Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the
prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
of the
French department In the administrative divisions of France The administrative divisions of France are concerned with the institutional and territorial organization of French territory. These territories are located in many parts of the world. There are ...
Haute-Garonne Haute-Garonne (; oc, Nauta Garona, ; en, Upper Garonne) is a department in the Occitanie region of Southwestern France. Named after the Garonne River, its prefecture and main city is Toulouse, the country's fourth-largest. In 2016, it had ...

and of the larger
region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wo ...
Occitanie Occitanie (; oc, Occitània ; ca, Occitània ), Occitany or Occitania () is the southernmost Regions of France, administrative region of metropolitan France excluding Corsica, created on 1 January 2016 from the former regions of Languedoc-Roussi ...

. The city is on the banks of the
River Garonne
River Garonne
, from the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, from the
Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
and from
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

. It is the fourth-largest commune in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...

, with 479,553 inhabitants within its municipal boundaries (as of January 2017), after
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Marseille Marseille ( , , ; also spelled in English as Marseilles; oc, Marselha ) is the of the and , France. Situated in the , it is located on the coast of the , part of the , near the mouth of the . Marseille is the second-largest city in Franc ...

Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, Rodano ; frp, Rôno ; oc, ...

, ahead of
Nice Nice ( , ; Niçard: , classical norm, or , nonstandard, ; it, Nizza ; grc, Νίκαια; la, Nicaea) is the seventh most populous urban area in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République français ...

; it has a population of 1,360,829 within its wider
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the cult ...

metropolitan area
(also as of January 2017). Toulouse is the centre of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of
Airbus Airbus SE (; ; ; ) is a European multinational aerospace corporation. Airbus designs, manufactures and sells civil and military aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer space. Aerospace activity i ...
(formerly EADS), the SPOT satellite system,
ATRATR may refer to: Medicine * Acute transfusion reaction * Ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related, a protein involved in DNA damage repair Science * Advanced Test Reactor, nuclear research reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory, US * Attenuated ...
and the
Aerospace Valley Aerospace Valley is a France, French Business cluster, cluster of aerospace engineering companies and research centres. The cluster is located in the regions of Occitanie and Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the southwest of France and is mainly concentrated i ...
. It also hosts the European headquarters of
Intel Intel Corporation is an American and headquartered in , . It is the world's largest manufacturer by revenue, and is the developer of the series of s, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). , Intel ranked No. 45 in the 2020 ...

and the
CNES The (CNES; French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in We ...

's Toulouse Space Centre (CST), the largest space centre in Europe. Thales Alenia Space,
ATRATR may refer to: Medicine * Acute transfusion reaction * Ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related, a protein involved in DNA damage repair Science * Advanced Test Reactor, nuclear research reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory, US * Attenuated ...
, Safran, SAFRAN, Liebherr Aerospace, Liebherr-Aerospace and Airbus Defence and Space also have a significant presence in Toulouse. The University of Toulouse is one of the oldest in Europe (founded in 1229) and, with more than 103,000 students, it is the fourth-largest university campus in France, after the universities of University of Paris, Paris, University of Lyon, Lyon and University of Lille, Lille. The air route between Toulouse–Blagnac Airport, Toulouse–Blagnac and the Paris Aéroport, Parisian airports is the busiest in France, transporting 3.2 million passengers in 2019. According to the rankings of ''L'Express'' and Challenges (magazine), ''Challenges'', Toulouse is the most dynamic French city. Founded by the Romans, the city was the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom in the 5th century and the capital of the provinces of France, province of Languedoc in the Late Middle Ages and early modern period (provinces were abolished during the French Revolution), making it the unofficial capital of the cultural region of Occitania (Southern France). It is now the capital of the
Occitanie Occitanie (; oc, Occitània ; ca, Occitània ), Occitany or Occitania () is the southernmost Regions of France, administrative region of metropolitan France excluding Corsica, created on 1 January 2016 from the former regions of Languedoc-Roussi ...

region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wo ...
, the second largest region in Metropolitan France. Toulouse counts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Canal du Midi (designated in 1996 and shared with other cities), and the Basilica of St. Sernin, Toulouse, Basilica of St. Sernin, the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, designated in 1998 along with the former hospital Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques because of their significance to the World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France, Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. The city's unique architecture made of pinkish terracotta bricks has earned Toulouse the nickname ' ("The Pink City").


Toulouse is in the south of France, north of the department of Haute-Garonne, on the axis of communication between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.


The city is traversed by the Canal de Brienne, the Canal du Midi and the rivers Garonne, Touch River, Touch and Hers-Mort.


Toulouse has a temperate humid subtropical climate (''Cfa'' in the Köppen climate classification). Too much precipitation during the summer months prevents the city from being classified as a Mediterranean climate zone.


Early history

The Garonne Valley was a central point for trade between the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic since at least the European Iron Age, Iron Age. The historical name of the city, ''Tolosa'' (Τολῶσσα in Greek language, Greek, and of its inhabitants, the ''Tolosates'', first recorded in the 2nd century BC), is of unknown meaning or origin, possibly from Aquitanian language, Aquitanian or Iberian language, Iberian, but it has also been connected to the name of the Gaulish language, Gaulish Volcae Tectosages. Tolosa enters the historical period in the 2nd century BC, when it became a Roman Republic, Roman military outpost. After the conquest of Roman Gaul, Gaul, it was developed as a Roman city in Gallia Narbonensis. Under the reign of Emperor Augustus and thanks to the Pax Romana, the Romans moved the city a few kilometres from the hills where it was an oppidum to the banks of the Garonne, which were more suitable for trade. Around the year 250, Toulouse was marked by the martyrdom of Saturnin, the first bishop of Toulouse. This episode illustrates the difficult beginnings of Christianity in Roman Gaul. In the 5th century, Tolosa fell to the Visigothic kingdom and became one of its major cities, in the early 6th century even serving as its capital, before it fell to the Francia, Franks under Clovis I, Clovis in 507 (Battle of Vouillé). From that time, Toulouse was the capital of Duchy of Aquitaine, Aquitaine within the Frankish realm. In 721, Odo the Great, Duke Odo of Aquitaine defeated an invading Umayyad Caliphate, Umayyad Muslim army at the Battle of Toulouse (721), Battle of Toulouse. Many Arab chroniclers consider that Odo's victory was the real stop to Muslim expansion into Christendom, Christian Europe, incursions of the following years being simple raids without real will of conquest (including the one that ended with Charles Martel's victory at the Battle of Tours, also called the Battle of Poitiers). The Frankish conquest of Septimania followed in the 750s, and a quasi-independent County of Toulouse emerged within the Carolingian sub-kingdom of Aquitaine by the late 8th century. The Battle of Toulouse (844), Battle of Toulouse of 844, pitting Charles the Bald against Pepin II of Aquitaine, was key in the Carolingian Civil War.

County of Toulouse

In 1096, Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse, left with his army at the call of the Pope Urban II to join the First Crusade, of which he was one of the main leaders. In the 12th century the notables of the city took advantage of a weakening of the county power to obtain for their city a great autonomy, they created a municipal body of consuls, called capitouls in Toulouse, to lead the city.

