Toulouse, known as the ‘Pink City’, is a unique place that is brimming with culture, history, and unmissable attractions. From the Basilica of Saint-Sernin to the iconic Capitole de Toulouse, there are many things to do in Toulouse.
Endowed with a rich historical heritage and sumptuous monuments, this famous city ranks among the most beautiful in France: those who visit Toulouse are sure to be left with memorable experiences. Between its pastel colors, cassoulet, and melodious accent, it has something to seduce all visitors.
To make the most of your stay, here are some of the popular things to do when visiting Toulouse.
Toulouse Card – City Pass
There are many things to do in Toulouse, with a diversity of flavors and sights to choose from. This is why we recommend purchasing a Toulouse City Pass to save cost and time if you plan to check out a lot of attractions.
With this city card, you can enjoy free entrance to many museums, as well as discounts at other Toulouse attractions. You’ll also get to for free on buses, trams, and the metro, as well as save money on cruises. With so much to do and explore, taking advantage of these offers is a great way to get the most out of your visit.
Most Popular Thing To Do In Toulouse
Step Back In History At The Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse
The Basilique Saint-Sernin is the largest Romanesque church in France and serves as one of the main Toulouse attractions. It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1998 and serves as a pilgrimage destination for many on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
This majestic and luminous brick and stone basilica is over a thousand years old and stands as one of the most recognizable symbols of Toulouse. It is an awe-inspiring monument that features a unique blend of architectural styles and a remarkable collection of frescoes, sculptures, and stained-glass windows.
Local Things To Do In Toulouse
Become A Fan Of Rugby At The Stade Toulousain
While football is the go-to team sport that France is famous for, Toulouse prefers to partake in rugby matches.
As such, visiting the Stade Toulousain is a great way to mingle with the locals and see what some of the best of Toulouse culture has to offer. Consider watching a rugby match alongside passionate supporters of the city dressed in red and black.
Alternatively, you can take a tour of the Stadium offered by OT Toulouse, which allows visitors to follow in the footsteps of legendary players. You’ll get a greater understanding of the history and culture of Toulouse rugby by looking at the photographs and listening to the informative and engaging guide.
Take A Stroll Along The Le Quai de la Daurade
For a truly unique experience outside the bustle, take a stroll along Quai de la Daurade on the banks of the Garonne. You can take in the fresh air and admire the impressive dome of the Hospice de la Grave on the other side of the river.
Along the way, you will find historical monuments, lush landscapes, and charming café, making this a great way to visit Toulouse. Quai de la Daurade is an ideal spot for those looking to escape the city for a while.
Eat Your Way Through The City
The city’s dishes are a mix of traditional local recipes and more modern takes on French cooking. It comprises a wide variety of flavors because Toulouse is the capital of the Occitanie region. The food in this city showcases the regional gastronomy scene.
Therefore, if you’re wondering what to do in Toulouse: Don’t forget to sample some of the local cuisines!
Toulouse’s must-try culinary works include the Toulouse sausage (a specialty of the city), the Cassoulet (a mix of beans, pork, lamb sausage, and duck), the Foie gras d’oie (a gourmet specialty of the region), and nut pies for dessert!
Of course, the South-West of France is also known for its wide variety of apéritif liqueurs and wines that go well with every meal, from walnut liqueur to sparkling Gaillac. You can of course find many traditional French dishes here as well.
Try Local Delicacies At The Victor Hugo Market
Victor Hugo Market in Toulouse is a traditional-covered market that takes place every day of the week, except Mondays, from 7 am to 1:30 pm. It is considered one of the most popular markets in the city and has over 80 stallholders, offering an unlimited array of fresh produce, traditional French items, and local crafts.
It is a great place to purchase fresh ingredients, sample local cuisine, and experience local Toulouse culture. The market is also renowned for its food stalls selling fresh french snacks like crêpes and pastries. There are local restaurants located on its first floor, which use some of the products sold on the ground floor.
