French: [tuluz] (listen)
: Tolosa [tuˈluzɔ]
) is the capital of the French department
and of the region
. The city is on the banks of the River Garonne
, 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea
, 230 km (143 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean
and 680 km (420 mi) from Paris
. It is the fourth-largest city in France
, with 479,553 inhabitants within its municipal boundaries (as of January 2017), and 1,360,829 inhabitants within its wider metropolitan area
(also as of January 2017), after Paris, Lyon
, and ahead of Lille
The University of Toulouse
is one of the oldest in Europe (founded in 1229) and, with more than 103,000 students, it is the fourth-largest university campus in France, after the universities of Paris
Toulouse is in the south of France, north of the department of Haute-Garonne, on the axis of communication between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
The remains of the Roman wall in Toulouse illustrate the early use of brick and stone in construction.
The Garonne Valley was a central point for trade between the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic since at least the Iron Age
. The historical name of the city, Tolosa
(Τολῶσσα in Greek
, and of its inhabitants, the Tolosates
, first recorded in the 2nd century BC), is of unknown meaning or origin, possibly from Aquitanian
but it has also been connected to the name of the Gaulish Volcae Tectosages
Tolosa enters the historical period in the 2nd century BC, when it became a Roman
military outpost. After the conquest of Gaul
, it was developed as a Roman city in Gallia Narbonensis
. Under the reign of Emperor Augustus
and thanks to the Pax Romana
, the Romans moved the city a few kilometres from the hills where it was an oppidum
to the banks of the Garonne, which were more suitable for trade. Around the year 250, Toulouse was marked by the martyrdom of Saturnin
, the first bishop of Toulouse. This episode illustrates the difficult beginnings of Christianity in Roman Gaul.
County of Toulouse
St Dominic's room at Maison Seilhan is considered the birthplace of the Dominican Order
The vast Hall of the Illustrious (Salle des Illustres
) in the Capitole
presents numerous paintings and sculptures illustrating the history of Toulouse.
In the 12th century the notables of the city took advantage of a weakening of the county power to obtain for their city a great autonomy, they created a municipal body of consuls (called capitouls
in Toulouse) to lead the city.
At the beginning of the thirteenth century the county of Toulouse was taken in another crusade, of which it was the target this time. The reason for this was the development of Catharism
in the south of France, which the Pope wanted to eradicate by all possible means. This struggle took on several aspects, going beyond the military crusade
, such as the creation of an original and militant Gothic architecture: the Southern French Gothic
Various monastic orders, like the congregation of the order of frères prêcheurs
, were started. They found home in Les Jacobins
In parallel, a long period of inquisition began inside the Toulouse walls. The fear of repression forced the leading figures to exile or to convert themselves. The inquisition lasted nearly 400 years, making Toulouse its capital.
Kingdom of France
The 14th century brought a pogrom
against Toulouse's Jewish population by Crusaders
the Black Death
in 1348, then the Hundred Years' War
. Despite strong immigration, the population lost 10,000 inhabitants in 70 years. By 1405 Toulouse had only 19,000 people.
The situation improved in the 15th century.Charles VII
established the second parliament
of France after that of Paris. Reinforcing its place as an administrative center, the city grew richer, participating in the trade of Bordeaux wine
with England, as well as cereals and textiles. A major source of income was the production and export of pastel
, a blue dye made from woad.
The fortune generated by this international trade was at the origin of several of Toulouse's superb Renaissance mansions.
In 1666 Pierre-Paul Riquet
started the construction of the Canal du Midi
which links Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea, and is considered one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century. Completed in 1681, the canal stimulated the economy of Toulouse by promoting the export of cereals (wheat and corn) and the import of oil and other goods from the Mediterranean regions.