The fight against Catharism and its various aspects

At the beginning of the thirteenth century the County of Toulouse was caught up in Albigensian Crusade, another crusade that would last twenty years (1209-1229), of which it was the target this time. The reason for this was the development of Catharism in the south of France, which the Pope Innocent III wanted to eradicate by all possible means. After an initial victory of the crusaders led by Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort who defeated the combined forces of Count Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, Raymond VI of Toulouse and King Peter II of Aragon, the following years saw the fate of the county of Toulouse swing alternately in favour of one party or the other. Finally, a late intervention by King Louis VIII of France in 1226 tipped the balance in favour of the crusaders, resulting in the submission of Count Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, Raymond VII to the French Crown and the end of the independence of the County of Toulouse. But beyond the military crusade, this struggle took on several important aspects for the city of Toulouse: * The Dominican Order was founded in Toulouse by Saint Dominic in 1215. Spanish priest Dominic de Guzmán wanted to convert the Cathars to Catholicism peacefully, by preaching and by living a poor and exemplary life. After years of criss-crossing the Lauraguais countryside between Carcassonne and Toulouse, he changed his method and decided to preach in town. In 1215 he settled in Toulouse and founded a mendicant order which, within a few decades, would cover Europe with hundreds of convents: The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans. * Under the impulse of the bishop of Toulouse, Folquet de Marselha, Foulques, an original and austere architectural style was born in Toulouse, designed to break with the display of luxury of the Catholic church which drove the faithful towards the Cathars: the Southern French Gothic. * In the Treaty of Paris (1229), Treaty of Paris of 1229, Toulouse formally submitted to the crown of France. The county's sole heiress Joan, Countess of Toulouse, Joan was engaged to Alphonse, Count of Poitiers, a younger brother of Louis IX of France. The marriage became legal in 1241, but it remained childless and so after Joan's death, the county fell to the Crown of France by inheritance. * Another consequence of the Treaty of Paris was the creation of the University of Toulouse, established on the University of Paris, Parisian model, strongly sponsored by the pope and intended as a means to dissolve the heretic movement. * Also in 1229, the Council of Toulouse was held, which laid the foundations for the long period of Medieval Inquisition, Inquisition that was to eradicate Catharism in the region after the military victory of the Crusade.

Kingdom of France

In 1271, Toulouse was incorporated into the kingdom of France and declared a "Crown lands of France#Reign of Philip III, royal city". In 1323 the Consistori del Gay Saber was created in Toulouse to preserve the Lyric poetry, lyric art of the troubadours by organizing a poetry contest; and Toulouse became the centre of Occitania, Occitan literary culture for the following centuries. The Consistori del Gay Saber is considered to be the oldest literary society in Europe, at the origin of one of the most sophisticated Leys d'amor, treatise on grammar and rhetoric of the Middle Ages, and in 1694 it was transformed into the Royal Academy of the Floral Games (''Académie des Jeux Floraux''), still active today, by king Louis XIV. The 14th century brought a pogrom against Toulouse's Jewish population by crusades, Crusaders in 1320, the Black Death in 1348, then the Hundred Years' War. Despite strong immigration, the population lost 10,000 inhabitants in 70 years. By 1405 Toulouse had only 19,000 people. The city was the key stronghold of the French defence in the south of France during the worst years of the Hundred Years' War, when the English troops from Aquitaine had taken Montauban and only Toulouse remained as an obstacle to their conquest of southern France. This military threat to the city and especially to the surrounding countryside was not conducive to its development. In spite of this, the 14th century saw a significant increase in the influence of the University of Toulouse, particularly following the move of the papacy from Rome to Avignon. Many law graduates from the University of Toulouse had brilliant careers in the Avignon Papacy, Avignon curia, several became cardinals and three became popes: Pope John XXII, John XXII, Pope Innocent VI, Innocent VI and Pope Urban V, Urban V. These powerful prelates financed the establishment of colleges in the university towns of southern France, not only Toulouse but also Montpellier, Cahors and Avignon.Cyril Eugene Smith: «University of Toulouse in the middle ages, its origins and growth to 1500 AD.» Ed. The Marquette university press, 1958. In 1369 pope Urban V attributed to the Dominican church of the Church of the Jacobins, Jacobins of Toulouse the bones of the famous Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas, Saint Thomas Aquinas, perhaps to honor the city that had been the cradle of the Dominican order at the beginning of the previous century. The political and economic situation improved in the 15th century. In 1443 King Charles VII of France, Charles VII established the second Parliament of Toulouse, parliament of France after that of Paris. Reinforcing its place as an administrative and judicial center, the city grew richer, participating in the trade of Bordeaux wine with England, as well as cereals and textiles. A major source of income was the production and export of Isatis tinctoria, pastel, a blue dye made from woad. The fortune generated by this international trade was at the origin of several of Toulouse's superb Renaissance mansions. Toulouse suffered several fires, but it was in 1463 that the Great Fire of Toulouse broke out, ravaging the city for fifteen days. After this dramatic event, King Louis XIII exempted the city from taxes for 100 years. The capitouls issued municipal decrees favouring the use of brick in buildings, rather than excessively flammable wood or cob. In 1562 the French Wars of Religion began and Toulouse became an ultra-Catholic stronghold in a predominantly Protestant region, the era of economic prosperity came to an end. The governor of Languedoc, Henri II de Montmorency, who had rebelled, was executed in 1632 in the Capitole de Toulouse, Capitole in the presence of King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. In 1666 Pierre-Paul Riquet started the construction of the Canal du Midi which links Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea, and is considered one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century. Completed in 1681, the canal stimulated the economy of Toulouse by promoting the export of cereals (wheat and corn) and the import of olive oil and other goods from the Mediterranean regions. In the 18th century, Toulouse was a provincial capital that prided itself on its royal academies (the only city in France, along with Paris, to have three royal academies), but seemed far removed from the debates of ideas that agitated the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment. A famous example illustrates this backwardness of Toulouse mentalities of the time: in 1762 its powerful parliament sentenced Jean Calas to death. The philosopher Voltaire then accused the Parliament of Toulouse of religious intolerance (Calas was a Protestant), gave the affair a European repercussion and succeeded in having the judgment of the parliament quashed by the King's Council, which did much damage to the reputation of the parliament. It was on this occasion that Voltaire published one of his major philosophical works: his famous Treatise on Tolerance. With the French Revolution of 1789 and the reform or suppression of all royal institutions, Toulouse lost much of its power and influence: until then the capital of the vast province of Languedoc, with a parliament ruling over an even larger territory, the city then found itself simply at the head of the single small department of
Haute-Garonne Haute-Garonne (; oc, Nauta Garona, ; en, Upper Garonne) is a department in the Occitanie region of Southwestern France. Named after the Garonne River, its prefecture and main city is Toulouse, the country's fourth-largest. In 2016, it had ...


19th century

On 10 April 1814, four days after Napoleon's surrender of the First French Empire, French Empire to the nations of the Sixth Coalition (a fact that the two armies involved were not yet aware of), the Battle of Toulouse (1814), Battle of Toulouse pitted the Hispanic-British troops of Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Wellington against the French troops of Napoleonic Marshal Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult, Soult, who, although they managed to resist, were forced to withdraw. Toulouse was thus the scene of the last Franco-British battle on French territory. Unlike most large French cities, there was no real industrial revolution in 19th century Toulouse. The most important industries were the gunpowder factory, to meet military needs, and the tobacco factory. In 1856 the railway arrived in Toulouse and the city was modernised: the ramparts were replaced by large boulevards, and major avenues such as the ''rue d'Alsace-Lorraine'' and the ''rue de Metz'' opened up the historic centre. In 1875 a flood of the Garonne devastated more than 1,000 houses and killed 200 people. It also destroyed all the bridges in Toulouse, except the Pont-Neuf.

