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Take in the Myriad colors and flavors of France’s southwest

Take in the Myriad colors and flavors of France’s southwest

Toulouse is in the Midi-Pyrennees, France’s largest region in area, and lies in the south of the country. Because of the region’s far-reaching borders, you’ll find a city with Spanish accents and Italian facades. One that carefully cultivates its Occitan identity while always keeping its eyes toward the future. The nod toward Occitania is reflected in the accents of locals. Their distinct pronounciation of French blends with words and expressions from this provincial language with roots in medieval times. If you’re arriving from Paris (roughly six hours on the TGV ), you’ll note the difference, and that your translation dictionary may not be of much use.

The first-time visitor to Toulouse is struck by the city’s color. Over the years, buildings have been covered in tiles and wide Roman bricks, giving Toulouse the nickname, "Ville Rose" meaning "Pink City." As the sun dances down on the streets, colors turn to gentle pastel hues and bright oranges.

About France

All of this glory is not obvious when you arrive by train and step down at the Matabiau station. 19th century architecture and large avenues just like any potent French city surround you.

It is after you have walked towards the place du Capitol and Place Wilson (named after Woodrow Wilson) and rubbed elbows in the crowded, youthful streets that you will start to see how unique this city is with its blend of Medieval, Mediterranean mealtime and influences.

St Thomas Aquinas, one of the most famous theologians from the middle ages, left behind such a treasury of wisdom the church honored him with the title "Angelic Doctor." Canonized in 1323, he is buried in the Church of the Jacobins where you can visit the man best known for his work the Summa Theologiae.

Speaking of Summa, you’ll find plenty of cum laude degrees printed at the University of Toulouse. Founded in 1229 it is one of the oldest in Europe with nearly 100,000 students and ranks as one of the best schools for Europe’s brightest. The city is also on the cutting edge of technology, home to both Airbus and the Toulouse Space Center – the largest on the continent. Their overt love toward outer space is on display at the Cité de L’espace, a theme park oriented toward the conquest of quasars and other objects in orbit.

Not to be outdone by Paris or Lyon, Toulouse holds a special place among foodies. Home to some of France’s best cheeses, including the sublimely tangy Roquefort as well as a dish that dates back to the 14th century - the Cassoulet. Named for the dish it’s typically cooked in, the cassole is a deep, round earthenware pot with slanted sides to help keep the meal moist and delicious. The meat is slow cooked and topped with white haricot beans.

Cassoulet is the perfect metaphor for Toulouse. A city that has, over a long period of time, bubbled over to perfection. It isn’t well known outside of its own country – yet so easy to find. With a France Rail Pass, you’ll find your way to France’s smart, savory and technologically-sophisticated heart.

Take time to discover the wonderful cuisine from the south of France. Take time to savour the famous foie gras,duck breast, cassoulet, Toulouse sausage, wine (Fronton, Gaillac, Armagnac), cheese (Roquefort).

Go to the Place Saint George, where you will find all the great designer shops alongside those of younger designers.

Toulouse Tourist Office
Donjon du Capitole. 31080 Toulouse.
Tel : +33 (0)5 40 13 15 31

The city’s tourist office has a helpful personnel, insider information and tips as well as handy maps and brochures. The city’s tourist office also arranges tours and excursions and is a focal point for local accommodation.

Toulouse station(s)

Trains are convenient way to reach any town and city in Europe. All main towns have a railway station, while major cities have more than two railway stations. Nearly all railway stations are located in the city centre. Check our map to locate railway station(s) in Toulouse.

Toulouse city guide

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From our travel community

Spain to andorra to france to monaco to genoa - train to all or just the main 3?! I want to travel from Madrid, Spain to Andorra La Vella to Montpellier, France to Monaco to Genoa... is there a way to take the train from all of those or just Spain to France to Italy? Thanks!

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Can we park a rental car and store luggage at the train station in toulouse We are taking the train from Toulouse to Barcelona but we have a rental car that we need to leave at the station for three days, AND we need a place to store our big luggage. Does the Toulouse Matabiou have car parking and storage for several (...)

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Customer reviews

  • Value for money
    Quick and easy |
    "The first class seat was a little cramped as I could not stretch my legs out or I would touch the man sitting opposite. Otherwise, the train was clean, fast and efficient. "

  • Value for money
    The Best Way To Travel |
    "We travelled the 2 hours from Bordeaux to Toulouse via TGV and we could not believe how easy and quick it was. It stopped 3 times but we barely noticed. We sat 1st class with reserved seats and it was perfect. Our cabin was quiet and we were able to rest, read, and enjoy the beautiful French country side. "

  • Value for money
    Second Leg |
    "All on time, all good "

  • Value for money
    Train by night |
    "Comfortable and safe journey from Paris to Toulouse. I can really recommend it ! "

  • Value for money
    Train by day |
    "Very comfortable seats. "

  • Value for money
    Homeward bound |
    "We enjoyed travelling on the train and would recommended it as a great way to travel on holiday, it was very relaxing, the trains were comfortable and always on time. "

  • Value for money
    Journey to lourdes |
    "The trip itself was comfortable. The staff member ( lady) who helped us at the Montparnasse ticket station attended to our needs with utmost detail and patience when we needed to change a schedule on the return trip and booking for a car rental. The trip was delYed but they totally made up for the delay and made sure we were able to catch the connecting train to Lourdes on time. The only problem was there were no signages on the tracks to guide the passengers. A lot of confusion took place transferring from 1 coach to the other bearing the same coach and seat no. Conductors helped but some were confused too. "

  • Value for money
    Tight connection |
    "Good Morning, thank you for the opportunity to write about my journey. Overall my experience was very good but some things caused stress. This is my first time travelling in France and travelling to Gaillac. I do not speak French and did not understand that there were two trains leaving about the same time ; initially I got onto the wrong train - silly me ; many of the carriages were in darkness and passengers had to use their phones as torches, rail staff were not in evidence to help. Confused I got off the train and eventually found staff I could ask for directions. They were polite, helpful and directed me to the correct train. The train was very comfortable, the food good and my journey was most enjoyable. We were 4 minutes late arriving in Toulouse and the connection between train to Albi only about 15 minutes. Realising the problem, I was almost first off the train, I rushed to the station and to my surprise there were three young, information people on the platform. They instantly realised the problem and immediately directed me to my connection. The Albi train was packed full, initially I couldn't get on but eventually some passengers moved just enough for me to squeeze into a foyer. I arrived in Gaillac on schedule, my friend was waiting. Without the information help at Toulouse I could not have made the connection, it was too tight and my friend would have been very inconvenienced. Thank you, Ken Adams "

  • Value for money
    Easy travel, but not too cheap |
    "The trains from Toulouse to Cahors is one of the only modesign of transportation available. Not exactly cheap, but fast and reliable. Seats are comfortable, plenty of room for luggage. If no ride shares really available, it is a good fallback option. "

  • Value for money
    Another great TGV experience |
    "5 hours 29 minutes of relaxing pleasure. Very efficient, punctual, quality seating, food and beverages. "

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