Best Indoor Things To Do In Toulouse
Interact With Science And History At The Muséum de Toulouse
The Muséum de Toulouse is one of the most outstanding natural history museums in Europe and serves as a must-visit Toulouse attraction. It contains some 2.5 million pieces within its four buildings. It’s home to a collection of fossils and other artifacts, including dinosaur skeletons and ecosystems reconstructed in miniature.
The museum also has a botanical garden with diverse plant species and interactive spaces where visitors will get to observe various specimens under a microscope or feel the simulated effects of earthquakes on their bodies.
Marvel At Paintings And Architecture At The Hôtel d’Assézat Et Fondation Bemberg
The Hôtel d’Assézat dates all the way back to 1555. it is now home to the Fondation Bemberg, which houses a collection of art assembled by Argentinian billionaire Georges Bemberg. The collection includes a diverse range of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art that span centuries of Western civilization from the Renaissance to the late 19th century.
Its walls are home to some of the greatest painters in history. You can admire the works of artists such as Guardi, Veronese, Titian, and Cranach, the Elder. The building is also delightful to explore, with its gardens and terraces.
It offers an interesting insight into Toulouse’s past, with its 16th-century architecture and its rich history, making it one of the best places to visit in Toulouse.
Choose Your Favorite Architectural Style At The Saint-Étienne Cathedral
Saint Etienne Cathedral has a glorious history dating back as far as the 5th century. This huge, dominant building is constructed with an amalgamation of distinctive architectural styles throughout the centuries, showcasing the best of Toulouse throughout the ages.
Due to its unique style that merges Southern and Northern Gothic architecture with touches of Baroque, it’s deemed a building with no equal. The textures and surfaces that compose this historical church seem frozen from another age, with remarkably well-preserved altarpieces, paintings, and relics from the past.
Learn About The Past Through Relics At The Musée Saint-Raymond
The Saint-Raymond museum is one of the oldest and most important museums in Toulouse. You can find this listed monument in the heart of the city’s heart. The museum is home to some of the most important works from antiquity and displays many pieces from the city’s history.
You can explore a vast array of artifacts and relics from different periods, from the first Christians’ coffins to Roman Tolosa’s ruins. Be sure to soak in the unique atmosphere of this historic building – one of the best of Toulouse when it comes to design.
Pretend You’re An Astronaut At The Cité de l’Espace
The Cité de l’Espace is a scientific, cultural, and educational center dedicated to space exploration. It is one of the most interesting places to visit in Toulouse.
Located 20 minutes by car from Toulouse, the Cité offers visitors a total immersion into space. Exhibitions, planetariums, workshops, and conferences, there are multiple activities there for a cosmic journey.
On-site, you’ll find an IMAX giant-screen cinema and a planetarium where you can immerse yourself in space and become the privileged passenger on a journey to the confines of the cosmos. The 4-hectare park hosts the life-size replica of the Ariane 5 rocket (53 meters high), Soyuz spacecraft, and ERS2 earth observation satellite.
Don’t forget to check out the replica of the Mir space station – the first modular space station ever created. If you are thrill seeker, try out the Astrojump, a Moon and Martian gravity simulator that will test out your sense of balance.
Tour Other Continents At The Musée Georges Labit
The historical Moorish villa is situated in the lush gardens of the South of France. It is a stunning sight to behold and one of the most fascinating places to visit in Toulouse.
Plant species from Asia and the Mediterranean create an oasis of beauty. The entrance to the villa leads to one of the most remarkable French collections of oriental art. Musée Georges Labit features Egyptian and oriental antiquities comprised of statues, ceramics, and jewelry.
It is housed in a building with intricate architecture and design reflecting the cultural fusion of two continents. Travelers and locals have the opportunity to partake in a variety of workshops offered on its grounds, from Japanese cuisine to calligraphy.
Learn To Fly At The Musée Aeroscopia
The Aeroscopia Museum in Toulouse showcases the history of aviation with a selection of legendary planes and interactive displays. Devoted to the history of aviation, Aeroscopia was built to resemble the fuselage of an airplane and covers 7,000m².
