FAQ Toulouse

Why is Toulouse called the Pink City?
Toulouse is called the Pink City in reference to the brick used to construct the buildings.

How many people live in Toulouse?
Toulouse is the 4th largest city in France after Paris, Marseille and Lyon. There are approximately 475,000 inhabitants.

How can I get to Toulouse from Paris?
Toulouse is a very accessible city from Paris by train (from the Paris-Montparnasse station 4h17min) or by plane (1h15).

How do I get around Toulouse, what are the means of transportation?
Toulouse has a very compact city center, so it is very easy to get around on foot, but there are also 2 metro lines, 2 tramway lines as well as buses, cabs and bicycles.

What are the must-see places in Toulouse?
The most important places are:

The Capitole: it is the emblematic building of the Pink City: standing in front of the Capitole square since the 18th century, it houses both the city hall and the Capitole theater.

The Basilica of Saint-Sernin: this 11th century brick and stone basilica is nothing less than one of the largest Romanesque buildings in the West! Former stage of the Compostelle route, it is registered as a Unesco heritage site.

The Convent of the Jacobins: the remarkable element that will surprise the visitors is the unique vault in the shape of a palm tree. The church, with its double nave with painted decoration and its superb stained-glass windows, also houses the relics of Saint Thomas Aquinas. As for the cloister of the convent, an island of tranquility in the city, it regularly hosts concerts and exhibitions.

L'hôtel d'Assézat: During the Renaissance, the city, enriched by the pastel trade, saw the construction of sumptuous residences, including the Hôtel d'Assézat. The sumptuous main courtyard is the setting for the two facades punctuated by antique columns and linked by the stair tower.

The Canal du Midi: Listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Canal du Midi links Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea by water.

The banks of the Garonne: One of the most beautiful panoramas of the city with a view of the Pont neuf, the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques, the dome of La Grave, and the river, the Garonne.

What are the culinary specialties of Toulouse?

The Toulouse sausage: the star of the South-West, the star of barbecues, the star of cassoulet, it is of course the Toulouse sausage! You can find it with a Label Rouge in supermarkets, but we prefer to buy it directly from local producers that we find on our markets. An artisanal sausage that you can accompany with a salad to keep your figure.

Fenetra: a generous, fresh and light cake made with almonds, lemons and apricots. To be enjoyed as soon as summer arrives.

Cachou Lajaunie: the cachou was invented in Toulouse by the pharmacist Lajaunie in 1880. Its small yellow box has not aged since! This little black square is a clever mix of several ingredients, including licorice and cachou powder and its recipe has remained unchanged since its creation. Each year in Toulouse, 3 million boxes of cachou candies are produced.

The Toulouse brick: these are praline-flavored candies that are often sold in a cardboard box in the shape of the famous fairground brick that gave Toulouse its nickname of "Pink City". At first sight a little hard under the tooth, but very quickly its crunchiness makes you addicted! There is even a variant with violet.

The Toulouse violet: the subtlety of the violet comes in all forms: real crystallized petals, sour candies, mustard with violet, chocolate and tea...

Why does Toulouse have such a strong link with aeronautics?
The aeronautical destiny of Toulouse began in 1890: legend has it that Clément Ader, a local child, flew the first engine and propeller shaped like a bat. Nicknamed Eole, this flying machine was the first airplane prototype.
During the First World War, Pierre-Georges Latécoère, an industrialist specializing in rail transport, decided to start building military aircraft to meet the demand of the State. Toulouse, located on the opposite side of the battlefield, was chosen as the location for the workshops.
This marks the beginning of the great aeronautical era in Toulouse's Montaudran district. After the war, the company converted to commercial postal aviation with the creation of Lignes Aériennes Latécoère.
Toulouse became the main base of the longest French transatlantic air line linking France, West Africa and South America. In 1927 these lines became the Aéropostale and forever marked the history of the city thanks to legendary pilots such as Jean Mermoz and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Since the 20th century, factories and companies in the aeronautical sector have continued to develop in Toulouse: Dewoitine, Aérospatiale, EADS and then Airbus Group set up in the pink city and produced parts for the world's largest aircraft manufacturers. They designed, built and assembled famous civil and military aircraft such as the Caravelle, the Concorde and the A380.

Q: Are woads and violets still cultivated in Toulouse?

A: Woad and violet are still cultivated around Toulouse.
Woad: Used as a dye and as a medicinal plant since Antiquity, woad Isatis tinctoria, was cultivated on a pre-industrial scale during the Renaissance in the golden triangle composed of the cities of Toulouse, Albi and Carcassonne.
The blue pigment, obtained by grinding the dried leaves of this small yellow flower in mills, was exported throughout Europe to dye textiles. The dried balls of woad, called "coques", would be the origin of the mythical "Pays de Cocagne". This flourishing trade was outranked by competition from indigo, the "Chinese woad" grown in India.
The cultivation of woad is timidly reviving in the region and its healing properties are now of interest to the cosmetics industry: the Graine de Pastel brand, which has won several awards, invites you to discover its Graine de Pastel, a multi-awarded brand, invites you to discover its line of nutritious, organic, and anti-aging skin care products in the revisited spirit of an old-fashioned pharmacy.
In its workshop in the Minimes in Toulouse, AHPY Création Annette Hardouin, master craftsman, creates clothes dyed with pastel and offers workshops to (re)discover this local craft.

The Violet: the little flower cultivated in Toulouse since 1854 is a cousin of the fragrant violet of Parma, but which blooms only in winter. This variety, which does not produce seeds but reproduces by stolons (like strawberry plants), has become a specialty of the market gardeners of northern Toulouse, who created a "cooperative of violet and onion producers" in 1908. It provides an additional income to nearly 600 producers who send up to 600,000 bouquets per year by train throughout Europe before collapsing...
Today, there are only about ten producers. Threatened with degeneration by years of cuttings, new hybrid plants have been developed in-vitro by the Chamber of Agriculture with the help of the city of Toulouse.
A collection of 130 varieties of international violets, certified at the national level, is kept in the municipal greenhouses of Toulouse. They can be seen in early February at the Place du Capitole during the Violet Festival or during the open house days of the greenhouses in the spring.

What are the events (External link) not to be missed in Toulouse?
With its strong Latin culture, Toulouse is a lively city with many cultural festivals throughout the year: the Violet Festival in February, Rio Loco in June, Piano aux Jacobins in September, Toulouse les Orgues in October...

And let's not forget the Rugby World Cup 2023 and the 5 matches we will be lucky enough to host with the teams from Japan, Fiji and the All Blacks.

What excursions can we do from Toulouse?
Toulouse is the capital of the Occitanie region, and its geographical location lends itself to escapades to escape the urban environment for a while and discover numerous exceptional sites, identified as "Grands Sites Occitanie" or "Plus Beaux Villages de France". Montpellier, Albi, Carcassonne, but also the Pyrenees...you will find treasures of history and architecture as well as breathtaking natural landscapes.

Which matches of the Rugby World Cup 2023 will take place in Toulouse?
Toulouse will host 5 matches:

  • Sunday September 10th: Japan vs. Americas 2
  • Friday September 15: New Zealand vs. Africa 1
  • Saturday, September 23: Europe 1 vs. winner of the qualification tournament
  • Thursday September 28: Japan vs. Oceania 1
  • Sunday, October 8: Fiji vs. winner of the qualifying tournament