"Oh Toulouse!" Toulouse by Jonathan_C
Toulouse Travel Guide: 577 reviews and 1,188 photos
I had a feeling I would like this town before I came here for a four day work trip. The beautiful location, the universities, the modern industries of aviation and biotechnology and a substantial web presence make Toulouse a perfect sister, or perhaps cousin, of Seattle. As capital of the Midi-Pyrenees, Toulouse combines the best of urban and rural France with several universities and an amazing assortment of cultural events mixed together with rural southern hospitality and incredible food.
The center city has not ben ravaged by war and retains the charm of medievally narrow streets that are constantly busy with tourists and students and those who call Toulouse home. Except for a few major arteries, pedestrians and bicyclists rule the center city where travel by car is discouraged. Life here is lived outside all day and all night with markets, restaurants, cafes and nightspots providing gathering places at every intersection with a named 'place'. Place du Capitole, place Wilson, place St. George, place St. Sernin, place Puits Clos, place St. Etienne, ... Each is its own mini neighborhood with its own unique atmosphere. There is enough variety in the center city alone to fill many days of exploring.
But don't forget to go exploring outside the city limits as well. The countryside surrounding Toulouse is gorgeous and it is quite easy to rent a bike and get out of town in just a couple of hours. Bicycles are extremely common in the city and motorists are very accepting of them. The slow pace of traffic in the city greatly reduces the danger of riding in traffic. And the path along the Canal du Midi provides an excellent route out of town. In my travelogue you can follow my own day ride south of Toulouse to explore the rolling countryside and quaint hamlets of the Lauragais.
There is so much to see and experience in Toulouse that you can't possibly do it justice in a stay of less than a week. My plan is to arrange to work there for a couple of weeks every year. I really don't expect two weeks to be long enough either, though. It may only make me realize how much more there is to see that I don't even have an inkling of right now.
Oh Toulouse, pretty in pink, your wit and charm and good home cooking have completely seduced me!
Wandering through the center city one last time before my imminent departure my heart found resonance with some... more travel advice
There is a path along the Garonne that is lovely and quiet. (At least it was in October.) The open vistas and greenery... more travel advice
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