A guide to the wonderful city of Toulouse

Capitole de Toulouse, photo by Pierre-Selim/Flickr

Toulouse is a very attractive city located in the Haute-Garonne department, in southwestern France. It is situated about 590 km away from Paris, lying on the banks of the River Garonne, half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Toulouse was the capital of the province of Languedoc. It is now the capital of the Midi-Pyrénées region and also of the Haute-Garonne department. There are dozens of attractions and things to do in the wonderful city of Toulouse. Ranging from some spectacular historic buildings to museums, churches, basilicas and a cathedral, Toulouse has it all, being a perfect destination for the lovers of sightseeing. If you find this description interesting and convincing, and you decide to visit this city, read on because you will find some information of the most spectacular attractions of Toulouse.

Capitole de Toulouse


Located in the heart of Toulouse, it is one of the major landmarks of the city. It was embarked on the construction of the original building in 1190, with the purpose of providing a seat for the government of the province. The current façade is 135 m long, built of pink brick in Neoclassical style and dates from 1750. Today the Capitole de Toulouse houses the city hall, as well as the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse opera company and a symphony orchestra. It is also a must-see of the city.


Capitole de Toulouse, photo by Pierre-Selim/Flickr


Musée des Augustins de Toulouse


It is a fine arts museum which includes a collection of sculptures and paintings dating from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. It houses a particularly rich collection of Romanesque sculptures. The building in which the museum is housed, was built in 1309, in Gothic style. It housed the city’s Augustinian convent, after which the museum got its name. It opened to the public on the 27th of August, 1795, soon after the opening of the famous Louvre. The collections total over 4.000 works, including spectacular paintings and sculptures. This museum is surely a remarkable attraction for the lovers of art. It is open every day from 10:00 to 18:00, on Wednesdays to 21:00. It is closed on the 1st of May. The entrance fee is 6€ for adults, 4€ for students and free for children under the age of 18 years. (August 2012)


Musee des Augustins, photo by dalbera/Flickr


Toulouse Cathedral


Also named Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toulouse, it is a Roman Catholic cathedral, being a national monument of France. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Toulouse. The first mention of a church building on the site of the present cathedral is found in a charter of 844. The beautiful cathedral consists of two incomplete churches, the first dating from the early 13th century (the one which includes the rose window) and the other of which construction begun in about 1272. The interior is breathtaking, being richly decorated, although disconcerting because of the two exterior sections which are not on the same axis and present two styles of Gothic architecture. It is a remarkable landmark and a must-see of the city.


Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toulouse, photo by Pierre-Selim/Flickr


Basilica of St. Sernin


It is the largest Romanesque church in Europe which contains a spectacular pipe organ which is widely considered the most beautiful in France. It was built in Romanesque style between about 1080 and 1120, being located on the site of a previous 4th century basilica which contained the body of Saint Saturnin (Sernin), the first bishop of Toulouse. Despite being called a basilica, St. Sernin’s differs from the plan of a basilica of the early Christian architecture in several ways. It is much larger and it is also constructed mainly of brick, in the form of a crucifix. It features a gorgeous bell tower. As I mentioned it, the basilica contains a large three-manual impressive Cavaillé-Coll organ built in 1888.





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