Last Thursday, after a hectic morning in Paris, missing my original train to Toulouse due to getting robbed on the train from the suburbs I live in, I left the capital and embarked on what is my last solo travel as a twenty-something. I’ve written all about the incident on Not Quite French (yet) – my new blog on all things France. There’s also another post on Toulouse on that blog (with a lot of the same photos) in case you’d like to know more about the Pink City. Yes, the nickname of Toulouse is la ville rose!
You might not know much about this city, if you’re not one of those people who go on road trips or train travel to wherever and prefer the medium-sized, underrated cities over the capitals and the hyped up places. Although most people who know a little French geography, know approximately where to place Toulouse on a map, and most people I know even seem to have a friend or a friend of a friend who have moved there. Still, I don’t actually know that many people who have been there themselves (with the exception of French people).
Let’s change that. Let’s make Toulouse the next big thing. Let’s put Toulouse on everyone’s top 10 bucket list. Let’s live la vie en rose in la ville rose!
And here are the things you can do while you’re there, livin’ it up or takin’ it easy…
- Visit a variety of interesting museums. I’ve been told the space museum (Cite de l’espace) is pretty awesome – and I hope I’ll get to go there next time I’m in Toulouse!
- Stumble upon cool art! I was pleasantly surprised with the cool-factor of Toulouse, especially in terms of art. While wandering around, I discovered a lot of fun street art and while hanging out at the Place du Capitole, I noticed a bunch of paintings hanging from the ceiling. How cool is that?
- …And visit the art galleries. If modern and contemporary art is right up your alley, check out Galerie Alain Daudet.
- Or visit photography exhibitions…in a water tower. Yes, that’s right. If you’d like to visit a cool photography expo while in Toulouse, you can do that at Château d’Eau (water tower)!
- Or an artsy, cool bar? Le Nasdrovia is an art-themed/Russia-themed vodka bar.
- Hey, manga is art too. Visit a manga cafe! BD Fugue offers hot drinks, cold drinks and a large range of comics from all over the world, including a lot of Japanese manga!
- Or a literature cafe. Read a book, enjoy the atmosphere and grab a cup of tea at l’estaminot.
- Try the local specialties! Unless you’re vegetarian/vegan, eat local specialties such as foie gras and the Toulousain dish Cassoulet (french stew with meat, sausauges and beans) or any dish with the Toulousain sausage! I recommend the restaurant le Dahu. If you are vegetarian or vegan, get your greens at La Faim des Haricots.
- Celebrating a very special occasion? Visit a 2-starred restaurant. It is known to be the best restaurant in Toulouse, and I am not surprised. The owner is Michel Sarran, one of the judges from French Top Chef. Everything he cooks looks absolutely amazing!
- Eat pastries. Because, when in France you stuff your face and get fat. Simple as that. Visit Au Poussin Bleu Père et Fils and try their tasty chocolate or macarons, or go to Maison Beauhaire at the Victor Hugo Market and try their delicious eclairs. I highly recommend the lemon meringue one!
- Drink coffee. Yes, France has caught onto the Coffeeshop trend! Me, being Scandinavian and all, I am used to drinking latte’s on a weekly basis ever since I was 12, and it’s good to know that most French cities can give me my caffeine-fix in other forms than as bitterness served in an espresso cup at a dark old brasserie. I recommend La Fiancée and The Flower’s Café.
- Chill in the park. Jardin des plantes is the perfect spot if you wanna hang out and read a book and relax, or have nice little picnic, or go for a run or meditate or whatever. Wanna take a nap? Sure. Paint? Go for it.
- Check out the bar-scene. I already mentioned the artsy vodka bar. But there’s a lot of other cool places to go to for a drink or five in the city. n5 Wine Bar will serve you wine and tapas. La Maison will serve you some pretty good cocktails!
- Admire the magnificent architecture. The Capitole building and its square, the historical churches, the Pont Neuf, the beautiful old buildings in the Old Town. Ah, Toulouse. Quelle belle ville!