operatic performances.

inside the wider Capitole administration buildings, the theatre is home to the Orchestra National du Capitol de Toulouse.

The theatre was first opened in 1818, and was moved inside the Capitole following a fire in 1917 that destroyed the original building.

The theatre also shows ballets and concerts, as well as workshops for families, musicians and those simply interested in the creative arts.

Theatre du Capitole is at Pl. du Capitole, 31000 Toulouse.

6- Discover Ancient Treasures At Musée Saint Raymond

Musée Saint Raymond is Toulouse’s archeology museum, with treasures found in Toulouse and the surrounding region from as far back as the Bronze Age.

Within the museums permanent collection are a vast number of objects from the Gauls, Romans and Visigoths that once settled in the city.

Musée Saint Raymond has more than 28,000 archeological objects, however only around 3% are on display at any one time.

To fully experience archaeology, visit the museums basement level where there is an archeological site.

Around 100 burial sites and artefacts were found here when the museum expanded in the 1990s.

As well as a dedicated permanent collection the museum regularly has temporary exhibitions displaying collections linking to the city’s varied and rich history.

The museums upcoming temporary exhibition, opening in April 2024, covers the city’s role in the Crusades.

Musée Saint Raymond is at 1 ter Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse.

7- Explore The Gothic Couvent des Jacobins

Church Of The Jacobins
Visiting Couvent des Jacobins is one of the things to do in Toulouse, France.

Couvent des Jacobins is a historical Dominican monastery that is well-known for its intricate gothic architecture.

Like many of the city’s buildings, Couvent des Jacobins was built using pink bricks.

Construction on the convent began in 1230, making it one of the oldest buildings in the city.

The convent has a unique design that draws many visitors through its doors.

The bell tower is octagonal and climbs seven-storeys offering stunning views across the city from the top.

Keep your eyes peeled for the monastery’s unique palm tree shaped columns supporting the roof of the church.

The convent is free to enter and to explore, however if you want a more secluded visit, pay €5 to enter the cloister that has a shady canopy that is perfect for sheltering from the summer sun.

Convert des Jacobins is at Pl. des Jacobins, 31000 Toulouse.

8- Learn Something New At Cité de l’Espace

Those interested in science, astronomy and space travel cannot miss a trip to Toulouse’s Cité de l’Espace.

There are many interactive exhibits inside the centre telling the history of the universe alongside scientific artefacts, films and photographs.

The space centre also houses a planetarium that puts on exciting and family friendly planetarium shows informing visitors about the wonders of space and space travel.

The centre has a newly opened exhibition space in partnership with the European Space Agency and the National Centre for Space Studies that follows the planning for a mission, and the presence of European astronauts onboard the ISS.

Cité de l’Espace is at Av. Jean Gonord, 31500 Toulouse.

9- Walk The Banks Of The River Garonne

Sunset In The Garonne River And Its Bridges In Toulouse
Walking along the banks of the River Garonne is one of the things to do in Toulouse.

The River Garonne winds from the Pyrenees in Spain to the port of Bordeaux, cutting through Toulouse on its journey.

The river is 529 kilometres (32 miles) in length, with its majority residing in France.

As the river is in the heart of the city, you are bound to find locals enjoying the tranquil embankment areas, or during summer sunbathing.

For one of the best views along the river head to the Daurade for views of Pont Neuf, la Grave dome and Hôtel-Dieu.

10- Cruise Along Canal du Midi

Summer Look On Canal Du Midi Canal In Toulouse
Cruising on Canal du Midi is one of the fun things to do in Toulouse France.

Canal du Midi, an offshoot of the larger River Garonne, is a UNESCO site that is perfect for taking a leisurely stroll.

Canal du Midi was built during the reign of Louis XIV, making it one of the oldest canals in Europe.

Pierre Paul Riquet designed the canal and its 3 locks.

The banks of the canal are lined with leafy trees, benches and locks allowing canal boats to cruise up and down the water.

11- Discover The Treasures At Musee George Labit

Another excellent archaeological museum in Toulouse is the Musée George Labit.

George Labit founded the museum in 1893 and filled it with archaeological finds from the Far East and Ancient Egypt, and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jules Calbayrac, an architect from the city, designed the Moorish villa that houses the museum, and included a garden filled with exotic plants, a library and a specialised screening room.

The museum specialises in Asian Art, with pieces from Indonesia, Tibet, Nepal, Japan and China.

Musée George Labit is at 17 Rue du Japon, 31400 Toulouse.

12- Explore Wine Country (Limoux)

Fine wines are synonymous with France, and a trip to Toulouse for wine lovers would not be complete without a day in wine country.

The Limoux wine region is close to the city and is nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountain range.

Limoux produces both red and white wines, however historically sparkling wines were produced here.

The area produces very distinct wines due to its higher altitude and cooler climate than those in the surrounding Mediterranean areas.

Book onto a guided vineyard tour to see this beautiful landscape and to sample delicious and fragrant wines.

13- Relax In Jardín Royal

After a busy day of sight seeing Toulouse, a great thing to do is to head to a park.

Louis de Mondran created the park in 1754, after which the park was redesigned in the 1860s to make it look more like the gardens of English country homes.

