11 min read
After our Head of Operations Sam spending 48 hours in Munich and bringing you some amazing travel recommendations, our Travel Expert Roxana takes you on a journey to Toulouse also knows as 'La Ville Rose'.
Famed for its jutting spires, pastel pink architecture and riverside setting, Toulouse is one of Southern France’s prettiest cities. But here at BRB we aren’t superficial and know that there is so more to Toulouse than the beautiful pink façade that has earnt the city the nickname La Ville Rose.
Located on the banks of the Garonne river, Toulouse is the capital of the region of Occitanie. Dating back to 2BC, the city has a rich heritage that has left Toulouse littered with charming churches, outstanding art galleries, and imposing mansion houses. Alongside these glimpses of history, you will find bustling markets, friendly and fun-loving locals, more than 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, and an illustrious aeronautical scene. On top of that, Toulouse is a fabulous foodie destination where mouth-watering local specialities are paired with top quality wine. Clearly Toulouse has an awesome personality to match its stunning appearance. This city is the whole package, and it is conveniently located just an hour and half away from London. Need I say more?
As always, BeRightBack is here to take all the stress out of your holiday and that means making the perfect itinerary for your 48 hours in Toulouse, so you don’t have to worry about missing a thing. All you need to do is read on and remember to pack your passport!
After a two hour flight from London Gatwick, I land at Toulouse–Blagnac Airport (the main airport in Toulouse). I want to make the most of my time in the city so I jump in a taxi and head straight to the 3* Hotel Albert 1er to drop off my bag.
Discover the taste of what is good and authentic, the sense of sharing, get off the beaten track, experience things a bit differently and offer yourself some simple pleasures. At Hôtel Albert 1er Toulouse, you will find the charm and sympathy that are so characteristic of the South-West and the Midi region.
Stay in an exceptional setting that combines a rich history with all the comfort of modern times. A 3-star hotel in the heart of Toulouse near the Toulouse train station and public parking, 8 rue Rivals and with an average rating of 4.5/5, I'm sure it will be an amazing experience!
With only 48 hours, we’ve got no time to lose (pun intended), so begin your trip by diving straight into some Toulousain high culture at the Musée des Augustins. The city’s leading fine-arts museum since 1793, the Musée des Augustins is home to a collection of over 4000 paintings and sculptures dating from the very beginning of the Middle Ages all the way through to the twentieth century.
Photo Credit: @laribsmfotografias
The incredible artwork is enough to blow your socks off, but the magnificence of the building itself brings this museum to a whole new level. Set in a former Augustinian monastery, you will find wonderous vaulted chapels, enchanting medieval interiors, and charming cloisters all surrounding a beautiful, closed garden. It’s definitely not one to be missed!
Keep the art tour going with a visit to the Hôtel d’Assézat. This grand sixteenth century building is a French Renaissance hôtel particulier or “urban palace.” It houses the Fondation Bemberg, another of Toulouse’s most exquisite art collections. The gallery features masterpieces from big names such as Monet, Matisse and Picasso. You will never have said “wow” so many times in one morning!
Photo Credit: @labonneideetoulouse
After admiring all that art, it’s definitely time for some food and there is no place better to pick up some grub than at the Marché Victor Hugo. This covered market is the beating heart of Toulouse’s food scene. Packed with stalls selling all of the region’s top specialties from Toulouse sausages to cassoulet as well as all the typical French classics of cheese, baguettes and wine, you will be overwhelmed with choice.
Photo Credit: @tasteoftoulouse
This market offers more than just a feast for your belly as the smells, colours, music and sound of laughter are a treat for all your senses. The electric atmosphere here is what Toulouse is about, so embrace the chaos and soak it all in.
With your energy levels replenished, make your way to the nearby Basilique Saint-Sernin. Once you see this immaculately preserved Romanesque church, with its soaring vaulted ceiling and octagonal bell tower, you will not be surprised to find out that it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Generally considered one of the greatest churches in France (which is high praise considering how many incredible churches France is home to) the Basilique Saint-Sernin is an absolute must visit.
Photo Credit: @worldofrou
Just ten minutes away is another remarkable religious building, the Couvent des Jacobins. Built in the 1200s, this Roman Catholic church is famous for its unusual ceiling support which is fashioned in the shape of a palm tree. Scoop your jaw up off the floor and finish your afternoon enjoying the French sun as you wonder around the church’s serene garden.