This museum is a favorite among visitors of all ages. There are entertainment areas to explore, historic aircraft on display, and events to enjoy. Aeroscopia also offers a unique opportunity to view the iconic Concorde and Caravelle aircrafts up close. That is why it is also one of the most popular Toulouse attractions.
Best Outdoor Things To Do In Toulouse
Meditate And Rest At The Jardin Japonais
The Jardin Japonais, also known as the Japanese Garden Pierre Baudis, is a remarkable chill spot. It sits in the heart of the Compans-Caffarelli park in Toulouse. It offers visitors a truly unique and exotic atmosphere that is perfect for meditation and relaxation. It’s also one of the top places to visit in Toulouse!
From the colorful trees, shrubs, and flowers to the traditional Japanese structures and ponds, this garden captivates and inspires all who visit. Its tranquil setting and purposeful design make it an ideal destination for a brief respite from bustling city life.
Analyze The Pink Bricks Of The Place du Capitole
The Place du Capitole is one of the most iconic Toulouse attractions, with a history that dates back to the 12th century. Its neoclassical facade of bricks and stones is a sight to behold. The walls are filled with decorations from different eras.
The square has been enlarged and transformed over the centuries, making it a unique destination for locals and tourists alike. The Place du Capitole is also the seat of municipal power in the city and stands as a symbol of the city’s history and culture.
Visit The Vineyards Around Toulouse And Sample Local Wine
One of the fun facts about France is that the country consumes billions of glasses of wine each year.
The South West of France is a premier destination for wine lovers. Home to the country’s fourth-best wine region, it boasts some of the most spectacular and diverse vineyards in the country.
The capital of the area, Toulouse, is a great place to sample AOP, AOC, IGP appellation wines, Armagnac and Floc de Gascogne. The city is home to two of the most exquisite wines in France: The Fronton and the Comté Tolosan.
We recommend visiting a vineyard around the Haute-Garonne You will get to enjoy picturesque landscapes, savor the taste of award-winning wines, and take part in educational tastings.
Take A Boat Trip Along The Garonne
The Bateaux Toulousains offer a unique way to visit Toulouse. From the comfort of the boat, you’ll get to journey along the meandering course of the Canal de Garonne. Enjoy a magical tour of the Pink City with its grand architecture, distinctive pink brick buildings, and vibrant atmosphere.
The canals will take you across multiple banks dotted with centuries-old bastides. They will allow you to admire the different neighborhoods of the city. Most Garonne cruises will also stop off at local markets and restaurants for guests to taste the characteristic flavors and wines of the Garonne Valley.
Cheap And Free Things To Do In Lyon
Discover Different Species At The Jardins Des Plantes
The Jardin des Plantes in Toulouse is an enchanting botanical garden with something to offer all visitors. This 7-hectare public garden is home to various flora, including small waterfalls and fountains surrounded by beautiful flowers.
Some lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of the park’s ponies! The streams that cross the park are populated by ducks, swans, and geese. They create a peaceful atmosphere, providing another reason for visitors to take a stroll around the park.
Marvel At The Intricate Ceilings Of The Church Of The Jacobins
Built during the 13th century, the impressive Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse stands as an exceptional example of southern Gothic architecture. Constructed of brick and boasting a magnificent palm tree, the church is home to the relics of Saint Thomas Aquinas – a famous theologian.
Inside its walls, visitors will find a beautiful and unique combination of ornate medieval art features. From the stunning stained-glass windows to the intricate ceiling decorations, a visit to this incredible building offers an incomparable glimpse into medieval art and the best of Toulouse.
Catch A Sunset At The Pont Neuf
Constructed in 1544, the Pont Neuf is located along the Garonne river. The area is home to some of the oldest buildings in the city. Often, it is the best place to stroll, watch boats pass by, and enjoy some of Toulouse’s most beautiful sunsets.
The bridge is part of the most iconic Toulouse tourist attractions. It is a landmark of the city that withstood the flooding of the Garonne. This is thanks to its unique profile of tunnels and arches.
