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Toulouse, known as the “Pink City,” exudes vibrancy and energy, making it one of the liveliest destinations in southwest France. Located between beaches, mountains, and the magical Dordogne valley, Toulouse is a perfect destination for anyone visiting the Southwest of France.

Toulouse is considered a big city by French standards, but its center is actually rather small. That means that you can cover most of its beautiful squares and monuments in one day. You can get a great feel for the city and enjoy the architecture, the local food scene, some history, and the nightlife all in a day’s work! This article will guide you through a day in this fantastic city, so you can follow it step-by-step.

What to do in one day in Toulouse 

Start your day with amazing coffee

To keep up with our 24-hour itinerary in the Pink City, you’ll need a good dose of caffeine to start the day. Luckily, there’s no shortage of specialty coffee shops in the center. So many, in fact, that I’ve got a whole article dedicated just to the hottest coffee spots in Toulouse. 

Some of my favorites are Allegory Coffee Bar near Place du Capitol, Le Café Cerise on the Garonne river banks, Canopée Coffee House and and La Belle Brune in the hipster Carmes neighborhood.

La Belle Brune - coffee shop in Toulouse
La Belle Brune – by Lost in Bordeaux

Take a tour of the old city 

If you’re in Toulouse only for a day, you might want to consider taking a guided tour. A tour can help you prioritize the most important sights and take you to great local food and drink spots without any research or effort on your side – it’s a great idea if you have limited time and want to get the feel of the city in a day! The great thing is that Toulouse offers plenty of different tours to make your visit entertaining. 

Check out this cycling tour if you enjoy riding a bike – it’s especially fun when the weather is good. They take you around Toulouse and you’ll stop off at 10 must-see spots.

If you’re not so into cycling, this tuk-tuk tour could be a fun option for you. You’ll be moving along the streets in the open air but someone else will be navigating while you just sit and look at the sights! The electric tuk-tuk is quiet and comfortable and the perfect vantage point for the wide variety of tourist attractions. The best part? They stop so you can take pictures!

L'hôtel d'Assézat in Toulouse - one of the landmarks of Toulouse
L’hôtel d’Assézat – one of Toulouse’s landmarks

Perhaps you prefer walking and taking your time exploring winding streets in the historical districts. If that’s the case, I have two great walking tours for you where you’ll get to stroll around the city with fellow tourists who love to roam on foot. This tour is great if you want to be in a group and this tour is for private bookings.

Check out my article dedicated to the best tours in Toulouse for all the other options Toulouse has to offer when it comes to tours. If you would rather discover the pink city on your own, here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Toulouse.

Place du Capitole 

Start your day at the most famous landmark in Toulouse, Place du Capitol. Named after the Capitole building, the square is widely considered as one of the most beautiful in all of France. Place du Capitol is home to the Townhall of Toulouse and the Capitole Theater. 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, among them the main Christmas market of Toulouse

Place du Capitole in Toulouse

Don’t miss the beautiful ceiling paintings of the Galerue des Arcades, commissioned in 1997 by the Maire of Toulouse, who wanted to modernize the square, and painted by renowned artist Raymond Moretti.

Visit the ceremonial chambers and their murals

The Capitole building is home to the Salle des Illustres, a beautiful room representing the Toulouse School of Art of the 19th century. Henri Martin, Jean-Paul Laurens, and Paul Gervais are only a few of the famous painters who have contributed to the works of art you’ll find there.  Floor-to-ceiling murals, sculptures, and paintings come perfectly together to manifest the greatness of Toulouse.
It’s probably the best art museum in town!

The Capitole is open for visits every day (unless they’re hosting a ceremony) – you can see their opening hours here. Entry is free.

Discover the center of Toulouse and its lively streets

Walking around the city center and discovering the charming streets, cute cafés, and historical architecture is a great way to work up an appetite before lunch. 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.

If you want to do some shopping and admire beautiful architecture at the same time, head to rue d’Alsace Lorraine. This spectacular shopping street is for pedestrians only and 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. 

The center of Toulouse to visit in one day
The streets of Toulouse by Lost in Bordeaux

Marche Victor Hugo is a Toulousian gastronomic institution and is a must-visit for anyone interested in food, but we’ll talk about it later.

Have lunch at the central market of Toulouse

France is known for its gastronomy and how food is woven into culture, tradition, history, and daily life. When visiting a new city, visit the central market. It’s usually the beating heart of the city; the gastronomic epicenter where you can discover all the local specialties and where local chefs come to get inspiration and ingredients for their daily menu. That’s exactly the case in Toulouse.

Marché Victor Hugo is the biggest and most important market in Toulouse. It’s the best place to try some local tapas and delicacies that Toulouse is famous for, like the Saucisse de Toulouse and the Pavé Toulousain cheese.

The ground floor of the market is always bustling with people doing their weekly shopping, while the second floor is where the restaurants are. On weekends it’s packed with families coming for lunch. Make sure to be there early to book a table!

Food tour in Marché Victor Hugo
Taste of Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you’re a foodie, I highly recommend taking a tour of the market. The best one in English is offered by Jessica. She organizes small group tours where you get to discover and taste some of the specialties of Toulouse and hear the stories behind them. The tour is very popular, so be sure to book in advance. Here’s a link to book her tour.

Discover more amazing markets in my article about the best markets in Toulouse.

Time for some heritage 

Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse
If you’re planning on taking a tour of Toulouse, you will surely pass by the Saint Sernin Basilica. But if you’re discovering Toulouse on your own, take a few minutes to walk from the market to visit what is considered the most important religious landmark of Toulouse.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and built in the 11th century, Saint Sernin is the biggest Romanesque basilica in Europe and a beautiful visit whether you’re religious or just want to discover the stunning architecture.

Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse
Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

Couvent des Jacobins 
Le Couvent des Jacobins is a Dominican monastery of the Order of Preachers that was built in the 13th century. The Dominicans played an important role in creating the first university of Toulouse and were considered great educators. Today, Toulouse is home to one of the oldest universities in France.

The remarkable building with its high columns and colorful stained glass windows will leave you in awe. Its most famous feature is the stone “palm trees” on the ceiling. It is a French Gothic masterpiece that should not be missed.

Port de la Daurade

Situated along the waterfront, Port de la Daurade is a very popular place for visitors and locals alike. You can go there for a drink when it’s hot and enjoy the views of the Garonne River from the terrace of a waterfront café. It’s a perfect place for a little rest or a walk – nothing beats being next to the water! You can also take a cruise on the Garonne River, which is a great way to take in the city’s sights from a unique angle.

the stairs of Place Saint Pierre - riverfront in Toulouse
The stairs of Place Saint Pierre – by Lost in Bordeaux

Take a walk on the promenade  

Stroll along the waterfront until you get to Pont Neuf and then enter the Carmes neighborhood – the cool, hipster area where you’ll run into loads of locals.

Discover the hipster part of Toulouse – the Carmes neighborhood 

My personal favorite part of Toulouse, the Carmes district is a beautiful blend of young energy and old architecture – with great coffee and food spots sprinkled throughout. 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. Some of my favorites are Entremets, Pêché Mignon, Les Douceurs d’Irma, and Maison Pillon. 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.

Where to stay in Toulouse - Les Carmes
Les Carmes – by Lost in Bordeaux

Taste regional specialties for dinner

Cassoulet, slow-cooked stew, most frequently made with duck and pork sausages, originated in this area and is famous all around France. Some of the best restaurants to eat cassoulet are Au Gascon or Le Bibent. Other great restaurants with a bit of more modern cuisine inlude Emmit’s, Contre-Pied, and Tempête Bar Restaurant. 

Go out for a drink 

End your day in Toulouse on a high note with post-dinner drinks. On warmer days the city will be buzzing with students, workers, and tourists enjoying drinks in the night air. If you want to try local wines, head to either Le 5 wine bar, L’Alimentation Bar à Vin, or Maison Sarment. 

If you’re visiting in the summer, the Mama Shelter rooftop is a really fun place to finish your day with great views over the city. And my favorite place is the secret cocktail bar – L’agence. But you didn’t hear it from me! 😉

L’agence cocktail  bar in Toulouse
L’agence cocktail bar in Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

If you find yourself falling in love with Toulouse and want to stay longer or come back for another visit, check out my detailed guide to an entire weekend in Toulouse. You also don’t want to miss my guide to the best districts in Toulouse, which should help you to find the best hotel/apartment for the weekend. Also check out my articles about the best tours in Toulouse, day trips from Toulouse, and the best festivals taking place in Toulouse, to see if anything’s up during your visit.

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*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!

Toulouse, the capital of Occitanie, is one of the liveliest destinations in the Southwest of France. I’ve got a detailed guide to a weekend in this wonderful city that you can’t miss if you’re visiting – check it out here!

But if you have more than a weekend to spend in the pink city, take the opportunity to discover the extraordinary heritage of Occitanie, a region nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenées mountains near the Spanish border. I can go on and on about places to visit around Toulouse but I’m sure many of you will visit the city without a car, so I decided to create a list of the best day trips from Toulouse to do by train.

A map of all the trains from Toulouse
Credit SNCF

Where can I go by train from Toulouse, you ask? 

Here are my top 10 ideas for day trips from Toulouse reachable by public transport.

Carcassonne – A stunning medieval town

A train journey from Toulouse: between 45 minutes and 1 hour – See tickets here.

The medieval town of Carcassonne is one of France’s magical gems that one can’t ignore when visiting the Southwest. This old citadel is located on the right bank of the Aude River. Early signs of civilizations date back 2500 years, it’s said to be one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world. 

Access to the citadel is free and you can take the whole day to stroll the narrow medieval streets. It’s considered one of the best day trips from Toulouse for both adults and kids. You can also take a guided tour to discover Carcassonne in a fun way. Led by a guide in a medieval costume, the tour is a living story of Carcassonne in the 13th century. The tour is for adults and kids over 5yo. See all the details here

the citadel of Carcassonne
Carcassonne – Lost in Bordeaux

You do need to purchase tickets if you want to visit the castle and the ramparts, you can buy them online. The place tends to get busy in the summer so be sure to book the tickets ahead. If you’re coming as a group, consider taking a guided tour to make things easier!

If you don’t want the hassle of going there by train, you can also take an organized tour from the center of Toulouse. The price also includes an entry ticket to the chateau so really worth the price. Book your trip here

Albi – Visit the biggest brick cathedral in the world 

A train journey from Toulouse: 1 hour – buy train tickets here.

Another must-see town on a day trip from Toulouse is the city of Albi, home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010. Nicknamed “La RougeI” or “The Red” because of the red bricks used in much of Albi’s architecture, it’s the perfect distance for a quick day trip from Toulouse by train.

You can’t miss the Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile as part of the cité épiscopale d’Albi, the very well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 13th century. Famous artist Toulouse Lautrec was born here and the city has the biggest collection of his works in the Toulouse Lautrec museum, another must-see stop on your visit to Albi.

Day trip from Bordeaux to Albi
Albi – Lost in Bordeaux

Talking the train from Toulouse to Albi is fairly easy but even easier is joining the CityTour Toulouse day trip. The bus takes you from the center of Toulouse to the center of Albi for the whole day. You can book your visit here. If you don’t have a car you can also take a private tour from Toulouse that includes both Albi and the stunning Cordes Sur Ciel, one of the most beautiful villages of France.

Personal recommendation: if you have the option, come here for a weekend and not only a day trip. It’s a chic city with plenty to see and great restaurants for foodies!

Castres

Train journey from Toulouse: 1 hour and 15 minutes – book train tickets here.

Castres, a city in Tarn to the east of Toulouse, is a hidden gem free from crowds. The architecture here is very different from the medieval towns mentioned above. Don’t miss the beautiful, colorful houses that look like they’re almost hanging over the Agout River.

Castres is home to two very interesting and famous museums. The Goya Museum, with its rich collection of Spanish artists including a few works of Goya himself, and the Centre National et Musée Jean-Jaurès, is dedicated to the life of important French politician Jean Jaurès, who was born in Castres. 

Wine tasting in Gaillac

Train journey from Toulouse: 45 minutes – see train tickets here.

If you love wine, you’re in luck! Toulouse is located just next to one of the oldest wine regions in the world, Gaillac. The city itself has a beautiful center with restaurants, cute houses, and stunning architecture, and is very pleasant for strolling around. 

Now onto the wine! If you have a car, make sure you book a visit to Château Lastours, a family-owned stunning estate that produces red, white, rose, and bubbly wines. However, even if you don’t have a car you can still enjoy fabulous Gaillac wines. Head to the chic Maison des Vins de Gaillac located in the Abbaye Saint-Michel in the center of the city. Here you’ll learn about the history of winemaking in the region and get to taste local wines.

wine tasting in Gaillac Château Lastours
Château Lastours in Gaillac – Lost in Bordeaux

Auch – the capital of Gers

Train journey from Toulouse: 1 hour and 30 minutes – Book your train tickets.

