Are you looking for the best things to do in Toulouse, France? This guide has you covered!
In this Toulouse travel guide, we explore the best things to do – from the top restaurants and museums to where to stay (and more)!
Let us know your favorite Toulouse attractions and landmarks in the comments!
In this post...
Best Toulouse Tours (to Maximize Your Time!)
If you’re looking for something more organized when in Toulouse and the surrounding area, here are some awesome Toulouse tours you should check out.
These tours will help you maximize your time, which is especially important if you only have a short amount of time in the city! We listed a variety so that you can pick which one is most suitable for you (and many include multiple places!):
- Day trip to Carcassonne from Toulouse (top-rated option!)
- Private Walking Tour with a Local (great option to learn the city better)
- Langeudoc: Tour and wine tasting (at Domaine de Baronarques)
- Albi Cathedrale Sainte Cecile & Cordes Sur Ciel (excursion)
Best Things to Do in Toulouse
1. Take a Day Trip to Carcassonne
The charming town of Carcassonne in southwestern France is a wonderful destination for a one-day trip from Toulouse to discover some architectural marvels and the beautiful natural scenery of the Canal du Midi.
If you are already planning your trip, make sure to include a visit to the Cité de Carcassonne, a fortified medieval city that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is home to the famous Château Comtal, an 11th-century castle, as well as the Basilique Saint-Nazaire, a Romanesque church. You can take a guided tour of the citadel and learn about its history and architecture.
Next, explore the Bastide Saint-Louis. It is a lovely neighborhood just outside the Cité de Carcassonne wall, complete with the Fountain of Neptune, a variety of shops, restaurants, and pubs, and a great place to stroll and soak up the local atmosphere.
If you have time, go wine tasting. Carcassonne is located in the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, which is known for its excellent wines.
Honestly, Carcassonne is one of the best weekend breaks in France and should be enjoyed for more than just a day trip!
In addition, there are wineries in the area, like Château de Lastours and Château La Villatade, with wine tastings and tours of the vineyards.
2. Stop by the Saint-Etienne Cathedral
The Saint-Etienne Cathedral is a Romanesque-style cathedral and a well-known historical relic in Toulouse.
The 13th-century building is a blend of Southern and Northern Gothic architecture with details of Baroque.
The cathedral is comprised of two incomplete churches joined together, which even today gives you a disjointed feeling.
And, it has a number of architectural features worth noting, including its barrel-vaulted nave, arched galleries, and massive bell tower.
The cathedral’s exterior is adorned with decorative carvings and sculptures, including statues of saints and animals. The interior is decorated with stained glass windows, frescoes, and other works of art.
One of the most fascinating things to see in the cathedral is the huge wooden organ at the back of the church.
Regular services and events are a wonderful chance to listen to the unimaginable reverberations of the organ and the unique acoustics of the church.
Address:Pl. Saint-Étienne, 31000 Toulouse
3. Take a Day Trip to Albi
A day trip to Albi, France, can be a great way to explore this charming city and its rich history and culture.
Located in the Tarn department in southern France, Albi is known for its red brick architecture and beautiful medieval center, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Start exploring the town with Albi Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that is considered one of the finest examples of its kind in Europe.
The facade is very impressive, even fierce, with an extravagant interior.
Next, check out Berbie Palace, the medieval castle and palace now hosting the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum with over a thousand exhibits.
If you have time, you might also want to take a stroll along the banks of the Tarn River, visit the Albi market to pick up some local produce and specialties or sample some of the region’s delicious wines at local wineries like La Clef des Vins with machines for tasting.
4. Marvel at the Place du Capitole
The Place du Capitole is the main attraction in the center of Toulouse and a popular tourist destination for its historical and architectural significance.
The 18th-century building, with its 128-meter-long Neoclassical facade with two floors, 41 windows, and embellished wrought-iron balconies, decorates the square with its magnificence. But the real emotions are waiting for you behind the walls.
The historical building hosts the city hall and Théâtre du Capitole, one of France’s most renowned opera houses.
