Toulouse  is a city in southwestern France, near the Pyrenees, in the Midi-Pyrenees region, half way between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, after Paris, Marseille and Lyon.
Capitole, Toulouse, France
Hotel Dieu Saint-Jacques on Garonne
Toulouse has become a center of aviation and spaceflight in the past 20 years. More than 35,000 of the innercity's 400,000 citizens work in the civil aviation or space industries; Airbus / EADS is the largest employer in the region. The city has remained relatively unchanged despite the economic boom.
The city at the Garonne river is on the site of an ancient Roman settlement; even today many of the smaller streets follow their Roman counterparts and many of the red brick buildings are of a pseudo-Roman style. These buildings are also what gives Toulouse its nickname La ville rose (The pink city).
In the middle ages, Toulouse was one of the richest cities of France due to the sale of blue coloring (pastel) extracted from woad plants. This monopoly was only broken when the Portuguese began to import Indigo to Europe. Over 50 hotels, mansions, remain witness to the past wealth.
The tourism information office, Toulouse Tourist Office , is in the back side of the Capitolium.
Regular scheduled domestic and international flights arrive at Blagnac airport , 11 km west of downtown Toulouse. Air France operates flights to/from Paris approximately every 30 minutes, which are usually priced around €50 each way, if booked in advance. There are also many flights to major European cities such as London, Munich, and Frankfurt.
To get to the city from the airport, you can take the "Shuttle Bus"  for €5.00 to either the main bus/train station, or the Jean Jaures or Jeanne D'Arc metro stations in the city center. The journey takes 20 minutes and the bus operates every 20 minutes. The ticket is also valid for transfers onto other public city buses within 90 minutes of validation. Tickets can be purchased from the desk in the airport or the driver. Another option is to take bus 66 to the Patte D'Oie metro station. A taxi to the center should cost €20-25.
Sea-Lifts  operates transfers from the airport to the beach and ski resorts as well as other, further out, destinations.
Departure/arrival hall for your flight can be found out by searching for the flight number at the flight timetable: .
It is usually cheaper to fly via Ryanair  to Beziers or Carcassonne and then take the train to Toulouse, rather than flying directly to Toulouse.
SNCF  is the national intercity train operator in France. Cheap tickets can be purchased via iDTGV , which offers tickets from Paris starting from €18. Trains to Paris take 5-7.5 hours, trains to Bordeaux take 2 hours, and trains to Marseille take 4 hours.
The train station in Toulouse is centrally located.
Toulouse is one end of the train line through the Pyrenees (TER Midi-Pyrénées line 22). This line passes through Ariège, and most trains end at the capital Foix. However, 6 trains a day continue from Toulouse and Foix on to Andorre-L'Hospitalet (the closest train station to Andorra) and Latour-de-Carol, at which you can change trains towards Barcelona. The train to Andorre-L'Hospitalet takes 3 hours, 30 minutes, and the full journey to Barcelona takes about 7 hours (including the change at Latour-de-Carol) and costs €30.
The schedule for the French train is on the Touristic Routes section of the SNCF website, while the Spanish schedule can be found by looking on the Rodalies de Catalunya page. The Catalan name of Latour-de-Carol is La Tor de Querol as listed on the Rodalies webpage.
Major highways towards Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille, Barcelona
Bus and metro terminal at the railway station.
Bus services to Spain, Belgium, Italy, and Portugal can be made through Alsa bus departing from the main bus station in Toulouse. 
Toulouse is a big city, but the historical centre (downtown) is quite small, so you can walk to most destinations in the inner city quite comfortably. This is definitely the best way to explore the city.
By bus or metro
Tisseo  operates a network of bus and metro lines throughout the city. The website features an online route planner as well as maps and schedules. Bus tickets can be bought from the bus drivers for €1.60. Note that most bus lines stop operating at 22:00, but some of the most popular lines operate until 01:00.
A free shuttle bus circles the historic centre of the city throughout the day on all days except Sunday. These buses are usually green and don't have set stops, so if you see one, flag it down.
The metro is relatively small, there are two lines, one going east-west (line A), and the other going north-south (B), but is modern and easy-to-use. The metro operates from 05:00 until midnight (1:00 on Friday and Saturday nights).
You should avoid going downtown with a car, as parking spaces are limited. One good option is to drive to a metro station just outside of of the center and park there, then head downtown by metro.