Take A Stroll (Or A Day Trip!) Along The Canal du Midi
Toulouse is renowned for its canals, which have been part of its landscape since the 17th century. There are several impressive canals that cross the cit. These include the Canal du Midi, the Canal de Brienne, and the Canal sideways of the Garonne.
All three are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Canal du Midi, in particular, offers visitors a chance to travel from Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea!
So if you’re looking for day trips from Toulouse, we suggest embarking on a boat trip along its banks. You can even visit nearby cities such as Castelnaudar or Narbonne.
Alternatively, walking along its banks is a treat of its own. It is a great way to embark on a personal Toulouse sightseeing excursion.
Where To Stay In Toulouse
For those looking for a place to stay in Toulouse, there are a variety of options available. From luxury hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts, travelers will be able to find the perfect accommodation for their trip.
There are also several affordable hostels around the city if you are looking for something more budget-friendly. All our listed recommendations are near some of the best things to do in Toulouse.
Budget Accommodation In Toulouse
Eklo Toulouse: Conveniently located close to the city center, the famous Zénith de Toulouse, and other attractions. Eklo Toulouse offers a range of amenities, including a restaurant, bar, shared lounge and kitchen, and a terrace. This hostel also provides evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk service. The accommodations are spacious and comfortable, ensuring a pleasant stay for each guest.
La petite auberge de Saint-Sernin: With a wide variety of rooms and dormitories, this hostel prides itself on offering its guests a unique and comfortable experience. The facilities are modern and renovated, and they make for a pleasant stay. Furthermore, the on-site restaurant serves delicious regional dishes. The hostel is close to many Toulouse attractions, such as the Garonne River, the Grand Theatre de Toulouse, the Capitole Square, and the Musée des Augustins.
Mid-Range Accommodation In Toulouse
Odalys City Toulouse Centre Compans Caffarelli: Set conveniently in the heart of Toulouse, this hotel offers excellent accommodation for those seeking a comfortable and pleasant stay. Here, guests can enjoy the convenience of a shared lounge, garden, and 24-hour front desk.
The air-conditioned rooms are also equipped with flat-screen TVs to ensure a peaceful and enjoyable stay. The hotel also boasts close proximity to Zénith de Toulouse, making it an ideal destination for travelers who want to be close to what the best of Toulouse has to offer.
The Social Hub Toulouse: This Toulouse hotel offers guests a range of luxurious amenities, from its restaurant and seasonal outdoor pool to its bar and shared lounge. Guests can also enjoy the convenience of a 24-hour front desk, as well as luggage storage space and free WiFi.
The hotel provides entertainment staff to ensure an enjoyable stay for all guests. Additionally, air conditioning is available throughout the hotel to provide an optimal level of comfort. It is also close to many of the main things to do in Toulouse.
Luxury Accommodation In Toulouse
Grand Hotel de l’Opera – BW Premier Collection: Located in the heart of the city, near the majority of things to see in Toulouse. It is within walking distance of the city’s main attractions and Capitole Metro station, and offers guests modern amenities and beautifully-appointed air-conditioned rooms with classic décor.
The hotel also has an elegant courtyard with vibrant flowers, as well as free high-speed WiFi throughout the premises. Guests can take advantage of the stylish on-site restaurant, the cozy bar and lounge, and the fitness center with modern equipment.
Hôtel Le Père Léon: Located in the center of Toulouse, just in front of Esquirol Metro Station, which will connect you to many Toulouse tourist attractions. This hotel provides free WiFi access and air-conditioned rooms with attached bathrooms and elevator service.
The rooms are soundproofed and feature a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom with free toiletries. Guests can also enjoy breakfast in the breakfast room or in the privacy of their own quarters.
Discovering The Best Things To Do in Toulouse
There are plenty of things to do in Toulouse that will serve as memorable experiences on your trip. The cultural and culinary delights are sure to impressive. From modern museums and galleries to the architectural wonders of the old districts, you will find something here that resonates.