Toulouse, the capital of Occitanie, is one of the most vibrant cities in the South of France. Beautiful architecture, amazing gastronomy, and chic boutiques are only some of the marvels this city has to offer. If you’re visiting the pink city for the first time and wondering where are the best areas to stay in Toulouse, keep reading!
First, if it’s your first time in Toulouse, I recommend you read my detailed guide to a weekend in Toulouse.
In this article, you’ll learn where most of the landmarks are located, where the hipsters of Toulouse roam, and where you should stay with kids. Whether you’re going on a luxury vacation or traveling on a budget, this district guide to Toulouse will help you choose the right neighborhood for you. I also added recommended hotels and apartments in every district of Toulouse.
Generally speaking, the center of Toulouse includes the Capitole du Toulouse and the Carmes districts, both of which are described in detail in this article.
Accommodation is not very expensive in Toulouse so even in the most central parts of the city, you can find good hotels at affordable prices. However, if your budget is limited or you’re looking for a calm neighborhood, there are a lot of good options for you on this list.
If Bordeaux is also on your route, check out my article about the best districts of Bordeaux.
Now let’s dive into the best districts in Toulouse!
The most Central Areas to stay in Toulouse
Capitole de Toulouse, le Quartier Bourse-Daurade and Saint George
Capitole de Toulouse is the most central part of Toulouse. In this article, I’m going to include both le quartier Bourse Daurade and the Saint George neighborhood in what I call the Capitole du Toulouse as they are very close to the center.
The district is bounded by the Garonne river to the west, rue de Metz from the south, the boulevards from the east, and the Saint Sernin Basilica from the north. If you want to stay within a walking distance from the most emblematic monuments of Toulouse, this is your district. Here’s a partial list of the places you’ll encounter on your stroll in Capitole de Toulouse: Place du Capitole, Couvent des Jacobins, Musee des Augustins, Hotel d’Assezat, and more.
It’s quite a big neighborhood, so to get you familiar with it, I’m going to talk about its highlights and what you should expect to find there. You can also read about it in more detail in my article about a weekend in Toulouse.
The center of the old part of Toulouse is Place du Capitole where the city hall of Toulouse is located.
The square and the streets around it are brimming with restaurants and fancy hotels. Countless events, fairs, and food markets are taking place on this stunning square throughout the year.
Toulouse is laid around two main axes, both crossing the Capitole district. To the south, you’ll find rue de Metz, which is leading to the Pont Neuf. The second axe is rue d’Alsace Lorraine, the main shopping street of Toulouse. This spectacular pedestrian street is home to some of the most impressive Haussmann buildings in Toulouse.
While the big streets of Toulouse are beautiful, I have a strong preference for the smaller streets adorning the red/pink brick houses which the pink city is famous for.
Some of my favorite streets in the Capitole du Toulouse district are Rue Peyrolières, rue Saint Rome, rue des arts, and rue de Taur. Other places not to miss in central Toulouse are the lively Place Saint George and the main market of Toulouse. Marche Victor Hugo is a Toulousian gastronomic institution and is a must-visit for anyone interested in food.
Now let’s talk hotels!
Recommended hotels and apartments in the Capitole de Toulouse district
Capitole du Toulouse is where the fanciest and most luxurious hotels are located but you can also find a lot of cute boutique hotels hiding on its scenic streets.
If you have the budget and want to stay in the most central part of Toulouse, you’d probably enjoy the Grand Balcon Hotel, which is located just next to Place du Capitole – book it here.
If you prefer staying in an apartment, there are quite a lot of good options around the square, like this little studio apartment on rue d’Alsace Lorraine or this spacious apartment located closer to the river.
*Important note- most hotels here won’t have parking. There are quite a few paid parking lots in the city and you should count around 20-25 euros per day for that.
The Carmes neighborhood – the hipster district of Toulouse
Let’s now continue to my favorite part of Toulouse, the Carmes, and Saint Etienne neighborhoods.
The Carmes district is the southern part of the center of Toulouse. Bounded by rue de Metz from the north, Allee Jules Guesde from the south, Alles Francois Verdier from the east, and the Garonne river from the west.
What makes Carmes so unique is the perfect combination of young energy and old beautiful architecture. This is the official hipster mecca of Toulouse and the numerous bearded baristas and bartenders are a testament to that.
