Your flight to Toulouse in sunny southern France
For most French tourists Toulouse is mainly a gateway to the Atlantic coast in the North or the Mediterranean coast in the south. It was this very location that helped the city to thrive in the early Renaissance period, when the main product was pastel, better known as woad or dyers-weed. The farmland around Toulouse was perfect for this blue dye and the merchants sold it all over Europe and got tremendously rich in the process. But it didn’t become the Blue City for that dye, but the Pink City, “ville rose”, because the city was built in reddish bricks that shine in a rosy colour in the evening sun. Today it is a modern town with many universities and the heart of the French aviation and space industry.
Between the River and the SeasToulouse was important even in Celtic times, when the Romans took over they made the city the capital of the province Gallia Narbonensis. Its location on the River Garonne proved to be a great help, from here the French created the Canal du Midi that went down to the Mediterranean, and the Canal latéral de la Garonne went to Bordeux and the Atlantic coast. Today you can rent house-boats and glide along the canals and the river which are lined with plane trees. A walk through the city will bring you to impressive Renaissance houses like the Hôtel de Bernuy or the Hôtel d’Assézat, each with an impressive tower. These were the houses of the rich merchants who made it into the magistrate, the towers where a sign of this privilege. The city hall also has this tower, but the rest of the building is from the 18th century. Today it doubles as a theatre and opera house and is located in the most central place of Toulouse, Capitol square.
Ancient architecture meets rocket scienceThe bell tower of the Saint Sernin cathedral was the most visible landmark of Toulouse for hundreds of years. The gothic monastery Couvent des Jacobins is famous for its interior palm-tree ribs thrust upwards. The oldest bridge over the Garonne has the name New Bridge, Pont Neuf, and it took about a hundred years to build it. Today Toulouse is the centre of rocket science and aviation, here the Arianne rocket is produced and the Airbus 380 is assembled, the biggest passenger airplane in the world. Visit the Marché Victor Hugo, a covered market hall from 1892, and marvel at the many different foods sold here. You can have fresh oysters and venison from the nearby Pyrenees. The hallmark dishes of Toulouse are Cassoulet, a stew of white beans and various meets, the Toulouse sausage and Garbure, a hearty soup of meat and vegetables. The vineyards of Languedoc-Rousillion in the south and of Bordeaux, St.Emilion and Entre-deux-Mers to the north give Toulouse a wide variety of the best wines to choose from. Because a quarter of the inhabitants are students, the nightlife is quite active, so you will surely not get bored in this beautiful city.
Information Airport Toulouse
- Name: Aéroport Toulouse-Blagnac
- IATA Code: TLS
- Distance to downtown Toulouse: 8 km
- Transportation: bus, rented car, shuttle, taxi
What else to see in Toulouse
- Roman Amphitheatre of Toulouse
- Saint Etienne cathedral
- Musée du Vieux Toulouse, museum with celtic and roman artefacts