“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” – P. Mercier
PRINT & GO
Before your departure, do not forget to check/bring with you :
– Boarding Pass and Hotel Reservation
DAY 1: VISIT TOULOUSE
Toulouse is known as “La ville rose” thanks to the unique color of its buildings. If there is something amazing about this city is indeed the elegant and original architecture. The first day in Toulouse can be dedicated to the exploration of its city center and its buildings. Everything is located nearby, so no public transportation is needed, just comfortable shoes. The visit of the city can start from the Basilique de Saint Sernin. This ancient basilica is one of the destinations of the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela and is one of the main emblem of the Toulousan architecture.
From Basilique de Saint Sernin you can move to the church of Notre Dame du Taur. This is one of the main churches in the city and has been built in the place where Saint Saturnin has been detached from the bull.
After few minutes from the church you will arrive in the heart of the city, Place du Capitole. This is an impressive historical square, surrounded by spectacular buildings such as the Town Hall, the Opera and historical restaurants and bars. The square hosts a nice outdoor market, selling food, clothes and similar.
Taking the street opposite to the Town Hall, you will arrive to the Couvent des Jacobins. This is a huge building made in bricks funded by Dominicans and that hosts nowadays a part of the university and some temporary exhibitions. Now get back to Place du Capitole and take the way behind the Town Hall: after a while you will be able to admire the Donjon, an ancient tower hosting nowadays the Tourist Office. Next to it is Place Wilson, a nice square surrounded by shops, restaurants and cinemas.
At few meters from Place Wilson is Place Victor Hugo, famous especially for its fantastic indoor market. This will be your place to stop for lunch. The Victor Hugo market is not a simple market where you can buy food, but it’s a great place where you can buy and taste any kind of local food, all accompanied by a glass of wine. It is a tradition to stop there for a drink or for the whole lunch. You can do a tasting-session lunch by going from kiosk to kiosk or you can have a seated lunch in one of the several restaurants located on the floor above the market.
After this delicious lunch break, it is time to go back to the city exploration. From Place du Capitole, take the street south, Rue St Rome, and you’ll find yourself in the paradise of shopping….but most of all, you will find yourself in the paradise of the Toulousan architecture: brick-made small houses everywhere, narrow streets, hidden museums. From rue St Rome on you can admire the architecture and history that this city can offer. One of the things that I also loved very much in this city – and especially in that neighborhood – is the presence of many interesting book stores. For a book lover like me, it was Disneyland! The city indeed hosts several big and historical book stores, where you can read books and have a drink at the same time. I would really suggest you to stop there!
Walking around there, you will arrive at some point in rue de Metz, a big street hosting several shops and restaurants, as well as historical buildings such as the Musée des Augustins. Going straight ahead, you will arrive in front of the Cathédrale St Etienne, a gothic-style building hosting many artistic treasures.
Continuing your walk you will discover other architectural treasures and other places of interests, such as Place des Carmes – a very nice square hosting an interesting market – and the church of Notre Dame de la Dalbade – another gothic marvel of the city.
After this long walk, your day is probably almost over. If you have any spare time, you can still have some shopping or enjoying a drink somewhere before the fantastic Toulousan nightlife starts.
DAY 2: VISIT TOULOUSE
After a busy first day in Toulouse, the second day will be more dedicated to nature and leisure. Something that you cannot miss in the city is a walk along the river. As you know, the Garonne river passes through Toulouse and creates wonderful landscapes all over.
Once your walk along the river is over, walk till the Centre Caffarelli and just behind this complex you will arrive at the Japanese Garden. As you probably know, Japanese people have a special way to conceive the natural space, since they try to create miniature idealized landscapes, often in a highly abstract and stylized way. This includes rock gardens, meditation spaces, paths, exotic plants all cut in specific ways, small lakes, small bridges. The Japanese garden in Toulouse is not exempt from any of these characteristics and it’s a wonderful place to admire.
For the rest of the day there are two options, according to your sphere of interest. If you are an art lover, I would definitely suggest to visit some museums: the Musée des Beaux Arts, the Musée de Toulouse, the Musée d’Art Moderne and the Musée du Vieux Toulouse. Another interesting alternative can be the discovery of the “space” universe. Toulouse indeed is one of the main centers for the aerospace industry and research: you can have access to this special world through the Cité de l’Espace – an exposition park where you can experience the life in the space – or through the visit of the Airbus – where you will be able to see how the famous giant of the aeronautical industry works. Both of these attractions are located outside the city center, but easily reachable by taxi or by public transportation.