Rent a bike from any one of the 253 VeloToulouse  bike stations for €1 day. If you do not return the bike to a station within 30 minutes, you will be charged extra. You can use the bikes as many times as you like during the day after paying the €1.
The tourist office provides maps of cycle lanes and cycle tours of the city.
Capitole Taxi  is the only licensed taxi operator and it often has poor service. If you want to get back to your hotel after the buses have stopped, you need to pre-book a taxi or be prepared for a wait which could be over an hour.
Toulouse has a small center, and you can reach most interesting places in the downtown area comfortably on foot.
- Basilique Saint Sernin - a church from the 11th Century, partly restored by the famous french architect Viollet-le-Duc.
- Hôtel d'Assézat - one of the most appealing of the many old mansions of the city
- Capitole - the imposing and palatial town hall and theater, its beautiful facade facing onto the grand Place du Capitole
- Pont-Neuf - despite its name(like the Parisian bridge of the same name, its title is most probably derived from the French for 'New', not 'Nine'.), the only old bridge across the Garonne river; built between 1544 and 1626
- Les Jacobins monastery church, contains Thomas Aquinas' relics.
- City park at the Grand Rond, a bit south-east to the center of the city
- Les Augustins Used to be a monastery church, and is today an art museum
- Les Abattoirs Modern Arts museum, and there is also a nice garden with a nice view on the Garonne
- Georges Labit Museum Asian arts and Egyptian antiquities museum in an exotic and Mediterranean garden built in 1893, 17 rue du Japon
- Canal du Midi. The Canal du Midi or Canal des Deux Mers is a 240 km long canal in the south of France, le Midi. The canal connects the Garonne River to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean. The Canal du Midi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Airbus offers tours of their facilities; the tour takes about 60 minutes and includes a guide who will tell you some background about the company; the screening of a promotional / historical video, and a look at the A380 production line. Photography is strictly forbidden, and you need to bring a piece of photo identification. Book ahead. Those who have done the tour before 2006 should note that tours now set off from a new purpose built structure shaped like a cross-section of the A380. The building can be difficult to find so check the website in advance.
Visit the website of Airbus Visit , the unique company authorized by Airbus to provide tours of the A340, A380 and Concorde.
Cité de l'Espace
The "space city"  is another of Toulouse's "aviation" attractions. However you must be aware that it is not exactly a museum but a sort of scientific theme park without rides. There are some replicas of spacecraft and other exhibits, many of the latter interactive in some minor way. There's also a small planetarium. The park is suited well to 5-14 year old children, everybody else should probably spare themselves the trip. It's situated fairly far outside the city but there's a bus service starting outside the Jolimont metro station.
- By Public Transport (Bus):
Take bus route no. 37 from the Jolimont metro station going to La Plaine. Ask for the Cité de l'espace bus stop.
- Admission Fees: For Adults : €18.5, for Children: €12.
- Peniche Baladine Boat Tours, (Boats depart from Daurade, near the Capitole), . Take a boat trip down the Garonne River and/or through the canals leading to the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. €8 for a 70 minute cruise.
- Walk through the city and along the Canal du Midi or along the Garonne river from St Pierre bridge and Pont-neuf during the evening.
- Party at St Pierre Place: very popular among Toulouse's students
- See a Rugby Match. If you are fortunate enough to be in Toulouse on match day, follow the crowds and the excitement to the stadium and soak up the atmosphere while watching of one of Europe's top Rugby Union teams Stade Toulousain. If you prefer league, then Toulouse's very own Toulouse Olympique plays in both the Co-operative Championship and the Challenge Cup. The matches are very family friendly and the atmosphere is electric!
The Toulouse Alternative Arts Scene
Websites are in French
- Toulouse is one of the most alternative French cities - maybe due to its huge student population and its historical past with half a million Spanish republican/communist/anarchists 'rebels' that settled in the region after they failed to rebel against Franco and escaped through the Pyrenees during the 'Retirada' in 1939. So even though the city is trying to get rid of them, it still offers a large number of squats, some of them hosting artistic movements. MixArt Myrys  is one of the oldest and most active squat of artists within the city.
- La Dynamo  is a club located in a former sex club and a great place to see live bands and other performances - ça bouge! Located in the city centre at 6 rue Amélie (Metro Jean Jaurès).