In the 18th century, Toulouse was a provincial capital that prided itself on its royal academies (the only city in France, along with Paris, to have three royal academies), but seemed far removed from the debates of ideas that agitated the Enlightenment
. A famous example illustrates this backwardness of Toulouse mentalities of the time: in 1762 its powerful Parliament sentenced Jean Calas
to death. The philosopher Voltaire
then accused the Parliament of Toulouse of religious intolerance (Calas was a Protestant), gave the affair a European repercussion and succeeded in having the judgment of the Parliament quashed by the King's Council, which did much damage to the reputation of the Parliament. It was on this occasion that Voltaire published one of his major philosophical works: his famous Treatise on Tolerance
With the French Revolution
of 1789 and the reform or suppression of all royal institutions, Toulouse lost much of its power and influence: until then the capital of the vast province of Languedoc, with a Parliament ruling over an even larger territory, the city then finds itself simply at the head of the single small department of Haute-Garonne
On 10 April 1814, four days after Napoleon
's surrender of the French Empire
to the nations of the Sixth Coalition
(a fact that the two armies involved were not yet aware of), the Battle of Toulouse
pitted the Hispanic-British troops of Field Marshal Wellington
against the French troops of Napoleonic Marshal Soult
, who, although they managed to resist, were forced to withdraw. Toulouse was thus the scene of the last Franco-British battle on French territory.
Unlike most large French cities, there was no real industrial revolution in 19th century Toulouse. The most important industries were the gunpowder factory, to meet military needs, and the tobacco factory. In 1856 the railway arrived in Toulouse and the city was modernised: the ramparts were replaced by large boulevards, and major avenues such as the rue d'Alsace-Lorraine and the rue de Metz opened up the historic centre.
In 1875 a flood of the Garonne devastated more than 1,000 houses and killed 200 people. It also destroyed all the bridges in Toulouse, except the Pont-Neuf.
20th and 21st centuries
World War I
brought to Toulouse (geographically sheltered from enemy attacks) chemical industries as well as aviation workshops (Latécoère
), which launched the city's aeronautical construction tradition and gave birth after the war to the famous Aéropostale
, a pioneering airmail company based in Toulouse and whose epics were popularised by the novels of writers such as Joseph Kessel
and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
(himself an Aéropostale
In the 1920s and 1930s the rise of the Toulouse population was increased by the arrival of Italians and Spaniards fleeing the fascist regimes of their country. Then, in the early 1960s, French repatriates from Algeria swelled the city's population.
In 1963, Toulouse was chosen to become one of the country's eight “balancing Metropolis”, regaining a position among the country's major cities that it had always had, but lost in the 19th century. The French state then encouraged the city's specialisation in aeronautics and space activities, sectors that had experienced strong growth in recent decades, fueling economic and population growth.
On 21 September 2001, an explosion
occurred at the AZF fertiliser factory, causing 31 deaths, about 30 seriously wounded and 2,500 light casualties. The blast measured 3.4 on the Richter scale and the explosion was heard 80 km (50 miles) away.
In 2016 a territorial reform made Toulouse the regional prefecture
, the second largest region in metropolitan France, giving it a role commensurate with its past as a provincial capital among the most important in France.
The population of the city proper (French: commune
) was 479,553 at the January 2017 census, with 1,360,829 inhabitants in the metropolitan area
(within the 2010 borders of the metropolitan area), up from 1,187,686 at the January 2007 census (within the same 2010 borders of the metropolitan area).
Thus, the metropolitan area registered a population growth rate of +1.4% per year between 2007 and 2017, the highest growth rate of any French metropolitan area larger than 500,000 inhabitants, although it is slightly lower than the growth rate registered between the 1999 and 2007 censuses. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, after Paris, Marseille
, and the fourth-largest metropolitan area after Paris, Lyon, and Marseille.
Historical population of the commune of Toulouse
and INSEE (1968-2017)
Fueled by booming aerospace and high-tech industries, population growth of +1.49% a year in the metropolitan area in the 1990s (compared with +0.37% for metropolitan France
), and a record +1.87% a year in the early 2000s (+0.68% for metropolitan France), which is the highest population growth of any French metropolitan area larger than 500,000 inhabitants, means the Toulouse metropolitan area overtook Lille as the fourth-largest metropolitan area of France at the 2006 census.
A local Jewish group estimates there are about 2,500 Jewish families in Toulouse.
A Muslim association has estimated there are some 35,000 Muslims in town.
Government and politics
The Community of Agglomeration of Greater Toulouse (Communauté d'agglomération du Grand Toulouse
) was created in 2001 to better coordinate transport, infrastructure and economic policies between the city of Toulouse and its immediate independent suburbs. It succeeds a previous district which had been created in 1992 with fewer powers than the current council. It combines the city of Toulouse and 24 independent communes
, covering an area of 380 km2
(147 sq mi), totalling a population of 583,229 inhabitants (as of 1999 census), 67% of whom live in the city of Toulouse proper. As of February 2004 estimate, the total population of the Community of Agglomeration of Greater Toulouse was 651,209 inhabitants, 65.5% of whom live in the city of Toulouse. Due to local political feuds, the Community of Agglomeration only hosts 61% of the population of the metropolitan area, the other independent suburbs having refused to join in. Since 2009, the Community of agglomeration has become an urban community (in French: communauté urbaine). This has become a métropole
in 2015, spanning 37 communes.