20th and 21st centuries

World War I brought to Toulouse (geographically sheltered from enemy attacks) chemical industries as well as aviation workshops (Pierre-Georges Latécoère, Latécoère, Dewoitine), which launched the city's aeronautical construction tradition and gave birth after the war to the famous ''Aéropostale (aviation), Aéropostale'', a pioneering airmail company based in Toulouse and whose epics were popularised by the novels of writers such as Joseph Kessel and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (himself an ''Aéropostale'' pilot). In the 1920s and 1930s the rise of the Toulouse population was increased by the arrival of Italians and Spaniards fleeing the fascist regimes of their country. Then, in the early 1960s, French repatriates from Algeria swelled the city's population. In 1963, Toulouse was chosen to become one of the country's eight “balancing Metropolis”, regaining a position among the country's major cities that it had always had, but lost in the 19th century. The French state then encouraged the city's specialisation in aeronautics and space activities, sectors that had experienced strong growth in recent decades, fueling economic and population growth. On 21 September 2001, an Toulouse chemical factory explosion, explosion occurred at the AZF fertiliser factory, causing 31 deaths, about 30 seriously wounded and 2,500 light casualties. The blast measured 3.4 on the Richter scale and the explosion was heard away. In 2016 a territorial reform made Toulouse the regional
prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
Occitanie Occitanie (; oc, Occitània ; ca, Occitània ), Occitany or Occitania () is the southernmost Regions of France, administrative region of metropolitan France excluding Corsica, created on 1 January 2016 from the former regions of Languedoc-Roussi ...

, the second largest region in metropolitan France, giving it a role commensurate with its past as a provincial capital among the most important in France.


The population of the city proper (French: ''Commune of France, commune'') was 479,553 at the January 2017 census, with 1,360,829 inhabitants in the Metropolitan Area (France), metropolitan area (within the 2010 borders of the metropolitan area), up from 1,187,686 at the January 2007 census (within the same 2010 borders of the metropolitan area). Thus, the metropolitan area registered a population growth rate of +1.4% per year between 2007 and 2017, the highest growth rate of any French metropolitan area larger than 500,000 inhabitants, although it is slightly lower than the growth rate registered between the 1999 and 2007 censuses. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, after Paris,
Marseille Marseille ( , , ; also spelled in English as Marseilles; oc, Marselha ) is the of the and , France. Situated in the , it is located on the coast of the , part of the , near the mouth of the . Marseille is the second-largest city in Franc ...

Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, Rodano ; frp, Rôno ; oc, ...

, and the fourth-largest metropolitan area after Paris, Lyon, and Marseille. Fueled by booming aerospace and high-tech industries, population growth of +1.49% a year in the metropolitan area in the 1990s (compared with +0.37% for metropolitan France), and a record +1.87% a year in the early 2000s (+0.68% for metropolitan France), which is the highest population growth of any French metropolitan area larger than 500,000 inhabitants, means the Toulouse metropolitan area overtook Lille as the fourth-largest metropolitan area of France at the 2006 census. A local Jewish group estimates there are about 2,500 Jewish families in Toulouse. A Muslim association has estimated there are some 35,000 Muslims in town.

Government and politics

Toulouse Métropole

The Community of Agglomeration of Greater Toulouse (''Communauté d'agglomération du Grand Toulouse'') was created in 2001 to better coordinate transport, infrastructure and economic policies between the city of Toulouse and its immediate independent suburbs. It succeeds a previous district which had been created in 1992 with fewer powers than the current council. It combines the city of Toulouse and 24 independent ''communes'', covering an area of , totalling a population of 583,229 inhabitants (as of 1999 census), 67% of whom live in the city of Toulouse proper. As of February 2004 estimate, the total population of the Community of Agglomeration of Greater Toulouse was 651,209 inhabitants, 65.5% of whom live in the city of Toulouse. Due to local political feuds, the Community of Agglomeration only hosts 61% of the population of the metropolitan area, the other independent suburbs having refused to join in. Since 2009, the Community of agglomeration has become an urban community (in French: communauté urbaine). This has become a métropole in 2015, spanning 37 communes.

Local politics

One of the major political figures in Toulouse was Dominique Baudis, the Mayor (France), mayor of Toulouse between 1983 and 2001, member of the centrist Union for French Democracy, UDF. First known as a journalist known for his coverage of the war in Lebanon, 36-year-old Dominique Baudis succeeded his father Pierre Baudis in 1983 as mayor of Toulouse. (Pierre Baudis was mayor from 1971 to 1983.) Baudis tried to strengthen the international role of Toulouse (such as its
Airbus Airbus SE (; ; ; ) is a European multinational aerospace corporation. Airbus designs, manufactures and sells civil and military aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer space. Aerospace activity i ...
operations), as well as revive the cultural heritage of the city. The Occitan cross, flag of Languedoc and symbol of the counts of Toulouse, was chosen as the new flag of the city, instead of the traditional coat of arms of Toulouse (which included the fleur de lis of the French monarchy). Many cultural institutions were created, in order to attract foreign expatriates and emphasise the city's past. For example, monuments dating from the time of the History of Toulouse, counts of Toulouse were restored, the city's symphonic concert hall (''Halle aux Grains'') was refurbished, a city theater was built, a Museum of Modern Art was founded, the Bemberg Foundation (European paintings and Bronze sculpture, bronzes from the Renaissance to the 20th century) was established, a huge pop music concert venue (''Zénith'', the largest in France outside Paris) was built, the space museum and educational park ''Cité de l'Espace'' was founded, etc. To deal with growth, major housing and transportation projects were launched. Line A of the Rapid transit, underground was opened in 1993, and line B opened in 2007. The creation of a system of underground car parking structures in Toulouse city centre was sharply criticised by the The Greens (France), Green Party. In 2000, Dominique Baudis was at the zenith of his popularity, with approval rates of 85%. He announced that he would not run for a fourth (6-year) term in 2001. He explained that with 3 terms he was already the longest-serving mayor of Toulouse since the French Revolution; he felt that change would be good for the city, and that the number of terms should be limited. He endorsed Philippe Douste-Blazy, then Union for French Democracy, UDF mayor of Lourdes as his successor. Baudis has since been appointed president of the CSA (''Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel'') in Paris, the French equivalent of the American Federal Communications Commission, FCC. Philippe Douste-Blazy narrowly won in the 2001 elections, which saw the left making its best showing in decades. Douste-Blazy had to deal with a reinvigorated political opposition, as well as with the dramatic explosion of the AZF (factory), AZF plant in late 2001. In March 2004, he entered the national government, and left Toulouse in the hands of his second-in-command Jean-Luc Moudenc, elected mayor by the municipal council. In March 2008, Moudenc was defeated by the Socialist Party's candidate Pierre Cohen. At the next elections in 2014 Moudenc defeated Cohen in a rematch to re-take the job with more than 52% of the votes, and he was re-elected with almost the same score in 2020.


