Toulouse Travel Information

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In Toulouse, everything starts with the Capitol, the very heart of the city. However if you have a wander through the areas round about, which stretch north, east, south and west all the way to the city boundaries, you'll discover just what makes them tick. Visited this way, the city gradually unveils its many faces, its treasures and contrasts: reminders of the past coexist with modern developments, small quiet streets with busy shopping thoroughfares, lively areas with dormitory suburbs, parks with buildings.

The Capitol
An impressive building with an imposing façade, the Capitole, marks the very heart of the 'Ville rose' (Pink city.) Today it houses the town hall and the Théâtre du Capitole. Its vast square is brought to life by the markets that take place there in the mornings (the main market and the marché biologique du Capitole, market selling organic produce), as well as the crowds that meet on the terraces of Toulouse's best-known cafés (Bibent, Grand Café de l'Opéra, Florida and Mon Caf''). All around, the colourful streets in the old part of the city provide an insight into its rich and vivid past, with their town houses, fountains and pretty squares, museums and churches.

Arnaud-Bernard, Amidonniers, Saint-Pierre
A picturesque and cosmopolitan area, Arnaud-Bernard's distinctive character is all down to its lively nightlife, original boutiques, the closeness of the university (situated on the south side) and the grand boulevards (to the north). Reaching the Canal du Midi through the vast Jardin Compans-Caffarelli (Compans-Caffarelli park), it's an area that benefits from the activities that take place in the sports stadium and the surrounding shops. Towards the west, the pleasant areas of Saint-Pierre and Amidonniers take it to the Garonne, while eastwards, it borders on the historic area of Saint-Sernin.

Saint-Sernin and Wilson
Rue du Taur, a partly pedestrianized street, links the Capitol to the magnificent basilique Saint-Sernin (Saint-Sernin basilica). Surrounded by old buildings (église Notre-Dame-du-Taur, Notre-Dame-du-Taur church), the marché aux puces Saint-Sernin (Saint-Sernin flea market) is a pleasant historic area. Close to big secondary schools, the university and libraries, it has a large student population and is dotted with specialized bookshops, student cafés (Simpson Café, Le 7 place Saint-Sernin) and cultural spots (such as the musée archéologique Saint-Raymond - Saint-Raymond archaeological museum -, the Toulouse cinémathèque - Toulouse film library - and Cave Poésie). To the right of here, the Place Wilson area and its grand boulevards give the city a modern feel.

A continuation of Saint-Sernin, this is a quiet, comfortably off area. You're bound to see its charming old houses at some point as the city's main roads (Lascrosses, Arcole and Lazare boulevards) come through here .

Close to the station of the same name, this area, the continuation northwards of Wilson, is busy day and night due to the main railway station and surrounding shops.

Pont-Jumeaux and Sept-Deniers
Continuations northwest of Arnaud-Bernard, these are residential areas nestling at the mouth of various waterways (Garonne, Canal du Midi and side canal.)

Minimes, Salade, Raisin, Bonnefoy
Mentioned in one of the songs by singer and local boy Claude Nougaro, who sings nostalgically of the "brique rouge des Minimes" ('Minimes' red façades'), this area that runs along the Canal du Midi from the other side of Chalets is mainly an administrative and residential one, just like neighbouring areas Salade and Bonnefoy. Close by, the Raisin area is constantly busy with traffic generated by its bus and railway stations.

Built around historic Place Saint-Georges, this pretty area's appeal is down to its picturesqueness and colour. Many shops, restaurants and bars have long been established here. Carry on further eastwards and you come to Saint-Aubin.

With its beautiful Saint-Aubin church around which each Sunday the Saint-Aubin market takes place, this colourful area leads a rather village-like existence, much coveted by its inhabitants. The people who live in Rue de la Colombette have even declared their street as "commune dans la ville", or 'the village in the city', and have a big party to celebrate this fact every autumn.

