How to spend one day in Toulouse, France

If you are looking for a charming city where you can spend a few hours relaxing, Toulouse it’s ideal. This post will walk you through how to spend one day in Toulouse, enjoying the art and culture, and the vibes of a typical French city.

Despite what you may think, Toulouse it’s one of the biggest cities in France. The ancient heritage of the city can be traced back to the Romans, but also a melting pot of cultures due to its position, near the border with Spain. 

Often overshadowed by other great Franch cities, Toulouse in one day will be the ideal break from the daily routine. Lately thanks to the cheap flight Toulouse it’s opening the door to tourists fascinated by the protected Unesco sites, the good food and wine of the city.

Fancy for a free walking tour? Book your spot here and enjoy one day in Toulouse with a local guide.

How to spend one day in Toulouse, France 1
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What to visit in one day in Toulouse

  • Coffee in a pretty coffee shop
  • The Capitole Square
  • Basilica Saint-Sernin
  • Walking through the cobblestone streets of Toulouse
  • Visit the Jacobins
  • Saint Etienne Cathedral
  • Roam around Hôtel d’Assézat
  • Stroll around the riverside of Garonne
  • Pont Neuf, Toulouse
  • Go wine tasting

Visit La Ville Rose

Toulouse is often referred to as La Ville Rose, due to particular pinkish-bricks in terracotta which adorn the facades of the historical buildings and private houses.

You can easily plan the biggest trip through this part of France, crossing the renown wine region, and make Toulouse a stop after or before visiting Bordeaux.

While discovering Toulouse in one day, you might spot the strong sense of belonging of the locals. All over the city, there are streets signals, buses information, routes and inscriptions in double language, French and Occitane.

Also, the metro announcements in the Toulouse Subway are in double language. Occitane it’s the local language more than a dialect, and it can be associated with Catalan, spoken over the borders.

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Map of Places to visit in Toulouse, France

How to explore Toulouse | City Pass

Every time we are visiting a city for not so long, we plan ahead our trip, every place we want to see and all the tickets for the unique experiences.

Toulouse was a similar trip, with many activities and just a day to accomplish it all. That’s why we suggest you buy a “Toulouse City Card”.

This allows you to explore the city hassle-free, get discounts for restaurants and cafes. Free entries to museums and best free travel on local buses, trams, metro and also discounts on the romantic cruises on the Garonne river.

How to spend 24 hours in Toulouse

Coffee in a pretty coffee shop

After landing in Toulouse you should start your day in a perfect french style. Get lost in the endearing streets and find the prettiest coffee shop right for you.

Toulouse, it’s a vibrant coffee scene, with many coffee shops that will take you back in time. The charm of some “café” it’s incredible, the boudoir style will let you start your one day in Toulouse with a smile.

Imagine yourself with a cup of nice coffee, sipping your cup with locals strolling around outside of your window. Nice picture right? So start to plan your day trip to Toulouse.

The Capitole Square

View of Capitol in Capitol Square of Toulouse
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The main space of Toulouse it’s Capitole Square. A charming and iconic courtyard, often a marketplace with a beautiful arcade which hosts one the most important Building in the city.

Locals love to meet here, and it’s also the square of the biggest celebrations, like new years eve. In the centre of the square is a mosaic of a cross, which it’s the symbol of the Region Occitan. On the side, the beautiful arcade it’s the proper gem of this square. The 29 frescoes adorn the arcades, all around the Capitole Square. The paintings of Raymond Moretti, a contemporary artist, shows off the great events of the history of the city of Toulouse and its Region.

29 frescoes adorn the arcades, all around the Capitole Square. The paintings of Raymond Moretti,
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The gallery of frescoes in Capitole Square, walk with your head up to enjoy this free open-air gallery. This is unmissable during your one day in Toulouse.

But let’s talk about the Capitole Building, a great piece of neoclassical Architecture, built-in 1750 and about 135m long. As most of the architecture within the city and surrounding area, also the Capitole Building it’s made of pinkish bricks.

It’s good to know that you can visit inside of this building, discovering the court Henri IV and also the beautiful internal rooms with masterpieces paintings.

It’s free, just saying. If you don’t have time for a visit to the building, you can always stay just around the square. Enjoy the view of the iconic building from the facade side. This part is full of incredible bars and restaurants.

Basilica Saint-Sernin

Other facade of Basilica Saint-Sernin, Toulouse - Baroque and Gothic style mixed
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This is just one of the many faces of Saint-Serin, which can be seen as a pokerfaced Basilica. Discover this and many other landmarks in Toulouse in one day.