- Les Motivées  is an association that is very active on the political and social scene in Toulouse, and that organises or takes part in many free events, strikes, concerts, etc. throughout the year. They founded a political party a few years ago that is pretty active locally and holds a few positions with the City Hall Council. Check also the Tactikollectif  their fellow co-working association on events like festivals, etc. that has its origin in the Northern quarters of Toulouse, which are the ones with social housing and lower quality of life.
- La Grainerie  is more particularly dedicated to circus and was first created and settled on derelict brown land ; it hosts various collectives of artists every year.
- L'Usine  is another residence for artists and collectives, located in the close suburb (Tournefeuille, 12kms from the City centre of Toulouse]
- le Collectif d'Urgence Acteurs Culturels - Emergency Collective for Cultural Actors  defends the local associative and alternative cultural world, whereas the Toulouse Réseau Unitaire Citoyen - Civil Unitarian Network of Toulouse  aims at stirring local, social and political debates.
There are a lot of universities in Toulouse. It has the second largest student population in France: 120,000.
In Toulouse there are major universities and lots of engineering or management schools.
Anglophone travellers might find employment in the Aviation industry; however even here French is commonly used. Also, with the current heightened security concerns, extensive screening is required for new employees, so these jobs are not suited for short-term work.
Like all of France, you will not be disappointed with the food Toulouse offers.
Duck is a regional specialty, and thus many restaurants will offer duck for dinner.
Cassoulet is the most famous regional dish, a stew made with white beans, various kinds of meat, and pork skin.
Where to eat
- Mezzo De Pasta, 43 Rue Des Freres Lion (Metro Francois-Verdier), Tel: +33 05 34 40 67 01. Mon-Sun 12.00-22.00. A small, inexpensive eatery that provides good quality pasta and salad dishes. Nothing special, but if you are on a budget, can't be bothered to get all dressed up or want something a little less rich than the local cuisine then you can't go wrong here - especially with prices starting from only €4.
- Restaurant Caves De La Marachale, 3 Rue Jules Chalande (Metro Esquirol). Tel: +33 05 61 23 89 88. 12.00 - 00.00. Hidden away in a cave like setting (as you may have garnered from the name) this restaurant offers a wonderfully intimate atmosphere for a wonderfully inexpensive price. You will feel like you are sitting in an upmarket establishment, but with a three course meal made all from fresh ingredients (menu of the day) costing only €17.50 you, and your wallet, won't have to dread receiving the bill.
- La Baie de Morlaix, 8 Rue de l'Esquile (Metro Jeanne d'Arc). Tel: +33 05 61 23 02 49. 10.00-18.00. A small and friendly Art Deco Creperie near the Place du Capitole. For inexpensive yet filling eating you can't go wrong with French Crepes. An excellent savoury option the St Jacques Roquefort is recommended. Prices range from €6 to €10.
- Emile, 13 Place Saint-Georges (Metro Capitole), Tel: +33 5 61 21 05 56. Mon-Sun 12.00-14.00 & 19.30-22.00. A beautiful restaurant originally opened in the 1940's as a hotel. Serving fresh seafood and local specialities from €20 for three courses (although for a , Emile is located in the heart of 'Old Toulouse' at Place Saint-Georges - a quintessential French public square which provides an excellent atmosphere and ambience for al-fresco dining. Alternatively choose the Carte option for a more modern take on class French cuisine. Although expect to pay for it! 
- Aux Saveurs Des Paradoux, 14 Rue Des Paradoux (Metro Carmes), Tel: +33 05 61 25 23 23. Mon-Sun 12.00-22.00. A favourite with locals, Aux Saveurs offers generous portions in a small, intimate atmosphere. Specialities include Swimming Lobster, Lamb Stew with House Vegetables, Veal Medallions with Chive Mash and a Carpaccio of Cherries with Mascarpone and Chocolate. After ordering a small plate of Bread and Tapenade is served which helps prepare for the gastronomic delights ahead. Not cheap it has to be said but for the choice and quality of the food coupled with the quintessentially quaint French setting, €30 each for three courses isn't too bad. A bottle of wine (excellent choice from all the classic French wine regions) costs around €15. Due to it being a small establishment, make sure you book for both lunch and dinner to avoid disappointment.
