We have spent couple days in Carcassone, a place 100% done for tourists, and after it, it was great to see Toulouse, a vivid and real city, so likeable and mixed of cultures, with many imprints of history. Let’s see how we spent Toulouse in 1 day!
We need to admit that Toulouse is not really a touristy place. There are no world-class monuments or major sites. Nevertheless, it is exactly the reason why we decided to visit the city. Seeking for the less-known, forgotten but still authentic places. To see a city that is not set up for tourists, but only for locals. Needless to mention, but as you know we are Besides the Obvious.
- 1 What to see in Toulouse in 1 day
- 2 Where to eat in Toulouse in 1 day
- 3 Where to stay in Toulouse
- 4 How to get to Toulouse
What to see in Toulouse in 1 day
Saint Stephen’s Cathredal (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne)
The cathedral is a national monument, and is the seat of the Archbishop of Toulouse. The French Ministry of Culture listed it in 1862 as a monument historique.
Toulouse’s Cathedral of Saint-Etienne is unusual as it is a kind of amalgam of two churches, incorporating two different styles of gothic architecture. One dates from 1230 and the other was started on a different axis in 1272 but this was later abandoned. Later reconstructions have also taken place and the cathedral facade is now most unusual, with a white stone arched facade and rose window ‘inset’ in a later, larger red brick facade.
Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge
There are four main bridges across the Garonne in Toulouse. Pont Neuf is the oldest even though its name translates as the brand-new bridge. The style is quite interesting with its cut-out sections. Original planning for the bridge started in 1542 by the assembly of a committee of master masons and carpenters. Construction started on the foundations in 1544, the first arch was started in 1614. The bridge was finished in 1632, and was inaugurated on 19 October 1659. The bridge is not symmetrical, the longest arch is the third from the right-hand bank. The openings through the piers were originally supposed to represent the face and mane of a lion. A triumphal archway added in 1686 constricted traffic and was removed in 1860. It is 220m long and has 7 arches.
The Monument Arch (Monument aux Combattants de la Haute-Garonne)
The Monument aux Combattants de la Haute-Garonne is a monumental triumphal arch, commemorating the heroes of World War I and stands in the middle of the Allées Forain-François Verdier. The General Council of Haute-Garonne commissioned in August 1919 and a competition made the allocation “open to all French architects and sculptors attached by their education to the Toulouse region“.
While the design of the ensemble belongs to the architect Léon Jaussely, the reliefs were designed by the sculptors Camille Raynaud, André Joseph Abbal and Henri-Raphaël Moncassin. The construction was completed in 1928, except for Raynaud reliefs will only finished in 1931.
The Convent of Les Jacobins (Couvent des Jacobins)
The Church & Convent of the Jacobins is a deconsecrated Roman Catholic church. It is a large brick building whose construction started in 1230, and whose architecture influenced the development of the Gothique méridional (Southern French Gothic) style. The relics of Thomas Aquinas are there. In the two centuries following the dissolution of the Dominican Order at the time of the French Revolution, it served various different purposes before undergoing major restoration in the 20th century. In the early 21st century, they partially converted into a museum.
The Convent of Les Jacobins is an excellent example of gothic architecture from the 13th and 14th centuries and has a wonderful cloister, used for concerts throughout the summer months.
The Capitole de Toulouse (Capitole)
The Capitole de Toulouse commonly known as the Capitole, is the heart of the municipal administration of the French city of Toulouse and its city hall. An emblematic building, it is home to the town hall, a theatre and rooms of state where you can bump into celebrities from the city. The seat of municipal power since its construction, commissioned by the Capitouls in the XII Century, transformed and embellished in every era, La Capitole shows its majestic Neo-Classical façade to the unmistakable square that shares its name. Its walls could tell of the great moments in the history of Toulouse: from the Cathar episode to the creation of the Floral Games, from the Counts of Toulouse to the siege of the city.
Where to eat in Toulouse in 1 day
Cute terraces and tea gardens
Wherever you walk around in the city center, Toulouse offers better and better terraces, or inner cute places for a nice breakfast, dinner, or just simply tea or coffee. Overall, all around France the city centres are famous for the cute bars and cafés, and luckily this habbit is highly visible and present here too.
Marché Victor Hugo
Toulouse has several covered markets but the Marché Victor Hugo is the most famous according to the locals. Well, there are 88 stalls include sausage and foie gras specialists, cheesemongers, and artisan chocolatiers. There are also five restaurants on the upper floor, but it seems more fun to buy oysters from a stall and order drinks at one of the market’s watering holes. But lower your expectations, this market doesn’t really have a cute atmosphere, neither an outstanding architecture, it’s rather a functional hall with many goods.
Where to stay in Toulouse
Toulouse has a small city centre and it’s very easy to navigate. Everything is almost within walking distance and you will find the metro everywhere. If you want to make your trip to Toulouse as easy as possible, stay in the city centre. That way you will have access to everything without having to take public transport. It might be a tiny bit more expensive but it will save you time and money on transportation. Not to mention that you can admire the beautiful streets, windows, window-shields and balconies all around!
How to get to Toulouse
Toulouse-Blagnac International Airport boasts an exceptional location just 8km west of Toulouse. It is very easy to get to the city centre thanks to public transport links and taxis.
The Toulouse-Matabiau SNCF railway station is in the city centre, just 10 minutes’ walk from the Place du Capitole. The Canal du Midi sits opposite and welcomes everyone to Toulouse!
- From Carcassone: There is a direct train between Carcassonne and Toulouse. Trains Intercités or TGV of SNCF to Toulouse leave from Carcassonne railway station in Carcassonne. Arrival in Toulouse will take place at Toulouse-Matabiau station (0.7 mi from the city centre).
- From Paris: Yes, it is possible to go from Paris Charles De Gaulle to Toulouse by train without making any changes. Be aware that depending the day of the week, the schedule can change. And direct trains may not operate every days. To find the cheapest Paris Charles De Gaulle-Toulouse train ticket, we advise you to launch a search on Trainline with your travel dates.
You are lucky, there is a direct intercity bus line between Carcassonne and Toulouse. This line often turns out to be the most economical solution. You will board a coach of ALSA or FlixBus in Carcassonne. The bus will drop you off at Toulouse bus station. Please make sure to show up on time at Carcassonne bus station. At least 15 minutes before the time of departure for Toulouse.
Dear Traveller, hope you liked the latest article from Besides the Obvious! If you would not like to miss any of our travel stories, destination ideas, vacation plans, holiday inspirations, do not forget to subscribe here!