Toulouse, a gorgeous ancient city founded by the Romans, has a remarkably preserved old city centre. Never destroyed by war, many medieval and Renaissance buildings still stand as do the picturesque twisting streets. Toulouse was a major stop on the pilgrimage route to Compostelle in the early Middle Ages and became a huge centre of learning at that time too.
The tour takes you to some of the ancient university buildings, as well as to the World Unesco Heritage church of St Sernin. The Capitole square, in the heart of the old city, is a lively and lovely enormous plaza with cafés, restaurants and a spectacular City Hall called the Capitolium. It's a great place to stop and have a coffee or a drink as well!
Then we go down to the river through the medieval quarter and spend time at the river and at a Renaissance palace. Toulouse also has an enormous amount of original and beautiful 19th-century architecture. We go to the Garonne River to find out where the Romans started it all, and to see the Renaissance bridge called the Pont Neuf. And we end our tour at the most enormous, most gorgeous building ever built during the height of the most affluent period for Toulouse, the wonderful Hotel Assezat, a magnificent Renaissance Palace!
St Sernin church, Capitole square, Jacobins church, Garonne Rive, Pont Neuf
The Capitole square metro stop (line A) is easy to find from anywhere in city center. It is in the center of rue Alsace Lorraine and is reachable by getting off the metro either at Jeanne d'Arc (line b) Jean Jaurès, (lines A and B) or the Capitole (line A)
There is parking at the Capitole, or even easier at Jeanne d'arc. Buses do not go on rue Alsace Lorraine as it is mostly a pedestrian street. It is near the Place Wilson which is close to many hotels (as is the Capitole square) Nothing in the old city center is very far - it is walkable from almost anywhere.
Places to stop along the way:
There are some nice cafés near St Sernin church. A café- terrace on the Capitole Square is half way through the tour and a good place to rest for a few minutes if tired. A bench looking out at the Garonne River is wonderful for taking photos!! Restaurants are everywhere - I like the big brasseries on the Capitole square and the litte restaurants near the Garonne river on the rue Suau. Place Wilson has many cafés as well. And if you have several days in Toulouse do not miss the archeology museum next to St Sernin called St Raymond.
Best time of day:
Morning at around 9h30 or 10 am or late afternoon or early evening. There is an open air market along Alsace Lorraine avenue on Tuesday mornings. Better to go later that day. Saturday is a huge shopping day, go early, or wait until Sunday when shops are closed and it is quieter and more peaceful. Many monuments are open every day except Monday but churches are open all the time.
There are some pickpockets on the Capitole square particularly when there is a major event, concert or sports event. Then it is important to use common sense and watch your pockets and bags, but in general it is safe everywhere. Just be careful in crowded areas or at night when lots of young people come out and drink. The tour doesn't go anywhere you have to worry and it is a day time tour as well. Just keep your bags closed, dont be showy about fancy camera equipment. The tour doesnt go to difficult parts of the city