Must see attractions in Toulouse

  • Top ChoiceSights in Toulouse

    Cité de l’Espace

    The fantastic space museum on the city's eastern outskirts brings Toulouse's illustrious aeronautical history to life through hands-on exhibits, including a moon-running simulator, a rotating pod to test your tolerance for space travel, a planetarium and an observatory, plus a vast cinema to immerse you in a space mission. The showpieces are the full-scale replicas of iconic spacecraft, including the Mir space station and a 52m-high Ariane 5 space rocket.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Basilique St-Sernin

    This well-preserved Romanesque edifice is built from golden and rose-hued stonework up to the tip of the octogonal bell tower. Entry is free, but it’s worth the additional charge to explore the ambulatory, where marble statues stare from alcoves in the brick walls. The tomb of the basilica’s namesake St Sernin (also known as St Saturnin) has pride of place: he was Toulouse’s first bishop and met a gruesome end when pagan priests tied him to a bull.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Toulouse

    Couvent des Jacobins

    This elegant ecclesiastical structure is the mother church of the Dominican order, founded in 1215. First admire the Église des Jacobins ' ornate stained-glass windows before wandering through the Cloitre des Jacobins, in which graceful russet-brick columns surround a green courtyard. Pause in chapels and side rooms along the way, like the echoing Salle Capitulaire, a 14th-century hall ornamented with a haloed lamb and grisaille portraits of Dominican saints. Don't miss Chapelle St-Antonin, with its 14th-century ceiling frescoes showing apocalyptic scenes.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Place du Capitole

    Toulouse's magnificent main square is the city's literal and metaphorical heart, where Toulousiens turn out en masse on sunny evenings to sip a coffee or an early aperitif at a pavement cafe. On the eastern side is the 128m-long façade of the Capitole, the city hall, built in the 1750s. Inside is the Théâtre du Capitole, one of France's most prestigious opera venues, and the over-the-top, late-19th-century Salle des Illustres (Hall of the Illustrious).

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Musée des Augustins

    Located within a former Augustinian monastery, this fine-arts museum spans the Roman era through to the early 20th century. Echoing stairwells and high-vaulted chambers are part of the fun, but artistic highlights include the French rooms – with some works by Delacroix, Ingres and Courbet – and works by Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet, among the standouts from the 20th-century collection. Don't skip the delightful 14th-century cloister gardens, with gurning gargoyle statues that seem to pose around the courtyard. Some rooms may be closed for renovation.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Capitole

    On the eastern side of place du Capitole (the main square) is the 128m-long façade of the Capitole, Toulouse's city hall. This neoclassical masterpiece, in Toulouse's characteristic pink brick and buttressed with gleaming white columns, was built in the early 1750s, but this spot was a seat of municipal power for 500 years prior. The interior is worth a look for its spectacular late-19th-century Salle des Illustres (Hall of the Illustrious), decorated by artists including post-impressionist Henri Martin.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Fondation Bemberg

    This luxurious museum of fine arts and historic design is housed within Toulouse’s most impressive hôtel particulier (private mansion), the Hôtel d'Assézat. On the 1st floor, velvet-walled rooms are packed with period furniture, paintings, statues and decorative objects, while the 2nd floor exhibits artworks spanning impressionist to expressionist schools of thought. There are sketches by Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, plus some minor works by Pissarro, Sisley and Egon Schiele.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Musée St-Raymond

    Having trouble imagining Toulouse decorated with 4th-century nude Venuses and Corinthian columns? This light-filled museum neatly aligns the city's modern neighbourhoods with Roman remnants that once stood there. Standout displays include stone reliefs of Hercules’ labours on the 1st floor, while the 2nd floor has eye-popping fragments of a 4th–5th-century mosaic from the villa de St-Rustice, the remnants of a huge, marine-themed design with somersaulting dolphins. Don’t skip the necropolis in the basement, an enchantingly lit space with ancient sarcophagi and tomb steles.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Hôtel d'Assézat

    Toulouse boasts more than 50 hôtels particuliers – private mansions built for the city's nobles and aristocrats during the 16th and 17th centuries. Among the finest is the Hôtel d'Assézat, built for a wood merchant in 1555. It's now home to the Fondation Bemberg, which owns a fine collection of paintings, sculpture and period furniture, but you can also simply walk into the courtyard to admire the buildings and check out some informational placards.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Musée Paul Dupuy

    Browse a treasure trove of religious art, pharmaceutical items and impressive clocks and watches, lovingly assembled by local collector Paul Dupuy and housed within a 17th-century mansion. Ceramic medicine jars and medical tools will make you grimly ponder the prospect of being lanced or sliced open before modern medicine. Highlights are a wooden bench (c 1500) ornamented with scenes from the life of St Étienne, and a 1320 tapestry illustrating stories from Christ's life in silken thread.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Aeroscopia

    This aviation museum was built on the very spot the A380 Airbus was first completed. Here you can admire commercial and military aircraft and learn behind-the-scenes knowledge about the industry, as well as clamber inside certain vessels.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Église Notre-Dame de la Dalbade

    This Catholic church is a worthy stop on a walking tour of Toulouse, thanks to its brightly coloured tympanum. The semi-circular recess above its entrance depicts the crowning of the Virgin Mary in Italian Renaissance–style ceramics.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Cathédrale de St-Étienne

    The city cathedral dates mainly from the 12th and 13th centuries, and has a gorgeous rose window. It's also the burial place of Pierre-Paul Riquet, the master architect behind the Canal du Midi.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Église Notre Dame du Taur

    This striking 14th-century church commemorates the city's patron saint, St Sernin, who was reputedly martyred on this very spot.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Jardin des Plantes

    These 200-year-old sculpted gardens are a refreshing place to take a breather from hectic central Toulouse. Find the entrance to this 7-hectare park on allée Frédéric Mistral, a 500m-walk south from place St-Jacques.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Muséum de Toulouse

    This natural-history museum ranges across the epochs, with exhibits from pterodactyl skeletons to ancient fossils. Exhibits are displayed with verve and humour (such as skeletons riding horses).

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Les Abattoirs

    Toulouse's former abattoir is now a cutting-edge art gallery hosting temporary exhibits. It's open until 8pm on Thursdays outside school holidays; ask locally for dates.

  • Sights in Toulouse

    Château d'Eau

    This 19th-century brick tower once pumped out fresh water, but since the 1970s it's been a venue for contemporary photography displays.