Over the last 20 years Toulouse has become technologically exceptional
With the gleaming new world of the French aerospace industry represented here in all its glory. Away from planes and rocketry, this thriving city’s distinctive red-brick neoclassical buildings have earned it the nickname La Ville Rose... come to the city and you’ll experience a mix of the truly ancient and the unashamedly modern.
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Most of Toulouse’s key shops and arcades are located on the roads leading off and around Place du Capitole, with Rue Saint-Rome, Rue du Taur and Rue de la Pomme between them offering everything from top-tier designer labels to independent boutiques. Street markets are also plentiful, with excellent options including the Sunday morning Marché Saint Aubin (Place Saint-Aubin), where you’ll find clothes, food, live music and more. For fresh produce, meanwhile, the large, covered Marché Victor Hugo (Place Victor Hugo) is a great spot to pick up cheese, wine and local delicacies.
Food & Drink
The Midi-Pyrenées area of France is renowned for its hearty, flavoursome fare, as well as more singular delicacies such as foie gras. An enjoyable choice for a meal out in Toulouse is Le Bon Vivre (15 bis place Wilson), popular with locals and home to a particularly good cassoulet (meaty bean casserole). Also close to the town centre is the trendy Le Télégramme (1 rue Gabriel Péri), set in a former printing house. For a lively drinking spot, head to De Danu (9 rue du Pont Guilhemery), an atmospheric sports pub where you can tap into the city’s abiding passion for rugby.
Festival International CDC
A celebration of international dance cultures, this week-long festival hosts performers from across Europe and further afield. The evening shows themselves are held in various theatres and dramatic venues across Toulouse.
Festival International de Théâtre d'Enfants et de Jeunes
Drawing troupes of young actors from the ages of seven to 21 years old, this inspiring theatre festival takes place over five days and includes guest performers from all corners of the world. The cosmopolitan nature of the event means the plays are in various languages.
Les Siestes Électroniques
A magnet for serious fans of electronic music, this beat-heavy festival involves a number of free open-air concerts on the banks of the wide Garonne River. There are also club nights, workshops and related exhibitions.
Festival Toulouse d’Été
This lively summer shindig gives a home to a broad roster of different musical styles, from jazz and rock to world music and electronica. Many performances take place outside, although Toulouse’s historical buildings are often used too.
Marché de Noël
The sizeable expanse of Place du Capitole lends itself brilliantly to the city’s annual Christmas Market, with a huge variety of stalls selling everything from seasonal snacks to festive souvenirs and local handicrafts.
Toulouse is known as ‘La Ville Rose’ (Pink City) thanks to the distinctive hue of its architecture, which makes the historic core a handsome visitor destination. If you want to be right in the heart of it, the refined Grand Hôtel de l’Opéra (1 place du Capitole) sits on the city’s impressive main square, while options just a short walk away include the more modest Hôtel de France (5 rue d’Austerlitz) and the smart Mercure Toulouse Wilson (7 rue Labéda). Heading out of town, the Résidence de Diane (3 route de Saint-Simon) is a good base for exploring the wider region.