Toulouse – 10 reasons to visit the pink city this summer

You might be wondering “can I be bothered to travel right now?! Is it even worth the hassle? ” Well it may be harder than it used to be to hop on a plane and go ‘somewhere else’ but yes, it’s worth it!

1. Les Guinguettes – outdoor eating and drinking. The safest, (and most fun) place to be these days is outdoors.

Ephemeral ‘guingettes’ or summertime outdoor taverns adorn the pink city!

A handful of guinguettes

L’emulation Nautique, Les Terrasses de l’Atelier, L’Ecluse Saint-Michel, La Guinguette St. Cyprien , La Friche Gourmande, Pêcheur de Sable, at la Daurade next to the river, and Le Ministère in the Minimes neighbourhood……just to name a few. They are everywhere, even in the suburbs.

Next to the giant ferris wheel that sits on the Garonne in July and August is “Racines”, my personal favorite. Enjoy the view from the giant wheel before a drink at this ephemeral café on the riverside and watch people showing off on water skis.

The ‘burbs’ – Coté Montauban (east) there is Le Canaille Club. Near Blagnac, there is Jardin de l’Olympe with tables in the sand and a lot of space.

The big news this summer is LE PETIT BIKINI,👙 no, don’t worry it’s not a dress code! It is the welcome addition to the Bikini concert venue in Ramonville-Saint-Agne. The new establishment which opens on the 9th June has a huge terrace that seats 400 people out back where the parking lot was.There is also the Poney Club at the entrance of the hippodrome, not too far from the Zenith, the biggest gig venue in town. From the 11th June you can meet up at Les Robins du Bois, a guinguette with a huge shaded terrace and a beach and live music!

For a rooftop vibe head to Mama Shelter, or Ma Biche sur le Toit 😎

2. Museums and Galleries – after an interminable wait, the city’s museums and galleries are open again. The Museum of Toulouse (natural history museum) is located at the entrance to the lovely Jardin des Plantes. both the museum and park are great for kids!

You can read Inside Toulouse for details about our most well loved institutions. Note that le Musée des Augustins, the city’s fine art museum is closed for refurbishment until next autumn. Les Abattoirs, the museum of modern and contemporary art is open though.

from left The Bemberg Foundation was a hotel particulier which now houses a gallery and a small café, the Musée Saint Raymond is the museum of archeology (with a garden café), the Musée Aéroscopia tells the story of aviation in Toulouse and the Cité de l’Espace tells the story of space.

3. Music Festivals

Chillout @ lunchtime at “les Jacobins”

In the garden of the cloister of the Convent of the Jacobins, which is gorgeous and worth a visit anyway, they are offering a relaxing chill out experience; the rhythm of live DJ sets of DJ No Breakfast and Gones The DJ! This event is held every Wednesday.

Les Midis-chill – Wednesdays 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 June from 12pm to 2pm at the Couvent des Jacobins – Place des Jacobins in Toulouse. 

 The Rio Loco Festival is back!

This world music festival is taking place in Toulouse from 13 to 20 June 2021 at the Prairie des Filtres. The 26th edition is all about African music. With Gaël Faye, Fatoumata Diawara, Ray Lema, Les Amazones d’Afrique and James BKS playing this summer in the Pink City.

For the full program visit www.rioloco.festik.net 

Jazz Festivals – the main festival of jazz in Toulouse, Jazz sur son 31, doesn’t take place until October but Jazz in Marciac, in the Gers (1.5 hours by car) Festival Jazz à Sète, Pause Guitare in Albi and the Festival de Carcassonne are all happening this summer! Visit Jazz in Occitanie part 2 for more info on summer music festivals in Occitanie.

4. Historical landmarks

Place Capitole is the absolute centre of la ville Rose with large sprawling cafés surrounding the enormous square which houses city hall, the Théatre du Capitole (Opéra House) as well as the National Orchestra and the Hall of Illustrations.  The square is decorated with the Occitan Cross which points towards the Neoclassical Facade of our most famous landmark. On the other side of the Capital building is Le Donjon which houses the Tourism Office. Visit http://www.toulouse-welcome.com for schedules of the hop on hop off, open top bus tours.

5. Take a guided walking tour of the Pink City – The Office of Tourism organises walking tours of Toulouse by theme, visit : https://www.toulouse-tourisme.com for the timetable.

There are quite a few up and running at the moment including guided visits of

the canal du midi‘ and ‘the Cathars in Toulouse‘. The groups are limited to small groups and cost about 13 euros.

6. Le Canal du Midi – Speaking of the canal du midi, Toulouse is ‘the‘ starting off point for discovering the canal either by bicycle or barge.

the natural beauty of the canal du midi coté urban

7 Soak up the sun on ‘La Garonne

See the city by boat from the Garonne – row or cruise down the river, or just hang out (flâner) on the riverbanks and admire the view.

8 Visit the city by bike

Vélô Toulouse – like many cities you can zoom around Toulouse on a rented bicycle without having to worry about bringing your own and finding a place to lock it up when you stop for lunch, or to visit a gallery. The first 30 minutes are free!

9 Via Garona – is an old lost road from the Way of Saint James. It takes you from the magnificent Basilica of St Sernin to St Bertrand de Comminges in the Pyrénées with some remarkable stops along the way. Visit Via Garona for more information.

10. Watch the sunset in Toulouse-the sun reflecting off the terracotta buildings so typical of Toulouse is pretty but the sun setting over the river in Toulouse is even more beautiful. From the 9th June the ‘covid curfew‘ goes from 21h to 23h and we will once again be able to enjoy watching the sun set over the pink city.

I hope that you have enjoyed this post about Toulouse, follow me to keep up with me on my travels around Occitanie…………………à bientôt Christina.

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