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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
I love Albi for its brick houses and its medieval city centre, its Cathedral of Saint Cecilia and its magnificent museum dedicated to the work of Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec, for its sublime building facades, its guestrooms and its wine bar terraces. Here, I will show you a true jewel of a place which is delightful to stroll around and lies roughly a hundred kilometres from Toulouse.
The city will be swarmed by fans, sparking like a thousand matches, their enthusiasm is catching, we’ll make friends with strangers who may or may not be wearing the same colour shirt, we’ll congratulate and console one another, party together as time ticks by unnoticed: in Toulouse we never need an excuse to party!
The Place du Capitole is Toulouse’s grandest square and its social hub. This is the perfect place to mingle with locals and sip Toulouse’s signature kir royale à la violette, made with champagne and violet liqueur. Stylish arcades shelter café tables from summer sun and autumn showers, and Toulouse’s mellow climate means you can enjoy sitting in the open air almost all year round, while you admire the grand façade of the 18th century Capitole, which dominates the square. On Saturday mornings, the square hosts the open-air market where the produce stalls are a feast for the senses. And the more generous stall holders may even offer you some free samples of sausage, cheese and wine to enjoy.