the best period
Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter
A day out that will take you through two-thousand years of history without ever really leaving the pavements of Toulouse and its daily hustle and bustle... sounds good to you? In one day, discover the monuments you simply must see.
Recommandé par Cathy
Built for the Capitouls in the 12th century, the iconic city hall's brick and stone façade runs across the whole width of Place du Capitole.
Outside of ceremony times, you can go inside for free and discover a monumental staircase, as well as three large halls, lavishly decorated with paintings and sculptures. Henri Martin and Jean-Paul Laurens painted the story of the city while Paul Gervais dedicated an entire room to love.
Take a tour: on Square Charles-de-Gaulle stands the Donjon du Capitole, a keep which the Capitouls decided to build in 1525 as a safe place to store municipal documents. It's a defensive-looking tower with a curious belfry at the top, created in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc.
Inside, the archives have been replaced by the expert team of the tourist office: beneath the high vaulted ceiling, they will be happy to give you all their recommendations and advice.
Because visiting the city should be fun :
This is one of the largest preserved Romanesque basilicas in Europe. While its size is impressive, so is its history. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was built in the 11th century in honour of Saint Saturnin, the first Christian Bishop who died in the 3rd century, dragged through the city by a bull.
Inside, everything is an invitation to contemplation: the organ, carved details, painted walls, golden canopy, crypt, relics...
Our ancestors the Romans
The Museum of Saint-Raymond is just next door to the Basilica of Saint-Sernin. It has an exhibition of archaeological items left behind by the Gauls and Romans who once lived in the area. It also has a café amid the laurel and palm trees, where you can enjoy a coffee break... worthy of ancient Rome!
In 1215, the Order of Preachers (known as the Dominicans in English and the Jacobins in French) settled in Toulouse and had the Church of the Jacobins built. In the Languedocian Gothic style, the austere and imposing exterior contrasts with the light, streamlined interior.
In the church, a stone palm tree standing 28 metres tall shares the space with a contemporary work of art by Sarkis, specially created for the monument. The peaceful cloister is a great place to take a stroll, reflect and meditate.
A flash of light
Whether you are a just an observer or a keen photographer, bear in mind that Les Jacobins is flooded with sunlight between 11 and 3 pm. The light comes in through the coloured stained glass windows and illuminates the painted walls.
From one century to another, one thing never changes: when the bells ring at midday, they remind us that a meal would be very welcome! Time for a trip to Place Victor-Hugo, where the market is bustling.
Will it be a cassoulet or some duck breast for you? You are sure to enjoy the specialities of the South-West at the restaurants upstairs.
Have you heard of woad? It's a plant whose leaves are ground to produce a blue dye. It made a fortune for Toulouse's merchants in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In 1555, Pierre d’Assézat had the Hôtel d’Assézat built to reflect his success.
In the courtyard, the façades decorated with masks, plants and animals are stunning, as are the tower overlooking the city, and the elegant loggia.
Bemberg's beautiful artworks
The Protestant Pierre d’Assézat was forced to leave the city, driven out by the Catholics without ever enjoying his palace, but the public are welcome nowadays. The mansion houses the Bemberg Foundation and a rich art collection, with rooms in the styles of different periods.
We end our tour on Place de la Daurade with its unobstructed view of the Pont Neuf (New Bridge). It's not actually that new:
for over three-hundred years, the bridge has stood firm against the Garonne's floods thanks to its ingenious irregular arches and special orifices called hearings.
Stop for a moment: the day is drawing to an end and the sun is giving its last performance, flooding the landscape with its shimmering colours. The Pink City is a nice place to be, isn't it?
Great monuments de Toulouse
You can also take a guided tour of the historic city centre to see many iconic monuments: you will find out more about the Capitole, Basilica of Saint-Sernin and Church of the Jacobins, as well as enjoying special admission to the Hôtel de Bernuy mansion.