Coats of arms of Toulouse: Saint-Sernin church and Comtal castle frame a paschal lamb bearing the Toulouse cross
One of the major political figures in Toulouse was Dominique Baudis
, the mayor
of Toulouse between 1983 and 2001, member of the centrist UDF
First known as a journalist known for his coverage of the war in Lebanon
, 36-year-old Dominique Baudis succeeded his father Pierre Baudis
in 1983 as mayor of Toulouse. (Pierre Baudis was mayor from 1971 to 1983.)
Baudis tried to strengthen the international role of Toulouse (such as its Airbus
operations), as well as revive the cultural heritage of the city. The Occitan cross, flag of Languedoc
and symbol of the counts of Toulouse, was chosen as the new flag of the city, instead of the traditional coat of arms of Toulouse (which included the fleur de lis
of the French monarchy). Many cultural institutions were created, in order to attract foreign expatriates and emphasise the city's past. For example, monuments dating from the time of the counts of Toulouse
were restored, the city's symphonic concert hall (Halle aux Grains
) was refurbished, a city theater was built, a Museum of Modern Art was founded, the Bemberg Foundation
(European paintings and bronzes
from the Renaissance
to the 20th century) was established, a huge pop music concert venue (Zénith
, the largest in France outside Paris) was built, the space museum and educational park Cité de l'Espace
was founded, etc.
To deal with growth, major housing and transportation projects were launched. Line A of the underground
was opened in 1993, and line B opened in 2007. The creation of a system of underground car parking structures in Toulouse city centre was sharply criticised by the Green Party
In 2000, Dominique Baudis was at the zenith of his popularity, with approval rates of 85%.
He announced that he would not run for a fourth (6-year) term in 2001. He explained that with 3 terms he was already the longest-serving mayor of Toulouse since the French Revolution
; he felt that change would be good for the city, and that the number of terms should be limited. He endorsed Philippe Douste-Blazy
, then UDF
mayor of Lourdes
as his successor. Baudis has since been appointed president of the CSA (Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel
) in Paris, the French equivalent of the American FCC
Philippe Douste-Blazy narrowly won in the 2001 elections, which saw the left making its best showing in decades. Douste-Blazy had to deal with a reinvigorated political opposition, as well as with the dramatic explosion of the AZF
plant in late 2001.
In March 2004, he entered the national government, and left Toulouse in the hands of his second-in-command Jean-Luc Moudenc
, elected mayor by the municipal council. In March 2008, Moudenc was defeated by the Socialist Party's candidate Pierre Cohen
At the next elections in 2014 Moudenc defeated Cohen in a rematch to re-take the job with more than 52% of the votes.
Sights and architecture
Format differences between a "foraine" brick and a standard brick.
Classified "City of Art and History", Toulouse has a very rich architectural heritage ranging from large Romanesque and Gothic churches to neo-classical facades such as that of the Capitole, to the prestigious mansions of the Renaissance. This ancient heritage is mainly enclosed within the 220 hectares of the city's inner boulevard (one of the largest protected urban areas in France).
Almost all the buildings of the historical centre were made with the traditional building material of the region: the "foraine" brick that has earned the city the nickname of Ville Rose
(Pink city). Medieval heir to the Roman brick
, the "foraine" brick is characterised by its large dimensions, its flat appearance and its colour ranging from orange/pink to red.
White stone is also present in smaller quantities. As there were no stone quarries near Toulouse, it was transported from the Pyrenees
via the Garonne river and was for a long time rare and therefore expensive, considered in Toulouse as a luxury material. However, it is enough to give Toulouse's architecture one of its characteristics: red/white polychromy.
Romanesque architecture (11th-12th c.)
The Romanesque architecture of Toulouse is largely dominated by the presence of the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, one of the most important churches of its time in Europe, and fortunate enough to keep its Romanesque character virtually intact.
