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Toulouse tours and excursions

Toulouse tours

Walking tours

Toulouse has a pretty gruesome history, some stunning buildings and the largest market in southwest France (Roquefort and Gaillac wine anyone?), so there are plenty of gastro tours, history tours and heritage tours available through the tourist office, with details varying daily.

Tel: +33 5 40 13 15 31.
Website: http://www.toulouse-tourisme.com

Boat tours

Les Bateaux Toulousains organise cruises on the Garonne River and on the Canal du Midi on board a converted barge throughout the year. Toulouse Croisières offers a similar service on board a bateau-mouche. Both are great ways to soak up the pink-brick skyline that gives Toulouse its nickname La Ville Rose (Pink City).

Les Bateaux Toulousains

Telephone: +33 5 61 80 2 226
Website: http://www.bateaux-toulousains.com

Toulouse Croisières

Telephone: +33 5 61 25 72 57.
Website: http://www.toulouse-croisieres.com

Toulouse excursions

Carcassonne

The turrets and walled-in city of Carcassonne make it not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also a spectacular backdrop for the fireworks on 14 July. Only 70km (44 miles) from Toulouse, this rocky outcrop can reached by bike along the Canal du Midi – and you can always take the train back.

Carcassonne Tourist Office, 28 rue de Verdun, Carcassonne

Tel: +33 4 68 10 24 30.
Website: http://www.tourism-carcassonne.co.uk

Albi

This lovely red-brick UNESCO-listed town has a half-timbered city centre and an imposing fortress-like cathedral. It showcases more 1,000 paintings, lithographs, drawings and posters by its illustrious native son, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as some of his personal belongings. One of the largest carnivals in southwest France takes place here every February.

Tel: +33 5 63 36 36 00.
Website: http://www.albi-tourisme.fr

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Featured Hotels

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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.