Sights and architecture

Classified "City of Art and History", Toulouse has a very rich architectural heritage ranging from large Romanesque and Gothic churches to neo-classical facades such as that of the Capitole, to the prestigious mansions of the Renaissance. This ancient heritage is mainly enclosed within the 220 hectares of the city's inner boulevard (one of the largest protected urban areas in France). Almost all the buildings of the historical centre were made with the traditional building material of the region: the "foraine" brick that has earned the city the nickname of ''Ville Rose'' (Pink city). Medieval heir to the Roman brick, the "foraine" brick is characterised by its large dimensions, its flat appearance and its colour ranging from orange/pink to red. White stone is also present in smaller quantities. As there were no stone quarries near Toulouse, it was transported from the Pyrenees via the Garonne river and was for a long time rare and therefore expensive, considered in Toulouse as a luxury material. However, it is enough to give Toulouse's architecture one of its characteristics: red/white polychromy.

Romanesque architecture (11th-12th c.)

The Romanesque architecture of Toulouse is largely dominated by the presence of the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, one of the most important churches of its time in Europe, and fortunate enough to keep its Romanesque character virtually intact.

Basilica of Saint-Sernin

Saint-Sernin Basilica, Basilica of Saint-Sernin, part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France, Way of Saint James UNESCO World Heritage Site, was also in itself a major place of pilgrimage. It is one of the two largest surviving Romanesque architecture, Romanesque churches in Europe.Speyer cathedral is slightly larger, but unlike Saint-Sernin this church has been largely destroyed and rebuilt in its history, so the question of which is the largest remaining Romanesque church depends on the criteria chosen as to Romanesque character. With more than two hundred relics (including six apostles), many of which were donated by Charlemagne to the shrine that preceded the present church, Saint-Sernin is the church with the most relics after Saint Peter of Rome.Jean-Claude Jaffé, "''Toulouse, le patrimoine révélé''". Éditions Privat, 2013. Conceived from the outset as a gigantic reliquary, the church was mainly built at the end of the 11th century and at the beginning of the 12th century to welcome the crowds of pilgrims, its double-sided aisles and the ambulatory surrounding the apse make it the archetype of the great pilgrimage church, where pilgrims could make the circuit around the church and were able to stop for meditation and prayer at the apsidal chapels of the transept and the radiating chapels of the choir. The church is also particularly noteworthy for the quality of its Romanesque sculptures, including numerous capitals and the historiated tympanum of the Miègeville gate, one of the first of its kind.Quitterie and Daniel Cazes, "See you in Toulouse". Éditions Sud-Ouest, 2018. File:Basilique_Saint-Sernin_de_Toulouse_-_exposition_ouest-1-.jpg, Basilica of Saint-Sernin. File:Toulouse Saint Sernin (2012.08) 08.jpg, The east side is the oldest part. File:Porte_Miégeville_-_Basilique_Saint-Sernin.jpg, The Miègeville gate. File:Tympan_de_la_porte_Miegeville.jpg, Romanesque tympanum (late 11th c. or early 12th c.). File:Console_aux_personnages_symmétiques.JPG, Romanesque sculptures. File:Nef de la Basilique Saint-Sernin. - FRAC31555 18Fi019.jpg, The central nave of the church. File:31_-_Toulouse_-_Basilique_Saint-Sernin_-_Fresque_de_la_Résurrection_PM31001049.jpg, Romanesque paintings. File:31 - Toulouse - Autel principal de la Basilique Saint-Sernin - PalissyPM31000779.jpg, Bernard Gilduin's altar table, consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1096. File:31_-_Toulouse_-_Basilique_Saint-Sernin_-_Christ_en_majesté_-_Bernard_Gilduin_-_PM31001052.jpg, Christ in Majesty by Bernard Gilduin, late 11th c.

Gothic architecture (13th c.-early 16th c.)

Southern French Gothic: a militant religious architecture

At the beginning of the 13th century, the Catholic clergy of the South of France, seeing a growing number of the faithful turning to the Catharism which advocated a more pious austerity, showed the will to correct the defects of the Catholic Church which indulged in luxury. Under the impulse of the bishop of Toulouse, Folquet de Marselha, Foulques, an austere and militant architectural style was born with the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Toulouse: the Southern French Gothic. Conceived according to an ideal of poverty and humility to bring the faithful together in a single, vast nave to facilitate preaching, this architectural style then developed during the 13th century in the grand mendicant convents of the city, before spreading in the 14th century to a large number of churches and cathedrals in the region.Caroline de Barrau, "''Le gothique toulousain, un art militant''", in magazine VMF of march 2010 (''revue des Vieilles Maisons Françaises''), in French. Several churches or convents in Toulouse belong to this architectural trend, but two of them are particularly symbolic and remarkable: * Toulouse Cathedral, Cathedral of Saint-Etienne (Saint Stephen) is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toulouse. Its construction, which was mainly done at the beginning and then at the end of the 13th century, reflects the history of this decisive century which saw the city lose its independence to become a French city. The single nave is the first example of Southern French Gothic, at 19 metres wide it probably was at its completion the widest in Western Europe (1210-1220). The higher choir that adjoins it was built in the Gothic style of northern France shortly after the city became part of the Crown of France in 1271. * Church of the Jacobins, Convent of the Jacobins (13th century / early 14th century) was the Dominican convent of Toulouse and is considered to be, together with the Albi Cathedral, the pinnacle of Southern French Gothic architecture. Like all Southern French Gothic churches it has a deliberately austere exterior, but on the inside its alignment of cylindrical columns form one of the tallest colonnades ever erected in Gothic architecture (28 metres high). The masterpiece of this church is the column that closes the choir (1275-1292), its palm tree shape was a hundred years ahead of the flamboyant gothic fan vaults. Because he thought that the bones of Saint Thomas Aquinas deserved «the most beautiful and most splendid surroundings», in 1368 Pope Urban V made the church of the Jacobins the burial place of the famous Dominican friar, one of the most notable philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages. File:Façade_de_la_cathédrale_Saint-Étienne_de_Toulouse.jpg, Toulouse cathedral. File:Nef_de_la_cathédrale_Saint-Etienne_de_Toulouse.jpg, Old nave of the Toulouse Cathedral. File:Altar - Cathedral Saint-Etienne in Toulouse - 2012-05-08.jpg, Altar in the choir of the Toulouse Cathedral (gothic of northern France). File:Couvent_des_Jacobins_de_Toulouse.jpg, Church of the Jacobins, exterior (13th c.). File:Toulouse-Jacobins-voûte.jpg, The vault of the Jacobins and its famous palm tree. File:Cloître_et_clocher_des_Jacobins.jpg, Cloister (14th c.) and bell tower (1298) of the Jacobins. File:Augustins - Grand cloître et clocher des Augustins de Toulouse.jpg, Augustinian Convent (14th c.). File:31 - Eglise Notre-Dame du Taur - Facade.jpg, Wall belfry of Notre-Dame du Taur (14th c.). File:Taur 2892.jpg, Top of the wall belfry of Notre-Dame du Taur, with miter arches typical of Southern French Gothic.

