15 Best Things to Do in Toulouse, The “Pink City” [2024]

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Looking for the best things to do in Toulouse, France? 

I recently spent a week in Toulouse and have plenty of recommendations for how you can make the most of your time there! Whether you’re into food, architecture, museums or people watching Toulouse has something to offer you. Read on for the best things to do in Toulouse, France!

Planning a trip? Use my favorite resources:

15 Best Things to Do in Toulouse

If you have any question about whether or not Toulouse is worth visiting, take a look at all of these options for the best things to do there to help you decide.

1. Take a Walking Tour 

One of the best ways to get to know a destination is by joining a local-led walking tour. Toulouse is known for its beautiful, pink-brick architecture.

While you can certainly wander around and admire this beauty for yourself, joining a guided walking tour will take you beyond what meets the eye to actually understand the history and significance of what you’re seeing. 

For a free walking tour option, consider booking with Harry. This is supposed to be a really great tour, and I was excited for it.

However, unfortunately for me it was canceled the day before. The reason? I was visiting in low season (February) and there simply weren’t enough people signed up to make it worth it for Harry to run. 

Completely understandable, since it was a free tour! I still recommend taking a chance at booking it if you have time to spare, because even if it does get canceled he’ll send you some great recommendations upon booking. 

If you get lucky and do make it on the tour, remember that a free walking tour is not completely free! It’s tip-based, so plan accordingly and bring cash with you so you can pay Harry (up to you how much) for his time and expertise. 

Don’t want to risk having a tour get canceled on you? In that case, you’re best off booking this paid, private walking tour of Toulouse.

👉 Click here to book a private walking tour

2. Get a rooftop drink at Galeries Lafayette

wine glass on a counter with Toulouse city in the background

On a clear, sunny, blue-sky day it’s a great idea to get a rooftop drink or snack at Galeries Lafayette. You can sit indoors or outdoors and order a full meal on this department store rooftop if you want, or simply a coffee or some other beverage. 

Even though it was a bit chilly when I went, I opted to sit outside so I could take in the panoramic views over Old Town. I was seated, someone came to take my order, and I paid on the spot once my drink arrived. 

This was perfect, because I was free to leave whenever I pleased once I’d finished my drink and had my fill of the views.  

Many people were there with friends, but even as a solo traveler I felt perfectly comfortable and content. There are individual bar stools facing outward, so it doesn’t feel awkward to sit alone and look out at the city here.

3. Eat Out on a Terrace 

On my way to Galeries Lafayette, I noticed so many restaurants with lively terraces full of people. Toulousians certainly don’t let a sunny day go to waste!

If you want to people watch and enjoy a more affordable meal (note – Galeries tends to be more expensive) then seek out a restaurant with a terrace. 

There are a lot of great options around Jardin Pierre Goudouli, close to Galeries Lafayette. 

Want to try a local dish? Ask about the cassoulet. 

4. Explore the Space Museum

Did you know that Toulouse is the space capital of Europe? I didn’t! Toulouse has many museums to choose from, but perhaps the most popular is its Space Museum, or Cité de l’Espace

Whether you’re traveling with kids or not, if you’re into space you’re sure to find this an interesting way to spend a few hours. 

There’s also an aviation museum a little outside of the city of Toulouse, if that’s more your speed.

5. Have Brunch

avocado toast and eggs in Toulouse
Brunch at CERISE Cafe

More so than in other cities, I noticed Toulouse seems to have quite the brunch culture. Many cafes had impressive brunch menus on offer, and were always busy with a brunch crowd. Check out Flowers Cafe, Cafe Papiche, Cerise or Allegory Cafe for brunch just to name a few.

Speaking of cafes, keep in mind that if you want to order a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) in this part of France you should call it a chocolatine.

6. Buy Coffee

Coffee bags on counter and shelf of coffee machines and bags in background

Additionally, I noticed a strong coffee culture and several roasteries within Toulouse. I ultimately bought some Colombian coffee to bring back home from a quirky cafe, that was also part barbershop, called Hayuco Coffee Boutique. 

Additional options to consider for coffee lovers include La Brulerie des Filatiers and Maison Roquemaurel. 

7. Take a Unique Food Tour 

It’s hard not to enjoy a food tour – being escorted around a new city and fed deliciousness all along the way? Yes, please!

But this tour takes it up a notch. It’s run by a chef who actually cooks for you along the way. Sold!

With its intriguing concept and 5-star ratings, you can confidently sign up for this one and expect to have a great time. 

👉 Click here to check prices and availability 

9. Stroll Through the Markets

Toulouse has several fresh food markets around the city. The largest and most well-known of these is Marche Victor Hugo. Enter and lose yourself amidst the lively, colorful stalls and let the wafting aromas lead you to your lunch!

Or, join a small group food tour and let a local teach you about the local wines, cheeses and breads (sampling as you go, of course). 

