Many people are drawn to France due to the culture, fashion, cheese, wine, bread and of course Disney Land Paris! France is a country that has a lot to offer in terms of work life balance, cost effective living, great weather and opportunity. Toulouse ‘ la ville rose’ has some top attractions not to be missed. Toulouse is often overlooked as a destination in favour of Paris. Here’s why France, in particular Toulouse should be added to your bucket list of cities to visit.
- France is the world’s most popular tourist destination. According to research carried out in 2014. 83.7 million visitors entered France in that one year.
- The largest cities are Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.
- France is the largest country in the European Union.
- France was the first country in the world, to ban supermarkets from throwing away unsold food. From February 2016, they must donate it to charity.
- The world’s oldest human being is French. she lived to 122 years and 164 days, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Jeanne Louise Calment was born on 21 February 1875 and died on 4 August 1997
- Paris Gare du Nord is Europe’s busiest station.
- France is McDonald’s most popular market, outside the USA.
- French is the official language of twenty nine countries.
- It is estimated there are around 76 million native French speakers around the world.
- The south of France has roughly 300 days of sun a year!
Why Visit ‘ La Ville Rose’ Toulouse
Toulouse is the capital of the Haute Garonne, south west France. It sits between the Mediterranean Sea (93 miles), Atlantic Ocean (143 miles) and 420 miles from Paris. Toulouse is known as ‘la ville rose’ ‘the pink city’ as the buildings have been built with beautiful pale pink bricks. It is a diverse city that attracts cultures from all over the world. Here you will experience diversity similar to Paris, New York or London. Mainly due to the high number of universities in the city, many students (young and mature) come to learn and work.
The city has a young, hip feel with many residents in their twenties and thirties. The city also attracts many families, for the high quality of life that can be found in the south of France generally. Toulouse has a laid- back feel, the rushing around and fast paced nature of Paris is not the ‘Toulouse way’! Toulouse is a modern, big city bursting with culture, history art and excitement. Toulouse is well known for its excellent food and culinary delights. The urban ‘down town’ area just across from the main bridge is great walking experience. The more ‘upmarket’ area hosts many shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
The weather could be part of the laid- back approach, this part of France is said to have roughly 300 days of sun a year. November to January are typically rainy months and the wettest. Come February to March, the clouds clear and break out with lots of warm spring sunshine. 25 degrees is not unusual for March, and the height of the summer (June- late August) is yet to come.
Toulouse has an excellent transport system with buses, le metro (subway/ underground), tram and railway. Plenty of taxis can be found around the city too. If you are not a French speaker here you will find lot of people who do speak English. However, the French are extremely proud of their language (and so they should be, it is a beautiful language once mastered and understood well). They appreciate when a non-French speaker attempts to communicate, no matter how badly. You will be welcomed even if your pronunciation is not spot on, or your grammar is all over the place. Try conversation in what French you can first, generally if a French person notices you are having great difficulty they will speak English and maybe even help you with your French. The people of Toulouse are just as welcoming as the weather. Compared to fast cities like London, Paris or New York here you may find that a stranger will not walk past without ‘bonjour, ca va?’ simply, ‘hello, how are you?’
Top Five attractions in Toulouse:
- Place du Capitole: The centre of Toulouse buzzing with life! Here you will find the town square with pretty buildings and architecture. Great for strolling, shopping, taking pictures and people watching or reading at a street café with a magnificent view.
- Le Jardin Japonais: A wonderful park with an exotic Japanese feel. A peaceful and pleasant environment with Buddhist statues, rock garden and lakes. The park has a small house converted into a museum to teach people about Japan. Absolute bliss!
- Jardin des Plantes: The first botanical garden established in Toulouse.
- Natural History Museum: Next door to Jardin Des Plantes. A museum full of facts and history.
- Prairie des Filtres: Right next to the Garonne river, this is a must- see place on a beautiful day. You can stroll along the bridge and make your way down and explore. It has a bowling alley, picnic area if you want to bring your own lunch and children’s playground. Once you’re done head back toward the bridge for some lunch or drinks in one of the many restaurants or cafes and more exploring.
Toulouse really does have something for everyone especially those who are seeking a city break. Old or young, rich or not so rich, a day out can be made without too much expense. With good transport links you will not need to spend money on taxis. Better yet, it is such a beautiful city grab a map and walk.