The town of Auch is the capital of Gers, a lesser-known part of the Southwest that totally deserves some attention. Auch used to be the historic capital of Gascony; it’s a very vibrant town full of history and great food! 

Auch was the birthplace of the musketeer D’Artagnan. If you’re a fan of the famous Three Musketeers, you can see his statue on the Grand Escaliers.

During your outing to Auch, be sure to visit the Cathedrale Sainte-Marie, the impressive staircase called l’Escalier Monumental with its view over the valley, Rue Dessoles, and try to catch the great market they have on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Cahors – the elegant town of deep red wine

Train journey from Toulouse: 1 hour and 10 minutes- see train tickets here.

The capital of the the Lot department, Cahors is located within an hour’s drive from famous destinations in the region like Sarlat and Rocamadour. The town is known for its regional food delicacies, such as truffles and foie gras. The best place to taste them is the market taking place every Wednesday and Saturday at Place de la Cathédrale. 

Pont Valentre in Cahors - a perfect day trip from Toulouse
Pont Valentre in Cahors – Lost in Bordeaux

I highly recommend a visit to the Pont Valentre which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another attraction in Cahors is its small secret gardens which are a gem to visit during the warmer seasons. The best way to discover the city is to follow the secret garden map!

Many people may have never visited Cahors but definitely heard of its wonderful wines. Some of Cahors wineries are located just a few minute’s drive from the city center, so be sure to leave some time for a tour and wine tasting. Here are two great wineries to visit in Cahors: Domaine Le Passelys (recommended with kids) and Domaine Rességuier. If you’re traveling by public transport, you’ll have to take a taxi to get there.

Bordeaux – the wine capital of France (and maybe even the world!) 

Train journey from Toulouse: 2 hours and 15 minutes – book your tickets to Bordeaux here.

A short train trip will take Bordeaux, a beautiful, historic, lively city full of history, fun events, food, and – of course – wine. In my opinion, Bordeaux is one of the most elegant and fun cities in all of France – and not just because I live there!

As someone who lives and writes about Bordeaux, I think you need at least a weekend to discover Bordeaux and its surrounding sights. But if all you have is one day, then a day trip to the capital of the southwest is definitely worth it! 

The beautiful town of Bordeaux
The center of Bordeaux – Lost in Bordeaux

In a day you can check out the famous indoor Capucins market, taste some delicious cannelés (local traditional pastries), cool off at the Miroir d’Eau, check out one of the state-of-the-art museums, and eat great food at one of the countless restaurants the city has to offer.

With only a day or two in Bordeaux, I’ve summed up the things you can’t miss in this article. And if you have more time, here are my top 50 things to do in Bordeaux

Moissac and Montauban 

Train journey from Toulouse: 50 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively, located on the same train line

Moissac and Montauban are two towns very close to each other situated along the Tarn River. 

Moissac is a recommended spot to visit if you are interested in history, as it’s an important stop along the famous Santiago de Compostela pilgrim route. The famous, historic abbey and cloisters in the center of the town date back to the 12th century and are renowned as some of the most beautiful in the world.

Place Nationale in Montauban - a great stop between Bordeaux and Toulosue
Place Nationale in Montauban – Lost in Bordeaux

The lively, pleasant town of Montauban is another day trip from Toulouse I really enjoyed. Head to the Place Nationale with its beautiful arches and Place Roosevelt where cute cafés, shops, and people-watching will keep you busy. Montauban is one of the oldest bastide towns in France, founded as early as the 12th century. 

Najac and its chateau

Train journey from Toulouse: 1 hour and 20 minutes – Book your tickets.

The stunning village of Najac is surrounded by lush greenery, making for a very picturesque little place when combined with the old stone architecture. In fact, Najac is on the official list of France’s most beautiful villages.

Be sure to visit the Château Royal de Najac, built in the mid-13th century. The castle is home to the tallest dungeon in all of France, measuring almost 7 meters. From the top, you can stop and take in the magnificent view of the Aveyron River and the surrounding valley.

Castelnaudary

Train journey from Toulouse: 45 minutes

Last but certainly not least is the town of Castelnaudary, known as the birthplace of cassoulet – a famous French dish in the form of a rich, slow-cooked stew with beans and various meats. It’s also an important location on the Canal du Midi – a waterway of over 240 km connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Castelnaudary is a very famous tourist route for boat trips and many French and foreigners barge down the canal each year, many of them stopping in Castelnaudary.

Take a walk along the pretty port or harbor and see the famous canal, then stop for a drink on the Place de Verdun.

A very easy day or half-day trip from Toulouse, I highly recommend Castelnaudary!

Is it your first time in Toulouse?

Use my Toulouse guides to prepare for your trip:
A guide to a weekend in Toulouse
Where to stay in Toulouse
Toulouse with kids
Events in Toulouse

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

Liked the article? Want to read it again when you’re in Toulouse? Save it on your Pinterest board.

*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 🙂 

Toulouse is a dynamic city in Southwest France, teeming with life and culture. Also known as the “pink city”, Toulouse has gained popularity among city enthusiasts, and with good reason: its architecture, rich heritage, kids’ attractions, food, and markets make it one of the most interesting cities to visit in France.

As the capital of the Occitanie region and the fourth-largest metropolis of France, Toulouse enjoys a great location nestled between the Pyrenees mountains on one hand and the Mediterranean beaches on the other. It’s only a two-hour train journey from Bordeaux, which makes it an ideal getaway for those who wish to explore the south of France.

Before planning your Toulouse adventure, check out my guide on Toulouse’s top districts before your trip. It will assist you in finding the perfect accommodation for your stay. You can also read my articles about day trips from Toulouse, and the city’s best festivals, ensuring you don’t miss any exciting events during your visit.

Take a guided tour to explore old toulouse
Old Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

In this article, I’ve rounded up the best-guided tours in Toulouse. A guided tour gives you a chance to explore the city through the eyes of the locals. Whether you like walking, cycling, or trying local food, this list should help you find the best experience to make your trip to Toulouse an unforgettable journey for you and your family. Let’s dive into the best tours in Toulouse!

Best walking and cycling tours in Toulouse

Toulouse Walking Tours

Led by Penny, a passionate Yorkshire native turned Toulouse enthusiast, “Toulouse Walking Tours” offers immersive and carefully curated guided experiences. It is a one-woman show that blends historical depth with local anecdotes. She is offering a wide selection of tours that go beyond the postcard, unveiling hidden gems and stories in the heart of Toulouse. 

Basilique St-Sernin in Toulouse
Basilique St-Sernin – by Lost in Bordeaux

The “Key Sights” tour, for example, offers a captivating journey through the city’s renowned landmarks. Delve into the rich history of Toulouse with stops at the impressive Place Capitôle, the majestic Basilique St-Sernin, and the scenic Garonne. This 2-hour stroll, spanning just over 3 km, provides not only historical insights but also local stories, making it an ideal initiation to Toulouse. 

See all tours of Toulouse Walking Tours here.

Unusual Guided Tour in the Age of Enlightenment

Embark on a unique journey through Toulouse’s Saint Etienne district, led by Madame de Cambon, a descendant of Pierre-Paul Riquet (the mastermind behind the Canal du Midi). This tour takes you back to the refined atmosphere of the 18th century. In period costume and lots of enthusiasm, Madame de Cambon shares incredible stories of Toulouse on the brink of the Revolution, offering insights into the daily life and gossip of high society. 

The adventure commences with a visit to the Saint Etienne cathedral, where the unusual architecture and the resting place of Pierre Paul Riquet are revealed. The tour then meanders through Place Saint-Etienne, where Madame de Cambon narrates tales of the former Archiepiscopal Palace and the Griffoul fountain. 

This exceptional experience which takes about 1,5 hours, offers a blend of history, storytelling, and architectural exploration, making it a must-try for those seeking a lively, theatrical kind of tour, for a deeper understanding of Toulouse’s past.

This tour is offered only in French. Book your tour here.

The essential of Toulouse by bike

Biking in Toulouse is an awesome way to discover the city. It’s mostly flat, with lots of bike paths in and around town. Locals ride bikes everywhere as it is a fast, cheap, and eco-conscious way to navigate the city, making a bike tour in Toulouse a fantastic choice!

This 3-hour Tour, offered in English, takes you through the heart of the city on comfortable bikes. You’ll meet your Le Petit Cyclo’s guide, easily identifiable in a red waistcoat. This is a local agency of bikes, passionate about making people discover the area by bike! Super friendly team and more than 10 years of experience. 

Best cycling tour in Toulouse
Cycling tour in Toulouse, credit: Le Petit Cyclo

You’ll start the journey at the iconic Saint-Etienne cathedral. As you pedal through historic squares like Place de la Trinite and Place Roger Salengro, delve into the stories that shape Toulouse. 
This tour isn’t just a ride; it’s an exploration of Toulouse’s iconic landmarks, promising a blend of fun, history, and local insights.
Book the tour here.

Harry’s Free tour

Harry is a passionate storyteller, formerly from Edinburgh who moved to Toulouse 20 years ago. His Free Tour in Toulouse is a true adventure. For a 3-hour captivating journey, he’ll take you through the city’s storied past and vibrant present.  

The tour covers key landmarks around the city, to which are attached Harry’s tales of Medieval Toulouse, the Inquisition, the Canal du Midi, the Revolution, and more. Along the way, Harry shares recommendations on the best places to eat and drink, ensuring a comprehensive Toulouse experience.

Harry’s lively storytelling style infuses humor and entertainment into the historical journey, catering to diverse interests and preferences. Whether you’re drawn to the architectural marvels, curious about local insights, or seeking a dynamic blend of history and entertainment, Harry’s tour offers a memorable exploration of Toulouse. Book a tour with Harry to delve into the melodrama of Toulouse’s history and create lasting memories in this amazing city! Book it here.

Best Food Tours Toulouse 

A food tour in Toulouse is a perfect way to explore the city through its culinary scene. With a local food-tour expert, you’ll go on a gastronomic adventure, allowing you to try the city’s food highlights. From local markets to iconic eateries and hidden gems, explore Toulouse’s vibrant food scene while hearing secret anecdotes and meeting cool people!

Market tour with a cheesemonger

This tour is all about meeting the authentic tastes and local vendors of Toulouse. Exploring the renowned Marché Victor Hugo introduces you to the world of French cheeses, bread, and wine, under the expert guidance of a passionate cheesemonger – Jessica.

As you navigate through the bustling market, you’ll discover the fascinating world of fresh and artisanal local products. During this visit, you’ll not only sample a variety of dishes but also gain a deeper understanding of the French market shopping experience. 

Food tour in Marché Victor Hugo
Taste of Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

The Marché Victor Hugo tour is a sensory delight, combining the ambiance of a traditional French market with the expertise of a cheesemonger, making it a must-try for food enthusiasts and those eager to savor the authentic flavors of Toulouse.

Jessica who runs the tours, is originally from the U.S. but a Toulousaine at heart since 2017. Passionate about making the French food experience accessible, she shares insights and tips for exploring local markets, wine, and cheese. 

As a certified French Wine Scholar and former cheesemonger, Jessica combines in her guidance her love for the city’s architecture, people, and cuisine. Her tours are fun and informative, they offer a delightful journey through the markets, vineyards, and culinary wonders of the region. 
You can book the tour here

A food tour in the Carmes neighborhood with a trained chef

Try this unique culinary journey in Toulouse with Alejandro, a skilled chef who not only guides but also cooks for you throughout this 3.5-hour small-group tour. The exploration winds through the historic neighborhoods of Carmes and Saint-Etienne, offering seven stops that intertwine tales from Toulouse’s Roman era to the Middle Ages. 

This isn’t just a typical food or historic tour—here, history is not just told but tasted. At each stop, savor traditional recipes, ingredients, and products embodying the essence of Southwestern French Cuisine. For example,  you’ll be sampling sweet bites from the town’s oldest pâtisserie and eating the charcuterie star of this region: AOP Jambon Noire de Bigorre.

If you feel like discovering history through your taste buds, this is the tour for you! Secure your spot now for this special tour right here. 

Cheese tasting on a food tour in Toulouse
Food tour in Toulouse

Best tours with kids in Toulouse 

A walking tour with little kids is an impossible mission, at least with mine. So instead of fighting them, why not make it a fun experience for the whole family? Here are a few family-friendly ways to discover Toulouse.

The Little Train 

The little trains are quite common in France and you can find them in almost every city. It’s a fun, family-friendly activity and a very relaxed way to see the most important monuments of a city. 

The little train in Toulouse offers two different circuits. First, Circuit Garonne follows the Garonne River and takes you through most of the historic center around Place du Capitole. The second tour is the “Circuit de Canal du Midi”, following the canal, the gardens around the Grand Rond, and the chic Carmes neighborhood.

