Although it’s France’s fourth largest town, (see below for numbers 1-3*) Toulouse was just a place to pass through on our way to hike in the lovely Languedoc. It was an afterthought for me to book an extra night there.
We soon wished we’d made it longer. It’s not a big place, but a day and a half wasn’t enough to do everything in a relaxed, Toulousian manner.
1.Church and Convent Les Jacobins.
The beautiful courtyard of the Dominican cloister is open to the public. The remains of St Thomas Aquinas are interred in the church. Entry €4. See jacobins.toulouse.fr
2.Fondation Bemberg museum.
An extraordinary private collection of Renaissance and French modern art, notably 30 works by Pierre Bonnard, housed in a Renaissance-style mansion. Entry €8. See fondation-bemberg.fr
3. Les Abbatoirs. The converted slaughterhouse is now Toulouse’s modern art museum. Changing temporary exhibitions, with Fernand Léger mosaics part of the permanent collection. Entry €7. See lesabattoirs.org
4. La Garonne.
Stroll or cycle along the paths beside the Garonne River, joining the students and families lounging on the grass. Toulouse has a public bike system; cheap, easy and ideal for short trips around its quiet streets.
5. Eat at l’Entrecôte. There’s always a queue outside this restaurant, but it moves fast. There is no menu. Every customer is issued with a plate of chips and salad and the only choice is whether your entrecôte (steak) is well done, medium or rare. Excellent value at €15 fixed price. See entrecote.fr
And apart from the more obvious tourist attractions, we could happily have spent more time strolling the streets and squares of the handsome town. We’ll have to come back – bientot!
(*Quiz answer 1. Paris, 2. Marseilles, 3. Lyon. 4.Toulouse – with a population of about 433,000 .)