Discovering Toulouse

Discover the pink city’s heritage on foot with a “Discovering Toulouse” tour guide (Saturdays, 2:00 pm). The tour offers an overview of the main sites and monuments including: Capitole, the Saint-sernin basilica and wonderful views along the river Garonne.

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Salle des Illustres, Capitole – Photo by Angela Auclair


The current city hall and Theatre National du Capitole orchestra and opera house, this building is remarkable with its 8 columns of pink marble on façade, Henry IV courtyard, the place where the Duke of Montmorency was killed, and the “Salle des Illustres” inspired by the Farnese Gallery in Rome where the golden mouldings compete with the beauty of the paintings in the cartouches.

Basilique Saint-Sernin

Basilique Saint-Sernin – Photo by Angela Auclair


Basilique Saint-Sernin
A splendid Romanesque church considered to be the biggest in the western world. This brick masterpiece is an essential stage on the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle pilgrimage. The Basilique dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries, holds a treasure trove of reliquaries including that of Saint Saturnin, the martyred bishop of the city, to whom the building is devoted.

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Canal du Midi – Photo by Angela Auclair


Canal du Midi
Toulouse boasts a strategic geographical location in the South West of France, halfway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. While the Garonne links Toulouse directly to Bordeaux, facilitating trade by waterway, between Toulouse and Sète, there was only the long, tortuous road across the Lauragais plain.

There had therefore long been a real need to connect Toulouse to the Mediterranean but it was not until the 17th century that this dream became a reality thanks to a certain Pierre-Paul Riquet. His passion for his project to dig a canal linking both seas convinced the king of France, Louis XIV, to allow him to proceed with the venture. Faced with this colossal engineering challenge, Riquet’s solution was to supply the double slope canal from a water divide point (the Seuil de Naurouze) and a huge reservoir (the Bassin de Saint-Ferréol).
In 1681, after 15 years, the gigantic-scale construction was completed and the Canal du Midi was inaugurated, linking the town of Sète to Toulouse. In 1996 the Canal du Midi was included on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites.

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