Lose yourself along narrow shopping streets in the riverside Old Town, the heart of Toulouse, and discover its fine medieval and Renaissance heritage. In sharp contrast, experience Cit de l'Espace in East Toulouse, celebrating Europe's Space Programme, which is based in Toulouse. Dine on mouthwatering local goose, Toulouse sausages and meat and bean cassoulet stew.
You can easily see Toulouse is a modern city. This provincial capital straddling the River Garonne is a leader in aeronautics and space research. Yet you'll find its heart and soul in the little Old Town or Ville Rose (Pink Town named after its brickwork) at its centre on the river's north bank. There's a lot of history here, but today's Toulouse is young, stylish and enjoying life to the full.
Explore the tangled shopping lanes off place du Capitole, the Old Town's central square, and admire the elegant spires and monumental grandeur of 1000-year-old St Sernin Basilica. See impressive art collections in Augustins Museum and Renaissance mansion Htel d'Asszat. Catch a bus to East Toulouse to check out the Ariane space rocket at Cit de l'Espace science park. Then cross Pont-Neuf for pretty city views from the River Garonne's Left Bank and enjoy a hearty cassoulet (meaty bean stew), before finishing your day at a riverside music bar.
Enjoy the green riverside park, quiet walks and bustling markets of the Left Bank, where locals come to picnic or relax. On the same side of the River Garonne, don't miss the Les Abattoirs, a leading French museum of late-20th-century art. Be sure to see its most famous and curious item, a remarkable stage curtain made by Picasso, depicting a minotaur in an harlequin costume. Venture out of town on day trips to spectacularly picturesque towns nearby like Albi, Castres and Carcassonne, or take a soothing boat trip along the Canal du Midi.
With six million passengers a year, France's fourth largest provincial airport connects the Midi-Pyrenees region to some 100 destinations in France and around Europe and the Mediterranean. A shuttle bus into the centre of Toulouse takes 20 minutes.