24 Hours in Toulouse

My favourite spots in Toulouse.

24 Hours in Toulouse
Toulouse, la ville rose (the pink city) Photo by Pierre Borthiry - Peiobty / Unsplash

Toulouse is a charming city in southern France, known for its pink-brick architecture and rich cultural heritage. It's also the closest airport to our place in Southern France so we start most European trips there.

It offers a variety of attractions, such as the Couvent des Jacobins, a stunning Gothic monastery with a palm-tree-shaped vault and a relic of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Musée des Augustins, a former convent that houses a fine collection of medieval and Renaissance art, and the Cité de l'espace, a space museum with interactive exhibits and a planetarium. Toulouse is also a great base for exploring nearby attractions, such as the medieval fortress of Carcassonne, the UNESCO-listed cathedral of Albi, and the picturesque hilltop village of Cordes-sur-Ciel.

Good Coffee

Well, this is where you come in. I've not yet found a good coffee shop in Toulouse. I've tried, and failed. If you know of a good place, leave a comment and I will check them out next time I'm in town. Also, likely not true, BUT, I've noticed that a lot of restaurants rely on Nespresso for their coffee. As a result, I tend to skip coffee.

Local Shops

Pour madame, I recommend Graine de Pastel, the Toulouse institution specializing in natural cosmetics. Pour monsieur, why not stop by Horace for Made in France men's body care product. I highly recommend their face sunscreen. It's like wearing nothing at all. So light, it absorbs immediately.

Splurge meal

Since 1843, Le Bibant serves elegant brasserie dishes from the South-West (Occitanie). As a tourist, you come to Toulouse to experience France away from the hordes of tourists descending on Paris. So, come here for elevated French pub food WITH a view of the Capitole. Très French.

Must-see sight

The Capitole de Toulouse and its illuminated square is the heartbeat of the city. Some of current structure dates back to the 16th century. The Capitole saw wars, decapitations and multiple plays and operas. But, you will come here for the people watching while sipping on a café or Ricard. It simply doesn't get more French than this.


Located inside the Galleries Lafayette department store, and offering the best views of Toulouse is Ma biche sur le toit. Seafood is on the menu and reservations are strongly encouraged. Michel Sarran is a well-known chef in France and he leads the kitchen staff here in Toulouse. The menu is inspired and the wine list spectacular, but you come here for a cocktail and a view... and the food after too many drinks.

Eat with the locals

Why not try a delicious Japanese pancake (Okonomiyaki) at tiny Juguem on a quiet side street a few steps from the main shopping street? The two Japanese owners are simply the kindest and you you experience authentic Izakaya (pub) food before re-joining the crowds exploring the narrow streets of the pink city.