Is Toulouse Worth Visiting in 2024? What to Know Before You Go

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Is Toulouse worth visiting?

I recently spent one whole week based in Toulouse and in my opinion, the answer is yes. I’d say Toulouse is worth visiting if you’re looking for a laid back city with good vibes.

I personally chose to visit because two of my cousins went to school in Toulouse and loved their time in the city. Read on for my top reasons to visit Toulouse, so you can decide if it’s worthwhile for you!

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Is Toulouse Worth Visiting? Top Reasons to Go

If you’re trying to figure out whether Toulouse is worth your vacation time, here is a bit of what to expect if you visit: 

A Pink City: Gorgeous Architecture

a tower in Toulouse framed by tree leaves in the top left

Have you heard that Toulouse is also known as Ville Rose, the Pink City? I’ll be honest, this was a big part of the appeal for me when it came to visiting Toulouse. Being surrounded by pretty, pink-bricked buildings? Yes, please! 

And I can confirm, it’s truly as beautiful in person as it sounds. There is an added charm when you’re walking through the winding streets, surrounded by pink-hued architectural gems. 

This alone is bound to make you happy as you wander aimlessly through the streets of Toulouse. 

👉 Explore Toulouse’s Architecture by Bike

Buzzing Energy 

a narrow street in Toulouse with pink buildings on each side

Toulouse is a University town. Typically, I steer VERY clear of college towns. I’m pleased to report that it didn’t feel like a student bubble, though, the way I experience many US college towns feel. Maybe because of the areas I stayed around (more on that in a bit). 

Instead, there’s a pleasant, underlying buzz of energy throughout the city. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all perfect. You do have to keep your guard up slightly, as you would in any big city. But Toulouse is clearly alive

People of all ages take to the streets, rain or shine. Patios overflow on sunny days. Coffee shops are filled with friend groups chatting or individuals typing away on their laptops. 

It’s a good feeling to be surrounded by this life energy, especially as a solo traveler! 

Food and Coffee Scene

Photo of a coffee cup with a street in Toulouse in the background

I was impressed by Toulouse’s coffee, and even matcha, scene. As I made my way to Toulouse, my last destination of this most recent trip through France, I was on a mission: find good enough coffee worth buying and bringing back home for me and my sister to enjoy. 

Toulouse had no shortage of options to choose from. You’ll find plenty of roasteries and quality coffee shops selling whole bean or ground coffee to bring home. 

I made my purchase from Hayuco Coffee Boutique, a unique barbershop / cafe combo. Thankfully, the barbershop area is set a good ways away from the coffee counter. I picked up two bags of Colombian coffee, and ordered a flat white to go. All delicious. 

Additional coffee shops / matcha shops I enjoyed were Cafe Papiche, Allegory Coffee Bar and Kopi Coffee Shop.

Besides the coffee, Toulouse also seems to value brunch. I enjoyed brunch at CERISE – Le Cafe on my first morning there, and most of the coffee shops I’ve mentioned also offer brunch. 

You’ll also find great restaurants with a wide variety of cuisine options from around the world. Eating well in Toulouse isn’t tough. 

Climate

Toulouse has a subtropical climate so that it feels mild to moderate there most of the year. Winters aren’t too chilly, though they can be fairly wet with rainfall. And summers are not too hot.

Even when I visited, toward the end of February, there were some clear and sunny days to enjoy in the midst of rainy ones. 

Strategic Location

Toulouse makes a great home base from which to easily explore surrounding areas of Southwest France. It’s close to the Spanish border, and tucked between the Pyrenées Mountains and the Mediterranean. 

From Toulouse, you can visit a variety of riverside villages and Medieval towns. Whether you have time for a day trip or a full weekend trip, basing yourself in Toulouse will give you access to its great rail system and even an international airport.

Markets & Museums

Whether you prefer people-watching at markets or exploring in museums, Toulouse offers plenty of both. 

As a center of European aerospace, the Space Museum in Toulouse is popular of course. 

Other notable museums include Musée des Augustins, Fondation Bemberg and Musée Saint-Raymond among others. 

The most popular market to visit is Marché Victor Hugo, but there are many others as well. These include Marché des Carmes, Marché de Saint Aubin and Marché Saint Cyprien.

👉 Join a 5-star Food Tour at Victor Hugo

Where is Toulouse? 

Toulouse is located in Southwest France, in the region known as Occitania. It is situated on the banks of the River Garonne. 

