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Toulouse City Info

Toulouse Hotels

Toulouse is France's fourth largest city (after Paris, Lyon and Marseille). It is to be found in the South-West of the country and serves as the capital of the Midi-Pyrenees. The city has made a steady economic rise since World War II and is now home to many different industries, including its advanced aerospace facilities that aided the creation of the Concorde. The city is commonly known as 'la ville rose' or 'the pink city' due to the predominant color of its bricks - constructed from local clay. The city has plenty going on in the evening, helped considerably by its enormous student population. The University of Toulouse is the biggest Institute of Higher Education outside of Paris.

The centre of Toulouse is very pretty and contains a number of historical buildings. The two churches of St Sernin and Les Jacobins and the Renaissance mansions are the first things to grab the attention of foreign visitors. With tourist information provided in English, there is no excuse not to learn more about this fascinating city.

For those who love art and the various forms art takes, Toulouse has a wealth of original churches. Take, for example, the Saint Sernin Basilica, the largest and most perfect Roman church in France, the Saint Etienne Cathedral, the Dalbade Church, the Notre-Dame de la Daurade Basilica, Saint-Pierre des Cuisines, the oldest religious building in Toulouse, which has been superbly renovated, the Augustin's Monastery with its cloister and museum, and the Jacobins Convent, whose audacious architecture makes its quite unique.

Nevertheless, the real soul of Toulouse is the Capitole (memory of the long and rich history of Toulouse). If it is the seat of the municipal authorities, it is above all first and foremost a symbol. That's why it displays the age-old emblem of our region, the Languedoc cross.

Toulouse loves the night. The town has maintained its natural penchant for entertainment, which goes back to the times of courtly love: the town has around forty cinemas, thirty discos, an abundance of music bars and the Zenith concert hall where variety shows and sports meetings are held. The Capitole is the Mecca of Lyrical Art, the Cave Poésie perpetuates the Occitan culture and the Théâtre de la Cité (T.N.T), the Théâtres 'Garonne', de la 'Digue', 'Jules Julien', theatre workshops and concerts at the Halle aux Grains put on original and reputed creations.

Toulouse Tourist Attractions

Roman Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre was built around the middle of the first century AD, about the same time as the other buildings of the settlement to which it belonged. It was the scene of gladiatorial combats until the very end of the IVth century. It is the only Roman monument in Toulouse that is can still be seen in its entirety. The Musée reveals some of the archaeology and history of the site.

L'Hôtel Pierre d'Assézat

Magnificent XVIIth century town mansion got built by Nicolas Bachelier for Pierre d'Assézat who made his fortune from woad, a plant used in dyeing. The building houses the Fondation Bemberg, a private museum with a very interesting permanent collection of paintings, bronzes and objets d'art.

EDF - Le Bazacle

Le Bazacle is a former watchtower round which the old city of Toulouse grew up and has at various times been home to a range of different industries including tanning, spinning and tobacco. In 1889 it became a waterworks and is currently used by Electricité de France. So EDF-Le Bazacle is to this day a site with strong cultural and educational associations because of the many functions it continues to fulfil, being at one and the same time a venue for exhibitions and events of various kinds, a place from which to observe migrating fish, a historical site and a monument to technology with its tunnels housing old turbines, some of which are still working.

Saint-Pierre des Cuisines

This is the oldest church in south-west France and was built on the site of a Gallo-Roman necropolis. It has a number of valuable relics of the past, notably the crypt where sarcophagi have been found. Recently restored and classified as a historic monument in 1977, the church contains a 400-seat auditorium where musical events and dance performances are held. The former church, so long closed to the public, is well worth a lingering visit.

Notre-Dame de la Dalbadep

This church with its single nave surrounded by chapels owes its name to the whitewash (albade) in which its walls were originally covered. When it was restored the white colour of past years gave way to the red of the bricks that are the city's characteristic building material. The tympanum over the main door boasts a ceramic reproduction, dating from 1874 and the work of Gaston Virebent, of Fra Angelico's
Coronation of the Virgin.

L'Eglise de la Daurade

The Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Daurade is built on the site of a pagan temple and a Benedictine monastery. On becoming a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was covered in small pieces of mosaic fixed to a background of gold leaf, whence its name "Deaurata", meaning covered in gold. The present building dates from the XVIIIth century.

Le Donjon du Capitole

The XVIth century Donjon or keep was once the Archives Tower or the Consistory Tower during the time when the Capitouls were responsible for the administration of the city. It is among the buildings that survived Haussmann's major breaches in the walls in the XIXth century. The tower was restored by Viollet-le-Duc and boasts a pinnacle in the style of a Flemish belfry covered in slate, a singularly unusual feature in a city where brick and gently sloping tiled roofs are the order of the day.

La Basilica of Saint-Sernin

It is the argest Romanesque church in the Western world, erected in the second half of the XIth century. It houses the sepulchre of Saint-Saturnin, martyred in the year 250, and was an important stopping place on the pilgrim route of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle.
The crypt of the basilica contains a host of relics. Visitors can admire XIXth century chalices and ciboria, as well as the main altar and capitals and tympanums dating from the XIth and XIIth centuries.


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