Toulouse appeals to all five senses: between the colors and textures of bright flowers, the scent and taste of local fare, and the sounds of the French language, you’ll be overcome by a rush of influence. Its location between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and its role as the gateway to the Pyrenees mountain range is just another one of its outstanding features. The old capital of Languedoc, France’s fourth largest city, and the metropolis known as “La Ville en Rose” (City in Pink) keeps tourists flooding Toulouse time after time.
Aside from the many attractive tourist sites, Toulouse is also known for its proficiency in the aero-space industry. The Toulouse Space Center is headquartered here, driving in companies such as the Airbus and Aerospatiale. Steeped in aviation history, Toulouse is both the landmark of the first regular airline taking off of French soil, and also the birthplace of Clement Adler, the ‘Father of Aviation’. Despite its progression in the sky, Toulouse somehow managed to miss the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, and has since been known as a sleepy, historical town balanced by universities and growth. Throughout the area are more than 300 different types of organs awaiting your arrival during the Annual Organ Festival.
Temperatures vary as seasons change, but there’s no bad time to book flights to Toulouse. November through March are the coldest and rainiest months holding temperatures in the 40’s, so most travelers visit the city between June and August, when the warmth kicks in and temperatures escalate to 75-85 degrees F.
Toulouse has an extensive public transport network of buses, tramways and metro. There is also an abundance of taxi companies available. If you would rather rent a car, bear in mind that the downtown area tends to be very busy and parking could be tricky – it might be better to rent a bicycle and explore the city at ease.
Jardin des Plantes: In the seventies, Jardin des Plantes was a hum-drum outdoor area with lackluster vegetation and little aesthetic value. In the eighties, it changed for the better. Now, its ecological surroundings welcome tourists booking flights to Toulouse to meander through the National Museum of Natural History. A variety of plants, including tropical breeds, are integrated through the manicured flora, and the entire mass is divided into sections: tropical gardens, Alpine gardens, rose gardens, botanical gardens, and climbing plants.
Canal du Midi: Just because Toulouse missed the Industrial Revolution doesn’t mean it missed its own engineering marvels. Between 1667 and 1694, Pierre-Paul Riquet designed a network of waterways to blend in with the surroundings of the town. Linking the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, the system is a structure of locks, aqueducts, bridges, and tunnels that connect and direct the water from one end to another. The technological innovation is seen as a modern spectacle in civil engineering, and the fact that it enhances the aesthetic landscape is one of its finest qualities.
Basilique St-Sernin: Consecrated in 1096, the largest and finest Romanesque church in Europe beckons religious enthusiasts to visit Toulouse, especially around Christian holiday seasons. The gorgeous Porte Miegeville opens to the south aisle, which is decorated with 12th century sculptures, and capitals that depict the story of Lazarus. Its double side aisles, five naves, and atypical Romanesque architecture are dotted with majestic columns, and an 11th century bas relief portraying Christ in His Majesty is one of the most renowned aspects of the establishment.