Top French Cities - Toulouse at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Toulouse Tourist Office at

City region: Occitanie

Population & what they are called: 466,297 inhabitants (2014 census), called Toulousain

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 6 h 30 min (420 miles) via the A20 autoroute l'Occitane

  • by train: about 4 h 10 min by TGV from the Gare Montparnasse

  • by plane: about 1 h 20 min to the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Abdelilah Chouari, breakdancer world champion

  • Claude Nougaro, singer

  • Bernard Werber, writer

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Toulouse is nicknamed La Ville Rose (The Pink City) due to the red-brick façades seen all across town.

  • The 38 stations of Toulouse’s metro system are unique in that they all house works of contemporary art.

Notable sites:

  • Capitole – the 18th-century home of the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), Théâtre du Capitole (opera house) and the Salle des Illustres (a display hall of 19th-century masterpieces by local artists)

  • Basilique Saint-Sernin – the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, containing the most beautiful pipe organ in the country

  • Couvent des Jacobins – a significant monastic building and the city's red brick jewel of Meridional Gothic architecture

Top annual events:

  • Festival Tangopostale – tango and Argentinian culture take over the city with performances, concerts, workshops and numerous cultural events (

  • Rio Loco – a lively open-air festival combining world music, visual arts, cinema and international cuisine (

  • Siestes Electroniques – free festival of electronic music in an open-air garden (

Most notable museums:

  • Cité de l'Espace – a unique museum and park centered around space exploration (

  • Musée des Augustins (Musée des Beaux-Arts) – France's second oldest museum, with a large collection of European paintings (

  • Les Abattoirs (Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain) – a modern art museum built into the area's old slaughterhouse (

Culinary specialties:

  • saucisse de Toulouse – a special sausage composed of diced pork with no additives or preservatives

  • cassoulet toulousain – a slow-cooked stew of white haricot beans, duck confit and saucisse de Toulouse, served in a traditional earthenware pot

  • garbure – a hearty and thick peasant soup of cabbage, pork and a mix of other ingredients

Local wines & spirits:

  • wines of the Southwest – over 300 grape varieties, 14 named geographical areas and 29 protected appellations all regrouped as “vins du Sud-Ouest,” including the Candie estate within Toulouse and the nearby Fronton vineyard

  • crème de violette – a liqueur with taste and color of violet blossoms


  • Quartier de la Daurade – the best place for vintage and second-hand shops

  • Marché Victor Hugo – the biggest covered market, with restaurants on the first floor

  • Quartier Saint-Etienne – antique shops fill the little streets of neighborhood around the Saint-Étienne Cathedral

Most popular night spots:

  • Quartier des Carmes – one of the most active and dynamic neighborhood, with a vibrant range of popular bars and tapas restaurants

  • Place Saint-Pierre – a main nightlife area with many bars full of students

  • Rue Gabriel-Peri (near Jean-Jaurès Metro) – a good cluster of nightclubs, concert halls and bars

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Canal du Midi – crowds of walkers, cyclists and rollerbladers take move along its banks every day

  • Garonne riverbank – a great place to observe the city skyline or step into a floating guinguette for a bite to eat in summer

  • Jardin des Plantes – a 200-year-old sculpture garden for people in search of nature

Local industries:

  • aerospace industry – home to one of the world’s largest aeronautics manufacturers, Airbus, as well as the Galileo positioning system, the SPOT satellite system, the Aerospace Valley and more

In Pop Culture:

  • The Musketeer (D’Artagnan) – the 2001 film by Peter Hyams with Catherine Deneuve, shot in the Salle des Illustres of the Capitole

  • Lemming – the 2005 movie by Dominik Moll about love and betrayal

  • The Frozen Dead (Glacé), by Bernard Minier – a thriller novel, the first of the series involving Commandant Martin Servaz, a Toulouse city cop

Major 2018 development:

  • European City of Science – for the first time, a French city has been chosen as a European City of Science and is preparing, among other things, a free Science in the City Festival open to anyone curious


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency
New York, 10022
United States