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Shopping in Toulouse

Toulouse loves to shop for food: jars of cassoulet, tins of foie gras and plenty of wine. After that, traditional products include violet-flavoured sweets and clothes dyed using a blue plant called pastel. As a university town, Toulouse has plenty of edgy fashion shops and as a guardian of French culture, it also has many boutiques.

Key areas

The main shopping street in Toulouse is rue Saint Rome. You can find chic boutiques and exclusive labels on rue de la Pomme, while more alternative fashion is on offer on the rue du Taur.

Markets

If there’s one thing Toulousains love, it’s a market. Place du Capitole has open-air markets with themes that range from organic vegetables to getting kitted out with the latest indie-grunge look. Victor Hugo Market, Place Victor Hugo, is the largest covered food market in southwest France. Taste local delicacies such as saucisse de Toulouse (Toulouse sausage), cassoulet, foie gras, magret de canard (duck breast) and confit de canard (duck stored in its own fat). The cheese counters stock hundreds of varieties of delicious local cheese.

Shopping centres

Almost an institution in France, you'll find the Galeries Lafayette shopping centre at 77 rue Alsace Lorraine.

Opening hours

Standard shopping hours in Toulouse are Monday to Saturday 0900-1800, although many smaller shops close on Mondays, Wednesday afternoons and between 1200 and 1400 for lunch.

Tax information

If you are not an EU resident, you may be able to reclaim VAT if you jump through enough hoops.

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Grand Hôtel de l'Opéra

Right in front of the spectacular Théâtre du Capitole, this luxury hotel is where celebrities stay when in Toulouse. Formerly a 17th-century convent, there's nothing austere about the place now. Each room is individually decorated in hues of deep yellow or red, but all offer old-world charm combined with modern amenities.

Crowne Plaza Hotel

It's a few footsteps away from Place du Capitole, but when you step inside the Crowne Plaza Hotel you feel as though you've entered another world. With marble statues, lush greenery and an outdoor terrace with wrought-iron chairs, this feels more like Italy than France.

Pullman Toulouse Centre

Bright, light and modern, the Pullman Toulouse Centre is a business hotel that throws in a bit of style for weekend travellers. With funky scarlet chairs, white walls and elegant vases, it's a breath of fresh air. Don't confuse it with the Pullman Toulouse Blagnac, which is out by the airport.

Hôtel des Arts

Not to be confused with the substantially more upmarket Hôtel des Beaux Arts, this one may not have the glitz and glamour but it still has a great location. Just off Place St Georges, one of the most romantic parts of Toulouse, it's also within walking distance of the river.

Hôtel des Beaux Arts

For a room with an unforgettable view of Toulouse's Pont Neuf illuminated at night, try the Hôtel des Beaux Arts. The building itself has an 18th-century façade and a busy yet brilliant brasserie downstairs. Rooms somehow combine modern animal print cushions with a romantic charm from days gone by.

Le Grand Balcon Hôtel

There's a sense of fun in this 1930s hotel just off Place du Capitole. Fittingly, for a city associated with aerospace, the elegant rooms have a playful aviation theme to its stylish décor. They've even named a suite after one of its best-known guests: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, aviator and Little Prince author.