Weekend in Toulouse
Place du Capitole – by Lost in Bordeaux

Practical info:
The tickets: The ticket price is 7€  for adults and 3€  for kids (3-11 yo) and you can get a 2 €  discount with the city pass. You can buy the tickets next to the train, but be sure to arrive about 20 minutes before the scheduled train time. More info can be found here

Sightseeing Tour Bus

It’s usually not my favorite way to discover cities but with little kids that could be a great solution to eliminate some whining.

This 70-minute journey on a red open-air minibus offers a brief yet enriching exploration of the “Ville Rose.” Accompanied by an 8 -Language audio guide, which provides engaging stories and explanations, you’ll discover the vibrant streets of Toulouse and gain a super fun activity.  

The number of sites you will get to see in this adventure is quite extensive! It takes you through the old town, where you’ll see Toulouse’s Cathedral, the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, and the Hôtel d’Assézat’s Renaissance, home to the art gallery of the Bemberg Foundation featuring a stunning collection of 19th and 20th-century French paintings.

What’s great about a tour bus is that it allows you to see the main landmarks of the city in a relatively short time. A win-win when traveling with kids! You can Book it here

A Cruise on the Garonne River

Not only is a cruise a fun experience, but it’s also suitable for all ages which makes it a perfect activity to do with kids. The relaxed pace lets you appreciate the city without rushing or crowding. This laid-back cruise along Toulouse’s Garonne River is no exception! It is a perfect way to discover the city’s charm through its waterways. 

“Les Bateaux Toulousains” offers two kinds of cruises, which take 1h15 or 1h30. The cruise path changes slightly throughout the months of the year, so you will be sailing on either the Garonne River or le Canal du Midi, one of the oldest canals in Europe. 

You’ll drift along the Garonne, pass under Toulouse’s iconic bridges, and soak in the cityscape while enjoying a unique point of view. Also, on board, there’s a bar, so you can take a glass of wine and turn it into a luxurious, even more French experience! Book your tickets here

Or- you can get a free ticket if you purchase the **Toulouse city pass.

**Priced at €20 and valid for 3 days, the Tourism Pass of Toulouse gives you free access to museums and monuments, discounted rates on various activities, and a complimentary guided tour of your choice from the Tourist Office. You can also add 10 public transport trips (metro, bus, and tram) for an additional €10.

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*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 🙂 

Toulouse is the capital of good coffee in the South of France, here I said it! Every time I visit the pink city, I’m quite amazed by the amount of specialty coffee shops in the center. Most of them are located in the Carmes district which is the hipster area of Toulouse. To complement the good coffee vibes, these places also have great cakes and brunch menus on weekends. 

Most of the coffee shops in Toulouse are also designed in a cute and cozy way, which upgrades the whole coffee experience. I’m a coffee addict so finding good coffee places is very important to me 🙂

In this article, I want to help you discover the best coffee places in Toulouse. Save this list for your next weekend there! 

If it’s your first time in Toulouse you should also check these two articles about Toulouse:

A weekend guide to Toulouse – all the best things to do
The best areas to stay in Toulouse 
The best markets in Toulouse

Let’s dive in!

Coffee places in the center of Toulouse

In this part of the article, you’ll discover the best coffee places around Place du Capitole, the most central part of Toulouse.

Allegory Coffee Bar

Allegory coffee bar is located on the chic street Rue Peyras, about five minutes walk from the famous place de la Capitol.  As you’ll discover in this article, most of the chic specialty coffee shops in Toulouse are located in the Carmes district. So if you’re looking for one in a more central location, Allegory is probably one of your best options in the Capitol district. 

Decorated with gentle green and pink objects, Allegory Coffee Bar has a very romantic feel to it. The café offers an impressive pastry selection to accompany the great coffee. If you want to eat you have a nice savory menu to select from with more brunch-like options like pancakes, eggs, and savory waffles.

Allegory Coffee Bar in Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

The service is excellent and they even gave us some recommendations about their favorite boulangerie in the city. The place gets busy on the weekend and you can’t book a table so be there early. 

Opening days: Allegory coffee bar is open every day except Wednesday 
Address: 9 Rue Peyras, 31000 Toulouse
Check out their website:  https://www.allegorycoffeebar.com/

Café Boutique Chapelle des Carmélites

This is one of the best-hidden gems in Toulouse, a coffee shop nestled in the garden of Chapelle des Carmélites. 

The Chapelle features the most amazing 17th-century murals and ceiling paintings, that were inspired by the works of art at the Sistine Chapel. This is a real treasure worth visiting, regardless of the coffee shop.

But we’re here to talk about the best coffee shops in Toulouse and this is definitely one of them. 

The café itself is tiny and most of the chairs are outside in the garden, so it’s definitely a place for sunny days. The coffee belongs to Hayuco, a famous coffee roaster in Bordeaux,  whose coffee you can also find in other spots in the city.

Chapelle des Carmélites – Lost in Bordeaux

Opening days: Wednesday to Saturday from 12:00 to 18:00
Address: 12 Rue de Périgord, 31000 Toulouse
Check out their website:  https://hello.hayuco.coffee/

Le Café Cerise

Le Café Cerise has two coffee shops, both located just next to the Garonne river. 

The first one is situated on Quai de la Daurade and it’s their main café, where you can find both indoor and outdoor sitting. They have a great menu if you’re hungry for a big breakfast. 

Their second place is an outdoor coffee shop on the other side of Pont Neuf in the Saint Cyprien neighborhood. It’s located in the garden of Le Château d’Eau, which is a cute photography gallery.

Le Café Cerise - good coffee in a great setting
Le Café Cerise in Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

Here you’ll find mainly sweet pastry and amazing coffee, of course.

Café 1- Daurade:
Opening days: Monday to Saturday
Address: 4 Quai de la Daurade, 31000 Toulouse

Café 2-Cote Jardin- Café éphémère
Opening days: Saturdays and Sundays only
Address: 1 place Laganne, Jardin du Chateau d’Eau

Check out their website:  https://lecafecerise.fr/

Coffee places in the Carmes and Saint Etienne districts 

Now let’s move south to the hippest part of Toulouse, the Carmes neighborhood where most of my favorite coffee shops are located.

Canopée Coffee House

Canopée Coffee House is a very popular place and arguably serves the best coffee in Toulouse. It has a more rustic design that calms you down the minute you step into the door. 

On their menu, you can find quite a lot of juices and more healthy food options. 

Canopée Coffee House in Toulouse - great brunch menu
Canopée Coffee House in Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

Every Saturday the place gets very busy so be sure to come early. My favorite spot there is the sofa next to the window, where you can see both the cafe but also feel the vibe of this hip neighborhood. 

Opening days: Monday to Saturday 
Address: 28 Rue des Couteliers, 31000 Toulouse
Check out their website:  https://canopee.coffee/

La Belle Brune 

This coffee was recommended to me by some of my Lost in Bordeaux followers who know that I’m a coffee addict and they didn’t disappoint. It’s one of my favorite coffee shops in Toulouse.

Just a warning, La Belle Brune (and many other good places in Toulouse) have a brunch menu on Sundays. So if you’re visiting the city on Sunday, going there only for a cup of coffee is not the best plan (unless you come early). Having said that, a Sunday brunch is a very trendy thing in France now, so you can do that too for the full experience 🙂 

La Belle Brune - the best coffee in Toulouse
The best coffee in Toulouse- La Belle Brune – Lost in Bordeaux

On other days of the week, la Belle Brune offers another menu with a huge variety of cakes. They have a few tables indoors but also a fun terrace space on one of the chic streets of the Carmes district. 

Opening days: Closed on Wednsday and Thursday
Address: 31 Rue Pharaon, 31000 Toulouse
Check out their website: https://labellebrune.fr/

Café Papiche

We are staying on the same street for yet another amazing coffee: Café Papiche!

A cute little place, serving one of the best cafes you can get in Toulouse. They have a really nice selection of homemade pastries, but their babka is something you shouldn’t miss. 

Adored by coffee professionals - Café Papiche in Toulouse
Café Papiche in Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

Opening days: Open Wednesday to Sunday
Address: 44 Rue Pharaon, 31000 Toulouse
Check out their website: https://www.facebook.com/CafePapiche/

Kopi Coffee shop 

Kopi Coffee shop is located at Place du Salin, one of the liveliest squares in Les Carmes. It’s a perfect place to stop on the way to the main park of Toulouse and grab a coffee. 

Thibault the owner, is a coffee enthusiast that decided to open this place to share his love of coffee. He’s joined by his dad who serves as the chef of Kopi Café. Like other coffee shops on this list, they also have an amazing selection of sweet pastries.

Kopi Coffee shop  - one of the best coffee shops in Toulouse
Kopi Coffee shop -Lost in Bordeaux

Opening days: Open Tuesday to Saturday
Address: 20 Pl. du Salin, 31000 Toulouse
Check out their website: https://www.instagram.com/kopicoffeeshop/?hl=en

Neroli Coffee Society 

Neroli cafe is a holistic cafe, a concept I wasn’t aware of before coming here. You can order all the regular hot beverages but that’s not why most of their clients come here. 

The specialty of Neroli is their whole foods, colorful coffee, mixed with ingredients that you would never imagine combining with hot milk. Their pink Latte for example has beetroot in it, while the golden latte is mixed with vanilla and turmeric. 

Neroli Coffee Society – Lost in Bordeaux

I’m not sure I’d replace my caffeine intake with these on a daily basis, but it was definitely a nice experience. 

Opening days: Open Tuesday to Saturday
Address: Neroli Coffee Society, 11 Rue Théodore Ozenne, 31000 Toulouse
Check out their website: https://www.nerolicoffeesociety.com/toulouse-coffee-shop

If you’re visiting Toulouse for the first time there are a few articles you should check:
My detailed guide to a weekend in Toulouse
Where to stay in Toulouse – the best districts
The best events taking place in Toulouse 
The best things to do in Toulouse with kids

If you’re visiting during Christmas you might want to check my article about the best Christmas markets around Toulouse.

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

Pin this article, for your next visit to Toulouse

Toulouse is known for at least one amazing market, Marché Victor Hugo. But did you know that the pink city has many other great markets in almost every one of its central districts? Visiting a market is a must for those interested in local cuisine and discovering regional delicacies. That’s why in this article I want to introduce you to the best markets in Toulouse.

This list contains outdoor and covered markets where you can sit and dine. I included big food markets but also small organic ones, book markets, and even an antique market. There’s something interesting to check in almost every part of Toulouse center.

If it’s your first time in Toulouse, check out my detailed guide for a weekend in Toulouse. If you love French markets, check out my article about the best markets in Bordeaux

Let’s dive into the best markets in Toulouse, one of the more foodie cities in France. 

Best Markets in the Center of Toulouse

Marché  Victor Hugo

If you have to choose only one market in Toulouse, Marché Victor Hugo is the place. The main market of Toulouse is a gastronomic institution attracting tourists and locals alike. 

The first market in the center of Toulouse was built in 1827 after the walls of the medieval city were demolished. It was a wooden market and the square itself was called Place du Marché-au-Bois and renamed Place Victor Hugo in 1886. The modern covered market we see today was inaugurated in 1892 and is the biggest covered market in Toulouse. 

Marché  Victor Hugo - the main market of Toulouse
Marché  Victor Hugo- by Lost in Bordeaux

The market’s first floor is where more than 200 stalls are located. Here you can find everything from the best cheese to charcuterie, bread, seafood, poultry, and more. It’s the best place to try some local tapas and delicacies that Toulouse is mostly famous for like the Saucisse de Toulouse and the Pavé Toulousain cheese. See a list of all the stalls and producers at the market here

The second floor of the market is where the restaurants are located. That’s where many locals will finish their shopping journey on the weekend. On weekends, a lot of people flock here to enjoy lunch with their friends on the terrace of the market. If you want to try one of the market restaurants you must come early (not later than 12:05 🙂 ).  My favorite restaurant at the market is Au Bon Graillou, try their mussels.

Opening hours: The market is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 7:00 to 13:30.
Address: Pl. Victor Hugo, 31000 Toulouse

Food tour in Marché Victor Hugo

Food tour in Marché Victor Hugo
Tate of Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you have the budget, I highly recommend taking a tour of the market with Jessica from Taste of Toulouse. Jessica is an American cheesemonger who moved to Toulouse in 2017. She created a food tour company specializing in local cuisine with the market tour being the flagship and the most popular tour. 

You can book her market tour here

Marché des Carmes 

Marché des Carmes is another covered market located in the center of Toulouse. The market is nestled in the center of the chic Carmes neighborhood with plenty of stylish coffee shops and boutiques around. The market hosts around 40 stalls with a great selection of cheese shops, charcuteries, seafood products, and the most beautiful fruits and vegetables. Des Carmes market isn’t as big as Victor Hugo but it has everything you need. I feel this market is a bit less intimidating thanks to its smaller size and cozy design. 

