Travel to Toulouse
Flying to Toulouse
British Airways and easyJet offer direct flights to Toulouse from the UK. It’s usually pretty easy to find cheap flights to Toulouse, although prices do go up during the ski season (December to March). If you’re struggling, consider flying to Carcassonne instead, around an hour’s drive away. The quickest routes from the USA involve a connection in either London or Paris.
From London - 1 hour 45 minutes; New York - 10 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles;- 14 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 10 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 26 hours (including stopovers).
Travel by road
The roads are modern in most parts of southwest France and in Toulouse itself you’ll have no problem. Bear in mind that the roads into the Pyrenees are steep and winding, and that you definitely need snow chains and/or tyres (and know how to fit them) in winter. A word of warning: French drivers tend not to indicate, and road signs are much closer to the exit than you might be used to. You need to have your wits about you.
Traffic drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18 years old. Speed limits are 130kph (81mph) on motorways (110kph, or 68mph, when raining), 110kph (68mph) on dual carriageways separated by a central reservation, 90kph (56mph) outside built-up areas and 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas.
You must carry a national driving licence, the car's registration documents, a red warning triangle and a reflective jacket at all times. Green Cards are not compulsory but may be useful if you're bringing your own vehicle into France for a period of less than 90 days.
VINCI Autoroute (ASF) (tel: 3605, in France only; www.vinci-autoroutes.com) monitors the motorways and provides traffic updates by telephone.
Emergency breakdown services
Dépann'Auto 31 (tel: +33 5 6187 8204).
Four motorways converge on Toulouse: the A62 from the north, the A68 from the northeast, the A64 from the southwest and the A61 from the southeast. Toulouse is circled by a ring road, which you join upon leaving the motorway. The following exits are particularly useful: Pont des Demoiselles (for Gare Matabiau) and exit 30: Ponts Jumeaux (for the city centre).
The coach station in Toulouse is located next to the Gare Matabiau on boulevard Pierre Semard. Buses travel across the Midi-Pyrénées, as well as to Barcelona, Paris, Andorra la Vella and Bordeaux.
Eurolines (tel: 0892 899 091, in France only or +33 1 4186 2421; www.eurolines.fr) provides services throughout France and beyond.
Time to city
Travel by Rail
France’s rail network is clean and reliable, although the fast trains don’t link up with Toulouse as well as you might hope.
Gare Matabiau, 64 boulevard Pierre Semard, is the hub for regional and national rail travel in Toulouse. Services run to Bordeaux via Agen and Montauban; Montpellier via Carcassonne, Narbonne, Béziers and Sète; and Perpignan via Narbonne, among many other destinations.
For international rail travel, travel via Paris from destinations in North Europe or via Perpignan to reach Toulouse from Spain.
SNCF (tel: 3635, in France only or +33 892 353 535; www.sncf.com) is France's national railway service provider. TER handles regional journeys.
From London - 9 hours (via Paris); Barcelona - 4 hours (via Narbonne); Marseille - 4 hours 20 minutes; Paris - 6 hours 30 minutes; Bordeaux - 2 hours 15 minutes; Perpignan - 2 hours 30 minutes; Carcassonne - 1 hour.