Toulouse Sightseeing: 12 Things to See & Do

September, 2018.

We’ve compiled a list of the 12 best things to see and do in Toulouse. Read on as Holiday Autos takes you through the best sights, attractions and even where to eat!

Things to see in Toulouse

Like most French cities, Toulouse has plenty of great architecture, art and cultural sightseeing opportunities. From grand squares to awe-inspiring art, here are the best things to see in Toulouse.

Capitole de Toulouse

The Capitole de Toulouse is the main square of the city of Toulouse. And you can tell. The lively square hosts markets, art exhibitions and plenty of people. Around the square, you’ll find countless restaurants, shops and Toulouse sightseeing spots. The city hall (Hôtel de Ville) and opera house (Théâtre du Capitole) are both situated in the square, along with the 16th-century tower, Donjon du Capitole.


Basilica of Saint Sernin

Stunning Romanesque sculpture is delivered in abundance at the Basilica of Saint Sernin. Located just north of the Capitole, the Basilica is Europe’s largest Romanesque church, complete with the Cavaillé-Coll – a spectacular pipe organ, considered to be the most important in France.

Toulouse-Basilica of Saint Sernin

Le Pont Neuf

Despite translating as “New Bridge”, Le Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Toulouse. It took nearly 9 decades to construct, from 1544 to 1632, and is one of the most picturesque spots in the French city. Be sure to visit at night, when the arches of the bridge are lit beautifully from below.

Toulouse - pont-neuf
Image by PierreSelim, Toulouse - Pont-Neuf - 2013-02-22, CC BY 3.0

Hôtel d'Assézat

Just east of Le Pont Neuf, you’ll find the Hôtel d'Assézat. Originally owned by Pierre d'Assézat, the stunning Renaissance palace houses the Bemberg Foundation – a private collection of art, featuring paintings, sculptures, books and even furniture. The main feature is the vast collection of paintings, from 16th century Venetian pieces to impressionist and post-impressionist French works.

Toulouse-hôtel dassézat panorama
Image by Pom², Hôtel d'Assézat, toulouse (panorama), CC BY-SA 3.0

Toulouse by car

There are plenty of fun, interesting and unforgettable things to do in Toulouse. And, like many cities, Toulouse sightseeing is taken to another level by car. With a rental car, there are no boundaries on where you can travel and no time wasted on public transport. So, you can see more, do more and experience more in one of Europe’s greatest cities. Search for the best price car hire on

Toulouse bridge

Things to do in Toulouse

While there is plenty of sightseeing in Toulouse, the real joy of the city comes in the things you can get to outside the centre. Here are our best picks of the things to do in Toulouse.

Cité de l’Espace

Toulouse is the hub of the aerospace industry in Europe. It’s home to the Galileo positioning system, SPOT satellite system and Europe’s largest space research centre. Cité de l’Espace – translated as the City of Space – is a space-focused theme park to the east of Toulouse, which encapsulates everything that’s amazing, fascinating and fun about space.

See full-scale rocket models, catch a show at the planetarium and IMAX cinema, or learn about the history of space, big-bang and our vast solar system. You can even prepare a rocket launch in a mock-up control room.

toulouse-cite de l'espace


The other side of aerospace is the kind that stays on this planet – namely, aeronautics. For this, Toulouse has Aeroscopia – a 7,000 square-metre site devoted to aviation, just 30 minutes from the centre by car. Step onto legendary aircraft like the Concorde or glass-bottomed Airbus A300B.

But that’s not all. Find out what happens in the cockpit during your flight, construct your own airplane or even find out about the world of aviation archaeology. It’s the perfect way to spend a day in Toulouse.

Aeroscopia Toulouse
Image by Duch.seb, Aeroscopia 1st aircraft Aérospatiale Corvette F-GKGA, CC BY-SA 3.0

Stade Toulousain

Introducing one of Europe’s most successful rugby union clubs. Stade Toulousain have won the European Rugby Champions Cup four times, with 19 French Championships to their name too. If you’re visiting between August and May, you can head to the Stade Ernest-Wallon and see a game for yourself.

Stade toulousain
Image by Pierre-Selim, Stade toulousain vs SU Agen - 2012-09-08 - Luke McAlister3, CC BY 3.0

Jardin des Plantes

If you’re looking for things to do in Toulouse for kids, the Jardin des Plantes – or Garden of the Plants – is the perfect day out. The botanical garden has fairground rides, pony rides and outdoor games along with a range of interesting sculptures.

While you’re there, be sure to visit the Natural History Museum, which has exhibitions on the Earth’s formation, biodiversity and the future of our ecosystems.

Entrée - jardin des plantes de toulouse
Image by Didier Descouens, Entrée - Jardin des Plantes de Toulouse (Sud Est), CC BY-SA 4.0

Canal du Midi

The Canal du Midi is a must on any trip to Toulouse. The 240-kilometre canal runs all the way from Toulouse to the lagoons of Etang de Thau. From March to November, you can take a boat tour and explore the best wine, food and amazing scenery the region has to offer. Alternatively, hire your own boat and go exploring!

Toulouse canal

Where to eat and drink

The French are known for their great food – and Toulouse is no different. In fact, sampling the cuisine should top of everyone’s list things to do in Toulouse. Here are our picks to give you a flavour of Toulouse’s culinary excellence.

Toulouse street old town

Restaurant Michel Sarran

French celebrity chef, Michel Sarran, has received two Michelin stars for this restaurant – just a short drive from the centre. And when you visit, you’ll be able to tell. Dining at the Restaurant Michel Sarran is a unique experience, with an experimental take on French cuisine in an intimate setting.

Au Pois Gourmand

Another option for fine dining comes at Au Pois Gourmand, a few kilometres west of the Toulouse centre. A 19th century colonial-style house plays host to a range of inventive dishes using fresh local produce.

Bateau-Restaurant L’Occitania

Want a dining experience that’s truly unique? Book a table on Toulouse’s only restaurant-boat. L’Occitania takes guests on the tranquil Toulouse waterways, accompanied with the best regional French dishes.

Toulouse-canal du midi

Freedom in Toulouse

There are plenty of fun, interesting and unforgettable things to do in Toulouse. And, like many cities, Toulouse sightseeing is taken to another level by car. With a rental car, there are no boundaries on where you can travel and no time wasted on public transport. So, you can see more, do more and experience more in one of Europe’s greatest cities.

Toulouse bridge

Hire a car and make the most of your time in Toulouse. Holiday Autos makes it easy to hire a car in Toulouse. We do the hard work of comparing car hire for you.
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