There aren’t many restaurants in the market itself but a huge number of restaurants around it so finding a good place to dine shouldn’t be complicated. 

If you need a recommendation, try La Braisière on 42 Rue Pharaon.

Address: Marché des Carmes, Pl. des Carmes, 31000 Toulouse
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 7:00 to 13:30

Do a picnic

On sunny days one of the more local things you can do is a picnic with everything you bought at the market. The Carmes market happens to be located just five minutes walk from Jardin Royal, a beautiful park with exotic trees and a little pond. This is the perfect place to spread your picnic blanket and take out all the goodies you bought at Les Carmes.

Marché Esparcette

If you like organic markets, there’s one waiting for you right in the center of Toulouse. Marché Esparcette is a small market taking place every Tuesday and Saturday on Square De Gaulle, behind Place du Capitole. The market hosts only small certified organic producers, among them you can find cheese and spice producers, a butcher, and a baker. 

Address: Square De Gaulle 31000 Toulouse
Opening hours: Tuesday and Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm

Other markets in Toulouse 

Marché de Saint Aubin 

Marché de Saint Aubin is the perfect market for sunny Sundays! 

The market takes place every Sunday morning around Eglise Saint Aubin, about a ten-minute walk from the city center. It’s a huge market where you can find stalls of absolutely everything. Cheese from the Pyrenees, next to local honey and jam producers; a farmer selling only apples next to a huge stall of olives and spices; freshly ground coffee, local desserts, and a huge variety of saucisson; and the list goes on and on. 

Marché de Saint Aubin in Toulouse
Marché de Saint Aubin – by Lost in Bordeaux

Saint Aubin is predominately a food market but you can also find quite a few florists, craftsmen, clothing stands, and more. The market has an incredible vibe to it with many musicians and bands coming to play here every Sunday. 

Saint Aubin is where many Toulousians meet their friends for a Sunday brunch after they finish their shopping. There are many restaurants in the area but you can also buy ready-to-eat dishes from many stalls in the market. Around lunchtime, the market gets very busy and the lines to buy food get long so be sure to come early (before 11 am). 

Opening hours: every Sunday from 7 am to 1:30 pm
Address: Place Saint Aubin, 31000 Toulouse

Getting there: If you’re staying outside of the city center you can use the metro to get to the market. The closest station is Jean Jaures. 

Marché de Saint Aubin - the best market in Toulouse for Sundays
Marché de Saint Aubin – by Lost in Bordeaux

The best picnic spot

If you can’t wait to taste all the delicacies you just bought at the market, go for a picnic at the Grand Rond. Located about 10 minutes walk from the market, this beautiful park is abundant with impressive sculptures, flowers, and hidden spots for a perfect picnic.

Marché Saint Cyprien 

Marché Saint Cyprien is located on the west side of the Garonne river in the Saint Cyprien neighborhood. It’s mostly visited by the locals who are very proud of their neighborhood and almost never cross the bridge to the central part of Toulouse.

What makes this market particularly interesting is that it kept its original metallic structure. That is contrary to the Victor Hugo and Les Carmes markets that were completely rebuilt in the 20th century. If you’re interested in architecture, this is the most beautiful market in Toulouse. 

The market has all the local products and you can find there anything from a butcher to cheese and flowers. Nevertheless, it’s a rather small market, so unless you’re staying in that part of town, I recommend visiting other markets on this list. 

If you’re coming from the city center, take line A of the metro to the Saint Cyprien – République station.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 7:00 to 13:00
Address: Pl. Intérieure Saint-Cyprien, 31300 Toulouse

Where to Picnic

The Saint Cyprien market is located within a few minutes walk from one of the biggest parks in Toulouse, Prairie des Filtres. The park is located on the banks of the river, so you’re guaranteed a picnic with a perfect view.  

Marché Cristal 

This is the biggest market in Toulouse, spread all over the main boulevards of Toulouse from Place Jeanne-d’Arc to Arnaud-Bernard. That’s where it got the nickname “marché des boulevards”. It’s the easiest market to get to if you’re located outside of the city center. 

This market is more affordable than the three covered markets I mentioned in this article. It doesn’t offer the same experience as the other markets on my list, but a great option for people living in Toulouse and visitors looking for a large regular French market.

The best markets in Toulouse
Toulouse market – by Lost in Bordeaux

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 7:00 to 13:00
Address: Boulevard d’Arcole and Boulevard de Strasbourg

La Brocante des Allées – Antique market

We cannot talk about markets in France without mentioning at least one antique market.

La Brocante des Allées is the main antique market of Toulouse taking place every first weekend of the month (Friday to Sunday).  The brocante hosts more than 90 vendors, selling everything from art to fancy dishes and furniture. The market is taking place on allées François-Verdier, in the south of Les Carmes neighborhood.

A brocante in Toulouse
Brocante in Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

Opening hours: Every first weekend of the month (Friday to Sunday) – from 9:00 to 18:00
Address: allées François-Verdier

Marché des Bouquinistes – Rue du Taur

Let’s finish with something rather cute, a book market!

Strolling the streets of old Toulouse, you’ll discover that this city has an impressive amount of bookstores. It’s thus not very surprising that the city hosts a weekly book market. Marché aux Livres du Taur takes place every Saturday on rue du Taur, one of the most beautiful streets in Toulouse. The market unites together six book shops that put out books from every possible genre, from comics to kids’ literature and cooking books. Most of the books are in French of course, but it’s a cute market to stop by even if you don’t speak French. See more info on their Facebook page.

Opening hours: Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm
Address: Rue du Taur

If you’re visiting Toulouse for the first time there are a few articles you should check:
My detailed guide to a weekend in Toulouse
Where to stay in Toulouse – the best districts
The best events taking place in Toulouse 
The best things to do in Toulouse with kids

If you’re visiting during Christmas you might want to check my article about the best Christmas markets around Toulouse.

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

Pin this article, for your next visit to Toulouse

*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 🙂 

Toulouse has a very young population and hot weather during the summer and most of the fall. It’s not a surprise then that the pink city is home to many fun events and festivals.

In this article, you’ll discover the best festivals in Toulouse as well as other destinations in the Toulouse region. The list includes everything from electronic music festivals to piano concerts and a cute circus festival.

If it’s your first time in Toulouse don’t forget to read my detailed guide to a weekend in Toulouse and the article about where to stay in Toulouse. It will help you plan the best trip!

If you love festivals check out my list of the best festivals in Bordeaux

Let’s dive into the cultural world of Toulouse and discover its best festivals!

The best events and festivals in Toulouse Metropole

Festival Spiral 

Festival Spiral is a music festival hosted by some of the best music venues in Toulouse like Le Bikini and Le Metronum. The program includes tens of artists from all over the world that perform different events during the month of January. 

Check out the details here.

The Violet Festival

Fête de la Violette takes place at Place du Capitole, the main square of Toulouse where the favorite Toulousian flower is celebrated in all its forms from decorations to food, perfumes, and more. 

This year (2023) the festival will take place on February 3-4. See more info here.

MAP – The Photography festival of Toulouse 

MAP is an amazing event for photography lovers in Toulouse. The festival takes place every year around May or June. Over several weeks places like Espace EDF Bazacle and Paul Dupuy Museum host amazing photography exhibitions. 

The goal of the festival is to introduce photography and its artists to the wide public and create opportunities for amateur and professional photographers to meet. Access to the exhibitions is free. 

The dates for 2023 will be updated soon.

See more details here

Photography festival in Toulosue - the best festivals in Toulosue

Rio Loco 

Rio Loco, created in 1995, is one of the best festivals Toulouse has to offer. The festival is focused on world music and culture and aims to promote cultural diversity. Each year, the program includes plenty of open-air concerts, shows for kids, visual arts, and more. 

The festival takes place at Prairie des Filtres in the Saint Cyprien neighborhood (read more about Saint Syprien in my district guide).

This year (2024) Rio Loco will take place on June 12-16. See more details here

Le Nouveau Printemps

Formerly known as le Printemps de Septembre, Le Nouveau Printemps is one of the best events in Toulouse. This cultural festival was created in 1991 to promote arts of different genres and disciplines, from cinema to architecture and dance. 

During the month-long festival, plenty of art events and exhibitions will be offered in the Saint Cyprien district in Toulouse. This year the festival will take place from May 30 to June 30, 2024. Follow this website to see the program of the festival.

Siestes Électroniques – Electro music

“Siestes Électroniques” is an electro music festival taking place every early summer in Toulouse. The event takes place at the beautiful gardens of Compans Caffarelli just north of the city center. The idea is to discover new music and artists in a very relaxed atmosphere, a sort of musical siesta in the park. 

The festival was created in 2002 in Toulouse and has been traveling to other cities in France and the rest of the world since.
This year (2024)  Siestes Électronique will take place on June 27-30. See more details here.

Tangopostale – Tango Festival 

Tangopoltale is a big Tango festival taking place in different places in Toulouse every summer. The events include concerts, dance balls, exhibitions, and more. This year (2024) Tangopostale will take place from June 28 to July 7. See more details here.

Open-air Cinema at the Cinémathèque of Toulouse

This is a two-month event in which the Cinematheque of Toulouse invites you to experience cinema  “autrement” (differently).  During July and August,  more than 40 movies from different genres will be screened at the courtyard of La Cinematheque de Toulouse. With the long days and the hot weather in the summer, this is one of the highlights of the summer in Toulouse. 

The Cinematheque is located in a beautiful building on rue de Taur in the center of Toulouse. The program for this year will be published on their Facebook page.

Concerts sous les étoiles à Toulouse

This is a new music festival taking place at Jardin Raymond VI in Toulouse (the Saint Cyprien district). All the concerts will take place on the board of the Garonne River, under the stars, as the name of the festival suggests. This year (2024) the festival is taking place from June 29 to July 13. See more details here.

Electro Alternativ

This is one of the biggest electronic music events in Toulouse, hosted by different music venues in the city. The lineup includes some of the biggest names in Electronic music. The festival usually takes place in September.

The dates of the festival and the lineup for 2024 will be published here.

Piano aux Jacobins (Piano concerts)

Piano aux Jacobins is a Piano festival taking place every September at the Couvent de Jacobins in the center of Toulouse. Le Couvent de Jacobins is one of the landmarks of Toulouse and a must-stop on your visit there. The dates and the program for this year (2024) will be published here.

See other places not to miss on your visit to Toulouse

Couvent des Jacobins in Toulouse
Couvent des Jacobins – by Lost in Bordeaux

Festival Toulouse les Orgues

Every year Toulouse hosts the International Organ Festival. During the days of the festival, several churches in Toulouse are hosting daily Organ concerts. The dates and the program for this year (2024) will be published here.

Marché de Noël de Toulouse 

The main Christmas market of Toulouse takes place on Place du Capitole for about a month from the end of November until Christmas day! More than 100 wooden cabins with gifts, local products, and food adorn Place du Capitol and its impressive buildings. If you’re looking for Christmas gifts, you will find everything from jewelry, kids’ toys, cosmetics, chocolates, local wine, and more. 

If you want to learn more about this and other Christmas markets in Toulouse, read my article about Christmas in the Toulouse region.

Big events and festivals around Toulouse (in Occitanie)

Jazz en Comminges

This Jazz festival is taking place every year in Saint Gaudens, a little town in the Haute Garonne department. This year the festival is celebrating its 21st edition. The event is taking place on May 8-12, see all the info here.

Arts Scenics

Arts Scenics is yet another fun summer festival taking place near Toulouse. The music festival is hosted by the town of Lisle-sur-Tarn, about an hour’s drive from Toulouse. This year the festival will be taking place on June 28-29. See the full program here

Pause Guitare

One of the biggest music festivals in Occitanie is taking place every July in Albi (about an hour’s drive from Toulouse). The festival, created more than two decades ago, annually hosts more than 90 artists on six stages around the city. The program cleverly combines performances by big stars and new artists. 

In 2024, the festival will take place on July 2-7. See more info here.

Fabulous Festival

Fabulous is a gastronomy and electronic music festival, a pretty cool combination, don’t you think? The festival takes place every August in Villemur-sur-Tarn, a village located around 45 km from Toulouse. The event is hosted by the stunning Château de la Garrigue, which makes it even more special. The dates and the program for this year (2024) will be published here.

Festival de rue de Miremont 

Festival de rue de Miremont is a fun festival dedicated to street performance. Two days with a very entertaining program that includes circus, puppets shows, music concerts, equestrian aerobatics, and more. The festival takes place in Miremont, about 30k northwest of Toulouse. The dates and the program for this year (2024) will be published here.

