Toulouse - a multi-faceted city with a wealth of religious architecture

The capital of the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France, Toulouse (population 1.25 million) is a seat of learning (boasting one of the oldest universities in the country), technology (especially aviation and the space industry) and Romanesque architecture (home to St. Sernin, the biggest Romanesque building in Europe).

Toulouse is reached by a short journey (as little as four hours) from London via Paris with Air France. Flights land at Toulouse's Blagnac Airport , from where it's a short trip to the city centre by bus, taxi or train.

The city has a pleasant climate, with temperatures that rarely dip below zero in wintertime and which tend to hover around the mid-20s from June to September.

Toulouse is a compact city and it's easy to get around on foot - strolling along the quays by the Garonne River or the Canal du Midi is a favourite activity for tourists and locals alike. The city also boasts many handsome squares such as the Place St. Georges, Square Lafayette, Place St. Sernin and last but not least, the Place du Capitole. This enormous (2 hectare) square is named after the 'Capitole', the seat of Toulouse's public administration, and is bordered by arcaded shops.

However, it's Toulouse's ecclesiastical architecture that really stands out. The city's position on the pilgrimage trail to Santiago has endowed it with great architectural riches from this period, which may be seen in:
  • The Basilique Saint-Sernin
  • The Musée des Augustins
  • The Cathédrale St-Etienne
  • The Church and convent of Les Jacobins

Toulouse - this handsome city boasts some superb small art collections and delicious regional cuisine!

Toulouse has become something of an art-lover's destination in recent years, thanks to the loan of the Bemberg Collection, housed in the beautiful Hôtel d'Assézat, a 16th century mansion. The collection encompasses painting from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, (Canaletto, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Titian, Monet, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso) as well as sculpture and decorative art.
If your preference is for post-1950s art, Les Abattoirs has a fine permanent collection and regular exhibitions. Lastly, the Musée Georges Labit is a must for those interested in Oriental and Egyptian art.
Toulouse lies at the heart of a part of France that is particularly renowned for its cooking. Here the duck and the goose reign supreme in various forms: the famous foie gras, confit de canard (duck cooked and preserved in its own fat), and even in cassoulet, the Toulousain dish par excellence, which consists of a stew of haricot beans, different kinds of sausages and cuts of meat, whether duck, pork or mutton. Other specialities of the city and surrounding area include garlic soup, Toulouse sausage, Rocamadour goat's milk cheese, walnut tart, crystallized violets and Fénétra, a kind of cake made with meringue, marzipan, candied lemon and apricot marmalade.
For more useful information to help you prepare your stay in Toulouse, our website has a section devoted to hotel accommodation and car rental.

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