How to Spend 3 Days in Toulouse
Toulouse is ideally situated for visiting the historic villages and UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Occitanie region, and with three days, there’s time to take in all the highlights and enjoy a day trip out of the city. Here are some ideas for how to spend three days in Toulouse.
Day 1: Sightseeing in the Pink City
A hop-on-hop-off-bus tour is a convenient way to explore Toulouse. Jump off to stroll around the historic center and admire the elegant pink-hued buildings that give the city its nickname, the Ville Rose (Pink City). Must-see sights include the grand Place du Capitole, the Romanesque Basilica of Saint Sernin, and the UNESCO-listed Canal du Midi. A walking tour of the Left Bank offers insight into Toulouse’s history—including the Hospital des Graves and the Roman ruins of the Raymond II Gardens—and a cruise along the Garonne River takes in waterfront landmarks such as the Notre-Dame de la Dalbade cathedral and the New Bridge (Pont Neuf). Don’t miss a visit to the Victor Hugo Market, where you can sample local specialties such as Toulouse sausage and cassoulet (bean stew) and take in the view from the top floor of the Galeries Lafayette department store.
Day 2: Space City and City Neighborhoods
Journey to outer space at the interactive Space City (Cité de l'Espace), one of Toulouse’s most visited attractions—book skip-the-line tickets to dodge the long summer queues. Back in the city, spend the afternoon discovering Toulouse’s atmospheric neighborhoods and visiting its many museums. Art lovers should head to the Musée des Augustins and Les Abattoirs, while a visit to the Natural History Museum can be combined with a walk around the neighboring Jardin des Plantes botanical gardens. To save on museum fees, consider investing in a Toulouse Pass. The quarters of Saint-Étienne and Les Carmes are ideal for shopping and strolling, and the many restaurants, terrace cafés, and wine bars spring to life after sunset.
Day 3: Take a Day Trip
There are a number of options for day trips from Toulouse, but to maximize your time, look for a tour that visits multiple destinations or combines sightseeing with wine tasting in the Gaillac wine region. Popular options include the medieval town of Albi, the hometown of painter Henri de Toulouse Lautrec; the picturesque hilltop village of Cordes-sur-Ciel; and Carcassonne, a fortified medieval citadel with a dramatic hilltop setting and UNESCO World Heritage status. A little farther south, the city of Lourdes is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in France and home to the sacred Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.