Gothic civil architecture

Toulouse has preserved about thirty Gothic stair towers (plus a dozen Renaissance or later towers), the remains of private mansions (called ''hôtel particulier, hôtels particuliers'') from the Middle Ages and the early 16th century. Often hidden in courtyards, some of these towers are high enough to exceed their function of serving the floors and display the ambition of their owners. At a time when most of the houses in Toulouse were built in wood or Cob (material), cob, the brick construction of these towers and ''hôtels'' also testifies to their quality. File:Hotel_de_Boysson_Toulouse.jpg, Boysson tower, 1478. File:Delfau-sommet.jpg, Delfau tower, 1497. File:Lancefoc et Serta.jpg, Lancefoc tower (late 15th c.) and Serta tower (1529). File:Olmieres-tour.jpg, Olmières tower, 1503. File:Bernuy-sommet-2.jpg, Bernuy tower, 1504. File:Bruni-tour.jpg, Bruni tower, 1510. File:Tour de Berenguier Bonnefoy 1513.JPG, Beringuier Bonnefoy tower, 1513. File:2_rue_Saint-Rome_-_Tour_Serta.jpg, Serta tower, 1529. File:Toulouse_-_Maison_Pierre_Delfau_-_Porche_PA00094614.jpg, Door of the Hotel Delfau. File:Toulouse-portail-bernuy.jpg, Door of the Hotel de Bernuy. File:Maison-rg-fenetre.jpg, Romanesque-Gothic house window, with small carved decoration (c. 1300). File:Toulouse-fenetre-hôtel-boysson.jpg, Hôtel Boysson window (late 15th c.). File:Capitole Toulouse - Le donjon.jpg, Former tower of the city archives, 1525-1530 (except for the 19th century roof).

Renaissance architecture (16th c.-early 17th c.)

In the 16th century, Toulouse experienced a golden age coinciding with the Renaissance in France. The Isatis tinctoria, woad trade (''pastel'') brought merchants of international stature to the city, and the Parliament of Toulouse made the city the judicial capital of a large part of the south of France. These wealthy elites had private mansions built, remarkable for their architecture inspired by architectural treatises such as those of Sebastiano Serlio, Serlio, Leon Battista Alberti, Alberti or Vitruvius, but also by the royal castles of the Châteaux of the Loire Valley, Loire Valley and the History of Île-de-France, Île-de-France.Collective work directed by Pascal Julien, «catalogue de l'exposition Toulouse Renaissance» ("Toulouse Renaissance exhibition catalogue"), Somogy éditions d'art, 2018. Renowned for the quality of their architecture, the private mansions of the Toulouse Renaissance that have survived to the present day were built over more than a century (around 1515–1620) by reputed architects such as Louis Privat, Nicolas Bachelier, Dominique Bachelier or Pierre Souffron. The most famous of these ''hôtels'' are those of Hôtel d'Assézat, Assézat, Hôtel de Bernuy, Bernuy, Hôtel du Vieux-Raisin, Vieux-Raisin or Hôtel de Bagis, Clary... File:Hôtel d'Assézat - Main courtyard - 2014-09-01.jpg, Classical facades of hôtel d'Assézat. File:Assezat-15(1).jpg, Hôtel d'Assézat. File:Cour de Bernuy.jpg, Courtyard of hôtel de Bernuy. File:Toulouse_-_Bernuy_-_voute.jpg, Low vault of hôtel de Bernuy. File:Hôtel du Vieux-Raisin.jpg, Hôtel du Vieux-Raisin. File:Vx-raisin_(2).jpg, Renaissance windows at hôtel du Vieux-Raisin. File:Hôtel_d'Arnaud_de_Brucelles_-_La_tour.jpg, Tower of hôtel de Brucelles. File:Clary_(1).jpg, The hôtel de Clary and its richly sculpted decoration. File:Toulouse-vx-raisin-porte-escalier_01.jpg, Door of hôtel du Vieux-Raisin. File:Assezat-02(12).jpg, Portal of hôtel d'Assézat. File:31_-_Hôtel_d'Assézat_-_Porte_escalier_de_l'angle_nord-ouest.jpg, Door of hôtel d'Assézat. File:Toulouse-porte-assezat-academies.jpg, Door of hôtel d'Assézat. File:Felzins-facade.jpg, Portal of Hôtel de Felzins, hôtel Molinier. File:Ancien_petit_Séminaire_de_l'Esquile.jpg, Portal of a former college of the university. File:Façade_de_Notre-Dame_de_la_Dalbade_-_Portail.jpg, Portal of Dalbade church. File:Hôtel_Dahus_Toulouse_Porte_de_la_tour_Tournoer.jpg, Door of hôtel Dahus. File:Entrée d'immeuble originale.jpg, Door of hôtel de Guillaume de Bernuy. File:Hotel_de_Bagis_-_Porte_des_vieillards.jpg, Door of hôtel de Bagis. File:Capitole_de_Toulouse_-_Cour_Henri_IV_-_portail_de_Nicolas_Bachelier.jpg, Triumphal portal of the Capitole de Toulouse, Capitole. File:Entrée du Collège Pierre de Fermat à Toulouse.jpg, Portal of the former Jesuit college.

17th century architecture

17th century religious architecture

The French Wars of Religion, which started in the second half of the 16th century, brought to the city many religious orders who came to seek asylum in this solid Catholic bastion. They had beautiful baroque churches built in the 17th century: among them, the Carthusians, Order of Carthusians, expelled by the Protestants from the region of Castres, founded the church of Saint-Pierre des Chartreux, the order of the Discalced Carmelites built the church of Saint-Exupère, the Confraternity of penitents, blue penitents founded the church of Saint-Jérôme and the order of Carmelite nuns created a convent of which a remarkable painted chapel remains. File:St Pierre des Chartreux - PA00094503.jpg, Church of Saint-Pierre des Chartreux. File:Église Saint-Pierre des Chartreux de Toulouse 02.jpg, Church of Saint-Pierre des Chartreux. Eglise Saint-Pierre des Chartreux de Toulouse - Façade.jpg, Portal of Saint-Pierre des Chartreux. File:Eglise_Saint-Exupère_de_Toulouse.jpg, Church of Saint-Exupère. File:Eglise_Saint-Exupère_de_Toulouse_-_St_Joseph_by_Drouet.jpg, Church of Saint-Exupère (detail of the facade). File:Église_Saint-Exupère_de_Toulouse_Interior_Nef.jpg, Church of Saint-Exupère. File:Église_Saint-Jérôme_de_Toulouse.jpg, Church of Saint-Jérôme. File:Chapelle_des_Carmélites_-_Interieur.jpg, Chapel of the Carmelites (partly 18th century). File:Chapelle des Carmélites Toulouse 01.jpg, Vault of the chapel of the Carmelites.

