Toulouse, France: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Toulouse is a city in Southwestern France near the Pyrenees. It lies on the banks of the River Garonne in a midway between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. It is an unofficial capital of the cultural region Occitania. This city was the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom in the 5th century and is located on the site of an even more ancient Roman settlement.
Medieval Toulouse was one of the richest and cultured cities of Europe due to the sale of blue plant-derived dye. In less than a century after WWI Toulouse has grown again from a small provincial town to one of the most active business and high-tech centers in France with over a million inhabitants.
The city is southern in atmosphere and climate. Its lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere is also due in part to the presence of over 100,000 students. Toulouse boasts the second largest university population after Paris. Its world-renowned university is one of the oldest in Europe (founded in 1229).
Toulouse is also heavily involved in research.
It is the centre of the European aerospace industry.Toulouse is an aviation capital of a kind, dating back to St. Exupery's 1920s takeoff in a pioneering air mail flight, and continuing today with the presence of Airbus, the city's largest employer.
The fourth largest city in France, Toulouse is easily reachable by plane, by train, by bus and by car. Its international airport places it an hour from Madrid, an hour and twenty minutes from London and an hour from Paris.
Getting around Toulouse
Toulouse is a big city, but the historical center (downtown) is quite small. It is best to explore its winding streets on foot as most destinations in the inner city are within walking distance. For getting in and out of the centre, Toulouse has a network of bus, tramway and metro lines. There is only one licensed taxi operator. Bicycle renting is easy and convenient.