Planning a trip to Toulouse? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
Your stay in Toulouse naturally begins with a visit of the Place du Capitole. As emblematic as it is centrally-located, this square in Toulouse’s historic centre showcases the city’s ostentatious side through the Capitol itself. Behind its 18th century neoclassical facade you will find a building with medieval foundations that is today home to the city hall and a theatre. Before heading back out to the esplanade, take a moment to admire the academic frescos in the Salle des Illustres. Finish your relaxing morning sitting on a café terrace under the Toulouse sun. As you enjoy the first lunch of your stay in Toulouse on a restaurant terrace, lose yourself in admiration of the red brick buildings lining the square to the sound of the charming accent of the locals. It’s time to sample the famous Toulouse Sausage.
After eating, head for Vieux-Toulouse, the neighbourhood between Rue de Metz and Rue Pargaminières. With the terra cotta bricks as a backdrop, discover the beating heart of this charming city by making your way to the Couvent des Jacobins. The austere architecture of this giant monument stands out against its surroundings. The relics of Saint Thomas of Aquinas are found in this cloister, which was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. Symbolising the Garden of Eden, the cloister is surrounded by four galleries and 160 small columns, creating a calm, poetic atmosphere that will bring you peace during your stay in Toulouse.
After this spiritual break, return to Place du Capitole and find the entrance to the theatre at the corner of Rue du Poids-de-l’Huile. Treat yourself to a lyrical evening in this local cultural institution’s magnificent hall. While enjoying an opera or recital, admire the decoration of this internationally-renowned venue.
For this second day of your stay in Toulouse, start in the historic centre where you will walk up the vast Rue du Taur to reach the majestic Basilica of Saint-Sernin. While gazing upon the vertical lines of France’s largest Romanesque church, you will undoubtedly also notice the red brick buildings lining this road where Saint Saturnin is supposed to be buried - the reason for the basilica’s existence. In addition to being a major stop on the Camino de Santiago, the building is also one of Toulouse’s key heritage sites. With its 65-metre-high clock tower, the basilica reveals the cultural importance of Toulouse during the Middle Ages through its luminous nave and its crypt, which was built on the foundations of an even older basilica. This building, with its many layers of history, is a strong contrast with the next stop of your stay in Toulouse: l'hôtel d’Assézat.
Found on the other side of Place du Capitole near Rue de Metz, this monument to Renaissance architecture is one of Toulouse’s bastions of classical painting, thanks to the collections of the Bemberg Foundation. Lovers of expressionist painter Bonnard will adore the second floor, which is home to some thirty paintings by the French master. But you can also stay for a moment in the court of honour, appreciating the stunningly elegant facade. Next, continue your discovery of this posh area of Toulouse by crossing Rue de Metz to discover the Saint-Etienne neighbourhood, another area punctuated with brick facades and luxury shops.
Stay in Saint-Etienne and make your way to the beautiful, green Place Saint-Georges to discover another of Toulouse’s institutions: cassoulet. Although this dish originally came from Castelnaudary, the pink city adopted and modified the recipe, which can now be found on the menu of one of the best fine-dining establishments in town: Emile.
For this last day of your stay in Toulouse, head for the Canal du Midi, one of Toulouse’s most bucolic settings. In the shade of the trees, enjoy the coolness of this body of water connecting the Garonne to the Mediterranean. You can choose between walking, cycling or drifting tranquilly along on one of the barges offering cruises. Stop by Square Boulingrin to visit the Muséum de Toulouse. In this 19th century building where science and culture meet, visitors build a bridge between nature and heritage through the museum’s many exhibits, such as the Staircase of Time, which honours animal diversity through the ages. Your stay in Toulouse becomes even more educational when you visit the famous Cité de l’Espace. This 4-hectare park dedicated to space exploration and astronomy will bring out the astronaut inside you as you admire the life-size replicas of the Mir space station and the Ariane 5 rocket.
After an enjoyable afternoon, you’ll eventually have to come back down to earth. It’s time to conclude your stay in Toulouse with an unforgettable encounter with an oval-shaped ball. More than just a sport, rugby is a tradition deeply anchored in the everyday lives of residents of Toulouse, and you simply must experience it during your stay In Toulouse. To do this, make your way to the Ernest-Wallon Stadium where the bleachers vibrate with the sounds of fans cheering on their favourite players. If you choose to watch a Toulousian match on Place du Capitole, you can even participate in the famous “third half-time”, a friendly post-match celebration.
bold;Both festive and rebellious, cultivated and working-class, Toulouse is a truly unique French city. Is it the Spanish influence that makes it so appealing? Is it its prodigious heritage that makes your whole visit here as sparkling as an evening under the lights of the Capitol? It’s up to you to decide. The answer can be found in the Couvent des Jacobins or Place Saint-Georges.