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Toulouse, called France’s pink city because of the rosy, glowing colours of its medieval brickwork – is a lively mixture of old and new. Renaissance mansions line the streets of the old town, where the campanile of the 12th century Basilique St-Sernin is an unmissable landmark, and graceful old bridges span the River Garonne. But Toulouse is also very much a 21st century city, as the capital of Europe’s aerospace industry and the home of Airbus Industrie. It’s a university town, so local life has a youthful edge. Toulouse is a gastronomic hub, and locals boasts that their take on cassoulet – a hearty casserole of beans, sausage, pork, and duck – is the finest that France has to offer, and is best enjoyed on a chilly autumn or winter’s day.
Main City Paris
Surface 811.6 km²
The people of Toulouse take their food seriously, and they are especially fond of the restaurants in the Marché Victor Hugo, where you can join them at Le Louchebem to sample the restaurant’s signature dish, La Gilbe, a platter of four different cuts of beef, for €50. You can whet your appetite first with a stroll round this huge emporium, which is packed with stalls selling pâté, seafood, cheese, charcuterie and, of course, meat. The chevaline section is a reminder that the French eat horsemeat with gusto. There are also lots of regional specialities, such as Toulouse sausage, cassoulet and confit de canard.
The aviation museum in Toulouse spreads its wings and collections just a few metres from the runway of Blagnac airport and the Airbus factories.
Creating the place where artists and the audience come together around new circus arts: that’s what La Grainerie has been doing for fifteen years already! In Balma, just next to Toulouse, the place hosts shows and circus companies, which have residencies.