How to Get to Toulouse

Toulouse is well connected and easy to get to. I myself arrived via train from Bordeaux. Alternatively, you could rent a car to drive to Toulouse depending on where you’re coming from. 

You could also take a flight to arrive at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, and book a private airport transfer into the city.

Where to Stay in Toulouse

No matter your travel style, you’ll be able to find a great place to stay in Toulouse.

🏨 Luxury: Boutique Hotel SOCLO

aerial view of Toulouse city

The Boutique Hotel SOCLO drips with charm featuring elegant design elements, an exceptional restaurant and staff who go above and beyond. Located in the the heart of the city, this property also boasts an outdoor pool to enjoy in the warmer months. 

👉 Check Prices & Availability

🏨 Mid-Range: La Cour des Consuls Hotel and Spa

bridge in Toulouse

La Cour des Consuls Hotel and Spa offers a lovely terrace, a spa and a conveniently central location right near the river. It is located near the lovely Carmes neighborhood and is very near to where I stayed myself. From a location perspective alone, I highly recommend a stay here. 

👉 Check Prices & Availability 

🏨 Budget: Hôtel Le Père Léon

Toulouse is worth visiting to see its pink brick buildings like this one

Equally well located is the more affordable, yet still comfortable, Hôtel Le Père Léon. While it may be a bit more basic than the options above, previous guests appreciate its cleanliness and the charming views from certain rooms. 

👉 Check Prices & Availability

When to Visit Toulouse

The best time to visit Toulouse is early fall, for slightly smaller crowds and ideal temperatures. Personally, I visited in February. I experienced quite a bit of rain, but temperatures remained reasonable (although I’m from Chicago, so do with that what you will). 

Even in February, I experienced some sunny days with clear skies and milder weather.

How many days do you need to see Toulouse? 

When I first booked my weeklong visit, my cousins who’d lived in Toulouse warned me there wouldn’t be much to do there. 

Perfect! I thought!

It all depends on what you’re looking for. You could probably wander through Toulouse, see a few museums and squeeze in a day trip if you aimed for a stay of between 2-4 days. 

This was the slow travel leg of my trip, so I was perfectly content going out for a few hours a day and catching up on work while it rained. I also managed to take a day trip. 

FAQ: Visiting Toulouse

charming street in Toulouse, France

As you decide whether or not visiting Toulouse is worth it for you, consider this: 

Which is better, Bordeaux or Toulouse?

I’ve visited both, and both are quite charming. If you’re very into wine, Bordeaux makes more sense simply because it’s known worldwide as a central hub for wine lovers. There are also several attractions to see there, and great food to be had. 

Toulouse is, in my opinion, a bit more obviously beautiful thanks to its abundance of pink-bricked buildings. 

You can take great day trips from both cities, too. If you’re able to visit both, you should. If you have to pick one, read up a bit more about each and see which appeals to you most. 

Is Toulouse a walkable city? 

Yes, I found Toulouse to be very easily walkable. In the instances you need to go further, the train system is easy to navigate as well. I also called an Uber once, to get to the airport for my return flight. Although if you plan to take rideshares you might want to download the Bolt app, which can be more affordable. 

Can you speak English in Toulouse?

Absolutely! I always began, and recommend you do the same, in French. In French I would say, ‘hello, do you speak English?” This shows basic respect since you’re not just assuming everyone should speak English, but at least attempting to speak the language of the country you’re in. 

That said, I had no trouble at all speaking English to get by in Toulouse. 

Is Toulouse safe for solo female travelers? 

As a frequent solo traveler, including on this trip, I can say yes. I felt safe in Toulouse alone, taking the same types of precautions I would anywhere else. I didn’t really go out in the evenings on this visit, so unfortunately I can’t speak as much to that.

But I did arrive in Toulouse after dark, at around 7 in the evening. I felt safe taking the metro and making the short walk to my accommodations at that time. 

On one rainy day, I walked to pick up some food. There were some areas where I was hyper aware, and made sure to stay on streets where there were other pedestrians nearby simply as a precaution. 

In the more central areas of Toulouse, and especially on sunny days when everyone was outside, I felt perfectly safe walking around alone. 

Final Thoughts: Is Toulouse Worth Visiting?

Toulouse wasn’t even on my radar a few years ago, and now that I’ve visited I certainly recommend this pretty city. In the end, it all depends on what sort of vibe you’re looking for. Check out some of the best things to do in Toulouse to see if you can create an itinerary you’d be excited about there. 

Alternatively, if you’re a digital nomad looking for a slow travel destination to work from then Toulouse could be a great option!