- Délicatessen, 11 Rue Riquet (Metro François-Verdier), ☎ Tel: 05 61 62 49 00. Mon-Fri 4pm–2am, Sat 6pm–3am, Sun 11am–4:30pm, 6pm–2am. Busy tapas bar with friendly atmosphere that offers meals, a good selection of beers on tap and a real happy hour; tapas here are tasty, cheap and generous (choose 5 for €16.50 - March 2012). It's a popular place so it's better to get there a little earlier in the evening.
- Les Faims de Haricots 3 Rue Du Puits Vert (Metro Esquirol) +33 05 61 22 49 25. . Open 9am onwards. Toulouse's cuisine can leave many vegetarians feeling rather left out, hence why, in 1996, Les Faims opened to a mixture of delight and bewilderment. Since then it has become a favourite amongst carnivores and veggies alike! Possibly one of the best value eateries in the city, Les Faims offers five all you can eat options including; salad, quiche, dish of the day, soups and desserts. Prices start at €11 for two options working up to €14 for all the options and €16 all in includes a glass of cidre, all the food options and a cup of coffee. Given the amount of choice (and the quality of the food on offer) you will be hard pressed not to return more than once - particularly if you are vegetarian.
- Le Sales Gosses, 7 Rue De L'Industrie (Metro Jean-Jaures), +33 05 61 99 30 31. Mon-Sun 12.00-22.00. For something a little different which is meant to provide a nostalgic experience for people who wish to return to childhood in France. Big gourmet burgers and experimental dishes that combine flavours of childhood such as Orangina and Nutella with high quality ingredients such as cod fillet to produce dishes like you will not have tasted before. Think of a French, less pretentious (surprisingly) Heston Blumenthal. 
- Restaurant Michel Sarran, 21 Boulevard Armand Duportal (Metro Compans Cafferelli), Tel: +33 (0)5 61 12 32 32. Mon-Fri (Excl Wed) 12.00-14.00 & 20.00-22.00. Arguably the finest restaurant in Toulouse. The two Michelin starred restaurant run by the Sarran family strives to do away with the formality of a restaurant and instead invites the guest (not customer) to a familial experience. The food is exquisite with dishes such as Foie Gras, Pidgeon and the finest Beef featuring on the menu. If you are able to afford it, prices start at €98 for a three course evening meal, and are a fan of outstanding French gastronomy then this restaurant is for you.
Opening hours in Toulouse are generally Mon-Sat 9AM-1PM and 3PM-7PM, but there are numerous exceptions.
- As Toulouse is a city of aviation and spaceflight, check Airbus and the Cité de l'Espace for souvenirs
- There's a flea market every Sunday morning near the Basilique Saint Sernin. While it does not offer anything too special as flea markets go it's a great way to mingle with a local crowd. Another flea market is held every first weekend of the month at the Grand Rond
- Also a very nice market around the St Aubin Basilic every Sunday morning, selling producer's vegetables and fruits. Very relaxed atmosphere.
- Every weekday there is a vegetable market before noon along the Boulevard de Strasbourg - this is actually the cheapest of all the vegetable and fruit markets of the city
- There are excellent 2nd hand shops or "friperie", especially on Rue Gambetta and in the whole quarter behind the 'Ecole des Beaux Arts', around the 'place de la Bourse' which is the historical textile production quarter of Toulouse
- If you are on a budget, the supermarkets where most students use to go are the brands 'Lidl' and 'Leader Price'. Those are to be found more on the 'edges' of the city (though some are accessible with the underground). In the centre, you'd rather go for Champion or Géant Casino.
- Hostel In Toulouse, 1 impasse du professeur Nougayrol, ☎ +33 561 266 625 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A small hostel outside of the city (5-7 minute Metro ride) run by a nice young couple who live on the premises. Very clean, very comfortable, featuring beds with real blankets.
- La Petite Auberge de Compostelle, 17 rue d'Embarthe, ☎ 07-60-88-17-17 (email@example.com), . A hostel located in an interesting part of the city. Not much of a common area, but each room has an open kitchen and lounge area. 22 EUR.
- Aer Hotel The Aer Hotel is a two-star establishment in the suburbs near the marina of Ramonville-Saint-Agne and minutes walk from the University of Toulouse III. The hotel offers free-wifi and free parking. Prices start from €46. 
