February 22, 2019

All things Toulouse, France

Toulouse is in the southwest of France, France’s fourth largest city, after Paris, Marseille and Lyon. It’s also calledLa Ville Rose”, which means the pink city for its unique architectural style, lots of red-pink clay bricks and tiles.
You can expect great food, art, historic architecture, and it is in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, so pretty good weather, too. The beautiful Garonne River runs through the heart of Toulouse city, and there are lots of cultural activities revolve around the bank. Let’s get to know the city:

The most exciting, the best known for Toulouse
Food! Yes, J.R.R Tolkien once said, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
Toulouse is for sure the home of a lot of French cuisines. Cassoulet and its sausages particular. They go hand in hand, cassoulet usually has a Toulouse sausage in it.

Saucisse de Toulouse
It is made from pork (75% lean, 15% belly), salt and pepper, and usually various additives has a natural casing of about 3cm in diameter and is usually sold in a coil (like Cumberland Sausage).

People keep moving to Toulouse & its super economic growth
It’s not hard to imagine that Paris got lots of push factors, half of the new population in Toulouse is from Paris. The population growth in Toulouse is insane. 200,000 people had moved to Toulouse in the past ten years; the GDP of Toulouse increased by 30% in ten years. You can find 3 key fields of excellence in Toulouse: space, digital, and life science. Lots of students come to Toulouse to study, the start-up scene is heated, and there are lots of new job opportunities available as well. Toulouse is a true superstar for investors!

Lifestyle in Toulouse, what is it like living there?
Toulouse people are not only blessed with the visually-appealing city sights, it’s easy and cheap to get around in the city with metro, tram, and bus network, also there are lots of activities they can do: weekend ski trips in the Pyrenees (mountain at the border between Spain and France), top museums like Musée des Augustins (fine art collection from middle ages to early 20th century), flower festival in spring, international-scale summer music festival, art shows and theatre.

Day trips from Toulouse
Toulouse is in a perfect location, not too far from many places. Local people often travel to places a couple hours away on the weekend, if your trip to Toulouse has enough days, make a point to arrange for a day trip to a nearby country, city or town.

Andorra la Vella
The capital of Andorra! Yes, there’s a hidden small country between Spain and France in the Pyrenees. The touristy scene is very vibrant because of the duty-free shopping and ski resorts. It’s a three-hour drive from Toulouse.

A gem on the banks of the Tarn river! There are a lot of Mediaeval buildings made the list of the UNESCO World Heritage list. Albi is an hour drive from Toulouse. Pretty cool to stay in some historic accommodations for the night.

Near the Mediterranean coast and the border with Spain. It is a lot warmer compare to Toulouse. Fancy a beach day? You can get to Perpignan from Toulouse in 2 hours by car.

The best time to visit Toulouse
March is the least crowded and August is the sunniest, yet the most crowded. The best time to visit is almost identical to other Northern Hemisphere destinations, summer is nice but can be packed and the rate hence goes up; May is rainy; June is recommended, as the weather starts to get warm and people are not storming in yet. Christmas in Toulouse is very dreamy, and there is a popular music festival called Les Siestes Electroniques in late June. Mark your calendar!

Architecture and pinkness
Toulouse, the pink city, you’ll understand why when you see the pink marble and brick walls lit up by the southern sunshine. Talking about having a soulful trip, you can take an architecture walking tour by yourself and listen to an audio guide along with it. Beautiful buildings make even more sense when you understand a bit more about them.
Don’t miss out the real old Basilica of Saint Sernin (this church was built between 1080 and 1120!) and if you’re into modern stuff, Toulouse has some cool ones as well!

Roses are red, violets are blue
Sugar is sweet, and so are you. Toulouse celebrates violets every spring and hosts violet festival in February. There are so many violets food and products on the market, from candy, pastry to perfume. Violets bloom for seven to eight months, from October to March. They are Toulouse’s emblematic flower, popular since the 19th century a soldier first brought back from Parma, Italy.
In the language of flowers, the violet embodies modesty and simplicity, because of its small corolla that hardly peaks above its leaves. The festival holds local people together, celebrates the pride and joy living in Toulouse!

Most instagrammable
Jardin Japonais
Churches and castles all look the same after a while? This garden is all the sudden refreshing! 

Capitole de Toulouse
This is a must-visit for sure. The historic heart of the city. Snap a photo to prove you’re in Toulouse.

Again, Bordeaux or Toulouse?
People often compare Bordeaux to Toulouse because they both stand out so much and people just seem to love them! Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France by population while Bordeaux being the ninth. They both make you feel like you get that bustling city feel with great night life and lots of great restaurants, but in the same time, they have that cute village feel. Toulouse has higher immigrant rates than Bordeaux and the city appears more cosmopolitan in terms of a mix of people. Give both of them a go to join the debate, which one is better, Bordeaux or Toulouse?