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Introduction

Toulouse

Toulouse

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Toulouse is a city in the southwest of France, located in the Midi-Pyrénées along the Garonne river. It is the fifth largest city in France, after Paris, Lille, Marseille and Nice and has roughly 1.1 million inhabitants.

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Sights and Activities

  • Basilique Saint Sernin - a church from the 11th Century, partly restored by the famous French architect Viollet-le-Duc.
  • Notre-Dame de La Daurade - a basilica dating from the 5th century, overlooking the Garonne river
  • Cathédrale Saint Etienne - a Roman Catholic cathedral dating from the 11th century, now the seat of the Archbishop of Toulouse.
  • Hôtel d'Assézat - one of the most appealing of the many old mansions of the city
  • Capitole - the imposing and palatial building in the center of the city houses both the city hall and city theater, its beautiful façade facing onto the grand Place du Capitole
  • Pont-Neuf - despite its name (like the Parisian bridge of the same name, its title is most probably derived from the French for 'New', not 'Nine'.), the only old bridge across the Garonne river; built between 1544 and 1626
  • Les Jacobins monastery church, contains Thomas Aquinas' relics.
  • Canal du Midi - a 240 kilometre long canal in the south of France, le Midi. The canal connects the Garonne River to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean. The Canal du Midi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Weather

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max9.4 °C11.2 °C14 °C16.2 °C20.5 °C24.2 °C27.6 °C27.5 °C24.2 °C18.9 °C13 °C10.1 °C
Avg Min2.2 °C3.2 °C4.5 °C6.5 °C10.3 °C13.3 °C15.7 °C15.9 °C12.9 °C9.6 °C5.2 °C3.3 °C
Rainfall51.7 mm51.3 mm53.8 mm66.8 mm77.2 mm64.4 mm45.4 mm50.5 mm52.2 mm52.3 mm50.7 mm52.2 mm
Rain Days9.699.510.210.27.65.35.86.788.78.5

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Getting There

By Plane

Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS) is located about 6 kilometres from the city. About 30 airlines serve Toulouse directly, with destinations including Algiers, Düsseldorf, Dublin, Reunion, Lyon, Paris, Nice, Corsica, Lille, Marseille, Milan, Rome, Malta, Montreal, Geneva, London, Brussels, Madrid, Hamburg, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Belfast, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Casablanca, Marrakech, Munich and Tunis, among a few other places.

To/from the airport
Shuttle buses to Toulouse city centre take approximately 20 minutes to complete the trip and they stop en route at Compans Caffarelli and Jeanne d'Arc (both on Metro Line B), Jean Jaurès (Metro Line A and B) and at Toulouse-Matabiau railway station. Taxis cost approximately €22 to Toulouse city centre one-way. 2 daily coach services connect Toulouse-Blagnac Airport to Andorra as that country does not have a commercial airport.

By Train

Trains run from Toulouse-Matabiau station in the city centre. Regular TGV services run to Bordeaux, Paris and Lyon with connections to other destinations at any of these cities as well. There are also regular intercity connections for Bordeaux and Marseille (with stops at Carcasonne, Montpellier and Arles, among others) and for Paris via Limoges and Orléans. In addition, Spanish railways RENFE runs a daily AVE service to Barcelona in cooperation with SNCF.

Toulouse is one end of the very scenic train line through the Pyrenees (TER Midi-Pyrénées line 22). This line passes through Ariège, and most trains end at in Foix. However, 6 trains a day continue from Toulouse and Foix on to Andorre-L'Hospitalet (the closest train station to Andorra) and Latour-de-Carol, at which you can change trains towards Barcelona. The train to Andorre-L'Hospitalet takes 3 hours, 30 minutes, and the full journey to Barcelona takes about 7 hours (including the change at Latour-de-Carol) and costs €30.

By Car

Major highways towards Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille, Barcelona.

By Bus

Bus and metro terminal at the railway station.

Bus services to Spain, Belgium, Italy, and Portugal can be made through Alsa bus departing from the main bus station in Toulouse.

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Getting Around

Toulouse is a big city, but the historical centre (downtown) is quite small, so you can walk to most beautiful and famous destinations in the inner city quite comfortably. This is definitely the best way to explore the city. For getting in and out of the centre, Toulouse has a network of bus and metro lines. The bus services, called Tisséo, are complemented by metro and tramway lines. But most bus services stop around 21:30 so you could be stranded. There is only one, licensed taxi operator (Capitole Taxi) and the service can be very poor. If you want to get back to your hotel after the buses have stopped, you need to pre-book a taxi or be prepared for a wait which could be over an hour.

The metro is relatively small, there are two lines, one going east-west (line A), and the other going north-south (B), but is modern and easy-to-use. The line C, leaving from the station Arènes, is not a metro line, but is a regional above-ground train which serves communities to the west of Toulouse including St. Martin du Touch, Colomiers, and l'Isle Jourdain, all the way to the city of Auch in the department Gers. The tramway also leaves from the station Arènes, and serves the northern city of Blagnac. There is another tramway line under construction, which will run alongside the Garonne.

You should avoid going downtown with a car, as parking space is seriously limited. One good option is to drive to a metro station out of the center and park there, then head downtown by metro.

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Eat

Like all of France, you will not be disappointed with the food Toulouse offers.

Duck is a regional specialty, and thus many restaurants will offer duck for dinner.

Cassoulet is the most famous regional dish, a stew made with white beans, various kinds of meat, and pork skin.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Appart Hotel du ParcAllée de CharlaryHotel-
Arnaud Bernard Hotel33 rue de la Chaine Place des TiercerettesHotel-
Garden Hotel81 Boulevard KoenigsHotel81
Hôtel Alizé17 Rue BaquéHotel74
Hotel Chez Tony75 Rue De La GlaciereHotel79
Hotel des Ambassadeurs68, Rue BayardHotel82
Nouvel Horizon298 avenue de Grande BretagneApartment-
Hotel des Beaux Arts1 place du Pont NeufHotel-
Privilège Hotel MermozRue MatabiauHotel-
Hôtel Résidence Les Pins Galants Toulouse-Tournefe137 route de TarbesHotel-
Privilège Appart-hotel Saint-Exupery10 rue LafonHotel-
Kyriad Toulouse Centre5 Boulevard de la gareHotel-
La petite auberge de Saint-Sernin17 rue d EmbartheHOSTEL82
Residence les Ondes-Saint Lys1 Rue de ondes Route de ToulouseHotel-
Comfort Hotel Toulouse Sud5,avenue des Crêtes RN113Hotel-
Hotel Anatole France46 Place Anatole FranceHotel-
InToulouse1, impasse du professeur Nougayrol 31100 ToulouseHOSTEL-
Ad Cyber HotelAvenue de Saint-Caprais - 31240 L'UNIONHOTEL-
Villa Leopoldine29, rue Gambetta - 31330 GrenadeGUESTHOUSE-
La Villa Les Pins1660 Route de Bouloc D30 VacquiersGUESTHOUSE-
Maison d'hôte Anjali86 Grande rue St-MichelGUESTHOUSE-
Bastide de LassalleA Lassalle MontegutGUESTHOUSE-
Le Cousture Hotel40 Boulevard Lazare CarnotHOTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.

Post

La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.

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This is version 8. Last edited at 11:00 on Feb 24, 16 by Utrecht. 35 articles link to this page.

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