Located some twenty kilometres west of Nancy in Meurthe-et-Moselle, Toul stands on the right bank of the Moselle, near the Marne-Rhine Canal. Next to the town are the Côtes de Toul appellation vineyards, where its AOC vins gris wines are produced.
Shaped by the wars in its past, Toul was once part of the province called the Three Bishoprics (Trois Évêchés), with Nancy and Metz in the 17th century. It was fortified by Vauban at the end of that century. Its episcopal history ended with the Revolution, and the destruction of many religious monuments. The old episcopal palace is now the Town Hall.
Its historic and military past and its architectural heritage contributed to the development of tourism. Explore the medieval side streets of the city centre to learn about its history: the Gothic Cathedral of St. Stephen, one of the most beautiful in Lorraine, has one of France's largest Gothic cloisters. An original building with its Romanesque plan, Gothic construction and Flamboyant façade, the cathedral is part of a tourist itinerary, "Medieval Toul", offered by the Tourist Office.
The Collegiate Church of St. Gengoult was built from the 13th to the 15th century, in a Champenois Gothic style. Its superb cloister from the early 16th century is a sight worth seeing.
All of Toul's historic past is brought together in the collections of the Museum of Art and History: 28 rooms in the old Maison-Dieu recount the history of the city, from Prehistory to the present day.
Toul hosts many major events throughout the year: the Bach festival from June to September, a sound and light show in the summer, St. Nicholas' festival in December and a Wine Fair in April.
Toul is a Lorraine town of Meurthe-et-Moselle, about twenty kilometers west of Nancy, in the Greater East.
Situated on the axis Lyon-Treves, Toul knew a certain economic development from the Roman era, and knows its apogee when it forms with Metz and Nancy the province known as the Three Bishoprics. The city is even the seat of the Parliament of the province for 20 years in the 17th century, when the royal power through its governor has some difficulty to impose its authority...
Incorporated fully in the kingdom in the eighteenth century, Toul as the whole of the province is enriched and embellished.
Today, there are remarkable testimonies in terms of heritage, just as its military past and its ramparts show that the city, which borders the Moselle and the old canal of the Marne au Rhin, was a highly strategic point.
Toul now has nearly 17,000 inhabitants and despite the loss of several regiments and the crisis that led to the closure of the Kléber factory, the city's main employer, a certain revival is observed. One of the most important photovoltaic power plants in France was established there, and an activity zone near the highway and the canal created 2,000 jobs.
More traditional activities, the neighboring vineyards of Côtes-de-Toul renowned for its gray wines and the culture of mirabelle contribute to the notoriety of the city.
The historic architectural heritage of Toul can be discovered on foot through its old center. One can thus begin with the cathedral Saint-Étienne, built from the 13th to the 15th century, which symbolizes the episcopal past of the city. Of a Roman but Gothic style, one can admire especially its flamboyant facade, which contrasts with the austerity of the rest of the building. Restorations in the 20th century have given back to the cathedral its primitive colors. Note also the organs, dating from 1969, that supports a baroque tribune of the eighteenth, the chapels of the Bishops and Jean Forget, all of the sixteenth, but also the liturgical furniture and the paintings that adorn the choir. The cloister next to the cathedral is also worth a visit.
In the same quarter, the collegiate church of Saint-Gengoult in Gothic style was completed in 1510. Its facade remained unfinished. One admires its stained-glass windows, an astonishing door that looks like a bunch: it is so that the whole (decorated with a flamboyant motif) appears symmetrical from the entrance of the building. Do not miss the very rich cloister of the collegiate church, mixing Gothic and Renaissance styles, each of the keystones of which has a unique decoration.
Still in the heart of the city, steps are imposed at the town hall which was built in the old episcopal palace of the eighteenth, and the museum of art and history in what was the House of God : 28 exhibition rooms allow to discover very rich collections (popular arts, sacred art, contemporary art).
For these visits in the center of Toul, call +33 3 83 64 90 60.
Another part of the built heritage is to be visited: the ramparts, which once surrounded the city, and which were reworked several times (notably by Vauban and after the war of 1870). Despite the bombing of the second war, numerous remains have been preserved and highlighted. You can discover them on footpaths.
In addition to its showrooms and sports facilities, Toul will finally offer the visitor a network of towpaths suitable for walking or cycling. Information on +33 3 83 63 70 00.
L'Amicale Laïque Bicycle touring Toul offers a wide range of cycling. These include a school for cycling, cycling on the road, mountain biking and cycling.
Many cultural and festive events are scheduled throughout the year in Toul.
The first weekend of March, over three days, the arsenal room, a well-known multi-collection purse attracts many visitors.
The first weekend in April, Salle de l'Arsenal and Espace Dedon, a wine and local products showcases the local vineyard.
From April to October, but with more extensive programming in July and August, the Bach festival devoted to the famous composer is now internationally renowned. The concerts take place at the cathedral, but also at the collegiate church and the Salle de l'Arsenal. Information on +33 3 83 63 70 00.
The second Saturday of October, a book and early childhood fair takes place in the media library.
During the month of October, always, the festival of the Renc'Arts program concerts and shows while reserving times of meeting between artists and public.
Again in October, the last week of the month until All Saints' Day, the autumn fair on the fair grounds unites many fairground attractions.
It is also worth noting that several markets that make it possible to better understand gastronomy and the Lorraine region are held every week: every Wednesday and Friday morning from 8 am to 12.30 pm on rue Jeanne d'Arc and Place des Trois Évêchés, and on Saturday mornings. 9h to 13h place Pierre Schmidt, a market "country" specifically brings together local producers (breeders, market gardeners, cheese makers...).