Circa – A circus festival

Circa is an international contemporary circus festival taking place every year in Auch (about 1.5 hour’s drive from Toulouse). The shows in this festival are beyond traditional circus and include elements of dance, music, and digital arts. The festival will take place on October 18-26, see details here.

I hope you enjoyed my list of the best events in Toulouse and that it gave you the inspiration to plan a trip to this region! If so, please share this article with your friends 🙂

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

Toulouse is one of the most vibrant cities in France, and in recent years it has become a popular destination among many city lovers. If you’re enthusiastic about architecture, colorful markets, French food, and chic boutiques, a weekend in Toulouse is a must for you!

The “pink city” is the capital of the Occitanie region and the biggest city in the Southwest of France. It’s perfectly located between Mediterranean beaches, the magical villages of Dordogne, and the Pyrenees mountains. The direct two-hour-long train from Bordeaux also makes Toulouse a perfect destination for people visiting or living near the Atlantic coast.

Before you go make sure you check out my guide to the best districts in Toulouse, which should help you to find the best hotel/apartment for the weekend. Also check out my articles about the best tours in Toulouse, day trips from Toulouse, and the best festivals taking place in Toulouse, to see if anything’s up during your visit.

Weekend in Toulouse
Place du Capitole – by Lost in Bordeaux

In this article, you’ll find a detailed guide to a weekend in Toulouse, which includes some of its “must-see” places and many hidden gems I particularly love in the city. I believe you need three days to properly discover Toulouse beyond its center and famous monuments (not including day trips around Toulouse). But as most people come here for a short weekend, I wrote this guide as a dense two-day trip to Toulouse. Following this article will help you embrace the Toulousian atmosphere and enjoy every aspect of the city.

Toulouse tourism pass – should you buy it? 

Before we start, I want to address a question I’m frequently asked. Should you buy the city pass that includes free entrances to the museums and discounts to many other venues? The answer to that depends on how you usually tend to travel. If you mostly enjoy visiting markets, strolling the city, and going to restaurants, then you probably don’t need the pass. 

If, on the other hand, you see yourself visiting at least two museums and places like the Cité de l’Espace, purchasing the pass is probably worth it. With the Tourism pass, you get free entry to the Natural Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum, the Science Museum, Le Couvent des Jacobins, and more. It also gives you a considerable discount on space and aviation museums. And more importantly, you can use public transport for free to get to all these places. The pass is valid for three days, you can purchase it here.

A short introduction to Toulouse 

Toulouse owes its nickname the Pink City (La Ville Rose) to its unique architecture; buildings made of light red terracotta bricks. Historically known as Tolosa, the town was established by the Roman Empire around the 2nd century BC. 

In the 12th century, Toulouse was governed by a body of consuls called the Caputouls, created by the notables of the city. The most famous square, Place du Capitole, is named after their parliament building, the Capitole. 

The production and trade of pastels (woad), greatly contributed to the wealth the city enjoyed during the 14th to the 16th centuries. The stores in the city center dedicated to the blue flower are a pleasant testament to that past. If you need a bit more historical background to discover Toulouse, consider taking one of these guided tours.

Beautiful architecture in Toulouse

Today, Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, home to almost half a million people and almost 1.5 million in the metropole area. The city is known for its huge aerospace industry and is home to one of the oldest and best universities in France. These two factors, among others, make Toulouse a very attractive city for many French and foreigners alike. 

So now that you know a few details about Toulouse, let’s start discovering the beautiful pink city.

How to spend a weekend in Toulouse – day one

Toulouse is considered a big city by French standards, but its center is actually rather small. That means that you can cover most of its beautiful squares and monuments in one day. 

We are going to walk a lot today but two other fun ways to discover Toulouse are taking this great Electric Tuk Tuk tour or the 3 hour cycling tour. But first, let’s start the day with some food!

Visit Toulouse’s best market – Marché Victor Hugo 

Anytime I travel to a new city in France, I start my day with the main market. In many cases, the market is the beating heart of the city; the gastronomic epicenter where you can discover all the local specialties and where local chefs come to get inspiration and ingredients for their daily menu. That’s exactly the case in Toulouse.

Marché Victor Hugo is the biggest and most important market in Toulouse. Here you can find everything from cheese to charcuterie, bread, seafood, poultry, and more. It’s the best place to try some local tapas and delicacies that Toulouse is famous for, like the Saucisse de Toulouse and the Pavé Toulousain cheese.

Find other amazing markets in my article about the best markets in Toulouse.

Marche Victor Hugo in Toulouse
Marche Victor Hugo – Lost in Bordeaux

The ground floor of the market is always bustling with people doing their weekly shopping, while the second floor is where the restaurants are. On weekends, this floor, and especially the terrace is packed with families coming for lunch. Make sure to be there early to book a table if you want a chance to dine in one of the restaurants. One of the places I really enjoyed was Au Bon Graillou, where I ate amazing mussels and several local dishes.

Restaurant-Marche-victor-Hugo Toulouse
Au Bon Graillou – Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

One of the best ways to enjoy the market is by taking a food tour. The best one in English is offered by Jessica from Taste in Toulouse. Jessica organizes small group tours where you get to discover and taste some of the specialties of Toulouse and hear the stories behind them. The tour is very popular, so be sure to book in advance. Here’s a link to book her tour.

If you’re a foodie, this place is an absolute must! 

If, however, local gastronomy is not an important item on your list, you can skip the market or just come there for lunch. The market is located within a few minutes walk from Place du Capitole, the next item on my weekend list.

Practical info: The market is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 7:00 to 13:30. Where: Pl. Victor Hugo, 31000 Toulouse

Place du Capitole 

The Capitole building, one of Toulouse’s symbols, is home to the Townhall of Toulouse and the Capitole Theater. The spectacular building was originally a row of smaller administrative buildings, purchased by the consuls of Toulouse (the Capitouls) in the 12th century. Its now famous facade was designed in the 18th century by the French painter and architect Guillaume Cammas. The idea was to hide the varied houses built in different time periods with one unified facade. 

The square was built only a decade later in the 19th century and was named Place du Capitole as a reference to the Capitouls that used to govern the city. The eight columns in the center of the building represent the eight counselors in charge since the 15th century. It’s widely considered one of the most beautiful squares in France!

As the main square of Toulouse, Place du Capitole frequently hosts interesting events like wine salons, gardening fairs, and the city’s main Christmas market. You can also find plenty of coffee places for a quick coffee break with a nice view. Most of them are a bit overly touristy in my personal taste, so I wouldn’t necessarily eat there.

Place du Capitole in Toulouse - weekend in Toulouse
PLace du Capitole- by Lost in Bordeaux

Take some time to discover Place du Capitole with its many architectural elements. Don’t miss the beautiful ceiling paintings of the Galerue des Arcades, commissioned in 1997 by the Maire of Toulouse who wanted to modernize the square. 

The renowned painter Raymond Moretti was called for the job, creating 29 paintings dedicated to Toulouse’s rich history. The crusades, the space industry, and famous people born in Toulouse are only some of the elements to which the artist paid homage in his work.

Galerue des Arcades in Toulouse
Galerue des Arcades – by Lost in Bordeaux

The ceremonial chambers and their murals

If you were impressed by the architecture of the Capitole building, wait till you see it from the inside. A wide staircase will lead you to the Salle des Illustres, a beautiful room representing the Toulouse School of art of the 19th century. Henri Martin, Jean-Paul Laurens, and Paul Gervais are only a few of the famous painters who have contributed to the works of art you’ll find there.  Floor-to-ceiling murals, sculptures, and paintings come perfectly together to manifest the greatness of Toulouse.

Salle des Illustres in- Capitole - Toulouse
Salle des Illustres – by Lost in Bordeaux

It’s probably the best art museum in town! The Capitole is open for visits every day (unless they’re hosting a ceremony) – you can see their opening hours here. Entry is free.

Stroll the streets of Old Toulouse 

It’s time to discover some of Toulouse’s most magical streets.

the most beautiful streets of Toulouse
The center of Toulouse – by lost in Bordeaux

The Capitole de Toulouse is the historic part of Toulouse, and where most of its important monuments are located. The area boasts charming streets, beautiful houses, restaurants, bookstores, and more.  Take time to discover the Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture and the livelihood of this endearing district. You don’t really need to follow any route here, just get lost in the red/pink streets and let the city charm you. 

Having said that, if you’re short on time, these are the streets you shouldn’t miss in the center of Toulouse: Place Saint George is probably my favorite square in Toulouse for an afternoon drink. On most days of the week, but especially on weekends, it’s brimming with locals gathering for a drink, brunch, or dinner. The square is surrounded by a few beautiful streets with designer shops, notably rue de la pomme and rue des arts. A few other charming streets are Rue Peyrolières, rue Saint Rome and the streets leading to Place de la Bourse.

Place Saint Georges in Toulouse - best things to do in Toulouse
Place Saint Georges – by Lost in Bordeaux

The main shopping street, Rue d’Alsace Lorraine, will astonish you with its Haussmann architecture. This street is home to a few beautiful buildings, such as Musée des Augustins and Grand hôtel Tivollier (number 14). If you’re really interested in architecture, don’t hesitate to go through the list of the most interesting buildings on that street.

If you don’t have much time, consider taking a guided tour of Toulouse so you can see all the main landmarks in a few hours. See some of my recommendations here.

Discover Toulouse’s Hotel Particuliers and their courtyards 

Its favorable position as an important trade city has greatly contributed to the wealth influx Toulouse has enjoyed for several centuries. From the end of the 15th to the mid-16th century, an impressive number of splendid city mansions (Hôtels Particuliers) were built by the wealthy merchants and nobility of the city. Many of these also possess extraordinary courtyards that are considered part of Toulouse’s rich architectural heritage. While most of these mansions are private, some of them became public property and you can visit the building or the courtyard. 

The most beautiful of them all is located next to Pont Neuf in the city center. Hôtel d’Assézat, a property of the rich wine merchant, Pierre D’Assezat, was built in the 16th century by the famous architect Nicolas Bachelier.

Hotel dAssezat - a beautiful city mansion in Toulouse
Hotel-d’Assezat – by Lost in Bordeaux

The hotel is a noticeable example of Renaissance palaces that were common in Southern France at the time. Its facade beautifully combines Toulouse’s typical red bricks with stone decoration inspired by Italian Classism. It was entirely restored in the 80s, making it one of the most preserved Renaissance mansions in France. Today it houses the Bemberg Foundation. The entry is free and you can visit it daily without reservation. See the opening hours here

The address is: Place d’Assezat, 31000 Toulouse

Try one of the best pastry shops in Toulouse

You’ve been walking quite a lot by now, so how about taking a little break to enjoy French pastry? 

There’s no shortage of amazing patisseries in Toulouse, especially when it comes to cakes. There’s even a great patisserie tour in Toulouse you can take. Here, however, I want to recommend a few places I really like. 

One of my favorite ones is Perlette, a cute romantic patisserie with a small selection of cakes and French traditional desserts. You can stop here for coffee on their terrace or in the secret room (let’s see if you can find it 🙂 ). Their Salon de The is open daily from 9:30 to 19:30. 

Perlette - a cute romantic pastry shop in Toulouse
Perlette pâtisserie and coffee shop in Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

Au Poussin Bleu – a local patissier and chocolatier that has two shops in the center of Toulouse. Everything looks delicious but imperfect, which is unusual for a French patisserie. However, when you taste it you understand that it’s one of the best dessert shops in Toulouse. Don’t miss their amazing macarons. 

Maison Pillon – a local institution where you can find a huge variety of creamy desserts and chocolates. They have two shops, one just next to the Victor Hugo market and a prettier one located at 2 rue Ozenne.

Maison Pillon in Toulouse
Maison Pillon in Toulosue – by Lost in Bordeaux

Stroll along the waterfront

Now let’s discover one of the most popular places in Toulouse: the banks of the Garonne River. The riverfront in the center of Toulouse offers a pleasant promenade with the most stunning view of the two main bridges and the western side of the river. 

Pont Neuf in Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

Start your walk on Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Toulouse, and turn right on Quai de la Daurade. You can continue walking on the Quai until you reach the second Bridge Pont Saint Pierre or take right on the La Daurade promenade, leading you to the upper part of the riverfront. That is the best spot to enjoy the view of the dome of la Chapelle Saint Joseph de La Grave, one of the most famous pictures of Toulouse.

On sunny days, the locals of Toulouse take their picnics and drinks to the riverfront and the stairs of Place Saint Pierre. The Toulousians sure know how to appreciate the assets of their beloved city.

the stairs of Place Saint Pierre - riverfront in Toulouse
the stairs of Place Saint Pierre – by Lost in Bordeaux

Have a drink at Place Saint Pierre

Place Saint Pierre and Place de La Daurade are the favorite spots of many students and Toulouse’s youngsters. In this area, you’ll find a variety of pubs and tapas bars, which will usually be packed on weekends. If you love watching games, Chez Tonton is your place. 