👉 Click here to join the Victor Hugo Market Food Tour

10. Book a Photoshoot in the Pink City 

What better way to capture epic memories of your visit to La Ville Rose (the pink city) than with a professional photo session

I myself have booked photo shoots while traveling a couple times so far, in Paris and in London. Not only is it so much fun, the gorgeous photographs make perfect souvenirs to remember your trip by. 

Local, professional photographers know all the best places to take photos. And the pinkish architecture all around Toulouse is picture perfect in and of itself! 

With this photoshoot you can choose a morning or evening slot. You’ll receive 30+ professionally edited photos sent to you within a week of your experience. Highly recommend!

👉 Click here to check pricing and availability for your dates

11. Take a Bike Ride

If you’re looking for a fun and active way to get to know the city of Toulouse, this 5-star rated bike tour is the way to go. You’ll have an expert tour guide leading the way, and sharing a local perspective on the sights and sounds of Toulouse. 

👉 Click here to book a Toulouse bike tour

12. Hop on an Electric Tuk Tuk Ride

a square in toulouse with street signs and pinkish hued architecture

Looking for an easier way to see the sights? If bike rides or long periods of walking aren’t the best idea for you or your group, another fun way to tour Toulouse is on a comfortable Tuk Tuk ride

You’ll have a driver, and be able to listen to an audio guide about Toulouse in your language of choice. 

👉 Book a Tuk Tuk Ride around Toulouse

13. Be Drawn [in the Nude] by an Artist

Okay, of course this is not for everyone. And no, I myself did not do this. But it did catch my eye, and according to the reviews it’s an incredible experience for those brave enough to try it. 

Of course, there is an option that allows you to be draped or dressed as well. The artist will help you find a pose that’s comfortable for you, and you’ll walk away with the ultimate souvenir!

👉 Book a Self-Portrait Session

14. Go Wine Bar Hopping

Swap in the standard pub crawl for a more elevated, wine bar hopping excursion. You’ll get to know the hidden gems wines of southwest France that aren’t as well-known, while enjoying charcuterie and cozy wine bar vibes with a small group. 

👉 Book a Wine Bar Tour in Toulouse

15. Take a Day Trip

Toulouse is well situated to serve as a base for day trips to nearby cities. If you have enough time to swing it, then definitely build one or two day trips into your itinerary!

Day Trips From Toulouse 

There are several great day trip options from Toulouse:

✅ Carcassonne

Carcassonne fortress

This is the world’s largest walled city, and it’s where I chose to visit on my day trip from Toulouse. I opted to do this as a self guided tour, and I booked train tickets to get me there and back.

While it was mostly easy, I accidentally missed my train on the way back due to some confusion and the fact that I don’t speak French! I was able to catch another train easily enough, and all was well in the end. 

If you’re looking for something more organized, so you can just show up without worrying about the planning, I recommend this Carcassonne trip and wine tasting.

Whether you choose to go on your own or with a guide, I can’t recommend a visit to Carcassonne highly enough. If you’ve ever dreamed of stepping into a medieval castle, your wish will be fulfilled here. 

👉 Book the Carcassonne Trip & Wine Tasting 

✅ Albi and Cordes sur Ciel

cathedral in Albi France

The other day trip I considered taking was to Albi, and it’s the one I plan to do next time I’m in the area. I’ve heard wonderful things about the beauty of Albi.

This tour takes you there as well as to an additional destination known for appearing, on foggy days, as though it were floating in the sky.

Admire the Gothic architecture and charming, windy roads on this day trip to Albi and Cordes sur Ciel. 

👉 Book the Albi and Cordes sur Ciel day trip

✅ St Cirq LaPopie and Pech Merle Cavern

view of LaPopie village in France

While some say that certain areas included on this tour have become commercial and touristy, it remains an incredibly alluring destination. On this tour, you’ll visit ancient caverns to see the authentic carvings that persist to this day. 

You’ll also visit what’s been referred to as the most beautiful village of France, and the last remaining fortified bridge in Europe. 

👉 Book St Cirq LaPopie and Pech Merle Cavern tour

FAQ: Things to Do in Toulouse

As you plan your visit to Toulouse, here are some things to consider:

What is Toulouse best known for? 

Toulouse is a university town, known as La Ville Rose or The Pink City. It gets this name due to the prominence of pink brick in many of its buildings, giving the entire city a pretty, pinkish hue.

Is Toulouse good for tourists? 

As a university town with a diverse population, Toulouse is great for tourists. There are many cafes to work from for digital nomads, and English is commonly spoken. 

Final Thoughts: Best Things to Do in Toulouse, France

If you’re considering a visit to the southwest city of Toulouse, France then don’t hesitate.

There are plenty of fun things to do in Toulouse, from admiring the architecture to enjoying the regional cuisine. You’re sure to have a lovely time in the Pink City!