A WEEKEND in Paris is the perfect place for a city break in France.
But sits 400 miles south of the capital La Ville Rose – The Pink City – of Toulousethat offers buckets of charm while still managing to sidestep the tourist traps that litter Parisian streets.
Set on the banks of the Garonne River in France’s South Occitan region, the Roman-founded city is steeped in history and carries a unique culture with elements that blend with Spain’s neighboring Catalonia.
Unmistakable for its pink brick buildings and winding streets, set within the confines of a Roman wall that is still visible in various parts of the city, it has everything you could want for a great city break.
WHY SHOULD I GO? From cobblestone back streets to stunning riverside walks along the Garonne, France’s fourth largest city is a delight.
with ancient roman ruinsa vibrant nightlife and tasty culinary scene make for a fantastic, well-rounded getaway that can be packed into a weekend.
And with the Spanish border just two hours away, Toulouse is the ideal stopover for a European city break.
ARE THE ROADS MADE FOR WALKING? It is the ideal city to explore on foot, bike or scooter as the bustling center and main historical attractions are all just minutes away from each other.
From the neoclassical Le Capitole de Toulouse in the heart of the city and surrounding Place du Capitole to the churches of Couvent des Jacobins and Notre Dame de Daurade, there is no shortage of historic sites.
The Basilique Saint-Sernin provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic moment.
Visitors can stroll for miles along the riverfront. And if that wasn’t enough walking, there are two stunning public gardens to enjoy: Jardin des Plantes and Jardin Japonais.
SOMETHING UNUSUAL? Take a taxi to the Halle de La Machine, where giant fantasy machines run across Toulouse’s old runway.
Enjoy the bread catapult, Nutella toast spreader, and wine serving machine before taking a ride on the 45-foot tall The Minotaur.
If you want to learn something new, visit the Cite de l’Espace, a scientific discovery center focused on Toulouse’s involvement in aerospace.
The museum houses a scale model of the Ariane 5 and Soyuz space rockets and the Russian space station MIR, which orbited the earth from 1986 to 1996.
WHERE SHOULD I EAT? For traditional French cuisine, Aux Pieds Sous La Table offers a small menu that changes regularly.
Lunch at Ma Biche sur Le Toit on a sunny day. On top of the Galeries Lafayette shopping center, it offers a breathtaking view of the whole city from its skyline terrace.
Just a short walk from some of the best nightclubs, Monsieur George’s serves traditional dishes at an affordable price, while Brasserie Les Beaux Arts has long been a place for fine dining. Join a Taste Of Toulouse Food Tour led by US-born Jessica Hammer for pointers to the best vendors and hotspots for your favorite sweet and savory dishes.
ARE YOU THIRSTY? Le Bibent in Capitole Square allows locals and visitors alike to enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the Place du Capitole and the impressive theatre. Take your Instagram selfies at Bar A La Une, which serves drinks and tapas in a quirky space. And craft beer fans will love L’Ancienne Belgique, which serves more than 70 ales.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY? If you are looking for something unique, the boutique hotel Maison SoClo is within walking distance of the Place du Capitole and the banks of the Garonne.
The 18th-century building features a garden, terrace and rooftop pool.
Downstairs is a restaurant serving delicious charcuterie until late, as well as a bar for cocktails.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8595001/toulouse-french-city-break/ Forget the tourist traps of Paris – Toulouse is the perfect French city break