Another cool place is Pêcheurs de Sable, a guinguette on Place de la Daurade. This outdoor bar is open the whole year and is a perfect spot for sunny days. 

Address: It’s located in the Basilique Notre Dame la Daurade on Quai de la Daurade.

Tip – if you have more time

I would also recommend spending some time on the other side of the river in the Saint Cyprian neighborhood. There are a number of interesting places to discover there, however, if you’re time-limited, then there’s one place I want to recommend.

Les Abattoirs – contemporary art museum

Les Abattoirs, as its name suggests, was previously a slaughterhouse. Today, it houses FRAC, the contemporary art museum of Toulouse. Throughout the year, the museum hosts great temporary exhibitions of renowned French and international artists.

Les Abattoirs - the contemporary art museum of Toulouse
Les Abattoirs in Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

The last time I was there, I saw an impressive exhibition of Niki de Saint Phalle, one of the most famous French sculptures of the 20th century. Having said that, art is in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to contemporary art. So I highly recommend going to the website of the museum before your visit there to get all the info about the current exhibitions. 

The ticket price for an exhibition at the Abattoirs is usually 10€ but is free if you have the City Pass. Click here to purchase the pass if you’re planning to go to a few museums in Toulouse. 

That’s also a fun place to go to if you’re traveling with kids. The museum itself has a little corner for kids where they can draw and play. However, the best part is the carousel, located just outside the gates of the museum. Le Beau Manège allows kids to enter the fantasy world of Jules Verne and ride imaginary creatures like the Steam Rhinoceros and the Giant Ant.

* If you’re traveling with kids don’t miss my article about the best things to do in Toulouse with kids.

Le Beau Manège - fun with kids in Toulouse
Le Beau Manège – by Lost in Bordeaux

Visit Couvent des Jacobins

Back to the center: We’re now heading to one of the prominent monuments of Toulouse. Le Couvent des Jacobins is a Dominican monastery of the Order of Preachers that was built in the 13th century. The Dominicans played an important role in creating the first university of Toulouse and were considered great educators. The church was heavily damaged during the French Revolution and was entirely renovated years later. 

The exterior of the Jacobins looks a bit austere and doesn’t reveal the beauty you’ll find inside. The remarkable building with its high columns and colorful stained glass windows will leave you in awe. Its most famous feature is the stone “palm trees” on the ceiling. It is a French Gothic masterpiece that should not be missed.

Couvent des Jacobins in Toulouse
Couvent des Jacobins – by Lost in Bordeaux

The visit to the church itself is free. However, I highly recommend visiting the cloister as well, the ticket to which is free with the city pass

You can see the ticket prices and the opening hours here. During the summer the le Couvent des Jacobins hosts many fun events like music festivals, night visits, outdoor cafes, treasure hunts, and more. See their program here. The place is closed on Mondays.

Basilique Saint Sernin 

I’ll be honest here, visiting places of worship is not a “must” on my list, unless it has an interesting architectural value to it. So if that’s not something you are interested in, feel free to skip this item. However, if you want to visit one of Toulouse’s most beautiful churches, Basilique Saint Sernin is the place.

Its construction started during the 11th century to replace an old church that became too small to welcome the pilgrims passing through Toulouse. The exterior of the basilica combines white stone with the famous red brick of Toulouse. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Saint Sernin is the biggest Romanesque basilica in Europe.

Eat Cassoulet

It’s dinner time and the best opportunity for you to try one of the most typical dishes of Toulouse

The Cassoulet is a slow-cooked stew, most frequently made with duck and pork sausages. Originating in a neighboring town of Castelnaudary, the Cassoulet enjoys great popularity in Toulouse. If you’re interested in local cuisine, tasting Cassoulet is an absolute must. It’s also one of the dishes you will be tasting if you take this fabulous Traditional Toulouse Food Tour.

Amazing Cassoulet in Toulouse
Cassoulet – by Lost in Bordeaux

Cassoulet is served in many restaurants in Toulouse. Here are a few recommended places to eat it:

I really enjoyed the Au Gascon, a simple restaurant where you’ll see many locals having family dinners. Their menu includes many specialties of the cuisine of Gascony (once a province of SW France), many of which contain internal parts of duck and/or pork. It’s not to everyone’s taste, so read the menu carefully. Nevertheless, their Cassoulet is amazing and it’s a safe bet. 

If you prefer your dinner in a fancier setting, go to Le Bibent, on Place du Capitole. It’s one of the prettiest restaurants in Toulouse with a great menu of local dishes. It is a bit pricey because you have to pay for its prime location 🙂 

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow for the more hipster Toulouse!

Day two – The Hidden Gems of Toulouse 

Your first day in Toulouse was mostly dedicated to its most important squares and monuments. The second day, however, is going to be very different. Today, you’re about to discover the more hipster, artistic and chic Toulouse. I’m going to walk you through a few of the local’s favorite spots in Toulouse that are often overlooked by tourists. Let’s discover the hidden gems of Toulouse.

Run/ walk/ bike along Canal de Brienne

Ok, so this first suggestion is not for everyone. However, if you feel heavy after yesterday’s Cassoulet, you might want to continue reading. I have a perfect spot for those of you looking for a morning run/walk! Canal de Brienne is a scenic and peaceful canal, located just a few minutes’ walk from the city center. In the morning hours, you’ll see many locals running and walking their dogs along the canal.

If you’re planning to be in the Canal de Brienne area in the evening, you can also enjoy one of the best bars in Bordeaux, called le Local Mini Brasserie. In the summer months, they offer a fun wine and cheese-tasting workshop, you can book it here.

Canal de Brienne in Toulouse
Canal de Brienne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Sip amazing coffee

I’m a coffee addict! You can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to discover that there’s a booming coffee scene in Toulouse. It’s not common to see so many quality coffee places with proper coffee machines and real baristas in a French city. And many of them have a really cute and cozy design, which makes the whole experience even better.

La Belle Brune - coffee shop in Toulouse
La Belle Brune – by Lost in Bordeaux

Here are some of my favorite coffee shops in Toulouse: La Belle Brune, Canopée Coffee House, Allegory Coffee Bar, and Café Papiche. You can see all my favorite places in my article about the best coffee shops in Toulouse.

Marché de Saint Aubin

Marché de Saint Aubin takes place every Sunday around Eglise Saint Aubin, which is about a ten-minute walk from the city center. It’s a huge market with all the best local specialties this region 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.

Marche Saint Aubin in Toulouse
Marche Saint Aubin – by Lost in Bordeaux

Saint Aubin is where many Toulousians meet their friends for a Sunday brunch after they finish their shopping. There are many restaurants in the area but you can also buy ready-to-eat dishes from many stalls in the market. Around lunchtime, the market gets very busy and the lines to buy food get long so be sure to come early (before 11 am).

If you’re lucky enough to be in Toulouse on Sunday, I highly recommend going to this market, even if you already visited another market in the city.

Discover the Carmes neighborhood – the hipster part of Toulouse 

This is my favorite part of Toulouse! 

The Carmes neighborhood is located in the Southern part of the center of Toulouse. It is bounded by rue Metz from the north, Allee Jules Guesde from the south, Alles Francois Verdier from the east, and the Garonne river from the west.

Les Carmes district in Toulouse
Les Carmes district – by Lost in Bordeaux

This is a very hip young neighborhood with an incredible amount of bars, coffee shops, boutiques, and galleries. Plenty of tiny squares are spread all over the Carmes district with at least one or two restaurants on them. The neighborhood is characterized by many narrow beautiful streets with colorful houses. 

There are two parts to the Carmes district, both abundant with beautiful streets you should visit. Now let me list my favorite streets in the neighborhood. Mark them on your maps.

The west part of the neighborhood is where most of the great restaurants are located. Don’t miss Place de Carmes, the Carmes market (one of the best markets in Toulouse), and the many coffee shops on the square. 

Stop by Eglise de la Dalbade, a little church with a ceramic tympanum above the main door. The beautiful painting of Coronation of the Virgin by Fra Angelico was made by Gaston Virebent in 1878. Then you can have a beer in one of the many bars of the lively Place de la Trinité.

Here are a few charming streets to stroll on in this part of town: rue des Paradoux, Rue Joutx Aigues, rue des Polinaires, Rue de la Dalbade, and Rue Pharaon.

The east side of Carmes is actually called the Saint Etienne neighborhood. It’s home to the Saint Etienne Cathedral, which was built between the 13th and the 17th centuries. It’s composed of two different parts, which make its architecture quite unique and complex. 

Saint Ettiene Cathedral in Toulouse
Saint Ettiene Cathedral – by Lost in Bordeaux

In this part of the neighborhood, you will find lots of art galleries and home design shops. It’s also the more luxurious part of the Carmes, with fancy fashion boutiques like Louis Vuitton. Here are some of the streets you shouldn’t miss: Rue Ozenne, Place Mage, rue Croix Baragnon, and Rue Perchepinte.

Visit the beautiful gardens of Toulouse 

One of the most popular parks in Toulouse is Jardin des Plantes, which is located just in the southeast part of the Carmes neighborhood. The park has a pond with ducks, a playground, and many cute spots for a break. If you’re planning to start your day at the market, buy some local delicacies and stop here for a picnic. You’ll see many locals doing that on a sunny weekend. 

Jardin des Plantes  park in Toulosue
Jardin des Plantes – by Lost in Bordeaux

You can also enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine at the terrace cafe of the Museum of Toulouse. It’s one of the biggest natural history museums in France with more than 2 million items in its collection. If you’re traveling with kids, this is one of the most kid-friendly places in Toulouse. Entry to the museum is free with the city pass and on the first Sunday of the month. 

The museum is located at 35 All. Jules Guesde, 31000 Toulouse.

Shop for French Antiques 

La Brocante des Allées is the main antique market of Toulouse that takes place every first weekend of the month (Friday to Sunday), on allées François-Verdier, in the south of Les Carmes neighborhood. The brocante (antique market) hosts more than 90 vendors, selling everything from art to fancy dishes and furniture. See more details here.

La Halle de la Machine – a special kind of theater

If you still have some time left, I want you to discover one of the most special places in Toulouse.

La Halle de la Machine belongs to a theater group called la Compagnie La Machine which incorporates machines in its shows. The machines, built by the members of the group, are usually quite funny and ridiculous which makes the visit very interesting. The place itself is the storage of the company, where they keep all the machines that aren’t currently used in shows around the world. At first glance, the whole place looks overwhelming, full of what seems like useless machinery. That’s why you must follow one of the guides, hear the stories behind the machines, and see how they operate.  

The most surprising part of the visit is actually happening outside the hangar. That’s where you will discover the Minotaure, an animal measuring 14 meters high, created especially for a show in Toulouse. This humongous machine is operated by the staff and takes the visitors on its back for a ride.

La Halle is one of the best attractions in Toulouse when traveling with kids.

La Halle de la Machine in Toulouse
La Halle de la Machine – by Lost in Bordeaux

Some practical information

La Halle de la Machine is open daily from Tuesday to Sunday and closed in January. See the schedule here. You can pay for a visit and the ride separately if you’re not interested in both activities. Like in many other activities on this list, here too you can enjoy a discount with the city pass. If you don’t use the city pass here’s a link to purchase the tickets (for the exhibition only).

Note – La Halle de la machine is located outside the city center but is reachable by public transport (you can use public transport for free with the city pass).

Visit la Cité de l’Espace

You might be wondering why I put one of the most famous attractions in Toulouse at the end of the list. That’s because, in my opinion, if you have only two days in Toulouse, it shouldn’t necessarily be on your list. You should go there only if: 1) You’re a space geek, 2) You have kids who like space stuff 3) You have more than 2 days 4) It’s raining outside. Otherwise, I think that there are better things to do in such an amazing city like Toulouse. 

Having said that, if you decide to go to the space museum anyway, I want to give you a bit of info about what to expect there. 

La Cite de l’Espace opened its doors in 1997 and has attracted millions of visitors ever since. It has a variety of different exhibitions focusing on the International Space Station, the solar system, weather predictions, and more. Most of the museum is very interactive which makes it very popular with kids of all ages.

La Cite de l’Espace in Toulouse
La Cite de l’Espace – by Lost in Bordeaux

Apart from the main building, there are a few interesting exhibitions and demonstrations in the outdoor area of the museum. One of these is the Russian MIR space station, which you can visit and learn about astronauts’ daily lives at the station. There are also daily demonstrations and activities offered by the museum for different age groups – you can prepare your visit in advance and see all the information for that day in their app.

The tickets are a bit pricy but if you’re going with kids, it can be a full-day experience so it’s quite worth it. Here’s a link to purchase the tickets. If you have a city pass, you have a 15% discount on the tickets.

