Toulouse is capital of Haute-Garonne in the Occitanie region. According to the rankings of L’Express and Challenges, Toulouse is the most dynamic French city. The city’s unique architecture made of pinkish terracotta bricks has earned Toulouse the nickname La Ville Rose (“The Pink City”).
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Toulouse counts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Canal du Midi, and the Basilica of St. Sernin (map), the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, designated in 1998 along with the former hospital Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques (map) because of their significance to the *Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route.
Toulouse is a big city, but the historical centre is quite small, and mostly pedestrianised. You can walk to most attractions. The old centre of Toulouse is east of the River Garonne: it’s compact and most places of interest can easily be visited on foot. It’s bounded to the east & north by Bvd Lazare Carnot (map) / Bvd de Strasbourg (map), and to the south by the cathedral, rue Metz (map) and Pont Neuf (map).
Le Château d’Eau (map), an old 19th-century water-tower, was converted as a gallery in 1974 by Jean Dieuzaide, a French photographer from Toulouse and is now one of the oldest public places dedicated to photography in the world.
The areas around Place du Capitole (map), Rue de Bayard (map) and Place St Georges (map) are lined with cafes and restaurants. The restaurants generally open for dinner around 19:00.
There’s a flea market every Saturday morning in just outside of the Basilique Saint Sernin. While it does not offer anything too special as flea markets go it’s a great way to mingle with a local crowd. Another flea market is held every first weekend of the month at the Allées François Verdier (map), at the Grand Rond (map).