Toulouse: Walking Through the Old Town

After spending a few wonderful days in Paris, I hopped on a flight to the city of Toulouse to visit my friends! Located in southwestern France (about 423 mi/680 km away from Paris), Toulouse is the capital of the region called Occitanie and the department of Haute-Garonne.

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The flight was so quick, I barely had time to finish my snack!

Toulouse is about the size of San Francisco, but not as densely-populated. As of 2017, there are over one million people living in Toulouse, also known as La Ville Rose (The Pink City). It got its nickname from the many buildings and structures that were built with pinkish terra-cotta colored brick.

Toulouse is an historical city. In medieval times, the city suffered floods, fires, famine, and the plague, followed by religious battles and wars. Fortunately, many of its structures survived.

One such structure is the Basilica of Saint-Sernin. Built in the 12th century, it’s the largest Romanesque building in Europe. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

Place du Capitole

In the heart of the Old Town is the Place du Capitole, where there are shops, restaurants, and places to sit and people-watch! The main attraction of the square, of course, is Le Capitole, which houses the city hall of Toulouse and the Opera House. François told me the Salle des Illustres was a must-see. It’s the room in the Capitole where important civil ceremonies take place, like marriages and citizenship.

The Capitole was decorated with the French flag ahead of the Victoire holiday (May 8)

Just as Pont Neuf is the name of the oldest bridge in Paris, the Pont Neuf (meaning “new bridge”) over the Garonne River in Toulouse is also its oldest bridge.

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Place de la Daurade

Walking east across Pont Neuf will lead you to this lovely park:

That’s the Saint Pierre Bridge and the dome of Le Hôpital de la Grave in the background.

Place Rouaix

Saint-Etienne de Toulouse Cathedral

We had pints at François and Rachael’s favorite pubs in town, The Melting Pot and Hopscotch. That’s a giant truffle from La Compagnie du Chocolat:

Speaking of pubs, Au Père Louis opened in 1889, making it the oldest pub in Toulouse:

I didn’t get a chance to visit a Jennyfer store in Paris, so I was delighted to discover one in Toulouse. I picked up a few gifts for the Girls:

For me, I got this cute canvas tote bag from a boutique called Pompon Sur La Garonne. It caught my eye since it had my new favorite word on it: chocolatine, the Toulousain word for pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant):

The shop owner was friendly. She told me the bag was available in different color combinations. I prefer the canvas beige of tote bags and I thought the red lettering was the perfect pop of color.

Although it’s known as the Pink City, Toulouse is also known for its violets. I remember being lured into a little specialty gift shop, Le Paradis Gourmet, where I saw a pretty display of assorted violet candies, scented candles, and soaps.

souvenir postcard: drink wine and live happy

Spotted these charming views while strolling through the Old Town:

The métro system is relatively new as operations began in 1993. The Capitole métro station features the eight-point Occitanie cross. The escalator at Arènes métro station was steep!

While the visit with my friends was too short, I will have a long memory of the pleasant time I spent in Toulouse!

an unforgettable pink Toulousain sunset

My related posts

The links in this non-sponsored post are for information only.

Points of Interest

  • Basilica of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse (website)
  • Place de la Daurade
  • Place du Capitole
  • Pont Neuf
  • Saint-Etienne de Toulouse Cathedral

Food & Drink

  • La Compagnie du Chocolat (website) 17 Rue des Puits Clos
  • The Hopscotch Pub & Brewery (website) 3 Rue Baour Lormian
  • The Melting Pot Pub (Facebook page) 26 Boulevard de Strasbourg

Shopping

  • Jennyfer (website) 36 Rue St Rome
  • Le Paradis Gourmet (website) 15 Rue des Puits Clos
  • Pompon Sur La Garonne (Facebook page) 17 Rue des Puits Clos

Travel

  • Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS) (website)
  • Toulouse métro transport system (website)

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