Where to stay in Toulouse 

Whether you’re looking for an apartment or a hotel, the best areas to stay on a short visit are the Capitole de Toulouse (the old center) or the Carmes. There are many hotels and rentals you can find in both areas, but let me give you a few recommendations. 

I really enjoy my stay at the Hôtel des Arts, near Place Saint George. It’s a 3-star hotel with amazing service, very clean, and has the perfect location. Click here to book the hotel.

 A bit more simple but really nice hotel is Hôtel Croix Baragnon in the hip Les Carmes neighborhood. It’s a 2-star hotel with a cute design and a very friendly staff. Click here to book the hotel.

If you have a higher budget, you’d like Le Grand Balcon Hotel, located just next to Place du Capitol – book it here.

That’s it for my long and very detailed guide to visiting Toulouse. 

If you happen to also come to Bordeaux, here’s my article about the best things to do in Bordeaux

How to get to Toulouse 

Toulouse has a train station and is well-connected to other parts of France. If you’re coming here from Bordeaux or Paris, the best way to get to Toulouse would be by train. The train station is located within a 15 minutes walk from the city center. Purchase your train tickets here.

If you come by car, finding parking in the center of Toulouse isn’t very easy. The best way would be to park at daily parking. The most reasonable price I was able to find was at Q-park on Place Jeanne d’Arc. You’ll pay around 15-20 a day, depending on the number of hours you. This is a link to reserve your spot.

If you’re visiting Toulouse for the first time there are a few articles you should check:
Where to stay in Toulouse – the best districts
Day trips from Toulouse by train
The best events taking place in Toulouse 
The best markets in Toulouse
The best things to do in Toulouse with kids

If you’re visiting during Christmas you might want to check my article about the best Christmas markets around Toulouse.

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:

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*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 🙂 

 

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. 

The most central neighborhoods in Toulouse
The center of Toulouse by Lost in Bordeaux

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. 

Place du Capitole - the most central district of Toulouse
Place du Capitole in Toulouse – photo: Lost in Bordeaux

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. 

rue Alsace Lorraine  in Toulouse
rue Alsace Lorraine – by Lost in Bordeaux

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. 

Place Saint George - the best square in Toulouse
Place Saint George – one of my favorite squares in Toulouse – photo: by Lost in Bordeaux

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.

I really enjoyed my stay at the Hôtel des Arts, near Place Saint George. It’s a 3-star hotel with amazing service, it’s very clean, and has a perfect location. Click here to book the hotel.

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. 

Les Carmes district in Toulouse - the hipster area
Les Carmes – hipsters’ favorite district – photo: Lost in Bordeaux

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.

Saint Ettiene Cathedral in Toulouse
Saint Ettiene Cathedral – by Lost in Bordeaux

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.

Jean Jaures - the best night life in Toulouse
Jean Jaures in Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

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. 

Saint Aubin district - one of the most local and fun neighborhoods of Toulouse
Saint Aubin neighborhood in Toulouse

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

Odalys City Toulouse Colombélie is a simple hotel close to the station and within walking distance to the center – great value for money.  Book a room here.

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. 

Canal de Brienne - a canal in the city center of Toulouse
Canal de Brienne in Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

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. 

Jardin Japonais - Compans Caffarelli gardes in Toulouse
Le Jardin Japonais in Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

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. 

Les Abattoirs - the contemporary art museum of Toulouse in the Saint Cyprien district
Les Abattoirs – Saint Cyprien in Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

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.

Prairie des Filtres park in Toulouse - Saint Cyprien district
Prairie des Filtres in Saint Cyprien by Lost in Bordeaux

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

As I mentioned, I don’t have hotels to recommend in Saint Cyprien, but here’s a beautiful apartment next to the museum. And it has the most amazing view. Book it here

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. 

A family vacation in Toulouse - what to do and where to visit
Toulouse with kids is an amazing vacation – by Lost in Bordeaux

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. 

Saint Michel - The student neighborhood of Toulouse
Walk along the Garonne in the Saint Michel district in Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

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:

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*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 🙂 

Toulouse is known for its large space industry and its remarkable red brick architecture which attracts many visitors. If you’re considering traveling here with kids you’d be surprised to know that Toulouse is a family-friendly city. There are quite a lot of fun things to do in Toulouse with kids such as the space museum, boat rides, treasure hunts, and more. 

This list includes both indoor and outdoor attractions you can do with your kids in Toulouse. Like other cities in France, Toulouse offers something that’s called the Tourist Pass which gives you discounts and free entrance to many museums and other entertainment in the city. With the pass, you can also use public transportation for free. 

Before I start my guide, here are two articles I recommend you read before going to Toulouse:
A detailed guide to a weekend in Toulouse
The best areas to stay in Toulouse
Day trips from Toulouse by train

A family vacation in Toulouse - what to do and where to visit
Toulouse with kids is an amazing vacation – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you’re a particularly active family and you know that you can make it to several museums or other activities on this list in 2-3 days, then it’s really worth purchasing the pass. The price of the pass is 18€/28€/35€ for 24/48/72 hours respectively. You can see the list of all the discounts you can benefit from here. If you want to purchase the city pass – click here

Entry to museums in France is usually free (or reduced price) for kids, so I recommend purchasing the pass only for yourselves, the parents. Also, it’s important to note that the museums are free every first Sunday of the month, so don’t buy a pass if that’s the day you’re going to visit Toulouse. 

Here’s my detailed list of all the family friendly things to do in Toulouse.

Best kids-friendly activities in Toulouse

Visit the Space museum 

La Cite de l’Espace is one of the most popular attractions in Toulouse, a city known for its space industry. The museum opened its doors in 1997 and has attracted millions of visitors ever since. It has a variety of different exhibitions focusing on the International space station, the solar system, weather predictions, and more. Most of the museum is very interactive which makes it very popular with kids of all ages. 

La Cite de l’Espace - one of the best museums for kids in Toulouse
La Cite de l’Espace – by Lost in Bordeaux

Apart from the main building, there are a few interesting exhibitions and demonstrations in the outdoor area of the museum. One of these is the Russian MIR space station, which you can visit and learn about the astronauts’ daily life at the station. 

Younger kids aren’t left behind! 

One of the buildings, called “La Cite des petits” is dedicated to small kids (4 years and older). The two-floor space-themed park allows kids that don’t read yet to discover the work of an astronaut and their day-to-day lives in the space station. That’s the perfect place to let them touch, construct, deconstruct and just get curious. 

There are many daily demonstrations and activities offered by the museum for different age groups – you can prepare your visit in advance and see all the information for that day in their app

Practical info:

The tickets: The tickets are a bit pricy (23€ for adults and 19€ for kids over 5yo) but quite worth it for a full-day experience. Here’s a link to purchase the tickets. If you have a city pass, you have a 15% discount on the tickets. Purchase the pass here

Opening hours: The museum is closed in January and opens daily throughout the rest of the year, although some weeks it’s closed on Mondays so check the hours before going. Address: Av. Jean Gonord, 31500 Toulouse

How to get there: La Cite de l’Espace is located in the eastern part of the city, only about a 6 km drive from the center of Toulouse. If you get there by car, there’s a huge parking space next to the museum. If you don’t have a car, take the metro (line A) to the Jolimont station and then the bus (line 37) to the Cité de l’Espace station. 

The little train 

If you have little kids you know how exhausting visiting a city with them can be. In recent years I learned that the easiest way to see all the monuments in a city is by using the little train, that many French cities offer to tourists. Luckily Toulouse has one of those too. 

The little train in Toulouse offers two different circuits. First, Circuit Garonne follows the Garonne river and takes you through most of the historic center around Place du Capitole. The second tour is the “Circuit de Canal du Midi”, following the canal, the gardens around the Grand Rond, and the chic Carmes neighborhood.

Weekend in Toulouse
Place du Capitole – by Lost in Bordeaux

Practical info:

The tickets: The ticket price is 7€  for adults and 3€  for kids (3-11 yo) and you can get a 2 €  discount with the city pass. You can buy the tickets next to the train, but be sure to arrive about 20 minutes prior to the scheduled train time.

La Halle de la machine

La Halle de la machine is one of my favorite places in Toulouse and is the perfect place to take your kids to! 

This huge machinery playground belongs to a theatre group called la Compagnie La Machine which incorporates machines in its shows. The machines, built by the group members, are usually quite funny and ridiculous which makes the visit very entertaining. The place itself is the storage hangar of the company, where they keep all the machines that aren’t currently used in shows around the world. 

La Halle de la Machine in Toulouse
La Halle de la Machine – by Lost in Bordeaux

At first glance, the whole place looks overwhelming, full of what seems like useless machinery. That’s why you must follow one of the guides, hear the stories behind the machines and see how they operate.  However, what your kids will probably love the most is the Minotaure. Outside the hanger, you’ll meet a 14 meters height wooden animal, created especially for a show in Toulouse. This humongous machine is operated by the staff and takes the visitors on its back for a ride. 

Practical info:

The tickets: You can pay for a visit and the ride separately if you’re not interested in both activities. Like in many other activities on this list, here too you can enjoy a 2.5 euros discount with the city pass (the discount is for the exhibition only). If you don’t use the city pass, here’s a link to purchase the tickets to the exhibition

Opening hours: La Halle de la machine is open daily from Tuesday to Sunday and closed in January. See the schedule here. Address: 3 Av. de l’Aérodrome de Montaudran, 31400 Toulouse

How to get there: La Halle de la machine is located outside the city center but is reachable by public transport (you can use public transport for free with the city pass). Take metro B from Jean Jaures station in the direction of Ramonville, get off at Rangueil station, and take bus number 23 to the Jardin de la Ligne station. 

Take your kids on a family boat ride 

With the Garonne river and the canal du midi running through the city, Toulouse is a great destination for boat trips. 

One option is to go on a big boat for a cruise on the Canal, which is fun but a rather static experience. I tried that in many cities in France and it doesn’t work well with my dynamic kids who get quickly bored. 

Instead what works perfectly for our family is small electric boats you can navigate by yourself. Your kids can then help you navigate the boat and feel like they are more involved. The boat speed is very slow so it’s pretty safe to let your kids hold the wheel (under your supervision of course).

Canal Du Midi – by Lost in Bordeaux

In Toulouse, you can choose between two boat sizes (without any special permit): up to 3 people and a bigger one for up 8 people. You can choose a one or two hours tour, but from my personal experience with little kids, one hour is more than enough.

Practical info:

The tickets: The prices range between 50€ to 88€ for the boat, depending on the number of people. You can get a 10% discount with the city pass, so try to plan it on a day with other activities so you can enjoy the discounts.

Opening hours: Les Caboteurs, the company that runs this operation is open from June to November. You can see more info hereAddress: The departure point is Port Viguerie in the Saint Cyprian neighborhood in Toulouse.

Aeroscopia – the airplanes museum

If your kids love airplanes, they will definitely enjoy Aeroscopia, a 7 000 m² museum dedicated to the history of aviation. The huge exhibition includes some of the most legendary planes like the Concorde, Caravelle, Super Guppy, and A300B. 

The museum is very interactive and includes many activities for kids. Older kids are offered activities like drone flying and lab experiments, while the small ones can enjoy a lego workshop. You can see the program of workshops and events here. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYfoeVLDfk

Practical info:

The tickets: The tickets are 14€ for adults and 11€ for kids – you can purchase your tickets here.

Opening hours: The place is open daily, see the opening hours hereAddress: 1 All. André Turcat, 31700 BlagnacHow to get there: the aviation museum is located outside the city of Toulouse. It takes about 20 minutes to get there by car and about an hour by public transport. Public transport is free if you have a city pass.

The Natural History Museum of Toulouse

One of the best places for kids in Toulouse is the Natural History museum.

Muséum de Toulouse possesses more than 2 million items in its collection and is considered  one of the best natural history museums in France. 

Their collections evolve around five main themes: Planet Earth, living beings, the notion of time, human beings, and the future. The interactive exhibition involves sounds and explanations to accompany your family’s journey at the museum.

Museum de Toulouse - one of the best things to do with kids in Toulouse
Museum de Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

A little tip for the parents – there’s a really cute garden coffee place on the Terrace of the museums, just in case you need a glass of rosé at the end of your visit 🙂 

Practical info:

The tickets: The tickets to the museum range between 5€ and 9 € – see all the details here. Entry to the museum is free on the first Sunday of the month and with the tourist (city) pass

Opening hours: The museum is open daily except on Mondays. See hours here. Address: The museum is located in the big park of Toulouse, le Jardin des Plantes.