17th century civil architecture

After the Renaissance, the decorations in civil architecture became less numerous and ostentatious, due to the importance given to the moderation of the architectural structures and the development of interior decorations. The play of colours (between brick and stone) and reliefs (bossing) were less costly and nevertheless effective solutions for livening up facades. The 17th century is the century that gave Toulouse the largest number of its private mansions, most of them built by members of parliament.Guy Ahlsell de Toulza, Louis Peyrusse, Bruno Tollon, «Hôtels et demeures de Toulouse et du Midi toulousain» ("Hotels and residences in Toulouse and the region of Toulouse"), Editor Daniel Briand, 1997. Hotel_de_Caulet-Resseguier_(Toulouse).jpg, Hôtel de Caulet. Hôtel Pierre Comère.jpg, Hôtel Comère. (Toulouse) 24 Grande-rue Nazareth - Hôtel d'Avizard - Façade.jpg, Hôtel d'Avizard. Hotel_st_Jean_3.jpg, Hôtel Saint-Jean (courtyard), former Grand Priory of Knights Hospitaller. Toulouse-Capitole-Cour_Henri_IV_(2).jpg, Henri IV courtyard of the Capitole: brick and stone. Chalvet_2.jpg, Portal of hôtel de Chalvet. Hôtel_d'Orbessan_(Toulouse)_-_Façade_rue_Mage_-_Le_portail.jpg, Portal of hôtel d'Orbessan. Portail Lakanal.jpg, Portal of the former Jesuit novitiate. Desplats-2.jpg, Portal of hôtel Desplats (courtyard). Hôtel_des_chevaliers_de_Saint-Jean_de_Jérusalem_in_Toulouse_Porche.jpg, Portal of hôtel Saint-Jean. Hôtel_Pierre_Comère_-_Portail_rue_Tripière.jpg, Side portal of hôtel Comère, cut out of brick.

18th century architecture

In the 18th century Toulouse made its living from its Parliament and from the wheat and corn trade, which was boosted by the creation of the Canal du Midi at the end of the previous century. Among the major architectural achievements, the most notable were undoubtedly the construction of the quays of the Garonne and the new facade of the Capitole de Toulouse, Capitole (1750-1760), designed by architect Guillaume Cammas. In the last third of the 18th century, the ever increasing influence of the Parisian model meant that red brick was no longer popular: the city facades were then covered with white paint to imitate stone. This is why nowadays, even though the white paint has generally been removed, there are walls with deep grooves carved in brick to imitate ashlar architecture. File:Capitole-27.jpg, Capitole - City hall. File:Le_Capitole.jpg, Capitole pediment and columns in red marble. File:Hôtel_de_Nupces.jpg, Hôtel de Nupces. File:Hôtel_d'Espie.JPG, Hôtel d'Espie. File:Hôtel_d'Espie_-_Portail_sur_la_rue_Mage_à_Toulouse.jpg, Portal of hôtel d'Espie. File:Chambre_de_commerce_-_Hôtel_de_Ciron_-_Fumel_à_Toulouse_-_Façade_sur_cour.jpg, Hôtel de Ciron-Fumel. File:Ancien_hôtel_de_Bonfontan_-_41_rue_Croix-Baragnon_Toulouse_-_MériméePA00094534_-_ferronneries_de_style_rocaille,_par_Bernard_Ortet.jpg, Hôtel de Bonfontan. File:Toulouse_-_Basilique_de_la_Daurade_(1).jpg, Basilica of la Daurade.

19th and 20th century architecture

Toulouse's 19th century architecture can be divided into three periods, which sometimes overlapped. In the first half of the century, at the instigation of architect Jacques-Pascal Virebent, the main planned squares were created: the Place du Capitole and the Place Wilson (called place Villeneuve when it was built), whose uniform architecture was inspired by Rue de Rivoli in Paris. From 1830 onwards, Auguste Virebent and his brothers (sons of Jacques-Pascal) developed a factory of low-cost moulded decorations which met with great success and adorned Toulouse facades with numerous terracotta ornaments, far from the austere architecture of their father. Then, in the last third of the 19th century, large Haussmann-style avenues were opened in the town centre, such as the central Alsace-Lorraine street, built in yellow brick to imitate Parisian stone. File:Toulouse-Wilson.JPG, ''Place Wilson'' (19th c.), an oval-shaped square. File:Toulouse-Place du Capitole.jpg, ''Place du Capitole'', the main square of Toulouse (19th c.). File:Café_Bibent.jpg, ''Place du Capitole'' (''Café Bibent''). File:Maison Lamothe (Toulouse).jpg, Facade with moulded terracotta decorations (19th c.). File:Immeuble_28_rue_des_Marchands.jpg, Facade with moulded terracotta decorations (19th c.). File:Toulouse - rue d'Alsace.jpg, Yellow brick of Alsace-Lorraine street (19th c.). File:Façade Art Nouveau, rue Gambetta.jpg, Art nouveau facade, Gambetta street (20th c.). File:Immeuble dit de La Dépêche du Midi, Toulouse.jpg, Art Deco facade, Alsace-Lorraine street (20th c.).

Banks of the Garonne, Canal du Midi, parks

The banks of the Garonne, Garonne river offer an interesting urban panorama of the city. Red brick dykes from the 18th century enclose the river which was subject to destructive floods. The Pont Neuf, Toulouse, Pont-Neuf took almost a century to build as the project was so ambitious (1545-1632). It was a very modern bridge for its time, removing the housing on the deck and using, possibly for the first time together, techniques such as basket-handle (surbased) arches, openings in the piers and stacked spouts to spread the water, making it the only bridge in Toulouse to withstand the violent floods of the past. Further downstream, the Bazacle is a ford across the Garonne river, in the 12th century the Bazacle Milling Company was the first recorded European joint-stock company. On the left bank of the river, historically a flood-prone bank, stand two former hospitals whose origins date back to the 12th century: the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques and the Hôpital de La Grave. Isolated on the left bank, victims of the plague and other sick people were thus kept away from the city by the width of the river. Built at the end of the 17th century, the Canal du Midi bypasses the city centre and has linked Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea ever since. Its 240 kilometres were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The ''Jardin des Plantes, Toulouse, Jardin des Plantes'' is a large park spanning several blocks, including the museum of Natural History, cafés, activities for children and a botanical garden (early 19th century). File:Le Pont-Neuf de Toulouse.jpg, ''Pont-Neuf'' (16th-17th c.). File:Garonne_5102.jpg, Red brick dykes from the 18th century. File:Panorama Quais & Pont Neuf Toulouse.jpg, Quays of the Garonne and ''Pont-Neuf''. File:Hotel-dieu-02b(1).jpg, ''Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques'' former hospital (12th–19th c.). File:Hopital_de_la_Grave_-_Toulouse_-_2012-06-23.jpg, ''Hôpital de La Grave, La Grave'' former hospital (12th–19th c.) and the copper dome of its chapel. File:Le_Port_de_la_Daurade.jpg, ''Port de la Daurade'', a former river port converted into a recreational area. File:Toulouse rempart et dôme au jardin Raymond VI.jpg, Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, Raymond VI garden, at the foot of the last remains of the old Toulouse ramparts on the left bank. File:Canal du Midi Ramonville.jpg, ''Canal du Midi'' (17th c.). File:Grand_Rond_(jardin).jpg, ''Grand rond'' park. File:Jardin_Japonais_de_Toulouse.jpg, Japanese garden. File:Ancienne_porte_du_Capitole_(Toulouse).jpg, Renaissance portal in ''Jardin des Plantes, Toulouse, Jardin des plantes''.