Photo Credit: @mysweetescape___
As the evening begins to roll in, head to the Place du Capitole – Toulouse’s main square. Enter under the arcade and look up to see Raymond Moretti’s illustrated timeline of the city’s history painted above you. The last portion incorporates mirrors to reflect you in Toulouse’s present. A lovely artistic gesture and a great opportunity for a photo!
Photo Credit: @marie_chadirac
Through the arch you will find the imposing Town hall which presides over the square, and the spectacular Theatre du Captiole. It is very special to see the theatre in the evening as its salmon pink exterior seems to glow in the light of the setting sun. Grab a glass of wine at one of the tables lining the square, sit back and admire your surroundings.
Next up is a delicious dinner at Le Bibent Maison Constant. A truly stunning restaurant, the art nouveaux décor warrants a visit alone. They serve the best of traditional French cuisine and always deliver to a high quality. Don’t miss their take on aligot which is an Occitanie specialty of delicious cheesy, garlicky, mashed potato. Bon appetit!
Photo Credit: @lenaihel
It is not time to head back to your hotel room yet! There’s still more fun to be squeezed out of your first day in Toulouse. Hit up Moloko, a funky bar with an adventurous cocktail menu and let the drinks flow! They have a downstairs area where they hold regular DJ and live music nights so you can dance the night away.
Photo Credit: @lesartisansdu_cocktail
The perfect antidote for your late and boozy night on the town is breakfast at Le Sherpa. Rustic and laidback, this café offers out of this world crepes, with both savoury and sweet options available. Pair with a fresh coffee and you will be raring to go!
Photo Credit: @goulours31
Located just outside Toulouse’s city centre you will find the one-of-a-kind Cité de l’Espace. This interactive museum is filled with space travel exhibits. Since WWII, Toulouse has been France’s centre of aerospace development and the museum gives you the opportunity to explore their achievements up close.
Photo Credit: @khormologiatn
See replicas of the Mir space station and a 52m tall Ariane 5 space rocket as well as testing your tolerance for space travel in a rotating pod, stargazing in the planetarium and embarking on a virtual space mission in their cinema room. This hands-on museum is the perfect place to indulge your big kid side and learn a lot in the process.
Photo Credit: @gaellitta
Head back into the city centre for a scrumptious lunch at Le Bistrot des Carmes. A sweet little spot, decorated with vintage automotive paraphernalia and serving hearty portions of southern French food, you will feel right at home in this friendly restaurant.
Photo Credit: @ilianafloral
Burn off some of your lunch with a lovely afternoon stroll along the beautiful Garonne River making your way to Le Pont Neuf Bridge. Its name may mean “new bridge,” but it is actually the oldest bridge in Toulouse. One of the emblems of the city, this sixteenth century bridge is 220m long and features seven iconic arches. Cross over and enjoy the excellent views of the river below as it meanders through the centre of Toulouse. This is another excellent opportunity to snap that perfect holiday pic to make all your friends and family jealous! Keep walking and you will arrive at the Prairie des Filtres.
Photo Credit: @tourismeatoulouse
This gorgeous riverside city park transforms into a ‘beach’ in the summer months with giant slip’n’slides, beach volleyball and even African dance lessons all to be found along the banks of the Garonne. Kick off your shoes, join in with the locals and have some carefree fun. For those of you who prefer a more relaxed vay-cay, find a spot, lay back and enjoy a spot of sunbathing.
Find yourself at the Quai de la Daurade ten minutes before 7pm and buy yourself a ticket for the Baladine Barge river cruise. This is one of the best ways to view the city as the pink buildings look stunning in the light of the evening sun and when it becomes dark they are all lit up with sparkling lights.
Photo Credit: @marine81370
Follow this fabulous start to your evening with a showstopper supper at Ma Biche sur Le Toit. A rooftop bar and restaurant on top of the Galleries Lafayette, this fancy spot pairs excellent food with jaw-dropping views. Raise a glass and reminisce on all the happy memories you have made over your two days.
Photo Credit: @orenzaaaa
As the night draws on, make the most of your remaining few hours with a trip to Les Tricheurs. This bar serves a range of colourful cocktails alongside hilarious board games and has an amazing atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to end your trip because you will be having so much fun that you’ll forget to be sad the holiday is over!
Photo Credit: @barlestricheurs
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Barcelona, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Toulouse and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Roxana Bujoranu (Travel Expert at BeRightBack)
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