If everything goes according to plan, my partner and I will be moving to Toulouse in September. And I simply can’t wait!
Warmer climate (than Paris), relaxed atmosphere, good wine, friendly people. Yep. I’m ready for that. I am so ready I just wanna fast forward and get on to it.
Neither my partner nor I had ever been to Toulouse before we both decided this would become our new place to call home. But I’m here now. For one day. Taking pictures, tasting food, walking until my body can’t take it anymore and studying guidebooks and city maps. Before coming here, I’d heard only good things about this city. Seems like everyone I know, knows someone who’s moved down here for one reason or another.
Everybody has a friend or a friend of a friend who lives in Toulouse. That’s just how it is.
I was curious to find out why this particular city is such a popular place for expatriates, retired folks and those who just need a change of scenery. I mean, there are so many cities to choose from in France. So why exactly Toulouse?
Well, I’ve only been here for one day, but I’m already falling in love with this place. And I am pretty sure you would do the same.
And these are my 7 reasons why you should visit Toulouse
1. It’s charming.
Toulouse, nicknamed la ville rose (the pink city), had me go photo-crazy with all its beautiful churches, the iconic bridge Pont Neuf and all those picturesque little shopping streets.
2. It’s not an expensive city.
At least compared to some of the larger cities in France – especially the capital. Toulouse is a touristic city, but their prices have managed to stay reasonable. Did you know that basic things like milk, butter, fruits and vegetables are less expensive at supermarkets in Toulouse than in Paris?
3. The markets are great.
You know how passionate the French are about their food. An example. My partner refuses to cook ratatouille if it’s the “wrong” season. Me, I would just go to the supermarket and pick up the ingredients, no matter what country they’re imported from or how cold it is outside. Him on the other hand, would never ever eat a vegetable that isn’t local produce and fresh from the field, instead of some laboratory-test-veggie (which is probably what I eat). Point is, the French know what they want in terms of high quality food. At the markets you can find exactly that. The Victor Hugo market hall is open everyday (except Monday) from 6 am – 2 pm. Every Wednesday morning there’s also a market at Place du Capitol!
4. It’s a city for art lovers.
Street art, ceiling art (photo above), art galleries – there’s art on every corner in Toulouse. Do you like modern art? Check out the Bam Gallery. Contemporary? Visit the Galerie Alain Daudet. Wanna visit a water tower that’s hosting photography exhibitions? Go to the Chateau d’Eau. Or maybe you’d rather just stroll along the streets and look at urban street art?
5. The local cuisine.
This one will appeal more to the meat lovers than the vegetarians out there – although, there are vegetarian restaurants in Toulouse too (such as La faim des Haricots). But if you’re a meat eater, you’ll have to try the southwestern specialties, such as foie gras, anything duck (example, magrets de canard) and when in Toulouse…try the saucisse de Toulouse (sausage) and Cassoulet (stew with beans). Photos above were taken at restaurant Le Dahu – a spot I highly recommend to anyone interested in dining local.
6. The locals are friendly.
The French have an unfortunate reputation of being arrogant and unkind. While I have met some who were exactly that, I’ve met more people who weren’t. And so far, what I’ve noticed about people in Toulouse, is that they seem to be very open and chatty (even more so when they realize you speak French). No wonder I’m smiling, after all these lovely conversations with strangers in Toulouse!
7. The pink city is also green.
Yes, there are some lovely parks in Toulouse. Jardin des Plantes (public park and botanical garden) is an example of a perfect place to hang out on lazy days in the sun. Don’t you think?
So have I managed to convince you to visit Toulouse yet?