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Toulouse in one day: An adventure through the pink city of France

Explore the vibrant city of Toulouse in a single day! Enjoy the sights and sounds of the “Pink City” on an adventure through France.

Welcome to Toulouse, the pink city of France! With its unique architecture and culture, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular tourist destination. If you’re short on time, but still want to experience the best that Toulouse has to offer, then you’re in luck: it’s possible to explore this vibrant city in just one day!

As part of the roadtrip on which we left Arles to reach the Brittany, region, we stopped for a few hours in the city of Toulouse. Despite not having been able to stay longer, we were able to discover a charming city, I hope you also would like to discover it.

Plaza del Capitolio Sagitario

How to get to Toulouse?

In our case, we arrived by car, the roads are apparent, so you only have to follow the indications to get to the center. If you travel by train, you will get off at the Toulouse Matabiau station. There is also an airport in the city.

La estacion de tren de Toulouse

How to get around Toulouse?

With the places to visit Toulouse in one day, the only transport you will need to get around will be your feet. So bring comfortable shoes.

Plaza del Capitolio Piscis

Why is Toulouse called “the pink city”?

Toulouse is known as “the pink city” because many of its historic buildings are made of pink or reddish terracotta bricks. This characteristic color is due to the local clay found in the surroundings of the city.

The material for these bricks was introduced by the Romans in the 1st century BC. and can be seen in the ruins of the Roman wall in Saint-Jacques Square. After brick production stopped during the Middle Ages, its production resumed in the 11th century at the Saint-Sernin construction site.

Calles de Toulouse

Originally, this material was expensive and used in monuments and luxurious houses, leaving others with wooden houses. However, after a great fire in 1463, regulations encouraged brick construction, but very few did so, as a result, in the 18th century, a third of Toulouse’s facades were still made of wood.

Starting at the end of the 18th century, the brick was covered with white plaster to imitate the tone of the stone, since it was considered a poor material. But today the original color can be seen in the city and with the reflection of the sun comes the pink.

Today, Toulouse is still known as “the pink city” and is one of the main tourist attractions in France, not only for its architecture but also for its rich history, culture and gastronomy.

Toulouse ciudad rosa

Where to sleep in Toulouse?

In our case, as we were traveling by car and were in Toulouse on the way, we chose to stay in a hotel on the outskirts of the city from the Premiere Classe chain (which doesn’t have much of a first-class class). But we chose it because it was cheap, and it would be easy parking nearby.

If I had not done the type of trip we did, I would have opted for a mini-apartment type of accommodation, to save money and not be forced to go out to a restaurant for all dinners and breakfasts, as well as being very well located.

Espejo Toulouse

Itinerary, visiting Toulouse in one day

Capitol Square

The Place du Capitole is one of the most important places in Toulouse, known for its iconic architecture and its historical importance. Located in the heart of the city, this square was completed in the 19th century and has been a center of cultural and political activity ever since.

The square presents an impressive neoclassical façade that houses the Hôtel de Ville or City Hall, which is one of the most outstanding buildings in Toulouse, and can be visited for free.

Capitole Square is also home to other important structures, such as the Théâtre du Capitole, a grand opera house that hosts some of the most famous performances in France throughout the year.

The square itself serves as a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike, with numerous cafés and restaurants lining its perimeter.

If you want to start the day with a general idea of Toulouse, we advise you to take this free tour that leaves from the Capitol.

El Capitolio de Toulouse

The Basilica of Saint Sernin

One of the most notable monuments of your visit to Toulouse in one day will be the Basilica of Saint Sernin, also known as the Basilica of Saint Saturnin of Toulouse, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Admission is free.

This Romanesque church was built between the 11th and 13th centuries and has since been considered one of the largest surviving examples of this architectural style in Europe. Upon entering, you will be impressed by its size, with its crypts and the ambulatory that surrounds the entire building.

Basílica de San Sernín Toulouse

The Jacobin Convent

The Convent of the Jacobins is an impressive Dominican monastery dating from the 13th century and is one of the most important monuments in Toulouse. It is located in the historic center of the city, near the Capitol Square.

The building is well-known for its Gothic architecture and its impressive central nave, which stretches 28 meters long and 22 meters high. In addition, it has an impressive central column 28 meters high known as “the palm tree”. A carved stone structure that is located in the center of the cloister.

Admission fee is 5 euros in high season and 4 euros the rest of the year.

Convento de los Jacobinos

The Assézat hotel

The Hotel Assézat is a 16th-century mansion turned museum, an impressive example of Renaissance architecture and a gateway to the city’s art scene. Inside, you can admire an impressive collection of European paintings from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

The entrance to the museum costs 10 euros.

El hotel de Assézat

The canal du midi

If you have some time left, take a walk along the Canal du Midi. Built in the 17th century to connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, this 241-kilometre-long canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a masterpiece of engineering.

By visiting it, you can either take a boat ride on the canal, walk or cycle, in fact, the Canal du Midi also offers a unique opportunity for cycling lovers. But this is already outside of Toulouse and will require more than one day to cover 240 kilometers through some of the most picturesque landscapes in France.

Another option to enjoy the Canal du Midi is to simply relax having a picnic on its banks while you watch the boats go by.

Le canal du Midi

The banks of the Garonne

The banks of the Garonne offer a breathtaking view and a calm atmosphere in Toulouse. This river extends to the city of Bordeaux and has many recreational spaces, for example the port of la Daurade. Along the shores, visitors can find a variety of cafés and restaurants to enjoy a meal while taking in the picturesque scenery.

In the river, you will be able to see the “new bridge” that has nothing of new anymore. Since it’s been standing there for more than three hundred years.

Las orillas del Garona

Capitol Keep

Standing in the heart of the city, this tower offers visitors a glimpse into Toulouse’s rich history. Built in 1525, it was originally used as a powder magazine and archive room and now houses the tourist office.

Donjon del Capitolio

Excursions from Toulouse

If you have an extra day or two, there are a number of excursions from Toulouse that will allow you to explore the surrounding area and experience some of the region’s best attractions. A popular option is an excursion to Carcassonne, a medieval fortified city that is only an hour away by car.

Another great excursion from Toulouse is to Albi, a city known for its impressive Saint Cecilia Cathedral, the largest brick cathedral in the world.


Toulouse, the pink that will captivate you

In conclusion, visiting Toulouse in one day is an incredible adventure, although you will surely want to return. From its pink buildings to its rich and tasty cuisine, this city has something for everyone. The buildings are captivating and give you a glimpse into the history of the city.

No matter what brings you to Toulouse, it’s certain to be an enjoyable experience!

Alcantarilla de Toulouse

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Olga Grijalva

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.