This Toulouse theater is known for its ornate interior and hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, including operas, ballets, and concerts.
Continue exploring the Capitole to discover a portal to the Henri IV courtyard with a marble statue of the king and two galleries.
Go beyond the Capitole to discover another unique building, the Donjon, the oldest remaining building in Toulouse. Today, the building hosts the Tourist Office of Toulouse.
Address: Place du Capitole, 31000 Toulouse
5. Check Out the Basilique Saint-Sernin
The Basilique Saint-Sernin was built in the 11th and 12th centuries and is considered one of Europe’s finest examples of Romanesque architecture.
It is named after Saint Saturnin, the patron saint of Toulouse, and is an important place of worship for Catholics in the region.
The basilica is a large, rectangular building with a nave and two aisles.
The facade is adorned with decorative carvings, while the interior is richly decorated with frescoes, stained glass windows, and other works of art.
It also has a 64-meter-high bell tower visible from many parts of the city.
Once you enter the church, you will see a 114-meter nave with a vault that rises to 21 meters. You will simply get lost in this huge church.
The Basilique Saint-Sernin is impressive, not only with its architecture but also with the relics kept here since the 11th century.
More than 200 pieces of bone, fragments of the Holy Crown, and holy objects are kept in the crypt and chapels.Take a guided tour to learn about each relic and the remains of the apostles.
Address: 7 Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse
6. Walk across Pont Neuf
Pont Neuf (New Bridge) is a renowned bridge that spans 220 meters over the Garonne River. It is the oldest bridge in Toulouse and a popular tourist destination in the city.
The bridge was built in the 16th century and is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. It is made of red brick and adorned with nine arches, towers, and sculptures.
Pont Neuf is also home to many shops and restaurants, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
One of the most striking features of the Pont Neuf is its four towers, located at each corner of the bridge.
These towers are adorned with sculptures and ornamental details and are a testament to the bridge’s rich history and cultural significance.
Visitors to the Pont Neuf can enjoy panoramic views of the city from the bridge and relax in the Prairie des Filtres park on the bank of the river.
Address: Pont Neuf, 31400 Toulouse
7. Peruse the Aeroscopia Museum
If you are interested in aviation and the history of flight, the Aeroscopia Museum is a wonderful place to discover an extensive collection of aircraft and interactive exhibits, and have a unique educational experience.
The museum is located on the edge of the Aéroconstellation urban development zone, connected to the Toulouse-Blagnac airport.
Aeroscopia is one of France’s major aviation and aeronautical museums dedicated to the history of aviation. It is home to a collection of over 20 aircraft, ranging from vintage planes to modern jets, as well as a variety of exhibits and interactive displays to explore the history of flight.
One of the highlights of the Aeroscopia museum is its collection of vintage planes from the early 20th century. You will admire many examples, including the Caravelle, A300B, and Concorde.
Also, test your skills on a simulator, and perhaps you will find your true passion.
Address: 1 All. André Turcat, 31700 Blagnac
8. Walk inside the Chapelle des Carmelites
Step back in time and experience the beauty and history of the Chapelle des Carmélites, Toulouse’s stunning 18th-century Baroque chapel.
The Chapelle des Carmélites was finished in the 18th century, but its first stone was laid a century earlier. It is now a prime example of Baroque architecture that survived the French Revolution.
The chapel is decorated with a series of ornate frescoes, sculptures, and other decorative elements characteristic of this style.
Its windows are completed with stained glass windows, adding extra charm and mystery to the overall picture.
Also called the “sister” of the Sistine Chapel, the Chapelle des Carmélites has magnificent ceilings covered with paintings by Jean-Pierre Rivalz, who was inspired by Michelangelo when creating the frescoes.
Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply seeking a peaceful and beautiful place to visit, the Chapelle des Carmélites is a must-see destination in Toulouse.
Address: 1 Rue de Périgord, 31000 Toulouse
9. Explore the Toulouse Museum
The Museum of Toulouse is one of the most exciting experiences you can have in the city. It is at the crossroads of science, nature, and humans.