The neighborhood is home to some of the more charming streets in Toulouse, all connected with tiny squares filled with terrace restaurants. On almost every street you’ll find beautiful patisseries, chic boutiques, and specialty coffee shops.
The center of the neighborhood is Marche des Carmes, one of the best markets in Toulouse. If you’re taking an apartment in this part of town, this would be the market you’ll buy your food from.
The eastern part of the neighborhood is called Saint Ettiene after the Saint Ettiene Cathedral, which is one of the most beautiful monuments in Toulouse. In this part of the neighborhood, you’ll find a lot of art galleries and home design shops. It’s also the more luxurious part of the Carmes district, with fancy fashion boutiques like Louis Vuitton and others.
Some of the streets you shouldn’t miss in The Cames neighborhood are rue Pharaon, rue des Filatiers rue, Ozenne, Place Mage, rue Croix Baragnon and rue Perchepinte.
Recommended hotels and apartments in the Carmes district
There are fewer hotels in the Carmes neighborhood than in the Capitole district, but that’s the perfect district to find a fun apartment.
If you’re a couple, check out this cute apartment located in an 18th-Century building in the center of Les Carmes. If you’re a bigger group, don’t miss this amazing 142 m² apartment with 3 bedrooms. The apartment is located on Place de la Trinité, which is just a few minutes’ walk from the Capitole district. Book it here.
Jeanne d’Arc and Jean Jaures
The Jeanne d’Arc district is located between the Capitole du Toulouse and the main train station, Toulouse-Matabiau. The only thing separating it from the center of Toulouse are the boulevards, so you can walk everywhere from there.
Jeanne d’Arc is part of the big Mouatabiau district, which I don’t recommend as a whole. However, the areas that are closer to the city center are pretty fun and have a great selection of hotels.
I’ll thus focus on the Jeanne d’Arc neighborhood, and especially Place Jeanne d’Arc, rue de Bayard, and Jean Jaures.
First and foremost, this is a beautiful neighborhood with impressive buildings and a variety of French and world cuisine restaurants. There are several advantages to staying here on your trip to Toulouse.
In case you want to do day trips from Toulouse, you’re a few minutes away from the station. As a result of its proximity to the main station, there’s quite an impressive selection of hotels here, usually better priced than the ones you’d have in the city center.
Also, as previously mentioned, most hotels in the city center don’t offer parking places, in Jeanne d’Arc, it will be much easier to find a hotel with a dedicated parking spot.
Another convenience of staying here is the Marché Cristal, a daily market taking place on the boulevards (from Place Jeanne-d’Arc to Arnaud-Bernard). It’s one of the biggest and most affordable markets in Toulouse and is a great option for those looking to cook during their stay.
Last but not least is the proximity to the nightlife center of Toulouse. Jean Jaures is where the best clubs and dance bars of Toulouse are located, so if that’s something you’re looking for on your trip, you’ll have fun here.
Recommended hotels and apartments in Jeanne d’Arc and Jean Jaures
If you’re looking for something funky and young, check out Mama Shelter Toulouse. Located in an old theatre, the funky-designed hotel offers a cinema, a restaurant, and a rooftop with the most gorgeous view. Book it here.
If you’re looking for a calmer experience you should check out the cute family-owned Hôtel Héliot.
Saint Aubin and Dupuy District – Locals’ hidden gem
Saint Aubin (and Dupuy) is a cute and very local district, centered around Eglise Saint Aubin. The neighborhood is located within a 10 minutes walk from the center of Toulouse and yet you won’t encounter many tourists here. Instead, you’ll find plenty of local cafes, boulangeries, butchers, and beautiful cheese shops where the neighborhood’s locals shop.
Every Sunday morning the Saint Aubin market is taking place around the church. It’s a huge weekly market where you can find the best gastronomic treats this city has to offer. Apart from food, the market also has a great variety of craftsmen, florists, and antique sellers. Many musicians and music bands come to play here every Sunday, which makes the market even more festive and fun. If you’re staying in Toulouse on Sunday, this market should not be missed.
How to get there: Saint Aubin is very close to the city center so you can just walk, but if you really need to use public transport, tram line A is within a few minutes walk.
Recommended hotels and apartments in Saint Aubin
If you’d rather stay in an apartment, here’s a great option. This chic 2 bedroom apartment is located within a few minutes walk from the Saint Aubin church and has an amazing kitchen for foodies who love cooking. Book it here.
