Toulouse Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing
(Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, Midi-Pyrenees, France)
Known as the 'pink city' because of the colourful hue of its red brick buildings, a visit to Toulouse boasts a wealth of historic tourist attractions amid its narrow winding streets.
The French city of Toulouse was once an important stop-off place for pilgrims on their route to Santiago del Compostello, and consequently has an abundance of original religious buildings worthy of a visit.
There are also plenty of more modern tourist attractions here which are perfect for making sure that young and old alike are kept entertained. In particular, Toulouse is perhaps unique in having pioneered space and aeronautical attractions, including the Clément Ader aircraft factory and the ever-popular Space City. Toulouse is also proud of its many cultural attractions which continue to bring tourists into the city.
Cathédrale St. Étienne
Address: Place St. Étienne, Toulouse, France, FR
This cathedral is certainly not an example of symmetry in religious architecture. Featuring an eclectic mix of styles, it is perhaps best known for its huge 12th-century nave, which is misaligned from its choir. Plans to realign the two never came to fruition. Other attractions of note at the Cathédrale St. Étienne include the rose window in the western part of the cathedral and also the decorative belfry.
Open hours: daily - 07:30 to 19:00
Basilique St. Sernin
Address: Place St. Sernin, Toulouse, France, FR
Tel: +33 05 61 21 80 45
This former Benedictine abbey church is considered to be the biggest Romanesque building in Western Europe. Pilgrims used to stop at the Basilique St. Sernin on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Featuring an octagonal tower and spire, the basilica is also well known throughout Toulouse for its crypt - and in particular for the reliquaries which make up its riches. Amongst these attractions are those belonging to Saint Saturnin, the martyred bishop of the city and namesake of the basilica.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday, July to September - 08:30 to 17:30; Sunday - 08:30 to 19:30; Monday to Saturday, October to June - 08:30 to 11:45 and 14:00 to 17:45
Admission: free, charge made for entry to crypt
Église des Jacobins
Address: Parvis des Jacobins, Toulouse, France, FR
Dating from the 13th century, the Église des Jacobins is a Jacobin monastery and a fine example of religious architecture in Toulouse. Its high vaulted ceiling is particularly impressive. The ashes of St. Thomas of Aquinas are one of the church's main attractions for tourists and are displayed to maximum effect in a cleverly illuminated tomb. The cloister is open to the public and with its formal box-tree garden, is a popular place to linger. The cloister is also home to an exhibition area that hosts art display and music performances on a frequent basis.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 19:00
Admission: free, charge made for entry to cloister
La Cité de l'Espace (Space City)
Address: Parc de la Plaine, Avenue Jean Gonord, Toulouse, 31506, France, FR
Tel: +33 05 62 71 64 80
Just out of town and accessible from the Toulouse ring road, Space City is one of the city's major tourist attractions today and is known locally as ' La Cité de l'Espace'. It features a 360-degree planetarium and IMAX cinema, as well as exhibitions of interactive displays showing the latest technological and scientific innovations. In the Cité's grounds are lifesize spaceships, including an exact replica of the Mir space station. Finally, young children are particularly well-catered for, thanks to the Stellarium, a planetarium designed with junior astronomers in mind.
Open hours: daily, July to August - 09:00 to 19:00; September to June, Tuesday to Friday - 09:30 to 17:00; Saturday and Sunday (including school holidays) - 09:30 to 18:00
Address: 1 Avenue du Château d'Eau, Toulouse, 31300, France, FR
Tel: +33 05 62 48 54 77
On the left bank of the River Garonne is Toulouse's Théâtre Garonne. Housed since 1998 in a 19th-century pumping station, the theatre has recently been extensively refurbished and is at the heart of cultural activity in the city. The theatre offers a varied programme of performances throughout the year. A bar-restaurant is also open during evening performances.
Open hours: Tuesday to Friday - 12:00 to 18:30 (box office) and one hour before performances
Clément Ader Site
Address: Village Aéroconstellation, Rue Frantz Joseph Strauss, Blagnac, 31700, France, FR
Tel: +33 05 34 39 42 00
Just west of Toulouse, is the Clément Ader aircraft factory. Visitors are treated to a tour of the vast facility and its many attractions, including the location where the Airbus A330 / 340 is assembled and also where the first ever Concorde was produced. Bookings must be made at least two days in advance and, as security is tight, visitors have to have photo ID checked before being allowed admittance.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 12:30 and 14:00 - 18:00; Saturday - 09:00 to 12:30 (closed bank holidays)
Admission: charge - children under six years free