Occupying over 6,000 square meters, the museum showcases over two million exhibits. Just unimaginable! It is often called the second-most beautiful and sometimes even the first museum in France.
Moreover, it is the first museum in the world with a prehistoric gallery, the cave gallery.
The Muséum de Toulouse occupies three floors, and the Paul-Sabatier University botanical garden covers a separate area and is worth your special attention.
The permanent exhibitions are divided into five themes: Feeling the earth’s power, The nature of life, Life throughout time, Man’s needs, and Inventing the future.
The exhibitions will tell you the story of the earth—how life was born on earth and how it started changing with humans.
Address: 35 All. Jules Guesde, 31000 Toulouse
10. Enjoy the Evening at Le 5 Wine Bar
Le 5 Wine Bar is a popular wine bar known for its extensive wine selection and cozy atmosphere.
The bar is located in the center of Toulouse, near the Place du Capitole, and is a popular destination for wine enthusiasts and locals looking for a relaxing evening out.
By the way, the venue was voted the world’s best wine bar in 2017.
At Le 5 Wine Bar, you’ll find a wide variety of wines to choose from, including red, white, and sparkling wines from different regions and wineries around the world.
Spanish cuisine is like a breath of fresh air with its perfectly cooked terrine, tapas, and pintxos. The bar also offers a selection of appetizers and small plates to go with your wine: a cheese platter, charcuterie, and olives.
The friendly staff is another reason to visit the bar and enjoy the superb service.
Address: 5 Rue de la Bourse, 31000 Toulouse
11. Visit Couvent des Jacobins
The Couvent des Jacobins in Toulouse is a historic monument located in the city center and is considered one of France’s brightest examples of Gothic architecture.
It was built in the 13th century by the Dominicans, also known as the Preaching Friars, and used as a place of worship and residence for the monks until the French Revolution in the 18th century.
Today, the convent is open to the public and hosts many exhibitions and cultural events.
Couvent des Jacobins is known for its beautiful Gothic architecture, particularly its chapel and nave, which are among the most beautiful in France.
The chapel is decorated with stunning stained glass windows and frescoes, while the nave is supported by massive palm-shaped columns. The convent also houses a library rich in medieval manuscripts.
Couvent des Jacobins is open every day except for January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.
Address: Pl. des Jacobins, 31000 Toulouse
12. Have Fun at Cite de l’Espace
The Cité de l’Espace is a theme park dedicated to the exploration of space and the history of space exploration. The park is open year-round and welcomes visitors of all ages.
It is divided into several thematic areas, which allow visitors to discover the universe and space in a fun and interactive way.
The park also has a space flight simulation area, an IMAX cinema, and a planetarium. You will see a life-size model of the Ariane 5 rocket, enter a real spacecraft, experience flight, and even wander about the MIR space station.
The Cité de l’Espace regularly hosts temporary exhibitions on topics related to space and exploration, conferences, and workshops.
The park is also a meeting place for many astronomy and science enthusiasts, who can attend sky observations or participate in activities to discover the universe.
You will see the sun in all its colors through the images taken by the SOHO probe, experience weightlessness, learn how the weather is predicted with Météo France, etc.
Address: Av. Jean Gonord, 31500 Toulouse
13 .See the Pont St. Pierre
Pont Saint-Pierre is a stone bridge located on the Garonne River in Toulouse, France. It is considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the city, classified as a historical monument since 1995.
The 15th-century bridge was built to replace an old wooden bridge that had been destroyed by the floods of the Garonne.
The stone bridge consists of five arches, supported by sturdy granite pillars. Its total length is approximately 140 meters.
The Pont Saint-Pierre is a very busy passage for pedestrians and vehicles. It offers breathtaking views of the city and the Garonne, especially from the promenades on either side of the bridge.
It often gets overcrowded on Thursdays, when young people gather in the evening to go partying in one of the many bars in the square.
14. Visit the Locks at Canal du Midi
The gem of Toulouse and the whole of France is the Canal du Midi, linking the city to the Mediterranean with a 250 km-long waterway.
