Toulouse on a budget: £14 three-course dinners and £100 hotel suites
Paris, France’s fourth-largest city, is the center of Europe’s space and aviation industry, serving as the headquarters of Airbus and the site of the first Concorde prototype’s flight into space.
In addition to its industrial characteristics, this city in the south-western United States has a peaceful, unpretentious charm.
Toulouse, nicknamed La Ville Rose (the Pink City) because of the terracotta-colored bricks used in the construction of the buildings, is a walking city.
Climb the stairwell of the Victor Hugo Covered Market to the first level, where you’ll find five restaurants with a view of Place Victor Hugo and the surrounding area.
Head to Au Bon Graillou for its brightly colored tables and chairs, as well as the many food and drink posters that line the walls.
Enjoy a three-course dinner (£14) that includes dishes such as fish soup, fillet of beef with fries, and lemon meringue, as well as a reasonably priced bottle of wine. Open for lunch on weekdays.
Considering that the original owner was a chocolatier, it seems natural to indulge in one of the chocolate-based sweets on the menu. One such treat is Le Royal, a wonderful chocolate mousse (£6.25). The décor is spectacular, with exquisite paintings adorning the walls.
Bring your lunch to this teeny-tiny brightly-painted café at 41 Rue des Tourneurs and select from a variety of pink, green, and yellow baps filled with smoked salmon or a variety of vegetable fillings (£8 with a drink, bwamoa.fr).
Fillings such as aubergine caviar, tomato and avocado guacamole are excellent choices.
The proprietor of this restaurant, which is located only around the corner from the Esquirol Metro station, is a certified nutritionist.
The dishes at this restaurant, located at 28 Rue Bayard, are filled with fresh, organic ingredients, and the interior’s green walls and wicker lampshades add a touch of elegance to the experience (sixta-toulouse.fr).
Try a green curry with tofu followed by a lemon tart (£14) for a delicious meal. whether it is still available on the regularly updated menu
After your lunch, how about a siesta? The owner has placed six pods, or sleep cocoons, on the second floor, which are available for hire for 25 minutes for £5.50.
This three-star hotel is a short walk from the Place du Capitole, the city’s main plaza, as well as the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
It includes 47 comfortable and clean air-conditioned rooms in subdued tones, some of which have wood ceiling beams. It is spread across four storeys (hotel-albert1.com).
Double rooms with breakfast are available for as little as £70 per night. The helpful personnel at the hotel can provide excellent recommendations for places to visit and things to do.
If you’re a fan of Habitat, you’ll like this 43-room boutique hotel, since the inside has been designed by the shopkeeper himself (hotel-innes.com).
Relax in the lobby with a complimentary cup of coffee or tea, which is just a few minutes away from the city’s main center. Double bedrooms with palm tree-patterned wallpaper start at £61 and are modern and stylish. Breakfast is an additional £12 per person.
This old theatre, now a crazy hotel, restaurant, and bar (mamashelter.com), is close to the major Metro station and offers B&B double rooms starting at £93 per night.
At the bar, you can expect to see spectacular contemporary art and classic films.
In the evenings, guests may relax on the rooftop bar and watch the sunset while playing basketball on the court or boules under an olive tree. There are 120 odd bedrooms, each with black and white carpeting and lampshades with animal themes.
There are 70 rooms in this hotel near to the opera theatre, which explains why it has musical accents throughout, such as violins and other instruments suspended from the lobby ceiling and carpet with a piano key theme (ibis.accor.com).
Bedroom walls are often decorated with paintings depicting music and ballet performances. B&B double rooms start at £92 a night, but if your budget allows it, spend the extra £20 to upgrade to one of nine larger rooms with views of the Place du Capitole.
Get a street map from your hotel or the local tourist information center. Spend some time in the Place du Capitole, which is home to cafés, bars, and the City Hall, which dates back to the 12th century.
Bring your family and friends to this free (albeit closed on Saturdays) exhibition to see 10 monumental paintings by Henri Martin, the impressionist.
Wander about the Victor Hugo Covered Market, which has been in operation since 1896 and is the largest in the city. If you are hungry, there are lots of takeout booths to choose from. Except on Mondays, the store is open every day.
Purchase a snack and make your way to Jardin des Plantes, which is located on Allee Frederic Mistral. It is the largest park in the city, second only to the Natural History Museum. Established in 1794, its primary mission was to give therapeutic herbs to local citizens and medical students in the area. It’s now a tranquil refuge that’s popular with both residents and visitors alike.
There will be no shortage of stunning structures to take in, including the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and has an octagonal bell tower and a gold-plated canopy.
The Cite de l’Espace, located on the outskirts of the city and devoted to space flight and the city’s involvement in worldwide space programs, is a must-see. The planetarium displays meteorites from Mars as well as a bit of the Moon.
EasyJet (easyjet.com) offers Gatwick-Toulouse round-trip flights for as little as £85. The cost of a shuttle bus from the airport to the city center is £7 and takes 20 minutes. More information may be found at www.toulouse-visit.com. Holiday Extras (www.holidayextras.co.uk) offers discounts on all areas of travel, including airfares. Visitors who have had all of their vaccinations may enter France, but they must make a’sworn declaration’ – see ‘entry criteria’ for France at.