As you transcend on Toulouse from the sky high above the city, after having just passed over the Pyrenees Mountains, you see it there, spread like a rose in bloom. The sun shimmers off the rooftops of the pale red buildings and the tree lined streets traverse down the center of it, ending at the River Garonne. You can not help but compare the beauty of it to a fully blossomed red rose with its stem dipping into a delicate vase.
The friendliness of Toulouse welcomes you and you suddenly find yourself tempted to speak like Pepe` Le Pew. Indeed savior fare is everywhere. The freshness of the flowers in bloom and the aromas of the gastronomic delicacies surround you as you begin your exploration of one of the most romantic and intriguing cities on earth.
Frances fourth largest city sits on the banks of the River Garonne, in the southwest, halfway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains and beckons you to be their guest. The invitation is for you to engulf yourself in the architecture, culture and cuisine of France’s fastest growing city. To enjoy all it has to offer.
Toulouse is the epiphany of a romantic city speckled with architectural jewels that testify to over 2,000 years of history. There is the Saint-Sernin Basilica with its 11th and 12th century Roman styling. Here you will find the resting place of the first bishop of Toulouse, who reigned in the 3rd century. There is also the astounding Southern-French Gothic architecture of the Jacobins convent, whose “palm-tree” pillar defies explanation with its single pillar that stems into twenty two branches. It was here that a society of agitators held secret meetings during the French Revolution of 1789.
While exploring the architectural treasures of Toulouse you will want to visit the Saint Etienne Cathedral. This structure expresses the evolution of French architecture. This massive structure was originally designed to be even grander with plans for three bell towers rather than the one it currently has. Also no trip would be complete without exploring the Capitole and its exuberantly decorated rooms. This political structure is well worth the tour.
End your visit of the historical buildings by visiting the place du capitole. This massive city square is filled with brasseries and cafes complete with an Occitan Cross. The “place” is one of the most popular locations in the city to gather and enjoy the end of the day. This is also the home of the le Theatre du Capitole, Toulouse’s opera house.
Besides the great architecture there are numerous things to do that can be done on a budget. You can chat on a Terrace, enjoy the freshness of a fountain, saunter through a flowering walkway to Jordin Royal, Jardin Des Plantes, and Jardin du Grand-Rond also enjoy the Japanese garden, and the Praire des Filtres. Meander along the banks of the Canal du Midi, or take a ride on a canal boat. Play a round of golf at the Toulouse La Remee Golf Course.
There are numerous shopping opportunities offering a variety of venues. You will find gift shops and street vendors; also plenty of opportunities to window shop the many chic boutiques that offer every major brand name. There is also an open air bric-a-brac market and plenty of opportunities to find antique treasures.
After you have explored all day, sample some of the gastronomical riches available. Check out the regional cuisine of Restaurant Au Pois Gourmand, and the French delicacies of Folles Saisons or L`Evangelina. Introduce yourself to Cuisine Du Monde of Le SW in the hotel Pullman Toulouse center.
Follow dinner with a night on the town. Be entertained at one of the many theatres or dance with passion at Le Chic or Le Ramier. For a truly unique experience take in the dinner-show at the Lucien Barriere casino-theatre.
Finish your day at one of the grand hotels offered in Toulouse. There is truly a menagerie of world class hotels such as the Hotel de Berney, Hotel d’Assezat or Hotel de Pierre. If you are traveling on a budget there are plenty of less exuberant hotels that still offer great accommodations to select from, such as the Best Western Hotel Des Capitouls and the Mercure Toulouse Saint Georges.
No matter where you stay and what you do you will find the city of Toulouse to be romantic and beautiful like a red rose in full bloom.