Basilique St. Sernin is one of the largest remaining Romanesque churches in the world. It takes its name from Saint Saturnin, Toulouse's first bishop in 250 CE. In 402 his remains, previously kept in the du Taur church, were moved here and a small church, Saint-Exupère, was built around them. Work on the present basilica started around 1080. It is worth visiting for the exterior brickwork, the two crypts, the tympanum over the main door depicting Christ's ascension, and the 800 sculpted column heads.
Located in the heart of the city, Place du Capitole is a historic square surrounded by the beautiful architecture around it. The square houses magnificent Capitol building also known as City Hall along with many vibrant restaurants and bars. The square also hosts many cultural events and weekly markets. Take a stroll around the square admiring the bewitching architecture.
This magnificent monastery and its peaceful cloister have had a stormy history. The construction of the church took more than 100 years! It is the resting place of Saint Thomas Aquinas, thought to be one of Christianity's greatest theologians. There is plenty for the eyes to feast upon at this extraordinary Gothic edifice. The floor is black marble, and the apse called The Palm of Jacobins is quite famous. On the head of one of the columns, a bull's head symbolizes the martyr, Saint Saturnin.
Pont Neuf claims to be the oldest and most beautiful bridge in Toulouse. It was built between 1544 and 1632, and Louis XIV himself crossed it in 1659. Flooding of the Garonne destroyed all the previous bridges, but this one has been in place for four centuries, thanks to tunnels above the arches, which allow water to flow away during floods. From the right bank, there is an exceptional view of the Hôtel-Dieu and the Prairie des Filtres Park; from the left, you can see the Daurade and Tunis quays. The two bridges either side are the Pont-Saint-Michel (upriver), and the Pont-Saint-Pierre (downriver). The latter offers an excellent view of the Pont Neuf.
Tucked away at the back of a bistro, the Bijou is somewhere between a café-theater and a concert-café, putting on various shows including one-man turns and a capella singing. If you enjoy the latter, there's a monthly session with Toulouse society the Joueurs de Voix, during which you can join the artists and sing along on stage. You can witness a lot of talented and upcoming musicians in the local music scene performing here. The interiors are modest and homey and the menu includes interesting options like Tuna Steak in the crust of cereals and Burger Bijou XXL.
On the banks of the River Garonne, this concert venue and discotheque is well known not just in France but internationally, too and is reputed to be one of the most bustling concert venues in the country. It hosts more than 150 events per year and the excellent program varies from novice French groups to world-class rock stars such as Steve Vai. Theme evenings alternate with concerts and they also house an in-house restaurant that is open only during summer.
In the heart of the Capitole, this impressive hall exhibits the work of Toulouse artists from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th. A highlight of the exhibition is the portrait of La Belle Paule, a delightful young girl who enchanted King François 1 and who was ordered by decree of the town councillors, known as Capitouls, to appear twice a day on her balcony in the Rue du Languedoc in order to prevent rioting among her admirers. This is also a registry office for weddings; couples from Toulouse can take their vows here, in front of Henri Martin's impressionist frescoes.
Painted in a pale rose complexion that collectively emanates from the cavalcade of pink terra-cotta buildings that dot its streets, Toulouse is the ultimate La Ville Rose, or France's bountiful 'pink city'. Set in the heart of Southwestern France in a decidedly enviable location, Toulouse's outskirts brush with Spain's border, and just beyond its sprawling metropolis is the rugged allure of the Pyrenees Mountains. Slicing across the city is the Garonne River, which connects to the Mediterranean Sea by virtue of the 17th Century Canal du Midi. Toulouse is France's fourth-largest city, yet it survives at a blissfully languid pace that is part of its sleepy charm. Despite its snail-like pace, Toulouse flourishes as a culturally forward city, boasting a range of riveting museums, colleges, and universities within its diffusive stretch. The Vieux Quartier, bisected with charming, cobblestone streets sees an impressive army of salmon-colored heritage buildings and sunlit courtyards. Beyond Toulouse's rose-hued stretch, Toulouse also harbors the headquarters of Airbus and is a leading contributor to the European air space industry.
Formerly the head office of the old town magistrates, Le Capitole is impressive, with its white marble columns all along the front. Today it houses the Capitole Theatre and the Town Hall. As you go through the Henri-IV courtyard you can admire the work of local 19th-century artists such as Jean-Paul Laurens or Henri Martin, while the Hall of Fame contains busts of Toulouse celebrities. The Square is surrounded by red-brick buildings and the ground is marked with the Toulouse Cross, a symbol of the town's historic past.
The best international conductors and artists are renowned to perform at Théâtre du Capitole, a spacious opera house. Located in the heart of the Toulouse, Théâtre du Capitole's eclectic and exciting programme schedule includes opera and operetta, international singing competitions, orchestras, recitals, and ballet. The famous Capitole Orchestra, conducted by Michel Plasson, plays to a full house. The state-of-the=art technology, excellent sound system, and the grand and elegant interiors ensure that you enjoy every event to the core.
The tall, narrow front of this important church (probably the most interesting after Saint-Sernin) is in between two buildings on the Rue du Taur. Look up to see the beautiful three-storey wall of bells (an architectural feature unique to this region), its two towers connected by a balcony and its crenulated pediment. The church is built on the spot where Saint Saturnin was buried and his martyrdom is depicted in a large nineteenth-century mural above the altar. More interesting, however, are the remains of a fourteenth-century fresco showing Jacob's genealogy.