- Icare Hotel An excellent low-cost accommodation option in central Toulouse. Modern rooms with surprisingly good bathroom facilities given this is a two-star hotel. Prices start from €60 a night for a double room with a shower. The extras can add up if your stay is long here, but given the standard of accommodation and the low basic price this is definitely worth considering. 
- Hotel le Moulin de Moissac, (email:), . This three star hotel is the oldest in the area - it's five centuries old! Winner of the TripAdvisor 2012 Excellence Award. The hotel has an on-site spa featuring a jacuzzi, steam rooms and massage facilities. There is also a piano bar with live musicians most nights. Some rooms have beautiful views over the River Tarn. Rooms from €89 per night.
- Citadines Wilson Toulouse, 8, boulevard de Strasbourg, ☎ 05 34 41 75 00 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 05 61 99 07 55), . This residence is comprised of 104 flats in two wings of 4 and 9 floors, ranging from studios to one-bedroom layouts. Every apartment is fully air-conditioned, and houses a bathroom and a fully-equipped kitchen area complete with stove, microwave/grill and dishwasher and fridge. Some studios are equipped for people with reduced mobility.
- Gitounet (email@example.com), Avenue Camille Pujol, . A self-catering studio apartment suitable for 1 or 2 people (large double bed), with a total floor space of 18 sqm. Includes a fully equipped kitchen, en suite shower and toilet. Bed linen and towels provided. The apartment is situated to the east of the city centre, only 15 minutes walk from the Place du Capitol, with a frequent bus service. It is on the ground floor of a family house overlooking the garden. 45 E/night.
- Cap de Castel Hotel, (on the Pastel road), (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The Cap de Castel Hotel is a small charming hotel set within a typical medieval Mediterranean village, dominating the Lauragais hills and valleys, renowned as "Little Tuscany", in the rural south of France. The hotel is named after the 13th century Castel (in Occitan patois), outbuildings and ramparts forming the property overlooking south the Pyrenees and Black Mountain chains. 60Eur to 165Eur.
- Holiday Inn Le Capoul, 15 Place Wilson, ph: +33 56110 7070 (fax: +33 56121 9670). Rooms are up to 155 €/night (without any discounts you may get), plus 13€ for breakfast. The location is quite good; there are many decent restaurants of various styles in the immediate neighbourhood and many stores and interesting sights are within comfortable walking distance.
- Novotel Airport is about 15 minutes from the airport, a shuttle bus exists. Has decent, standard Novotel rooms. Staff speaks little to no english however, except those at the reception.
- Hotel le Clocher de Rodez, (email: ),. The 3 stars Le Clocher de Rodez Hotel is an 18th Century building. As one of Toulouses historic hotels, the building has sheltered numerous artists and musicians. Rooms from 59 to 170 €.
- Crowne Plaza Toulouse This five-star hotel features beautifully appointed rooms and al-fresco dining in it's Florentine inspired courtyard. There is also a business centre and a health club. The hotel is located 200 metres from Capitole metro station and about half an hour by taxi from Toulouse Blagnac Airport. 
- Hotel Pullman Toulouse Centre The Pullman is one of Toulouse's premier hotels and it's contemporary interiors will suit anyone looking for stylish accommodation in Toulouse. The rooms match up to the high specification found in the rest of the hotel and inside you will find large LCD TV's and luxurious bathrobes. Wifi is complimentary throughout the hotel. The Pullman is located close to Place Du Capitole (and the nearby metro station) and Place Wilson, and taxis to Blagnac only take about 30 minutes. 
- Hotel Le Grand Balcon, 8-10 rue Romiguières, ☎ +33 (0)5 34 25 44 09 (email@example.com, fax: +33 (0)5 61 23 50 33), . A hotel from the 1930s, has been completely renovated and reopened lately 2008 with a stylish design.
List of Consulates in Toulouse available at: http://www.toulouse.fr/international/consulats
- Toulouse has its own TV channel, which is only broadcast within the city and its close surroundings. It is still very well known to locals and is named TLT  which stands for Télévision Locale Toulouse (Toulouse Local TV) - in French only
- Intramuros , a weekly local newspaper with local news, the latest movies/theater plays/shows/concerts and local events of every kind, etc. - for free and available in various places e.g. alternative cinemas, etc.
- A localised edition of the newspaper La Dépêche du Midi is also widely available.
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