The Christmas market
Toulouse’s Christmas market is held throughout December in the famous Place du Capitole, the very heart of the city. Rows of glowing chalets serve up a feast for the eyes and tastebuds, with original gift ideas from local woodcrafts to regional specialities (foie gras, jams, cakes, etc), plus toys, pottery, jewellery, candles, clothing and leather goods. Visitors can sample traditional grilled chestnuts, or pause for a mulled wine at one of the chalet-bars while admiring the twinkling decorations and displays.
If you’re looking for an unusual Christmas bargain, Toulouse’s antique dealers are located in the charming little streets around the St-Étienne cathedral. You can also buy second-hand furniture and objects at the monthly second-hand market on Allées François-Verdier. For some sophisticated additions to your wardrobe, head to Rues des Arts, Boulbonne and Croix-Baragnon, as well as Place Victor-Hugo or Place St-Georges where you’ll find creations by the greatest names in haute couture. Carmes is also a good area for shopping, with a generous scattering of smaller boutiques.
Touch the sky
Visit the Aeroscopia museum where you’ll discover a unique collection of more than 30 legendary planes, including two Concordes, a Super Guppy and the A400M. Toulouse is the birthplace of global civil and military aviation, and Aeroscopia perfectly represents its rich aviation heritage.
Walk the Walk
Get in touch with Toulouse’s secrets and take a walking tour with the tourist office to discover the city’s hidden art and architectural gems. Cross the Pont Neuf and discover the cosmopolitan district of Saint-Cyprien, a vibrant district where you’ll find the Passerelle Viguerie, a 140m long walkway above the water alongside the Hopital de la Grave, you’ll get goose bumps at the views over Toulouse. There are plenty of little restaurants with a Bohemian ambiance, a covered market and popular bars.
Sparkling and cool
The 240km long Canal du Midi was built under the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, and flows from Sète to Toulouse. It was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1996. Make the most of the sunshine with a relaxing boat trip on the River Garonne or the Canal du Midi or take a bike ride alongside the water, the feel good factor is guaranteed...
Spring marks the beginning of the dance season, the squares of the city centre become open-air stages. Each weekend, you’re invited to perform Lindy Pop, The Charleston, salsa, bachata, and Toulouse’s favourite dance – tango.
Rugby is revered in Toulouse, watch a match at the 19,000-seater Stade Toulousain and get caught up in the atmosphere of excitement and passion for the game.
Around and about in Haute-Garonne
Just a 30 minute car trip from Toulouse takes you to Montgiscard where you can meander through streets as bells from the old gothic church chime out. Sample authentic cuisine and craft in the markets of Avignonet-Lauragais a further 20 minutes away, a once bustling hub for the 16th century pastel trade. In under an hour you can be in Château de Laréole to relax amongst peaceful orchards or seek more nature in the gorgeous forest of Bouconne only 40 minutes from Toulouse centre. There is no shortage of delights to amaze and wonder in this rich and diverse southern region.