Basilica of Saint-Sernin
Conceived from the outset as a gigantic reliquary, the church was mainly built at the end of the 11th century and at the beginning of the 12th century to welcome the crowds of pilgrims, its double-sided aisles and the ambulatory surrounding the apse make it the archetype of the great pilgrimage church, where pilgrims could make the circuit around the church and were able to stop for meditation and prayer at the apsidal chapels of the transept and the radiating chapels of the choir. The church is also particularly noteworthy for the quality of its Romanesque sculptures, including numerous capitals and the historiated tympanum of the Miègeville gate, one of the first of its kind.
- Basilica of Saint-Sernin
Basilica of Saint-Sernin.
The east side is the oldest part.
The Miègeville gate.
Romanesque tympanum (late 11th c. or early 12th c.).
The central nave of the church.
Bernard Gilduin's altar table, consecrated by Pope Urban II
Christ in Majesty by Bernard Gilduin, late 11th c.
Gothic architecture (13th c.-early 16th c.)
Southern French Gothic: a militant religious architecture
At the beginning of the 13th century, the Catholic clergy of the South of France, seeing a growing number of the faithful turning to the Catharism
which advocated a more pious austerity, showed the will to correct the defects of the Catholic Church which indulged in luxury. Under the impulse of the bishop of Toulouse, Foulques
, an austere and militant architectural style was born with the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Toulouse: the Southern French Gothic
. Conceived according to an ideal of poverty and humility to bring the faithful together in a single, vast nave to facilitate preaching, this architectural style then developed during the 13th century in the grand mendicant convents of the city, before spreading in the 14th century to a large number of churches and cathedrals in the region.
Several churches or convents in Toulouse belong to this architectural trend, but two of them are particularly symbolic and remarkable:
- Cathedral of Saint-Etienne (Saint Stephen) is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toulouse. Its construction, which was mainly done at the beginning and then at the end of the 13th century, reflects the history of this decisive century which saw the city lose its independence to become a French city. The single nave is the first example of Southern French Gothic, at 19 metres wide it probably was at its completion the widest in Western Europe (1210-1220). The higher choir that adjoins it was built in the Gothic style of northern France shortly after the city became part of the Crown of France in 1271.
- Convent of the Jacobins (13th century / early 14th century) was the Dominican convent of Toulouse and is considered to be, together with the Albi Cathedral, the pinnacle of Southern French Gothic architecture. Like all Southern French Gothic churches it has a deliberately austere exterior, but on the inside its alignment of cylindrical columns form one of the tallest colonnades ever erected in Gothic architecture (28 metres high). The masterpiece of this church is the column that closes the choir (1275-1292), its palm tree shape was a hundred years ahead of the flamboyant gothic fan vaults. Because he thought that the bones of Saint Thomas Aquinas deserved «the most beautiful and most splendid surroundings», in 1368 Pope Urban V made the church of the Jacobins the burial place of the famous Dominican friar, one of the most notable philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages.
- Southern French Gothic religious architecture
Old nave of the Toulouse Cathedral.
Altar in the choir of the Toulouse Cathedral (gothic of northern France).
Church of the Jacobins, exterior (13th c.).
The vault of the Jacobins and its famous palm tree.
Cloister (14th c.) and bell tower (1298) of the Jacobins.
Augustinian Convent (14th c.).
Wall belfry of Notre-Dame du Taur (14th c.).
Top of the wall belfry of Notre-Dame du Taur, with miter arches typical of Southern French Gothic.
Gothic civil architecture
Toulouse has preserved about thirty Gothic stair towers (plus a dozen Renaissance or later towers),
the remains of private mansions (called hôtels particuliers
) from the Middle Ages and the early 16th century. Often hidden in courtyards, some of these towers are high enough to exceed their function of serving the floors and display the ambition of their owners.
At a time when most of the houses in Toulouse were built in wood or cob
, the brick construction of these towers and hôtels
also testifies to their quality.
- Gothic civil architecture
Boysson tower, 1478.
Delfau tower, 1497.
Lancefoc tower (late 15th c.) and Serta tower (1529).
Olmières tower, 1503.
Bernuy tower, 1504.
Bruni tower, 1510.
Beringuier Bonnefoy tower, 1513.
Serta tower, 1529.
Door of the Hotel Delfau.
Door of the Hotel de Bernuy.
Romanesque-Gothic house window, with small carved decoration (c. 1300).
Hôtel Boysson window (late 15th c.).
Former tower of the city archives, 1525-1530 (except for the 19th century roof).