The park is filled with many different species of trees, pretty flower beds and a duck pond.

Running around the edge of the garden are iron railings that double as benches.

Jardín a royal is at Angle Rue Ozenne et Allées Jules Guesde, 31000 Toulouse.

14- Admire The Architecture And Art At Capitole de Toulouse

Capitole De Toulouse At Evening
Seeing artworks in Capitole de Toulouse is one of the things to do in Toulouse France.

Capitole de Toulouse is in the historical heart of the city.

It has been the seat of municipal power in the city since the 12th century and was built using the city’s signature pink bricks.

Inside Capitole de Toulouse the walls are intricately decorated to reflect key historical events from the city’s history.

The Capitole is filled with work from famous artists displayed in the Salle des Illustres including work from Henri Martin and Paul Gervais.

Capitole de Toulouse 31000 Toulouse.

15- Enjoy Jardin Japonais

Japanese Garden In Toulouse City Park
Seeing cherry blossoms in Jardin Japonais is one of the things to do with kids in Toulouse.

Jardín Japonais is Toulouse’s Japanese garden, and a visit here is bound to bring peace and tranquility to your day.

The garden is inside the larger Jardin Compans Caffarelli yet is a world away from the leafy French park.

The gardens are styled to resemble traditional Japanese gardens from the 14th and 16th century in Kyoto.

Jardin Japonais has a Crane Island and Turtle Island, a traditional tea pavilion and other decorative items such as lanterns and red bridges.

Jardin Japonais is at Jardin Compans Caffarelli, Boulevard Lascrosses, 31000 Toulouse.

16- Admire Contemporary Art At Les Abattoirs

Transformed in 2000 into an arts museum, Les Abattoirs is a former slaughterhouse that celebrates modern and contemporary art.

The museum houses more than 4000 works of contemporary art consisting of permanent collections and those donated by private collectors.

The museum also regularly holds concerts, lectures, talks and guided tours.

Les Abattoirs regularly rotates its collection, and has a number of temporary exhibitions.

Experience the story of surrealism through current exhibition E.R.OS. 1959 or explore links between people and water at L’Odyssée.

Les Abattoirs is at 76 All. Charles de Fitte, 31300 Toulouse.

17- Have A Game Of Petanque In Grand Rond

Wandering around Grand Rond is one of the things to do in Toulouse for some downtime.

There are many spectacular gardens in Toulouse to spend an hour or so, and Grand Rond is no different.

The garden is part of a larger roundabout, giving it its unusual name as it helps connect four of the city’s major roads.

Inside the park is a bowling green where traditional French sport pétanque can be played.

There are many trees inside the park offering welcome shady spaces, statues, a band stand and a pretty fountain.

From Grand Rond both Jardín des Plants and Jardin Royal are easily accessible from its connecting walkways.

Grand Rond is at Rond-Point Boulingrin, 31000 Toulouse.

18- Walk Across Pont Neuf

Pont Neuf In Toulouse
Crossing Pont Neuf is one of the top things to do in Toulouse.

Claiming to be the oldest bridge in the city, Pont Neuf is one of the most spectacular bridges crossing the River Garonne in Toulouse.

The bridge was built between 1544 and 1632 to replace previous bridges that were destroyed by rising waters and flooding.

A new and unique for the time design saw the bridge be built with seven arches to allow the water to move more freely underneath it.

Admire the bridge from the banks of the river, or cross it for beautiful views down river, taking in Hôtel-Dieu.

Pont Neuf is at 31400 Toulouse.

19- Visit Muséum de Toulouse

Muséum de Toulouse is Toulouse’s natural history museum.

Philippe-Isidore Picot de Lapeyrouse, a French naturalist, founded the museum in 1796 in a former monastery, before Napoleon acquired the collection and gifted it to the city.

Shortly after in 1865 the museum was opened to the public.

The museum has permanent exhibitions covering 5 different themes; the power of the earth, the nature of life, the history of earth from 3.8 billion years ago, the human body and the impact of humans on the future of the planet.

There are many interactive exhibitions and hands on activities making it perfect for families.

Museum de Toulouse 35 All. Jules Guesde, 31000 Toulouse.

20- Spend The Day At Jardins des Plantes

For a great family day out visit Jardin des Plantes, which has a leafy green parkland, galleries and a zoo.

There is also a restaurant, cafe and food stands throughout the gardens.

Step into the tranquility of the garden and explore the myriad of plants on display, or venture into the greenhouse to see a variety of flora and fauna, including those that date back to the beginning of man on Earth.

The greenhouse is filled with hundreds of species of trees from across the globe, and exotic plants including banana trees and ferns.

Take the family to the parks zoo to meet the animals.

Around 500 animals live in the zoo inside the park.

The zoo is a research centre and conservation area for endangered species.

Around 40% of the animals in the zoo are threatened, and through its pioneering work the zoo is working to encourage species growth both in and out of captivity.

Meet friendly orang-utan Nénette, see Seychelles turtles swimming or see rare species such as Golden Lion Tamarins.

Jardines de Plantes is at 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris.

Street In Toulouse, France
A charming street in Toulouse – one of the best things to do in Toulouse is to wander around and get lost.
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sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.