You want to spend a weekend in the pink city, a beautiful city that deserves a few days off. If you are enjoying a simple weekend or two or three days there, here are some ideas of visits and activities to discover this city!
The capitol square
One cannot consider passing through Toulouse without visiting the Capitol square, it is indeed a superb site that deserves to be visited. The capitol is a very vast space where no construction takes place. This place being reserved for pedestrians, it is very pleasant. You can admire the Occitan cross, symbol of this city.
You will enjoy spending time there to stroll quietly. It is also close to all the monuments that you must discover in Toulouse.
Visit the Capitol
The Capitole was created in the 12th century by the Capitouls who were the city councilors administering the city. Today, the city hall is located here. You will discover ceremonial rooms richly decorated by local artists and retracing the history of this town. Admire the superb painted ceilings.
The “donjon du Capitole”
This amazing tower was built during the 16th century and is located just behind the Capitol. It was the Capitouls who decided on this location and requested its construction. The objective was to preserve the documents related to the city council, that’s why it has a defensive look.
The beffroi that you are discovering dates from the 19th century and was designed by Viollet-le-Duc. Today, it is the home of the tourist office.
The basilica Saint-Sernin
This basilica is part of the monuments not to be missed in the pink city for three main reasons:
It is the largest Romanesque building in France, it is part of the Way of St. James, and finally, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was dedicated to the first archbishop of Toulouse: Sernin or Saturnin. This last one died, his head smashed on the steps of the Capitol temple.
You can visit the basilica to contemplate its treasures: the nave and its 11 bays, the crypts and the chapels. Admire also the numerous paintings and the sarcophagus of Saint Sernin.
The site of the quays of the Garonne attracts many tourists. It is indeed very pleasant to walk along the river and its quays. To enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the Garonne, go to the Place Saint-Pierre where you can admire the river, but also in the background, the Dôme de la Grave located on the other side of the quays.
To contemplate the Pont Saint-Pierre and the Pont Neuf, stroll along the quays of Lucien Lombard, Saint-Pierre and Daurade. These are the oldest bridges in the city.
If you want to dive into the heart of Toulouse’s life, take a walk in the evening, the quays are very lively. In addition, you can enjoy good food in one of the many restaurants that are located there.
The convent of the Jacobins
It is located between the Garonne and the Capitole square and is also worth a visit. It was built in 1229 and it is one of the buildings that earned this city its nickname of “ville rose”. It was indeed built with pink bricks and it is classified today as a historical monument.
Don’t hesitate to go inside to discover some sites like the Jacobins church and its beautiful stone columns, evoking palm trees. The cloister is perfect for a moment of calm and you will also see the famous relics of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
The Saint-Antonin chapel, the refectory dating from the medieval period and the chapter house are also beautiful discoveries. As for the chapel of the Virgin, it still shelters the rich clothes, dressing the processionaries.
The street of TAUR
This street is named in this way because it is directly linked to the bull. Indeed, this animal has played a real role in the history of this city.
This street ensures the connection between several important historical monuments, it is located between the place du Capitole and the Saint-Sernin basilica. Located in a very dynamic district, it is a busy and animated street.
The visit of the ghost of Saint-Exupéry !
Once on the Place du Capitole, look at the Grand Balcon hotel which is classified as a historical monument. It is in fact the place where the pilots of the Saint-Exupéry airmail came to live before taking off from the Montaudran runway.
The owner of the establishment had the mission to watch over them. Rumor has it that the pilots used to carry the women they brought back to the hotel on their shoulders so that the latter would not hear their footsteps on the stairs.
The Jardin des Plantes and its surroundings
The Jardin des Plantes is the green lung of the city and hosts a wide variety of plant species. It was created during the French Revolution. You will be delighted by a nice walk in the heart of this green park with your children who will discover playgrounds and a merry-go-round.
You can ride your bike, as you can rent one on site. Then use the footbridge system to take a stroll in two other gardens: the royal garden and the Grand Rond garden. In the first one, you will discover rare and remarkable trees.
Once you have done the tour of the park, take the opportunity to visit the Museum of Natural History which is located nearby. It used to be a botanical garden.
If you still have some time, take the Pont-Neuf to contemplate the dome of the Saint-Joseph de la Gravepour chapel. You will then reach the Patte d’oie district, the horseshoe and the arena.
La Daurade does not bear this name by chance, it is indeed an old port which is linked to the architecture of this city. Sand fishermen used to bring in sand, a material used as a basis for cement and bricks. These bricks were used to build the main buildings of Toulouse.
Today it is a lively and pleasant place. Sit on the bank and contemplate the city.
The Saint-Etienne cathedral
This building is distinguished by its unique style! It presents itself as an architectural patchwork, witnessing the constructions, destructions and reconstructions over the centuries.
But it is when you enter that you are faced with a big surprise with a nave that is not aligned with the choir. This is where the body of Pierre-Paul Riquet, who built the Canal du Midi, rests.