3 Days in Toulouse: Suggested Itineraries
By Viator, August 2010
Day 1: Visiting Toulouse
While the modern city of Toulouse sprawls, the historic district remains small and pedestrian-friendly. Indeed, this is the best way to navigate the ancient, narrow streets, built long before the automobile, and visit most of the monuments and museums. You’ll need to arrange transportation to some of the city’s outlying sites, however, including the Airbus A380 assembly factory, where the world’s fastest planes are displayed. Or, book a Toulouse City Tour, which includes transport to Airbus, the Jardin des Plantes botanical gardens, and a scenic return trip on the Canal du Midi, part of a canal system linking the Atlantic and Caribbean.
Day 2: Into the Enchanted Countryside
Admit it. You’ve always been enchanted by the idea of a picture perfect castle, the perfect backdrop for slaying dragons and embarking on epic quests. The fortified Cité de Carcassonne rises to a symphony of stone turrets and spires, just 87 kilometers (54 miles) from town. Dating to perhaps 100 BC, it has seen empires, crusades, wars, and revolutions aplenty in its time. If you’re up for an extra hour on the road, however, consider making the 172 kilometer (107 mile) pilgrimage to Lourdes Sanctuary, instead. The photogenic city is best known for the Virgin Mary’s appearance here in 1858.
Day 3: Day Trips from Toulouse
There’s certainly plenty to keep you busy for another day within the city limits. If you’re traveling with a young family, you might consider Cité de l'Espace, or Space City, which mixes science, space travel, and kid-friendly entertainment into a pleasant morning or afternoon. The Les Abattoirs Modern Art Museum and Georges Labit Abattoirs antiquities museum are both worth a longer look. Or, head back into the countryside, following the footsteps of painter Henri de Toulouse Lautrec as he painted some of the region’s most beautiful medieval towns, Albi and Cordes-sur-Ciel . Finish off your day with a fine wine from Gaillac vineyards, one of France’s oldest.