Museums and theme parks

Toulouse has many museums, the most important of which are: * ''Musée des Augustins'' is the fine arts museum of Toulouse, it is located in the former Augustinian convent (Toulouse), Augustinian convent. * Hôtel d'Assézat#Bemberg Foundation, Bemberg Foundation, housed in the Hôtel d'Assézat, presents to the public one of the major private collections of art in Europe. * ''Musée Saint-Raymond'' is the archeological museum of Toulouse, located in a former college of the university it presents the ancient history of Toulouse and a very rich collection of Roman sculptures from the imperial Roman villa of Chiragan. * ''Musée Paul Dupuy'' is the museum of Decorative Arts and Graphic Arts, including a very rich collection of clocks and watches. * ''Georges Labit Museum, Musée Georges Labit'' is dedicated to artifacts from the Far-Eastern and Ancient Egyptian civilizations. * ''Muséum de Toulouse'' is one of the most important natural history museums in France, housed in the former convent of the Discalced Carmelites. * ''Les Abattoirs'' is the museum of modern and contemporary art of the city, opened in a former municipal slaughterhouse. Toulouse also has several theme parks, notably highlighting its aeronautical and space heritage: * ''Cité de l'espace'' is a scientific discovery centre focused on spaceflight. * ''Aeroscopia'' is an aeronautical theme park located near Toulouse–Blagnac Airport, dedicated to the preservation of aeronautical historical heritage (it hosts for example two Concorde airliners). * ''L'Envol des pionniers'' is a museum that traces the great adventure of l'Aéropostale (aviation), Aéropostale, a pioneering airmail company based in Toulouse which operated between France and South America from 1918 to 1933, and employed legendary pilots such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Jean Mermoz or Henri Guillaumet... * ''Halle de La Machine'' is a vast hall that houses numerous small or giant animated machines, often inspired by the world of aeronautics, human or technological epics. File:Augustins_-_Gargouilles_de_l'ancienne_église_des_Cordeliers.jpg, ''Musée des Augustins''. File:Augustins - Salle des chapitreaux romans.jpg, ''Musée des Augustins'': Romanesque capitals room File:Bemberg Fondation Toulouse - Hercule à la cour d'Omphale - Lucas Cranach l'Ancien - 1537 Inv.1098.jpg, Painting of Lucas Cranach the Elder at Bemberg Foundation. File:Toulouse - St Raymond.jpg, ''Musée Saint-Raymond''. File:Musée Georges Labit.jpg, ''Georges Labit Museum, Musée Gorges Labit''. File:Grand carré MHNT.jpg, ''Muséum de Toulouse''. File:Les abattoirs - Musée d'art moderne de Toulouse.jpg, ''Les Abattoirs''. File:Ariane 5 at Cite de l'Espace 1.jpg, ''Cité de l'espace''. File:France Occitanie 31 Toulouse 04.jpg, ''Cité de l'espace''. File:Tarmac Nord Aeroscopia.jpg, ''Aeroscopia''. File:Envol_des_pionniers.jpg, ''L'Envol des pionniers'': a Salmson 2, Salmson 2 A.2 plane is exposed under a portrait of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. File:Minotaure 2.jpg, The giant Minotaur of the ''Halle de La Machine''.


The main industries are aeronautics, space, electronics, information technology and biotechnology. Toulouse hosts the
Airbus Airbus SE (; ; ; ) is a European multinational aerospace corporation. Airbus designs, manufactures and sells civil and military aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer space. Aerospace activity i ...
headquarters and assembly-lines of Airbus Airbus A320, A320, Airbus A330, A330, Airbus A350 XWB, A350 and Airbus A380, A380. (A320 lines also exist in Hamburg, Germany, Tianjin, China, and Mobile, Alabama, USA.) Airbus has its head office in Blagnac, near Toulouse.Contacts
Airbus Airbus SE (; ; ; ) is a European multinational aerospace corporation. Airbus designs, manufactures and sells civil and military aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer space. Aerospace activity i ...
. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
Airbus's France division has its main office in Toulouse. Toulouse also hosts the headquarters of
ATRATR may refer to: Medicine * Acute transfusion reaction * Ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related, a protein involved in DNA damage repair Science * Advanced Test Reactor, nuclear research reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory, US * Attenuated ...
, Sigfox, one of the two headquarters of Liebherr Aerospace and Groupe Latécoère. The Concorde supersonic aircraft was also constructed in Toulouse.


Toulouse has the fourth-largest student population in France after Paris,
Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, Rodano ; frp, Rôno ; oc, ...

and Lille with 103,000 students (2012).

Colleges and universities

The University of Toulouse (''Université de Toulouse'') was established in 1229 (now split into three separate universities). Like the universities in Oxford and Paris, the University of Toulouse was established at a time when Europeans were starting to translate the writings of Arabs of Andalus and Greek philosophers. These writings challenged European ideology—inspiring scientific discoveries and advances in the arts—as society began seeing itself in a new way. These colleges were supported by the Church, in hopes of reconciling Greek philosophy and Christian theology. * Catholic University of Toulouse * Université Toulouse I, Toulouse School of Economics, Toulouse School of Management and Institut d'études politiques de Toulouse * University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès (Formerly University of Toulouse II – Le Mirail) * Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse III) Toulouse is also the home of Toulouse Business School (TBS), Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), the Institut supérieur européen de gestion group (ISEG Group), the Institut supérieur européen de formation par l'action (ISEFAC), E-Artsup and several engineering schools: * Institut catholique d'arts et métiers, ICAM Toulouse (Institut catholique d'arts et métiers) * INSA Toulouse * Institut supérieur de l'aéronautique et de l'espace, ISAE SUPAERO (Institut supérieur de l'aéronautique et de l'espace) * École Nationale de l'Aviation Civile, ENAC (École Nationale de l'Aviation Civile) * École Nationale Supérieure d'Électronique, d'Électrotechnique, d'Informatique, d'Hydraulique et des Télécommunications, INP ENSEEIHT (École Nationale Supérieure d'Électronique, d'Électrotechnique, d'Informatique, d'Hydraulique et des Télécommunications) * École nationale supérieure de formation de l’enseignement agricole, ENSFEA (École nationale supérieure de formation de l’enseignement agricole) * École nationale supérieure des ingénieurs en arts chimiques et technologiques, INP ENSIACET (École nationale supérieure d'ingénieurs en art chimique et technologique) * École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse, INP ENSAT ('École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse) * École nationale de la météorologie, INP ENM (École Nationale de la Météorologie) * École pour l'informatique et les techniques avancées, EPITA (École pour l'informatique et les techniques avancées) * École pour l'informatique et les nouvelles technologies, EPITECH (École pour l'informatique et les nouvelles technologies or ''European Institute of Information Technology'') * Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Avancées, IPSA (Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Avancées) * École d'ingénieurs de Purpan, EIPurpan (École d'ingénieurs de Purpan)

Primary and secondary schools

The most well known high schools in Toulouse are and Lycée Saint-Sernin. International schools serving area expatriates are in nearby Colomiers: * International School of Toulouse * Deutsche Schule Toulouse (German school)



The main railway station, with regional and national services, is Gare de Toulouse Matabiau, Toulouse-Matabiau.


In addition to an extensive bus system, the Toulouse Metro is a Véhicule Automatique Léger, VAL (Véhicule Automatique Léger) rapid transit, metro system made up of driverless (automatic) rubber-tired underground, rubber-tired trains. Line A runs for from Balma-Gramont in the north-east to Basso Cambo in the south-west. Line B, which opened in June 2007, serves 20 stations north to south and intersects line A at Jean Jaurès. Line C has existed since line A was completed. It is not VAL but an urban railway line operated by SNCF. It connects to line A at Gare de Toulouse-Saint-Cyprien-Arènes, Arènes. Two other stations located in Toulouse are also served by line C. Lardenne, formerly named "Gare des Capelles", changed its name in September 2003 when line C opened. Le TOEC station opened on 1 September 2003 with the creation of line C, allowing an urban train service in Toulouse and close western suburbs. Similarly, Line D runs south from Gare de Toulouse Matabiau, Toulouse Matabiau to Muret.


