Situated in the heart of south-west France, Toulouse is very aptly known as the “Pink City”. The pinkish colour of the bricks of its buildings and houses gives the city a unique charm.
Renowned for its atmosphere of good living, Toulouse is also a City of Art and History with an important architectural and artistic heritage, which has been stunningly well protected over the last centuries. It is delightful to discover its historic centre, which abounds in mansions from the Renaissance period. A jewel! This privilege makes of Toulouse the richest city in France for Renaissance mansions. These prestigious residences built in the 16th century by rich pastel traders are a reminder of the city's prosperity in the days of the pastel trade. This dye-producing plant used to be grown in the plains around the Lauragais. Among the most beautiful Renaissance buildings of the city are : the Assézat mansion, which is today home to the Bemberg foundation, a private museum hosting a collection of paintings; the Bernuy mansion flanked with an octagonal tower; The Vieux-Raisin mansion; the Clary mansion or Pierre mansion.
An essential place to see is the Place du Capitol, the heart of the city. This very bustling square is surrounded by beautiful buildings such as the Capitol, a prestigious, 8-columned 16th-century building housing the town hall and theatre. Behind it is a 16th-century keep, the former Archives tower, which is today the main tourist office.
Next to be visited are the remarkable religious monuments of the old town: the Saint-Sernin basilica and its octagonal bell tower, a masterpiece of Romanesque art; the Jacobins cloister, a gem of Languedoc Gothic art, with its beautiful brick-built church and its main cloister building.
The pretty banks of the Garonne river, especially the Henri Martin walkway and the Daurade district, are lovely places to stroll along and relax in the sun.
The full-of-life streets in the historic centre are lined with a large number of cafés and shops. Ideal for shopping or to sip a drink on one of the numerous café terraces. Toulouse is also nightlife heaven with numerous restaurants, theatres, shows, bars, pubs and nightclubs. Furthermore, the buildings, monuments and houses in the old town are beautifully lit once night falls. Which makes Toulouse's heritage fantastic to see by night.
City of Art and History, Toulouse is also a future-orientated hub of innovation with its aeronautics and space industries. Certain aspects of these two vast fields are accessible to the public: for example the Cité de l'Espace space museum, which offers interactive exhibitions and shows, and the Airbus site, which puts on guided tours, including of the new Airbus A380.