Toulouse, France’s Favourite City
Originally posted on & updated on 10th February, 2024
Toulouse is France’s Southern belle, a picturesque city of coral-coloured buildings that have earned it the tag “the Pink City”. Its abundance of culture, heritage and nightlife – not to mention jobs – is responsible for attracting 10,000 people a year to settle here, most of them French.
In fact, Toulouse has become a top destination for Parisians looking to escape the city for a gentler pace and sunnier climate. Thanks to the city’s selection of lofts and contemporary villas they can usually find somewhere chic to settle and with a booming tech and creative sector, sourcing employment is rarely a problem either.
Weekend in the Pink City
Recently voted France’s second-best place to work (Bordeaux was top) the lifestyle appeal of Toulouse is partly due to its location in the Haute Garonne which means there is plenty on the doorstep to fill the weekends.
The coast at Biarritz, the countryside of the Dordogne, the heritage of Carcassonne, the beauty and tranquillity of Occitanie and the culture of San Sebastian just across the border in Spain are all within easy reach. Head to the Pyrénées for some hiking or skiing or take your pick between the Mediterranean or Atlantic coasts for water sports, swimming and relaxation.
Food, Drink & Nightlife
Behind Toulouse’s romantic, blush pink façade, the city has a feisty side. It is France’s fourth biggest city after all (behind Paris, Lyon and Marseille) which also means it is well connected by air and rail to the rest of France and Europe.
From the UK there are regular direct flights from Manchester, Bristol and London. It also means there is lots going on, from vibrant food markets (the best is the Marché Victor Hugo which has over 80 stalls) and salons de thé by day to jazz bars and rock bands maintaining the tempo by night.
Eating out is almost a profession in Toulouse and there are some truly modern foodie destinations in and around Vicente. In contrast, the Carmes neighbourhood is the place to go for lively bars and nightlife.
There are some outstanding restaurants serving local Languedoc wines and food with a strong Spanish influence. For a classic Toulouse dining experience head to Le Colombier, a former 18th-century inn which serves up regional dishes including its famous cassoulet of white beans and Toulouse sausage.
Out Of Town Living
Toulouse is a compact city that tucks itself in between the Garonne River and the Canal du Midi. The inner city population is less than a quarter of Paris and many people live in outlying towns and villages where the scenery and pace of life are endearing in their own right.
The town of Montauban is the capital of Tarn-et-Garonne and is within easy commuting distance of Toulouse. Other popular place to live are Albi and Cordes-sur-Ciel and there are many others, each with their own character and strong sense of community.
Top Sights in Toulouse
If you are visiting Toulouse to explore the area before buying a property here, we recommend a trip to the Hotel d’Assézat, a fairytale pink palace that dates back to 1555 and hosts an incredible art collection. Here you will find works by Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne and Matisse along with paintings dating back centuries.