the best period
Spring, Summer, and Autumn
The Garonne is… a river that rises in the Pyrenees, and flows through Toulouse, before throwing itself into the Atlantic. A wide, substantial river, that flows right through the heart of the city. It's also the place to be, the place to take your time… and enjoy a spot of sun-bathing!
Recommandé par Cathy
The Daurade is the departure point for the walk. The viewpoint is fantastic at any time of day. From here you can see several historical monuments: close by, the Pont Neuf Bridge, further away the Hôtel-Dieu (hospital), the La Grave dome and, of course, the River Garonne and the sun reflecting off the water…
Come down onto the bank to admire the reflection of the La Grave dome in the water. Did you know that a shot of this monument is the one most often shared on social media? And talking of photos, there is free wifi available, so you can get out your device. Will you centre the photo on the panorama, the monuments, the water, yourself – or a bit of everything at the same time? Be careful not to end up in the water!
A boat on the water…
The River Garonne may not be any good for swimming, but you can enjoy various activities here, even in the heart of the city: cruising, canoeing, rowing… and even waterskiing!
Despite its name, the Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Toulouse. For more than three hundred years, it has resisted all the whims of the river, thanks to its irregular arches and "dégueuloirs" (the extra holes in the bridge).
On the other side of the Pont Neuf is the Quai Viguerie, very lively in the summer, thanks to the "Toulouse plages" – beaches set up in the city. The big wheel will turn your head: from the top, the view over the River Garonne is fantastic, with its brick-lined banks, the roofs of the historical city centre, and all the monuments that you need to see: Notre-Dame-de-la-Daurade, la Grave, le Bazacle, and much more. The nickname of Ville Rose ("the Pink City") makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
New viewpoint, this time, from the La Viguerie pedestrian bridge that spans the Bazacle Weir. The noise of the water (deafening in Spring!) almost makes you forget the urban hustle and bustle.
Lunch beneath the gaze of Fernand Léger
The bridge ends at the Raymond-VI Garden and Les Abattoirs Museum. The exhibitions of modern and contemporary art are worth a detour: outside, there is a park with monumental sculptures. Our favourite? Fernand Léger's "Grand Tournesol" (Great Sunflower), a solar flower more than three metres high!
The clock strikes midday… L’Hémicycle is right there, a restaurant with a sunny terrace, providing a restful setting. A well-deserved rest!
This time cross the Saint-Pierre Bridge to get to the lock that shares its name. There is always water there, from the River Garonne and the Brienne Canal, which itself is joined to the Canal du Midi, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The landscape is made up of bridges, locks and barges, and the shady track brings a touch of freshness and peace.
Go into the EDF Bazacle Complex. This Hydro-electric Centre also houses exhibitions and is a good spot to observe nature in the city. From the immense terrace, you can see birds flying over the River Garonne, while in the basement, fish swim by, avoiding the weir.
Opening times for the Les Abattoirs Museum
Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 12 noon to 6.00pm.
Thursday evenings from 6.00pm to 8.00pm (outside school holidays).
€7 (full price)/€4 (reduced price).
€2 for Thursday evenings.
Free on the first Sunday of each month.
Attention: new prices from 1st July 2018.
We suggest that you finish your walk by surrendering to the laid-back atmosphere of life here in Toulouse. How? Taking a delicious break, feet on the grass or under a table in the Café des Artistes. Sunglasses on, you can enjoy a cool drink while the day fades and the sun puts on its final show, flooding the landscape with shimmering colours. Cherry on the cake: when night falls, the monuments are lit up…
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