Less expensive districts in Toulouse – around the city center
So far in this article, I’ve been talking about neighborhoods in the center of Toulouse. We’re now moving to other districts in Toulouse, located a bit farther away from the city center, but with more attractive prices.
You can walk from all these districts to the center of Toulouse (30 min max). But all of them are well connected to the city center by public transport, in case you need it.
Compans – Caffarelli
Compans – Caffarelli is a busy neighborhood located to the northwest of the center of Toulouse. The district is home to a few university campuses and other high education institutions. The neighborhood is also home to the congress center of Toulouse the reason why there are quite a lot of good business hotels in this area of town.
From a tourist perspective, this district is mostly known for the Compans Caffarelli gardens where the stunning Jardin Japonais is nestled.
If you love cycling, the district borders le Canal du Midi, which you can follow for a beautiful ride outside of the city. Another cool part of this neighborhood is Canal de Brienne, which is heaven for early jogging or dog walking.
In the center of the neighborhood, you’ll find an underground shopping center. It’s rather small but has all the shops you need.
All in all, it’s not the most central place in the city, but there are advantages to staying there if you want to run in the morning or if you have a conference in this part of town. The neighborhood is located within a 20 minutes walk from the center, or a few minutes on the Metro (line B)
It’s located about 10 minutes drive from the airport.
Recommended hotels and apartments in Compans – Caffarelli
The best hotel to stay in Compans Caffarelli is the Social Hub Toulouse. A fun hotel with spacious rooms and a very cool design. Book your room here.
Saint Cyprien – the other side of the river
Saint Cyprien is located on the western side of the Garonne river, between Pont Saint Michel to the south and Pont de Catalan to the northwest.
As a rule of thumb, the east side of the river is the better side to choose when staying in Toulouse. Nevertheless, Saint Cyprien, on the western side has its undeniable charm.
Saint Cyprien is not considered a part of the city center, but there are quite a lot of things to do here nonetheless. Les Abattoirs, the contemporary art museum of Toulouse is located on this side of the river in an old slaughterhouse. Just next to Pont Neuf, you’ll find a beautiful art gallery situated in an old water tower (chateau d’Eau). The neighborhood also has a beautiful market, called Marché Couvert Saint-Cyprien.
However, the most popular destination in the Saint Cyprien district is its park, Prairie des Filtres. All year round the park attracts people who come here for sportive activities and picnics with friends. In the summer, plenty of music festivals and fun events take place here, which is the best time to stay in this part of town.
It’s a very cosmopolitan neighborhood as can be seen from the variety of restaurants in the center.
Many of the buildings in Saint Cyprien are not in their best condition and that’s why you won’t find many hotels in this district. Airbnb will probably be a better solution for those looking to stay in this neighborhood. If you’re on a budget, you can find great value for money here.
Recommended hotels and apartments in Saint Cyprien
Le Busca – the green elegant district
Le Busca is a small pleasant neighborhood located between the Canal du Midi and the big park of Toulouse, Jardin des Plantes. It’s home to the natural history museum of Toulouse, one of the best museums in the city. If you’re traveling with kids this is the perfect neighborhood for you.
Apart from the Museum de Toulouse, you have a few parks within walking distance. In le Jardin des Plantes itself, you can find a kids’ science museum, a big playground, and a beautiful terrace cafe.
If you need other recommendations for things to do in Toulouse with kids, check out my article.
Recommended hotels and apartments Le Busca
Located just a few steps from the big park of Toulouse and from the best kids’ museums in Toulouse
Here’s a perfect two bedrooms apartment for a family.
Saint Michel – the students’ district of Toulouse
Saint Michel is located just south of the chic Carmes neighborhood and thus close to the best restaurants and bars in the city. It borders the river from the west and the Busca from the east and the Saint-Agne district from the South. This is the student district of Toulouse and hence a place you can find a lot of affordable rentals.
If you’re staying in Saint Michel I highly recommend doing a walk along the Garonne river. Start your walk at Pont Saint Michel and continue north until you reach the next bridge.
You can also visit Île du Ramier, an island in the Garonne river that has a beautiful park as well as many sports facilities.
Recommended hotels and apartments in Saint Michel
Maison Anjali – a beautiful guest house with a garden that will make you feel like you’re in the countryside, rather than a big city. Book it here.
You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:
*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