The city's greenest area is a good place for a stroll. First of all you can explore its cultural side, through the magnificent Saint-Etienne cathedral, which has remained unchanged since it was built, the Monument aux Combattants de la Haute-Garonne (Haute-Garonne War Memorial) and the Halle aux Grains (Corn Exchange), which stands on Place Dupuy. Or there's a more relaxing walk that takes you through the area's pleasant streets and large adjoining parks (Grand-Rond Boulingrin, Jardin des plantes and the Jardin Royal), which show to advantage the fine buildings overlooking them (Palais Niel, the former Faculty of Medicine...) Going southwards, the area touches Saint-Michel.

Jolimont, Roseraie, Soupetard and Argoulets
It's by climbing up through these areas towards Gramont, Balma that you realize that Toulouse is built in a "cuvette", or hollow. These residential areas overlooking the city have many interesting places to offer: Observatoire de Jolimont Observatory (Jolimont Observatory), the Science and Environment Centre...

Guilhemery, Montplaisir, Pont des Demoiselles, Côte Pavée, Terrasse
The areas of Guilhemery and Montplaisir link the Canal du Midi to Côte Pavée, which is a particularly well-off area whose large, beautiful and very finely built houses with huge shaded gardens sit on a hill overlooking the city. Moving away further south-east, you come to the outlying areas of Montaudran, l'Ormeau et la Terrasse, where the Cité de l'Espace (Space City) and Montaudran airfield are situated.

Les Carmes and antique dealers
A bohemian and somewhat old-fashioned atmosphere reigns in les Carmes, this old area very close to the Capitol. Its pretty, pedestrian streets are pleasant to wander through as you admire its small squares, towers and fine buildings. It will take you to an area filled with antique shops - always a favourite with visitors - or towards the banks of the Garonne with their beautiful buildings.

Saint-Michel and Busca, St Agne and Rangueil
Close to the Saint-Michel area of the city, whose north side is marked by Place du Salin, the Busca area is joined on the south side by the Saouze-Loung and St Agne areas to Rangueil, which adapts to the comings and goings of its mainly student population. The university and schools here make it a city within a city. The huge splendour of Château Bellevue close by offers a striking contrast between the city's classical and modern influences.

Ramier, Recollets, Empalot, Pech-David
Level with Saint-Michel bridge, the Garonne divides, creating two branches that surround Ramier island. In the middle, huge complexes have been built there, taking advantage of the wide-open space available: the parc des Expositions (Exhibition Centre), the stadium, Ramier park. The two branches of the river come together again level with the Empalot area, which is close to the Science faculties and Pech-David hill.

Saint-Cyprien and Bourrasol
In tune with the river, life in these areas is more carefree. Joined to the very heart of Toulouse by Saint-Pierre bridge and pont Neuf, they offer magnificent views over the Garonne, which you can also enjoy from Jardin Raymond-IV, from Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques or even from the pleasant prairie des Filtres. Wonderfully transformed, places such as these are today much sought-after areas in Toulouse, where unusually, private clinics old and new exist alongside arts centres and museums (Espace Saint-Cyprien, Espace d'Art moderne et contemporain - Modern and Contemporary Arts Centre -, centre municipal de l'Affiche, de la Carte Postale et de l'Art Graphique - city arts centre devoted to posters, postcards and graphic arts.)

Purpan, Casselardit, Croix-de-Pierre, Arènes, Mirail
These are the industrial areas of Casselardit and St-Martin-du-Touch. Saint-Cyprien takes you towards the hustle and bustle of the shops in Patte-d'Oie, and then towards the areas of Arènes and Croix-de-Pierre, where Rapas cemetery and the Ecole Normale (teacher training centre) are situated. To the south-west, after Fontaine-Lestang, the industrial and residential areas of La Faourette, Bagatelle, Bellefontaine, Reynerie, Papus and le Mirail open onto the greenery of the Ramée sports and recreation park.