How to spend 24 hours in Toulouse

Natacha Costa | Live the World

September 6, 2022

For perfect 24 hours in the pink city you will need a credit card. Oh, but it’s not what you think. You need it so that you can rent a bike, and it only costs 1,20€ per day. There is a catch: you can use it for up to 30 minutes each time, if you want free rides. For over 30 minutes, there is a small additional fee. But don’t worry. All the places presented in this 24 hours Toulouse itinerary are not more than half an hour away one from another. Also, there are 283 stations where you can drop off your bike at any moment. It’s not a very big city, and the bicycle is definitely the best way (not) to lose yourself in Toulouse.

Step one: pick up a bike from one of super user friendly VélôToulouse stations. Head to the lively Victor Hugo market for some fresh fruit and bread for a picnic later on. If you are a foodie, you will need some time for this market offering everything, from simple vegetables, to all kinds of gourmet foods.

Now, you are just next to the Capitole. It’s the main square of Toulouse, and a place to sip a coffee while admiring the architecture. If you have time, visit also the inside of the City Hall. If you are a bookworm, just around the corner, in Gambetta street, you will find Ombres Blanches, an independent bookshops dedicated to different topics (film, travel…). The main, general one, is a big bookshop that feels unexpectedly cozy for its size. Selection of books and editorial choices are smart, pick up your favourite to read later on.

Continue to the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, impressive inside and outside. If you are lucky, you may stumble into an organ rehearsal and hear, for example, Pachelbel's Canon. Now, bike south for 2 km to briefly visit the neighbourhood Bouquières - one of the most fascinating parts of Toulouse. It’s a maze of tiny streets featuring some lovely townhouses, such as Hôtel d'Ulmo located at 15 Rue Ninau.

It’s time for lunch and you are just where you should be. Cross a nearby bridge, the famous Le Pont Neuf and head to Le Petite Ménagerie in Saint Cyprien to enjoy some authentic, delicious and not too expensive Vietnamese food made by a Vietnamese lady and her daughter. This tiny place is not easy to spot. Make sure you make a reservation in advance. You can thank us later. If you are not into Vietnamese, there is another top choice just across the street: L'Estaminet café & bookshop, offering light meals, delicious crumble, good choice of teas, and relaxing atmosphere.

The calories need to be burned, and what’s better than a - bike ride. Toulouse has a few stunning canals (Canal du Midi, Canal de Brienne) which are waiting for you. Cycling paths are well arranged, air is clean, and everything around you turns green. The Midi canal runs from the city down to the Étang de Thau near the Mediterranean, but you don’t need to go as far!

Once you are done, go shop for some souvenirs and presents in La Mucca, a shop where they are inspired by poetry, as Fabrice, the owner and one of the product creators says. Next, head to Chapristea, just 600 m away, to have a tea that comes with a cat. An experience is really special, even if you are not a cat person, you may find it amusing.

After a busy day there is an ideal place where you should be next: the Japanese Garden of Toulouse. Inspired by Japanese culture the place is rather small but offers an exotic escape with fresh air, and a pavilion for meditation or reading.

And that’s not all. For a perfect sunset and a view over the city, as the best way to conclude your 24h in Toulouse, you can still grab a drink in a panoramic bar (photo in "places" by: on the 6th floor of Galeries Lafayette.

Oh, and don’t forget to return the bicycle.

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