This is the first of the Unesco World Heritage Sites in Toulouse on our list. Visiting Toulouse for one day, you should not miss this spot. The Basilica of Toulouse it’s the largest Romanesque church in France and Europe, it’s dedicated to Sernin, often referred to “Saturnin”, once bishop of Toulouse.

The Church dates back to the 11th century, and it’s often visited by pilgrims on the biggest route to Santiago de Compostela.

Walking through the cobblestone streets of Toulouse

While visiting Toulouse in one day you will be able to enjoy the cobblestone streets of the city, and the narrow passages. Already visiting the Basilica of Saint-Sernin you will pass by breathless locations.

The city, as said before, it’s beautiful and charming. However, if you want full immersion in the proper Toulouse-Style, you should walk along rue du Taur and rue de l’Esquile. The first Rue du Taur takes you from the main Capitole Square to the Basilica Saint-Sernin. On both sides of the road, you will enjoy typical french boutiques, bakeries, cute restaurants and wine shops, but we will talk about that later on.

Another incredible spot in Toulouse’s rue des Pénitents-Gris, meeting the beautiful Notre-Dame du Taur Church.  From Rue du Taur, take the left at a middle way to the Basilica, and walk about 2 minutes to find the incredible spot.

Visit the Jacobins

Continuing talking about beautiful places to visit in Toulouse, you can’t miss the building complex of the Jacobins. This is a worship place that preserves the relics of Saint Thomas Aquinas. A complex of several buildings within a church, a beautiful cloister and a convent, founded by the Dominican Order between the 13th and 14th century.

Often associated with the Augustinian convent, it’s also part of the Musée des Augustins, a fine art museum. The impressive building has got an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures, with over 3,000 artworks dated back from the 12th to 18th century. There is an extensive online collection, free to check here

Saint Etienne Cathedral

Away from the beautiful Basilica of Saint-Sernin, another attraction so don’t miss visiting Toulouse it’s the Saint Etienne Cathedral.

The fascinating capital of Occitane was welcoming guests and pilgrims from everywhere. The Cathedral is a bland of architectural styles, but predominantly of Gothic. The complex was built across five centuries, which explains the melting pot of curious designs. You can still spot some Romanesque details, which was the original style of Saint Etienne Cathedral.

Inside the Cathedral, you can admire an incredible 17th-century organ, which it’s the main heritage of this building. In October, every year, the Cathedral hosts the annual “Toulouse Les Orgues”, the International Organ Festival Concert.

Other than the great Organ, inside the Cathedral, you can admire the beautiful chapels and the tapestries from the 16th to 18th century. While the “Raymondine”, the gothic nave of 19 meters wide, built in the 12th century, was at that time the widest vaulted structure of its kind in Europe.

Roam around Hôtel d’Assézat

Hôtel d'Assézat - Museum and hotel of Toulouse
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Thanks to its architecture and cultural heritage, Toulouse is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. This is the Hotel d’Assezat, a gem in Toulouse.

This is to be included in the list of hidden gems in Toulouse. Impossible to exclude it from the list of places to visit in Toulouse in one day, the Hôtel d’Assézat. The beautiful complex it’s not only an active hotel but also hosts an outstanding fine arts and decorative arts museum.

The unique architecture features an arcaded loggia and a beautiful courtyard with interesting sculptural details. The Hôtel d’Assézat displays a precious collection of the foundation Bemberg with bronze sculptures, Renaissance portraits and Religious paintings.

Famous artists are displayed in the spaces of this building, like the Impressionist Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and also post-impressionist works by Pierre Bonnard and Louis Valtat.

Stroll around the riverside of Garonne

View of La Garonne Riverside of Toulouse - How to spend one day in Toulouse
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Without a doubt the Garonne it’s the main character in the history of Toulouse. The river passing by the city made its fortune, and it’s today a beautiful walk path for locals and tourists. The Garonne River runs through the heart of Toulouse. While visiting the city, we spent a lot of time walking along, relaxing and enjoying the vibes of the surrounding areas.

In summer this spot it’s even busier with locals lying on the grass on the river banks. Head toward the Garonne Riverside at sunset, in the afternoon the atmosphere becomes even more magical.

Pont Neuf, Toulouse

Pont Neuf, Toulouse - Toulouse in one day
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Talking about magical moments in Toulouse we can’t miss to introduce you to a visit to Pont Neuf. If you are following our suggestion to have a stroll around the Garonne Riverside, you will find the Pont Neuf. Translated this means the “New Bridge”, built-in 1632, took 88 years to be completed since the foundation works started in 1544. However, it took another 29 years to be inaugurated in 1659.

Those long works compromised the esthetic of the bridge. It’s easy to spot that is asymmetrical. Long 220 metres, featuring 7 arches, only the third, on the right-hand river bank it’s the longest one.