It was built in the 17th century to allow navigation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean and played an important role in the economic development of the region.
Canal du Midi is a popular tourist attraction for biking, boat riding, or hiking, but there are more amazing things not to miss.
For example, you can watch one of the canal’s 60 locks in action. The lock drains water from the basin or fills it with water to allow the boat to move on to the next section.
Most locks have cafes and gardens where you can sit and watch the show.
Another great way to make your tour more exciting is to go to a wine tasting along the Canal du Midi. There are 65 local wineries.
The Domaine des Maels is located right on the canal, so it is pretty easy to combine the tours.
15. Discover the Saint-Raymond Museum
Explore the mysteries of the ancient world at the Saint-Raymond Museum in Toulouse. Home to a collection of over 300,000 artifacts and exhibits, the museum offers a unique window into the history and culture of ancient civilizations.
One of the highlights of the Saint-Raymond Museum is its collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including mummies and funerary objects.
Next to the ancient Egyptian sculptures, you will see the mythological sculptures of ancient Greece.
The second floor of the museum is occupied with objects and scenes from Toulouse at the time of the Romans and Gauls, including a collection of Roman sculptures and weapons.
But the most exclusive collection is hidden in the basement. The exhibition space is occupied by a well-preserved lime kiln and part of a cemetery from late antiquity.
Once you have finished exploring all the exhibits, have coffee or tea in the museum’s small exotic garden.
Address: 1 ter Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse
16. Explore the Streets of La Daurade
La Daurade is a charming and lively neighborhood with a nice walking path along the banks of the Garonne River.
It is known for its large student population, hosting the University of Toulouse and several other higher education institutions.
The neighborhood has a youthful and energetic atmosphere, with a wide range of restaurants and cafes like La Gouaille and Le Cafe Cerise.
Despite its urban setting, La Daurade is also home to several parks and green spaces, providing residents and visitors with a chance to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
One of the most popular parks in the neighborhood is Parc de la Daurade, which features a large pond, walking trails, and a children’s play area.
You can combine your visit to La Daurade with a visit to the nearby Musée des Augustins, which houses a collection of paintings and sculptures dating from the Middle Ages to the modern day.
17. Feel Refreshed at Jardin des Plantes
The Jardin des Plantes de Toulouse is a botanical garden located in the city center, in the Croix-de-Pierre neighborhood, near the Place du Capitole and the Place Saint-Pierre.
It is a wonderful place to relax, discover nature, and enjoy the biodiversity that counts over 6,000 species of plants. The garden also has a decorative garden, a tropical greenhouse, and a cold greenhouse.
The botanical garden has humid tropical forests with several hundred species of plants from Africa, America, and Southeast Asia.
Throughout your stroll, you will see monuments and statues of renowned people who played their part in the history of Toulouse.
Besides observing the richness of plants, there are playgrounds, bumper cars, and little trains for children to enjoy in the park.
The Jardin des Plantes de Toulouse is open every day except for January 1st and December 25th. It is free to access.
Address: 31 All. Jules Guesde, 31400 Toulouse
18. Stop by the Les Abattoirs Museum
Experience cutting-edge contemporary art at Les Abattoirs, Toulouse’s premier museum for innovative and thought-provoking exhibitions.
Located in a former slaughterhouse that has been transformed into a modern and spacious exhibition space,
Les Abattoirs is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in contemporary art and culture. With diverse exhibitions and special events throughout the year, Les Abattoirs offers something for everyone, from art enthusiasts to casual visitors.
The museum showcases over 4,000 works by international artists, including donations from private collections.
Les Abattoirs is more than a museum. It is an arts center, workshop, on-site restaurant, and cafe open to the public.
The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Thursdays, doors are open until 8 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, doors open at 10 a.m. instead of noon.
Les Abattoirs is located in the heart of Toulouse and is easily accessible by public transport, making it a convenient destination for art lovers.
Address: 76 All. Charles de Fitte, 31300 Toulouse
19. See Local Art at Foundation Bemberg
The Bemberg Foundation, occupying a luxurious 15th-century Renaissance-style Hôtel d’Assézat, is a public art gallery that presents one of the most extensive private art collections in Europe.
