10 things to do in Toulouse

Written by on November 16, 2018 in Midi-Pyrénées

Toulouse is around 60 miles from the  Spanish border and its sunny neighbour definitely influences the flavour of this vibrant city. From lively bistros and bodegas in elegant squares to a penchant for tango dancing and al fresco dining, lively Toulouse is a great place for a city break. There’s plenty to do and see with cultural attractions galore. Here are 10 things to do in Toulouse – and that’s just for starters. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to links for more recommendations and tips.

Meet and Greet

Meet the Greeters. They’re local volunteer guides in Toulouse who know their city best. Most of them speak English and they love to share their knowledge of Toulouse in this not for profit service. Details: ToulouseGreeters

Cool Canal du Midi

The 240 km long Canal du Midi was built under the reign of Louis XIV and flows from Sète to Toulouse. It was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1996. Make the most of the sunshine with a relaxing boat trip on the River Garonne or the Canal du Midi. There’s also a great bike route alongside.

Flea market fun

Browse at the monthly flea market. It’s held on the first weekend of each month, from Friday (considered part of the weekend in Toulouse!) to Sunday: Brocante des Allées François Verdier. If vintage shopping is your thing, you’ll love Toulouse as there are plenty of vintage shops too.

Flower power – the violet heart of Toulouse

Violets are the flower of Toulouse. The little purple petals have been cultivated here since 1854 and this species is a cousin of the fragrant Parma violet. They’re an important part of the heritage of Toulouse. Enjoy the scent and discover the history of the violet at the Maison de la Violette barge which is moored on the Canal du Midi in the city. Each February there’s a grand fete to celebrate the violet at the spectacular Place du Capitole.

Visit Maison Berdoues. Founded in 1902, the family run perfume company is a French household name and renowned globally. here they develop fragrances such as the legendary Violette de Toulouse. Discover the violet influence in Toulouse

Jardin des plantes

The beautiful botanical gardens are a perfect place to chill out and smell the roses. It’s right next to the Museum of Toulouse. You’ll find the museum mascots preening and primping – the peacocks, and if you’re lucky you’ll even spot a baby one! It’s also a great place for a snack at Le Moaï café (and there’s free WiFi here too).

Perfect Pastel products

Used for dyeing and as a medicinal plant since antiquity, Isatis Tinctoria was cultivated in the Lauragais, between Toulouse, Albi and Carcassonne. Its blue pigment was exported throughout Europe and used as a dye for textiles. Having earned a fortune, the pastel merchants had sumptuous private mansions built in Toulouse. Visit Terre de Pastel, an unusual complex that combines, museum-spa-boutique-restaurant showcasing the plant. Read more about the pastel past and present of Toulouse

Festivals in Toulouse

There are more than 1000 events annually in Toulouse. Summer soirees are often very lively  and the “fiesta” is popular. Don’t miss the Les Siestes Electroniques (June-July) and Toulouse d’Eté (July-August).

The unique Festival Toulouse les Orgues is held each October. It’s a great chance to listen to wonderful music and enjoy one of the best collections of organs in Europe.

Concerts take place each July in the Basilica Saint-Sernin. See the tourist office website for details (below).

Musical Magic

On Thursday at midday listen to free concerts. The eclectic programme attracts a crowd of admiring spectators in the municipal hall of the Sénéchal in winter and in the courtyard of the Ostal d’Occitania when the weather is fine.

Summer in the city

Toulouse plages takes place in several locations in the city, much like Paris plages. In the summer, don’t miss being at the beach just head for the plages!

The Halle de la Machine and the Musee Aeropostale

The Halle de la Machine A is home to 150 mechanical machines born from the imagination of master machine maker François Delarozière. You may know him from the incredible Ile de la Machines in Nantes. You’ll believe in magic if you go here! A giant Minotaur roams the streets, giant spiders watch you and drums play unaided! There’s a great little café here – it really is a must see in Toulouse.

Next door is a brand new museum that pays homage to the Aeropostale (airmail) adventure and the first pilots who were brave enough to travel by plane.

Find more things to do in Toulouse in our free emag The Good Life France Magazine 

Details for Toulouse tourism: France.fr and Toulouse-tourism.com

More on Toulouse

Toulouse for foodies – where to eat out in Toulouse, plus the best bar in the world, it’s official!
Guide to spending a weekend in Toulouse
The Towers of Toulouse
5 of the best things to do in Toulouse

Related Articles

Discover Gorgeous Gers – Gascony

Take to the road in Gascony and discover some of its charms. From medieval villages, quirky museums and the most intoxicating gastronomy … The Gers –  Gascony The Gers, or Gascony some call it, is one of the most rural regions in all of France. You’ll find it in southwest France, just west of Toulouse. […]

Continue Reading

Secret Toulouse | The city’s unusual side

Discover secret Toulouse. The pink city as it’s known, thanks to the beautiful red brick buildings that fill its streets, is an absolute paradise for culture vultures… Colourful, cultural and captivating France’s 4th largest city has a multi-faceted personality. It’s famous for being home to Airbus headquarters, hosts satellite, space and aerospace industries and has […]

Continue Reading

What to see in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in the Lot Department

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in the Lot department in southern France, is a cliff hanger of a village – quite literally. Perched on a cliff top, the River Lot curls its way along the bottom of the limestone cliff. From the top, the canoeists and kayakers who paddle their way down look tiny. Here’s what to see in […]

Continue Reading

What to see in Rocamadour

What to see in Rocamadour

Written by on April 6, 2020 in Midi-Pyrénées

Rocamadour is a small clifftop village overlooking the Alzou Valley in the Lot, south-central France. In an area that’s brimming with outstandingly beautiful sites and towns including medieval time warp town Sarlat and the extraordinary Gouffre de Padirac, an underground cave where you can take a boat ride – Rocamadour more than holds its own. […]

Continue Reading

The very best guided tours of Aveyron

There are some places that are so special you have to pinch yourself to make sure they’re real and not a dream. Aveyron in southwest France is one of those places. It’s a land where you’ll step back in time and discover beauty on every corner. Pickled in the past, picture postcard pretty medieval villages, […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.