The Toulouse tramway, tramway line T1 (operating since December 2010), runs from Beauzelle to Toulouse passing through Blagnac. All urban bus, metro and tram services are operated by Tisséo. Tramway line T2 is a branch of the first line serving notably Toulouse Blagnac airport.


In 2007, a citywide bicycle rental scheme called VélôToulouse was introduced, with bicycles available from automated stations for a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly subscription.


Airports include: * Toulouse Blagnac International Airport, Toulouse Blagnac, the principal local airport * Toulouse-Lasbordes, Toulouse Lasbordes


The Canal du Midi begins in Toulouse and runs up to Sète.

Toulouse public transportation statistics

The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Toulouse, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 44 min. 9.1% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 9 min, while 10.4% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 7 km, while 8% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.


Toulouse is the home of Bonhoure Radio Tower, a 61-metre high lattice tower used for FM and TV transmission. In 2001 a large (100 km) optical fiber (symmetric 360Gbit/s) network named ''Infrastructure Métropolitaine de Télécommunications'' was deployed around the city and suburbs.


The Théâtre du Capitole is the home of opera and ballet; there has been a theatre on the site since 1736. The Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre National du Capitole, long associated with Michel Plasson, plays at the Halle aux Grains. Le château d'eau, pôle photographique de Toulouse, Le Château d'Eau, an old 19th-century water-tower, was converted as a gallery in 1974 by Jean Dieuzaide, a French photographer from Toulouse and is now one of the oldest public places dedicated to photography in the world. Toulouse's art museums include the Musée des Augustins, the Musée des Abattoirs, the Musée Georges Labit, and the Fondation Bemberg in the Hôtel d'Assézat. The Musée Saint-Raymond is devoted to Antiquity and the Muséum de Toulouse to natural history. Toulouse is the seat of the Académie des Jeux Floraux, the equivalent of the French Academy for the Occitan-speaking regions of southern France, making Toulouse the unofficial capital of Occitania, Occitan culture. The traditional Occitan cross, Cross of Toulouse (from Provence, under the name of cross of Provence), emblem of the County of Toulouse and commonly widespread around all of Occitania during the Middle Ages is the symbol of the city and of the newly founded Midi-Pyrénées ''région'', as well as a popular Occitan symbol. The city's gastronomic specialties include the Saucisse de Toulouse, a type of sausage, ''cassoulet'' Toulousain, a bean and pork stew, and ''garbure'', a cabbage soup with poultry. Also, foie gras, the liver of an overfed duck or goose, is a delicacy commonly made in the Midi-Pyrénées.


Stade Toulousain of the Top 14 is the most successful rugby union club in all of Europe, having been crowned European Rugby Champions Cup, European champions five times and French champions twenty-one times. Toulouse Olympique represents the city in rugby league. The club has been playing in the British rugby league system since 2016. They have been playing in the 2nd tier RFL Championship, Championship until 2021 and will play in the Super League, top tier in 2022. The club has had historical success in France, having being crowned French champions six times. The city also has a professional football team, Toulouse FC, which plays in Ligue 2, the second division of football in France, and won the 1957 Coupe de France Final. The club plays at the Stadium Municipal, which was a venue during the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2007 Rugby World Cup, as well as hosting important club rugby games and several Rugby League World Cups. Toulouse was also a host of EuroBasket 1999. File:Stadium-Lory.jpg, The Stadium de Toulouse, municipal Stadium (capacity: 33,150). File:Stade Ernest Wallon.jpg, Stade Ernest Wallon (capacity: 19,500). File:Stade toulousain vs RC Toulon - 2012-09-29 - 48.jpg, Rugby union: Stade toulousain. File:Offensive toulousaine, Toulouse, 6 mai 2018 (TFC - LOSC).jpg, Football: Toulouse Football Club. File:TOteam.jpg, Rugby league: Toulouse Olympique. File:TMB-2018-2019-Toulouse.jpg, Women's basket: Toulouse Métropole Basket. File:Fenix_Toulouse_20140831_-_Finale_Challenge_Marrane.jpg, Handball: Fenix Toulouse Handball. File:Volley_Ball_-_2012-03-20_-_Spacers_Toulouse_vs_Rennes-13.jpg, Volleyball: Spacer's Toulouse Volley.

Notable people

Several notable Toulousains have been scientists, such as Jean Dausset (1916-2009), 1980 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; 17th-century mathematician Pierre de Fermat (1607-1665), who spent his life in Toulouse, where he wrote Fermat's Last Theorem and was a lawyer in the city's Parlement of Toulouse, Parlement; Paul Sabatier (chemist), Paul Sabatier (1854-1941), 1912 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Albert Fert (b. 1938), 2007 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics who grew up in Toulouse where he attended the and Jean Tirole (b. 1953), owner of the 2014 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, chairman and founder of the Toulouse School of Economics along with Jean-Jacques Laffont. Musically, Toulouse is one of the two controversial, disputed birthplaces of Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) (the other being Tacuarembo, Uruguay), probably the most prominent figure in the history of the tango. The city's most renowned songwriter is Claude Nougaro (1929-2004). The composer and organist Georges Guiraud (1868–1928) was born in Toulouse. Concerning arts, Toulouse is the birthplace of Impressionist painter Henri-Jean Guillaume Martin, Henri Martin (1860-1943) as well as sculptors Alexandre Falguière (1831-1900) and Antonin Mercié (1845-1916). Moreover, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) and Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) were trained at the Toulouse fine arts school. Post Impressionist painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's (1864-1901) father was Count Alphonse Charles de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa (1838-1913) and was part of an aristocratic family of Counts of Toulouse, Odet de Foix, Vimcomte de Lautrec and the Viscounts of Montfa. French graffiti artist Cyril Kongo was born in Toulouse in 1969. Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse (c. 1041 - 1105), one of the leaders of the First Crusade, was born in Toulouse. Aviation pioneer Clément Ader (1841-1925) and psychiatrist Jean-Étienne Dominique Esquirol (1772-1840) were also natives.

International relations

Twin towns and sister cities

Toulouse is twinned with: * Atlanta, United States, since 1975 * Bologna, Italy, since 1981 * Elche, Spain, since 1981 * Chongqing, China, since 1981 * Kyiv, Ukraine, since 1975 * Tel Aviv, Israel, since 1962

Other cooperations

Toulouse also has accords of cooperation with the following towns: * Zaragoza, Aragón, Spain * N'Djamena, Chad * Hanoi, Vietnam * Saint-Louis, Senegal, Saint-Louis, Senegal * Düsseldorf, Germany

See also

* 138 Tolosa, an asteroid * Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toulouse * André Abbal * Listing of the works of Alexandre Falguière * The works of Antonin Mercié * List of the mayors of Toulouse





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External links

Toulouse tourist office

Toulouse: pink, violets, red and black
– Official French website
Official site
{{authority control Toulouse, Cities in France Communes of Haute-Garonne Languedoc Occitanie Midi-Pyrénées Prefectures in France Populated places established in the 2nd century BC