The museum is named after its founder, Georges Bemberg, a collector and patron of the arts who donated his collection to the city of Toulouse.
The Bemberg Foundation collection includes works from the 14th to the 20th century, including works by artists such as Van Gogh, Gauguin, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Amadeo Modigliani, Matisse, and many more.
The art gallery also includes a selection of medieval and Renaissance art.
The Foundation Bemberg occupies 2 floors. The first floor, “Les Anciens,” is divided into thematic rooms, for example, the Room of the Fireplace and the Room of Europe.
On the second floor, you will find “Les Modernes,” a hall with modern works.
In the gift shop, you can find catalogs, posters, and postcards with artworks presented in the museum.
Address:Hôtel d’Assézat, Avenue Jean Pierre d’Assezat, 31000 Toulouse
20. Have Dinner at Les Sales Gosses
Les Sales Gosses (literally translated as “naughty or dirty kids”) is a beloved restaurant in the heart of Toulouse.
Known for its delicious French cuisine and lively atmosphere, it’s a perfect spot for a night out with friends or a romantic dinner with a loved one.
The menu at Les Sales Gosses features a range of classic French dishes, including escargots, foie gras, and coq au vin, all of which are prepared with the highest quality ingredients and expertly cooked to perfection.
Come here for the perfect gazpacho, the rolls of prawns, and the ratatouille duck breast. The service is very friendly, with a bit of humor.
In addition to its delicious food, the restaurant also boasts a wine list featuring a selection of local and international wines, making it an excellent place to enjoy a glass of wine with your meal.
There are only a few tables, so make sure to book a table in advance.
Address: 81 Rue Pierre-Paul Riquet, 31000 Toulouse
21. Relax inside of Compans Caffarelli Park
Compans Caffarelli Park is a beautiful and vibrant public park located in the heart of Toulouse, France.
With vast green spaces, tree-lined pathways, and numerous amenities, it’s a perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon and enjoy the great outdoors.
The park is home to recreational facilities, including walking and cycling paths, a children’s playground, and sports courts for basketball and skateboarding.
The key highlight of the park is the Japanese Garden, designed by Pierre Baudis and covering 7,000 square meters within the Compans Caffarelli Park.
Made in the traditional style of Kyoto gardens with stone lanterns, water features, and a tea house. This garden is a wonderful place for yoga classes and meditation.
In addition to its recreational offerings, the park is also home to a number of cultural and historical landmarks, including the Musée des Augustins, a museum of fine arts that is well worth a visit.
Address: Bd Lascrosses, 31100 Toulouse
22. Enjoy Local Fare at L’Air de Famille Restaurant
L’Air de Famille is a popular restaurant located in Toulouse, France. It is known for its delicious French cuisine and friendly atmosphere.
The vintage vibes of the interior are paired with the comfort you feel when you are at home.
The restaurant offers a variety of dishes, including classic French escargots, foie gras, and coq au vin, as well as a selection of desserts and drinks.
Every dish is served with a matching wine from an impressive wine cart filled with local and international wines. For a perfect evening, you simply need to finish it with a great coffee and chocolate mousse with Madeleine.
L’Air de Famille is a great place to enjoy a meal with friends or family in a relaxed and comfortable setting. If you’re in Toulouse and looking for a great place to dine, consider giving L’Air de Famille a try.
Address: 6 Rue Jules Chalande, 31000 Toulouse
Where to Stay in Toulouse
If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Toulouse, below are some of our top options!
Did we miss any amazing things to do in Toulouse? Let us know what to do in Toulouse in the comments!
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Aram is a travel blogger and writer from Armenia who spends his time between Spain and his home country. He is passionate about music and football (the European kind) and covers a lot of Western European destinations on the blog. Aram is a laidback traveler who enjoys meeting new people and finding the best food in each city that he visits (hence his frequent trips to France, Italy, and Greece!). He has been featured in (or written for) Forbes, BBC, The Guardian, Fodor’s Travel, and more.