Known as La Ville Rose, (“the Pink City”) this charming location offered a idyllic whistle stop break away.
On arrival at Toulouse-Blagnac airport I jumped on board the tram located right outside the arrivals hall. For a reasonable price of just under two Euros for a single journey, the transfer from airport to the city centre was simple and stress free – setting the tone for duration of my visit.
My first port of call was a trip to the small town located on the Tarn River, just an hour by train from Toulouse, Albi.
This UNESCO World Heritage Centre, offered bags of charm. With picturesque views from either side of the river, quaint streets, red bricked architecture and Saint Cecile cathedral standing glorious.
If you enjoy spending an afternoon wondering old city streets, taking in historic monuments and simply enjoying some local wine in one of the many bistros or cafes, then this is the place for you.
My time was spent doing just that.
Taking in the impressive cathedral that dominated not only the skyline, but the centre of town. The largest brick build cathedral in the world and the largest painted cathedral in Europe, offers a rather impressive Gothic sight. For a small fee you can spend time inside taking in the colours and geometric patterns painted within.
Jardins de la Berbie was my favourite spot in Albi. Located between Palace de la Berbie and the Tarn River, the terrace offered a perfect view point across to the northern areas of Albi and the beautiful bridges spanning the river.
Pont Vieux, one of France’s oldest bridges dating back to the 11th century provides quite the photo opportunity of the cathedral across the River Tam. Enchanted by this spot, I could quite happily have sat, taking in the view for hours.
Back in the city centre of Toulouse there was plenty to keep me occupied. Working my way through the narrow cobbled streets and along the River Garonne, admiring the mix of architecture and enjoying the relaxed, friendly vibes.
Heading to the heart of the city, I found myself reaching the Place du Capitole and it’s name sake building, Capitole – Toulouse’s town hall. Dated back to 1750 it’s pink marble columns provide a rather impressive facade.
As one of the many buildings within Toulouse that is free to enter, you can spend time enjoying the artwork and painted ceilings of Salle de Ilustres.
A short walk from this main square you will stumble across Basilique St-Sernin. With it’s prominent bell tower and distinctive organ playing, it would be hard to miss.
Toulouse offered a multitude of religious buildings of significant interest. Couvent des Jacobins was by far my favourite.
Wonder through this elegant structure, admiring it’s ornate stained-glass windows, before heading to the rather tranquil Cloitre des Jacobins. For a very small entrance fee you will be able to enjoy its russet-brick columns surrounding a green courtyard, providing an overwhelming sense of calm.
Before I knew it it was time to depart from the beauty of Toulouse.
The city of colour, with it’s warm climate, had provided a perfect location for a 48 hour break away from home – re-instating my love for the South of France.