What's in Toulouse?

Old Sep 6th, 2000, 02:59 PM
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What's in Toulouse?

We'll be going to SW France in May & are considering Toulouse as a home base for approx 5 days. Is this a good location for day trips by train & bus to the surrounding area? If we rented a car for a few days, would driving in Toulouse be a hassel? Any hotel recommendations (3 star)? We'd be arriving on the TGV from Paris. Are hotels near the Gare o.k.?
Thanks for any info you can provide.
Old Sep 6th, 2000, 03:21 PM
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We are flying into Toulouse in January, renting a car and staying for a week in Caunes Minervois, scheduling one day/evening in Toulouse on the way back. First on the 'see' list is Carcassonne and then wing it for the remainder of the stay. Glad to tell you our impressions upon our return. Go to the website for Languedoc.
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 09:12 AM
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Hi Becky,
We stayed in Toulouse a few years ago. They had a beautiful outdoor market on Sunday--it was really a work of art.
I would strongly urge you to go to Albi, and see the Tallouse-Lautrec museum. There are some beautiful formal gardens between the town and the museum.
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 02:10 PM
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We stayed in Toulouse for two nights (first & last) of an 8-day SW France trip in May-97. We picked up/dropped off our car at the Blagnac (Toulouse) airport & drove into and out of the city. Very crowded on the last day we were there; hard to find parking. Hotels were mostly booked that night, too. Convention??

City is very pleasant and interesting, but I'm not sure I'd prefer staying there vs. a smaller base city.

I second the Albi recommendation for at least 1 night; other possible trips near there -- Lourdes, the Pyrenees (great national parks if you like hiking in the foothills), Colliere (sp?)which is on the coast near the Spanish border (a Rick Steves recommendation), and Pau, which has a beautiful boardwalk-like street that overlooks the mountians.

We visited Carcassonne; maybe we were tired, but it struck us as somewhat touristy. Others probably will disagree. But we really enjoyed the countryside between there & Albi, especially the back roads.

Please post a trip report after you return. We plan to return soon. Good luck!
Old Sep 8th, 2000, 09:34 AM
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We were to stay in Toulouse for three nights a couple of years ago while covering that entire area. We left after two nights, finding it a rather dull, (and that week incredibly hot) city. Likewise, we really did not care for Carcossone. Sarlat is also very touristy, but we loved it and could have better used it as a longer base for touring. After this week, my new favorite town which would be a great base is Montpellier, although a little different area from that which you are asking about.
Old Sep 8th, 2000, 06:52 PM
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Hi Becky:
Great area, but I would travel around and outside of Toulouse for more interesting places.
Try the Cathar towns to the north and south of Carcassonne(yes it is extremely touristy and by noon in the summer so crowded with tourists you couldn't move). Try Mirepoix(a great medieval town with some excellent restaurants and hotels (Le Commerce)and shops. (I bought a really lovely handmade brocade jacket in a little store in the centre square. (if you're into shopping that is) and a drive to Montsegur, Llavalenet, Montbel, castelnaudry etc.Always find the "N" roads and wander.
the roads were always good, the restaurants always wonderful and we found the people to be overwhelmingly friendly.
Old Sep 13th, 2000, 01:19 AM
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hello Becky
I live near Toulouse, but I am not born here. So maybe I am a little more objective... Toulouse is a lovely city. You must walk trough it since the more interesting spots are in the city center, which is quite small.
Don't miss Carcassonne : all gorgeous spots are sometimes crowded... Be ready. You also can visit Collioure (south Perpignan, 2 1/2 driving) and you can plan to swim if the weather is nice). Albi is a very nice city. Not too far from Albi you can visit the village of Conques (medieval). If you like driving in romantic and hilly landscapes, you can visit Gascony (Gers) : Auch and many tiny villages. There is not much to see, since the villages are small, but they are very pleasant. There are some small castles (different from those in the Loire Valley, though...). If you like to bike, you can rent a bike (www.revmoto.com) in Toulouse, near the train and bus station, and bike along the canal du Midi. Very pleasant. You can bike to the sea (2 or 3 days), booking hotels (Revmoto can do it for you)or renting camping articles (www.u-rentatent.com). You can come back to toulouse by train with your bike (special trains).
For more ideas, you can go to www.u-rentatent.com, on the pages destination. There are ideas of tours with many links that can interest you and help you.
don't hesitate for more info.
Old Sep 21st, 2000, 12:45 PM
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Thanks to all of you who gave such excellent information!
Any suggestions for middle-priced (3 star) hotels in Toulouse & Albi?
Old Sep 21st, 2000, 06:18 PM
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I really like the downtown of Toulouse, and I think it's probably the more convenient base for daytrips (lot of public transportations).I agree too about Albi. Carcassone is indeed very touristy but is also a must-see. I don't think that Lourdes is that interesting, except for religious reasons (some like the basilica, though). Two villages worth the visit : Conques, very close to Carcassonne and Cordes near Albi.Foix is said to be a pleasant town, but I never went there.
Old Oct 31st, 2000, 03:58 AM
Luis E. Vernon
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In Toulouse, which is a wonderful city, I would recommend staying at the Hotel Des Beaux Arts, an 18th century bldg overlooking the Garonne River. Be sure to ask for a room with a mini terrace! After your stay in Toulouse, I would drive west to Auch, about 45 mins away in the heart of Gascogne. While in Auch, see the Cathedrale de Ste. Marie which is a feast for the eyes both inside and out. A very good hotel in Auch to stay in is the Hotel de France, a 16th century bldg with some lovely rooms, lot's of fabric and big bathtubs, etc. Toulouse is a great city , but unfortunately, if you wish to make day trips or longer excursions, you will need a car. E-mail me if you need more advice.



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