Things to do in Toulouse

Must-see Toulouse sights

Located in the south of France, Toulouse is a wonderful getaway. With exciting summer festivals, great weather and the Garonne river flowing through, the ‘Pink City’ (named so due to its pink rock buildings) appeals to travellers all over. So go ahead and enjoy visiting this undiscovered part of France.

  1. Stroll around Place du Capitole
  2. Go back in time at the Capitole
  3. Marvel at art in Musée des Augustins
  4. Enjoy contemporary art at Les Abattoirs
  5. Get your music fix at La Fête de la Musique
  6. Bask in the summer heat
  7. Learn about outer space
  8. Visit church of Les Jacobins
  9. Explore archeology at the Musée St-Raymond
  10. Discover aerospace
  11. Soak up the St-Cyprien quarter

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Stroll around Place du Capitole

Place du Capitole is the centre of the city’s social life. Its smart cafés crowd with people during lunchtime and the early evening. It’s lovely to see the setting sun against the facade of the big town hall. A huge market for food and clothes takes place here on Wednesdays.

Best for: Gentle afternoon strolls

While you’re there: Don’t miss the organic food market, also held here on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.

2. Go back in time at the Capitole

Occupying the entire eastern side of the square, the Capitole has been the seat of Toulouse’s city government since the twelfth century. In medieval times it housed the capitouls, who made up the oligarchic and independent city council from which its name derives. Today, these medieval origins are disguised by an elaborate pink-and-white classical facade (1750) of columns and pilasters. If there are no official functions taking place, you can peek inside the Salle des Illustres, whose paintings look back at the history of the city.

Best for: Travellers looking for grand architecture

While you’re there: Take a look at the impressionist works by Henri Martin in the Salle des Illustres.

3. Marvel at art in Musée des Augustins

One of the best things to do in Toulouse is visit the Musée des Augustins. The nineteenth-century building incorporates two surviving cloisters of an Augustinian priory. Inside, you can find outstanding collections of Romanesque and medieval sculptures.

Best for: Those looking for their history fix

While you’re there: The Musée Dupuy is closeby which displays a wide range of furniture from the Middle Ages, such as clocks and pottery.

4. Enjoy contemporary art at Les Abattoirs

Les Abattoirs is considered one of the best contemporary art museums in France, and certainly one of the best things to do in Toulouse. Constructed in 1828, the vast, brick building has a profound industrial feel. The collection comprises over two thousand works by artists from 44 countries.

Best for: Culture vultures

While you’re there: Don’t leave without seeing the striking, 14 by 20 metre Picasso painting.

5. Get your music fix at La Fête de la Musique

What to do in Toulouse if you’re a music fan? Head to the city in summer for La Fête de la Musique. June sees numerous free concerts and street performers all over the country. There’s an infectious energy around Toulouse with limitless music on offer. Listen to jazz, reggae, gospel and hip hop all in one day.

Best for: Music fans

While you’re there: Toulouse d’Été is another one of the city’s summer festivals. Lounge by the river while listening to rock and jazz.

6. Bask in the summer heat

Toulouse offers warm temperatures during the summer. And when the sun shines, Toulouse Plages are a favourite spot. These are fun spots beside the River Garonne to enjoy. Play badminton or volleyball and take part in a dance class – all with the water beside you.

Best for: Sun seekers

While you’re there: For a fun afternoon, cycle past the River Garonne and tuck into a picnic.

7. Learn about outer space

At the Cité de l’Espace, the theme is space and space exploration. If you’re a science fan, you’ll love discovering everything about satellite communications. Hugely interactive, this is one of the most fun things to do in Toulouse, especially if travelling with children.

Best for: Budding scientists

While you’re there: Walk inside a mock-up of the Mir space station.

8. Visit church of Les Jacobins

Close to place du Capitole sits the church of Les Jacobins. Constructed in 1230 by the Order of Preachers, the church is a huge fortress-like rectangle. It displays unadorned brick and plain brick piles. Inside, the space is divided by a central row of ultra-slim pillars.

Best for: Travellers looking for alternative Gothic architecture

While you’re there: Look beneath the altar to find the bones of the philosopher St Thomas Aquinas.

9. Explore archeology at the Musée St-Raymond

For anyone interested in archeology, the Musée St-Raymond is one of the most interesting things to do in Toulouse. Built in 1892, the space contains a large collection of objects ranging from a sarcophagi collection to Roman sculptures. There’s even an excavated necropolis in the basement.

Best for: Archeology

While you’re there: Have a look at the coin collection with the museum’s interactive app.

10. Discover aerospace

Toulouse’s major aerospace museum - Aeroscopia- is located next to the airport, Blagnac. It celebrates the city’s close links with air travel. There are all sorts of sleek flying machines on display. Look for huge commercial Airbuses and leisure-led light aircraft. You’ll also find supersonic military planes, drones and aerofoils. If you’re interested in flying, then add this to your list of things to do in Toulouse.

Best for: Keen flyers

While you’re there: You can really feel like you’re a pilot by hopping onto a flight simulator here.

11. Soak up the St-Cyprien quarter

If you follow the rue de Metz westward from the Musée des Augustins, you come to the Pont-Neuf. Here you can cross over to the St-Cyprien quarter. At the end of the bridge on the left, you’ll find an old water tower. Erected in 1822 it was built to supply clean water to the city’s drinking fountains. It now houses the interesting Galerie Municipale du Château d’Eau. St-Cyprien has a wonderful feel. Home to galleries and boutiques, take time to just walk around the pretty streets. Enjoy the beautiful views from this area of Toulouse, too. Look out to pink-brick buildings and clear water from the River Garonne. If you’re looking for Toulouse holidays, why not stay at the aparthotel, Adagio Access Toulouse Saint Cyprien? You’ll be in the heart of this impressive area.

Best for: Picturesque views

While you’re there: Don’t forget to try cassoulet, a traditional casserole from the area made up of sausage and beans.

Find your perfect destination