Jardin des Plantes

Jardin des Plantes, one of the more beautiful parks of Toulouse, is located just next to the Museum of Toulouse. Here you’ll find a pond with ducks, a big playground, a coffee and ice cream shop; everything little kids need to enjoy. With its many cute shaded spots spread all over the park, it’s also a perfect place to picnic. If you didn’t bring food with you, head to the Carmes Market and buy fruits, veggies, and some good cheese, et Voila you have the perfect French picnic. 

The gardens are open all year long, see the opening hours. Entry is free. 

Jardin des Plantes park in Toulosue
Jardin des Plantes – by Lost in Bordeaux

Quai des Savoirs

Quai des Savoirs is the science museum of Toulouse. It’s a huge interactive space allowing kids to touch, try, and experiment with science-related activities. On weekends the museum offers interesting workshops for kids (7 yo and older), called Plateau Creatif. During the workshops, they touch on topics like equilibrium and 3D by experimenting in a creative environment. The best way to make them fall in love with science! 

For younger kids (2 to 7 yo) the museum offers a fun space called Le Quai des Petits. A magic mirror, weird tunnels, an emotions-themed photo booth, and musical instruments are only part of what this magical space offers. 

Apart from these activities, the museum always has different exhibitions running during the year. 

Practical info:

The tickets: The tickets to the museum range between 5€ and 7 € – see all the details here. Entry to the museum is free on the first Sunday of the month and with the tourist (city) pass

Opening hours: The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm and is closed on May 1st, January 1st, and December 25. See all the details hereAddress: Where: Allée Matilda, 31000 Toulouse. The museum is located just next to the Natural Science museum of Toulouse

Take your kids to a playground 

Sometimes the most simple thing to do is just to go to a playground and let them play with other kids. There are many good playgrounds in Toulouse but two have a particularly attractive location for parents as well. 

One is an ocean-themed playground with a big boat in the middle, located on Quai de la Daurade. You can enjoy the stunning view of the Garonne while they play, and then do a fun picnic on the river banks. 

Playgrounds in Toulosue
Playgrounds in Toulosue – by Lost in Bordeaux

The other is located in the middle of Place Saint George, right in the heart of the historic center. 

It’s a beautiful playground but what makes it perfect is the location, surrounded by plenty of chic restaurants and cafes. So while your kids play you can enjoy a drink or snack, a win-win situation!

Play in the Virtual Reality room

This is a perfect spot to take older kids (over 10 yo) who might be a bit bored from a classic city trip. The concept of a virtual room, a 3d version of an escape room, has become very popular in France in the last few years. The Virtual Room in Toulouse is run by one of the best companies in this field which happens to be French. 

The place offers several themed games that you can play in a team of two to four people.

Practical info:

The tickets: Tickets prices range from 20€ to  28€- you can purchase your tickets here

Opening hours: The place is open daily, see the available hours when you book your game. Address: 457, l’Occitane – 31670 Labège

How to get there: Take the train from the Toulouse Matabiau station to Labège-Innopole and walk for 15 minutes.

Best things to do with kids around Toulouse 

You don’t have to stay in the city to make it a family-friendly vacation in Toulouse. There are plenty of amazing day trips from Toulouse that your kids are going to absolutely love. Here are a few of the most kids-friendly day trips from Toulouse. 

Kids friendly day trips from Toulouse - Carcassonne
by Lost in Bordeaux

Take them on a day trip to Carcassonne 

Toulouse is located within just one hour’s drive from one of the more magical places in the South of France, the medieval town of Carcassonne. This old citadel is located on the right bank of the Aude river. Early signs of civilizations date back 2500 years, it’s said to be one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world. 

Access to the citadel is free and you can take the whole day to stroll the narrow medieval streets. It’s considered one of the best day trips from Toulouse for both adults and kids. 

Now, as a mom of three kids, I had my share of traveling with them to historic destinations. Strolling the streets and admiring medieval gates is not something they are overly motivated to do. Luckily, the Carcassonne Tourist Office offers families fun games and activities to make it a kid-friendly visit. These include workshops in calligraphy, medieval cooking lessons, and virtual experiences among others. My kids really enjoyed the Treasure hunt box that allowed them to discover the city in a more interactive and fun way. Read about all the family-friendly activities in Carcassonne here

Kids friendly visit in Carcassonne
Carcassonne with kids – by Lost in Bordeaux

You can also take a guided tour to discover Carcassonne in a fun way. Led by a guide in a medieval costume, the tour is a living story of Carcassonne in the 13th century. The tour is for adults and kids over 5yo. See all the details here

How to get from Toulouse to Carcassonne

Carcassonne is located about 90 km from Toulouse (a little more than an hour’s drive). However you can also get there by train, there are many trains going there daily. You can see the schedule and buy tickets here

Another option is taking the organized bus tour from the center of the city with the City tour Toulouse company.

Zoo African Safari 

Toulouse has one of the biggest Zoos in the SouthWest of France, located only 20 minute’s drive from the city center. The African Safari Zoological park inhibits more than 600 wild animals from all over the world. One part is done by car, with animals freely running around you, kind of a simulation of an African Safari. The park also has big sea lions and bird shows, which are the most beloved part of the visit for many kids. It’s not a huge zoo, but little kids really love it. 

Practical info:

The tickets: Tickets prices are 20€ for adults and 15€ for kids. You can buy your tickets here or at the park.  You can get a 3€ with the tourist (city) pass.

Opening hours: The park is open all year long. See the opening hours hereAddress: 41 rue des landes, 31830 Plaisance-du-Touch

Au Lac de la Ramée

If you are visiting Toulouse in the summer and want to include some beach time, Lac de la Ramme is your place. The lake is located about 30 km from Toulouse and offers a variety of kid-friendly activities such as kayaking, windsurfing, skating, and more. 

The natural lake has a nice beach, surrounded by a park where you can let your kids run. You can also enjoy the public BBQ facilities on the beach if you’re planning to stay there for a few hours. 

Swimming is authorized only during the summer season (July and August) when the beach is supervised. See all the facilities at the Lac de la Ramée in this link.

The lac is located at 21 Chem. de Larramet, 31170 Tournefeuille.

It’s reachable by car or by public transport (metro+bus). If you happen to have a Tourist Pass, you can use public transport for free. 

Visit Village Gaulois

Village Gaulois is a unique archaeological site located on the banks of the Garonne river about 50 km south of Toulouse. The old Gallic village of nine hectares was reconstructed in the heart of the forest by a group called “Les Gaulois”  after extended historic and scientific research. The historians and researchers behind the project became farmers, craftsmen, carpenters, and every other profession needed to run this beautiful eco-museum. 

During your visit to the village, you can see demonstrations of metalwork, pottery, woodworking, and more. Children are offered different games to help them discover the village. In this link, you can see the different activities and craftsmen operating in the village

Practical info:

The tickets: Ticket prices are 14€ for adults and 12€ for kids over 4 yo. You can buy your tickets here.

Opening hours: The site is open from Wednsday to Sunday from 14:00 to 17:00 most of the year and all day in the summer months. See the 2023 calendar here and more info hereAddress: La Chaussée Rd 25, 31310 Rieux-Volvestre

How to get there: The best way to get there is by car. But you can also take a train from Toulouse to Carbonne or to Cazères and get a taxi from there (about a 10-minute drive). Here’s a link to get train tickets and here are a few taxis you can contact. 

AnimaParc

The animaParc is the amusement park of Toulouse, where families go for a day of pure adrenaline and fun! Located in a large, four hectars forest, the park offers plenty of activities for any age. 

The amusement park has 26 attractions such as the wild tower, the pirate boat, a splash park, and more. Another fun feature is the dinosaur park with 30 real size dinosaurs spread over the forest. And finally, for the little ones, there’s an animal farm with more than 150 animals they can feed. 

Practical info:

The tickets: Tickets range from 15€ to 18€. See all the info and tickets here.

Opening hours: The park is open during the tourist season from April to October and during the Christmas season. See all the info and tickets hereAddress: 3000 Pouchot, 31330 Le Burgaud. The park is located 40 km North-west of Toulouse, you have to have a car to get there. 

Bike along the Canal

Toulouse is a bike-friendly city, with biking lanes in the city center and along the Garonne riverfront. However, the most fun biking trip to do with kids is the one along Canal du Midi. The famous navigation canal connects Toulouse to the Mediterranean sea, in the city of Sete. All along the canal, there is a path, that is perfect for walking and biking. 

You can start your trip at any point on the Canal du Midi near the city and continue cycling in the south direction. If you’re traveling with kids and want A Short Ride, You Can Do The 5km Route Ramonville. If you’re looking for a longer trip, continue to Villefranche-De-Lauragais which is located around 40 km south of Toulouse. 

biking along the Canal du Midi
biking along the Canal du Midi – by Lost in Bordeaux

You can rent a bike at La Maison du Vélo which is located on the Canal just next to the train station. If you happen to have the tourist (city) pass you can get up to 4€ discount on your bike rental. 

That’s it for my “What to do in Toulouse with kids” list! I hope it gave you a lot of new ideas for how to turn it into an unforgettable trip for both you and your kids.

If you also happen to travel to Bordeaux, check out my article about the 30 best things to do in Bordeaux with kids

If you’re visiting Toulouse for the first time there are a few articles you should check:
My detailed guide to a weekend in Toulouse
Where to stay in Toulouse – the best districts
The best events taking place in Toulouse
The best markets in Toulouse

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:

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*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 🙂 

Toulouse may not be a winter destination but it definitely knows how to get festive for Christmas. The historic center is decorated with hundreds of beautiful lights on anything from trees to buildings and fountains. 

Every year, Toulouse is also hosting one of the biggest and most impressive Christmas markets in the Southwest of France. If you’re planning a trip to France in December, Toulouse is worth checking.

In this article, I created a list of the best Christmas markets to take place in and around Toulouse in 2023. If you’re also planning to stop by Bordeaux on your trip, here are the best Christmas markets to take place this year in Bordeaux.

Best Christmas markets in Toulouse 2023

Marché de Noël de Toulouse 

The main Christmas market of Toulouse is taking place on Place du Capitole! This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that it’s the biggest and most beautiful square Toulouse has to offer. 

More than 100 wooden cabins with gifts, local products, and food adorn Place du Capitol and its impressive buildings. If you’re looking for Christmas gifts, you will find everything from jewelry, kids’ toys, cosmetics, chocolates, local wine, and more. 

Some stalls are dedicated to all the “Christmas musts” like vin chaud (mulled wine), crepes, churros, and Christmas decorations.

 If you’re in the mood to taste something more regional, try Aligot, Tome cheese blended into mashed potatoes.

It’s probably not the most original Christmas market you have seen in your life, but it captures the Christmas spirit. And if you’re planning to visit Toulouse in December, this market is a must!

Another great feature of the market is the ice skating ring, which your kids will surely enjoy!

This year the market is taking place from November 24 to December 26 on Place du CapitoleSee all the details here.

Marché de Noël Artisanal et Solidaire

Another interesting market is Marché de Noël Artisanal et Solidaire taking place on Allées Jules-Guesde (next to the Grand Rond). This community market brings together craftsmen and ethical local producers for three weeks of Christmas celebration. The market will take place daily on December 2 – 24, from 10 am to 8 pm. See more details here.

Rosalie, marché de créatrices

Rosalie is a creators’ Christmas market where all the exhibitors are female creators. This year the market will host 50 stalls with a huge variety of products from decoration, well-being, jewelry, and more. The market will take place on December 9-10 at Allées Forain-François Verdier and on December 16- 17 next to the Musée des Abattoirs in Toulouse.

Christmas Markets around Toulouse

Carcassonne celebrates Christmas

Carcassonne is one of the most celebrated destinations in Occitanie and during the Christmas season, it’s getting even more magical!  Every year the town gets decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights and offers many surprises for the winter holidays. 

The Christmas events in Carcassonne are called la Magie de Noël which include a market, the big wheel, ice skating rings, and more.

The festivities will take place on December 2- 31, the program will be published here.

Carcassonne is located about an hour’s drive from Toulouse, so definitely something to put on your list if visiting during Christmas vacation.

Marché gastronomique et artisanal de Noël

Albi is hosting its annual Christmas market on December 1-31. It’s called the gastronomic and craft market and includes plenty of cabins with original artistic gifts, Christmas decorations, toys, and more. Albi is located about an hour’s drive from Toulouse. 

All the details about Christmas-related events in Albi will be published here.

Festival des Lanternes in Montauban

Well, this one isn’t a Christmas event, but it’s beautiful, full of lights, and takes place in December so I decided to put it on my list anyway. This year Montauban (about 50 km from Toulouse)  is hosting yet another lanterns festival.
The event called le Jardin Fantastique will host 40 artists from China that will present their monumental sculptures. This event will take place on Cours Foucault from December 15 to February 11, 2024. See all the info here.

Need more ideas for things to do in Bordeaux and the SW of France? you should definitely join my newsletter where I share a lot of info about the area – sign up 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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group