Pont Neuf, often associated with the name of “Pont de Pierre” or This beautiful bridge connects the two sides of the city, crossing the river. It’s another minor symbol of Toulouse, but worth checking.

We suggest you visit and cross it in the afternoon. The lights at sunset with the gorgeous landscapes create a beautiful scenario.

Go wine tasting

Wine tasting in Toulouse and local gastronomy
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It’s not possible to visit Occitanie without tasting the delicious wine. You might be interested to know that Toulouse features some of the best wineries in France.

Toulouse, it’s the eternal rival to Bordeaux for the best wine production. However, we suggest you check “N.5 Wine Bar” which was named as “Best Wine Bar in the World” for two consecutive years, in 2017 and 2018.

This place offers wine tasting that goes over and beyond the simple sipping. Learn about fermentation, history, grapes and more.

Other things to do in Toulouse in one day

One day it’s too short to enjoy all the beautiful things to do in Toulouse. You might want to skip some of the places and attractions we have listed above, that’s why we have decided to give you alternative places to visit in Toulouse.

Bus Tour of Toulouse

Will be worth considering taking a bus tour around the city. You can see the best spot quickly, and familiarize yourself with the city in a short time. There is also a cute shuttle, kind of train, passing by the city centre and old town. The ride takes about 45 minutes and starts from Place du Capitole.

Book Here your Tour | Mini Touristic Bus of Toulouse

Toulouse walking tour

Consider also to go for a walking tour of Toulouse. While exploring a place for the first time, this is one of our first choices to get to know the new location. A two-hours-an-a-half walking tour that will tell you stories and legends of the Occitanic Capital.

Cheap wine day tour

We have already suggested the experience through the wine scene of Toulouse. You might be interested in a day tour with a wine experience, within just one hour away from Toulouse. Fronton Wine Tasting will take you through the best production of local wine, for just $20 | £16 | €18.

Book your spot in advance.

Pay a visit to a local market

We love markets, and could not miss those places wherever we are visiting. Like many other French cities, Toulouse has incredible markets, some active just on the weekend. The best market in the city it’s Victor Hugo. This is one of the largest in Toulouse with over 100 stalls, covered, which it’s ideal on a rainy day.

The vibrant scene of the Victor Hugo Market will show you the best of local products, with artisan chocolatiers inviting you to transgress.

When to visit Toulouse?

Spring it’s the ideal. The location of Toulouse it’s in a middle way between the Mediterranean climate zone with influence from the Pyrenees. Despite that, September seems the best time to enjoy warm temperatures, with fewer chances of rain. 

From December to February it’s to be considered an offseason, ideal for travellers who want less crowded places. However, it’s cold with high chances of rain.

March to May, in springtime, the days are the best, but Toulouse starts to attract tourists. You might consider visiting Toulouse from June to August, on a wider trip around the Region. The temperatures are not extremely hot, which make sense for a well-planned road trip in France.

Q&A – Toulouse in one day

Is Toulouse worth visiting?How long is the train ride from Paris to Toulouse?Is Toulouse worth visiting?

Yes. For many Toulouse, it’s comparable to Paris, but quieter and of course with less architectural features. However the cultural heritage it’s beautiful and makes Toulouse the ideal for avid travellers, but also for families.

How many days should I spend in Toulouse?

Our guide walks you through one day in Toulouse, but you should stay in the city for a couple of days at least. Spending two days in Toulouse can give you a better chance to enjoy the city and the vibes. 

What is Toulouse in France famous for?

Toulouse, it’s well known as “La Ville Rose” “The Pink City”, because of the facades of its buildings made mainly of pinkish-terracotta bricks. Toulouse it’s also known for its art, history and culture. Often overshadowed by other French cities, this is the fourth largest metropolis in the country. Worth to know that Toulouse it’s home to the European Airbus headquarters and the French space agency.

Is Toulouse expensive to visit?

No, but it’s neither cheap. However, we still suggest this location to backpackers and on budget travellers like us.
We did the whole trip on a budget, eating in boulangeries (bakeries) and saving bucks for real experiences in Toulouse. At the restaurant, an average lunch cost around 15/30 euro and it’s usual to find good deals on the set menu.

Why visit Toulouse?

If you want to taste the real France, Toulouse it’s the destination for you. Paris can overwhelm a visitor looking for amazing experiences.

Not only that, thanks to low-cost airfare, Toulouse it’s the ideal location to land, spend a few days. Then visit the surrounding vineyard, hills, visit local producers of cheese and many other incredible activities.

How long is the train ride from Paris to Toulouse?

There are about 9 trains per day which travel the route between Paris and Toulouse. The average journey will take about 5 hours, with some trains taking less.

What to do in one day in Toulouse, France
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Things to do in one day in Toulouse France
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