La Ville Rose (the Pink City) surprises us.

Although it’s France’s fourth largest town, (see below for numbers 1-3*) Toulouse was just a place to pass through on our way to hike in the lovely Languedoc. It was an afterthought for me to book an extra night there.

We soon wished we’d made it longer. It’s not a big place, but a day and a half wasn’t enough to do everything in a relaxed, Toulousian manner.     
1.Church and Convent Les Jacobins.

The beautiful courtyard of the Dominican cloister is open to the public. The remains of St Thomas Aquinas are interred in the church. Entry €4. See

Les Jacobins

Couvent les Jacobins. Colonnades and box hedges, frescoes and stained glass.

2.Fondation Bemberg museum.
An extraordinary private collection of Renaissance and French modern art, notably 30 works by Pierre Bonnard, housed in a Renaissance-style mansion. Entry €8. See

Fondation Bemberg

Fondation Bemberg. No photos inside, s’il vous plait, but the outside is lovely too.

3. Les Abbatoirs. The converted slaughterhouse is now Toulouse’s modern art museum. Changing temporary exhibitions, with Fernand Léger mosaics part of the permanent collection. Entry €7. See

Les Abbatoirs, Toulouse

Fernand Leger at Les Abbatoirs.

4. La Garonne.
Stroll or cycle along the paths beside the Garonne River, joining the students and families lounging on the grass. Toulouse has a public bike system; cheap, easy and ideal for short trips around its quiet streets.

By the Garonne

Joggers, dog walkers and bikes by the Garonne.

5. Eat at l’Entrecôte. There’s always a queue outside this restaurant, but it moves fast. There is no menu. Every customer is issued with a plate of chips and salad and the only choice is whether your entrecôte (steak) is well done, medium or rare. Excellent value at €15 fixed price. See


L’Entrecote. No, it’s not really sepia, it’s just that I messed up the white balance setting on the camera..

And apart from the more obvious tourist attractions, we could happily have spent more time strolling the streets and squares of the handsome town. We’ll have to come back – bientot!

Capitole, Toulouse

Place de la Capitole, Toulouse.

(*Quiz answer 1. Paris, 2. Marseilles, 3. Lyon. 4.Toulouse – with a population of about 433,000 .)


Filed under France


  1. Thanks for the tips Richard, except for the airport I have never been to Toulouse.

  2. I spent some time last year just north in the Dordogne and Lot River regions. I would love to spend a bit longer down there and now I want to venture to Toulouse as well. Enjoyed your Languedoc hiking story recently. regards Pete

    • Less edgy than Marseilles, and much less busy than Paris or Nice, Pete. The Dordogne is lovely too of course – we drove through it last year, and wished we’d spent more time there.

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