Back in July I went on a last minute trip to the south of France, to a place called Toulouse. I really enjoy saying those last few words, the south of France, hearing them always sounds so sophisticated and gives me visions of endless amounts of wine (Mmm...wine) & cheese. What is it about this part of the world that conjures up such thoughts? Well, you only need to visit to understand why, as cliche as it sounds, or just watch any film set in France (hello Amelie & Chocolat).
As I say, Toulouse is ideally located in Southern France (yes, got to say it again!), and it isn't a typical place tourists visit as it's overshadowed by more popular destinations such as Bordeaux and Montpellier. For anyone visiting this part of the country I'd recommend spending at least a couple of days, especially if you're after a city break without the bustle of a bigger city.
Toulouse is also known as La Ville Rose ('The Pink City') due to many of it's buildings having been made with terra-cotta bricks, giving it a unique charm. There's also the heritage listed 17th century canal (Canal du Midi) that links the Garonne River to the Mediterranean. And one fact you may not expect from this city is that it's the centre of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus and the SPOT satellite system, and the home of Europes largest space centre, CNES.
It really has a little bit of something for everyone; stunning 17th century buildings, small cobblestone laneways, pink buildings, summertime drinks sat near the river, a SPACE MUSEUM, a flat city (perfect for romantic bike rides) and even a Japanese garden. Hope anyone reading this will be inspired to visit, even if en route to another destination. Oh and did I mention the Air Bnb I stayed in was a 17th century loft apartment. Tres Cool!
I feel like I've talked enough already, so I'll leave this in dot points.
Day 1 - Walking
- Capitole * - The main square
- Capitolium Town Hall *
- Japanese Gardens *
- Basilique St-Sernin * - Romanesque Church
- Couvent des Jacobins * - Church with a lovely courtyard in the middle
- Wine & cheese for dinner
Day 2 - Hire a city bike
- Canal du Midi *
- Jardin Raymond IV * - A smaller garden on the River Garonne
- Chateau d'eau ** - Photography Museum
- More wine & cheese
- Prairie des Filtres * - Large garden along the River Garonne
- Pont Neuf * - Bridge connecting the old quarter to the Place St-Cyprien
- Cassoulet - Toulouse's famous dish
Day 3 - Hired a bike again :)
- Cite de l'espace ** - Space Museum and one of the greatest museums I've visited, EVER! Geeked out!
* Free entry
** Must pay a fee to enter