City breaks to Toulouse bring out a blush-coloured skyline, plus an old town that boasts pretty churches and ornate squares.

City breaks to Toulouse

Toulouse has a got a bit of a familiar feel about it. The bustling square of Capitole de Toulouse is giving Madrid and St Petersburg vibes, with views of the pink-stone Grand Palace and cafés lining its edges. There’s even a Japanese garden in the middle of the Compans-Caffarelli park, complete with a tea pavilion and a lake full of carp, turtles and frogs. And the city’s a stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, with the Basilica of Saint Sernin – part of one of its earliest routes – now considered one of the greatest churches in France and Toulouse’s second UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Ville Rose

This is a city that seems to change colour as the day goes by – the rooftops shift in different lights from sunset orange to rosy pink. That’s where its nickname, La Ville Rose – the Pink City – came from. Its biggest draw is the mazy old quarter, which has Romanesque basilicas, archaeological museums, and the restaurant-laden Capitole neighbourhood up its sleeve. Riverside walks are easy to come by, thanks to the Garonne River scoring a squiggly line through the city centre.

The gorgeous Garonne

Where the Vieux Quartier, or old quarter, ends, you’ll reach the waterway that runs through the centre of Toulouse. The Garonne River is partnered with a scenic walking route, the Promenade Henri Martin, which runs alongside it for a good distance. If you walk from south to north, you’ll eventually reach Pont-Neuf – this 17th-century bridge is an iconic photo spot thanks to its stone arches.

At a Glance

  • Stroll along the UNESCO-ranked Canal du Midi
  • Spot Neoclassical architecture in the Capitole area
  • Unwind in Prairie des Filtres park