When it comes to France, my fellow Mizzou j-schooler and travel blogger, Kristin Blake, is the go-to gal. I asked her to write a city guide for Now Boarding about Toulouse, France, a city she lived in during the summer of 2017. So if you are planning a trip to this quaint French city, be sure to take notes!
A City Guide of Toulouse, France by Kristin Blake of Round Trip
When you think of France, the first city that pops to mind is Paris, and that’s no surprise. The City of Light attracted more than 40 million tourists in 2018. Although I absolutely adore this metropolis, I cannot stress enough that there is so much more to France than Paris. I had the privilege of working in Toulouse, France, for a summer, and I fell in love with this big city with its small town feel.
Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, yet most don’t think about a trip to this southwestern city. This city offers bustling nightlife, delightful patîsseries, idyllic cobblestone streets and ample green space. I want to share 7 things to add to your Toulouse itinerary:
1. Le Capitole
This is the main town square sandwiched by shops and restaurants. The administrative building is gorgeous and is worth a look around. It’s also a great photo opportunity!
2. Rue d’Alsace-Lorraine
When I lived in Toulouse, I spent lots of time walking this street with its remarkable shopping opportunities from Zara to Naf Naf. If you’re looking for some glam French threads, this is the place to begin. And not too far from this street is Galeries Lafayette, which is France’s version of Nordstrom. No matter your budget, taking a stroll around Galeries Lafayette is a cultural experience.
3. Le Sherpa
You simply cannot go to France without eating a crêpe, but you’ll have to make the hard decision of savory or sweet. I’m so bummed that I discovered Le Sherpa so late into my summer abroad. This hole-in-the-wall of restaurant is a classic French experience: slow service, great food.
4. Au Poussin Bleu
Having a gluten intolerance and loving France is a rough combo, but several French delicacies are naturally gluten free. And Au Poussin Bleu has the best macarons I’ve ever tasted. My eyes watered every time I walked into this darling bakery because its aroma was beyond words.
5. Brûlerie des Saveurs
There’s whipped cream, and then there’s chantilly, which is France’s version of the American canned sugar. Chantilly is creamier and thicker than Reddi-wip. Order your coffee or hot chocolate topped with this creamy goodness at Brûlerie des Saveurs, which is a charming café near Marché des Carmes, a fresh market that’s also worth a visit.
6. Jardin Des Plantes
This park became my favorite place during my summer in Toulouse. Honestly, the word “park” doesn’t do this space justice. From a waterfall to a gazebo set on a hill, cotton candy stands to statues, this park is massive and a fantastic, free way to spend your afternoon.
7. Basilique Saint Sernin
When in France, one must visit a church; it’s honestly hard not to! And Toulouse has several beautiful ones to visit. I recommend taking a stroll through Saint Sernin, which is a World UNESCO Heritage site. This Romanesque church was built in the 11th century and is a great respite from the hot summer heat.
So if you’ve been to Paris, great — but you haven’t seen all France has to offer. Toulouse offers a city feel with a slower pace and plenty to do, see and taste. For even more things to do in Toulouse, here’s more spots to see. Bon voyage!