In the 16th century, Toulouse experienced a golden age coinciding with the Renaissance in France. The woad trade
) brought merchants of international stature to the city, and the Parliament of Toulouse
made the city the judicial capital of a large part of the south of France. These wealthy elites had private mansions built, remarkable for their architecture inspired by architectural treatises such as those of Serlio
, but also by the royal castles of the Loire Valley
and the Île-de-France
Renowned for the quality of their architecture, the private mansions of the Toulouse Renaissance that have survived to the present day were built over more than a century (around 1515–1620) by reputed architects such as Louis Privat, Nicolas Bachelier
, Dominique Bachelier or Pierre Souffron
. The most famous of these hôtels
are those of Assézat
- Renaissance private mansions
Classical facades of hôtel d'Assézat.
Courtyard of hôtel de Bernuy.
Low vault of hôtel de Bernuy.
Hôtel du Vieux-Raisin.
Renaissance windows at hôtel du Vieux-Raisin.
The hôtel de Clary and its richly sculpted decoration.
- Sample of Renaissance doors
Door of hôtel du Vieux-Raisin.
Portal of hôtel d'Assézat.
Door of hôtel d'Assézat.
Door of hôtel d'Assézat.
Portal of a former college of the university.
Portal of Dalbade church.
Portal of the former Jesuit college.
17th century architecture
17th century religious architecture
The French Wars of Religion
, which started in the second half of the 16th century, brought to the city many religious orders who came to seek asylum in this solid Catholic bastion. They had beautiful baroque churches built in the 17th century: among them, the Order of Carthusians
, expelled by the Protestants from the region of Castres, founded the church of Saint-Pierre des Chartreux, the order of the Discalced Carmelites
built the church of Saint-Exupère, the blue penitents
founded the church of Saint-Jérôme and the order of Carmelite nuns
created a convent of which a remarkable painted chapel remains.
- 17th c. religious architecture
Church of Saint-Pierre des Chartreux.
Church of Saint-Pierre des Chartreux.
Portal of Saint-Pierre des Chartreux.
Church of Saint-Exupère.
Church of Saint-Exupère (detail of the facade).
Church of Saint-Exupère.
Church of Saint-Jérôme.
Chapel of the Carmelites (partly 18th century).
Vault of the chapel of the Carmelites.
17th century civil architecture
After the Renaissance, the decorations in civil architecture became less numerous and ostentatious, due to the importance given to the moderation of the architectural structures and the development of interior decorations. The play of colours (between brick and stone) and reliefs (bossing) were less costly and nevertheless effective solutions for livening up facades. The 17th century is the century that gave Toulouse the largest number of its private mansions, most of them built by members of parliament.
- 17th c. civil architecture
Hôtel de Caulet.
Portal of hôtel Saint-Jean.
Portal of hôtel de Chalvet.
Portal of hôtel Desplats (courtyard).
Portal of hôtel d'Orbessan.
Side portal of hôtel Comère, cut out of brick.
18th century architecture
In the 18th century Toulouse made its living from its Parliament and from the wheat and corn trade, which was boosted by the creation of the Canal du Midi
at the end of the previous century. Among the major architectural achievements, the most notable were undoubtedly the construction of the quays of the Garonne and the new facade of the Capitole
(1750-1760), designed by architect Guillaume Cammas
In the last third of the 18th century, the ever increasing influence of the Parisian model meant that red brick was no longer popular: the city facades were then covered with white paint to imitate stone. This is why nowadays, even though the white paint has generally been removed, there are walls with deep grooves carved in brick to imitate ashlar architecture.
19th and 20th century architecture
Toulouse's 19th century architecture can be divided into three periods, which sometimes overlapped. In the first half of the century, at the instigation of architect Jacques-Pascal Virebent, the main planned squares were created: the Place du Capitole and the Place Wilson (called place Villeneuve when it was built), whose uniform architecture was inspired by Rue de Rivoli
From 1830 onwards, Auguste Virebent and his brothers (sons of Jacques-Pascal) developed a factory of low-cost moulded decorations which met with great success and adorned Toulouse facades with numerous terracotta ornaments, far from the austere architecture of their father.
Then, in the last third of the 19th century, large Haussmann-style avenues were opened in the town centre, such as the central Alsace-Lorraine street, built in yellow brick to imitate Parisian stone.
- 19th and 20th century architecture
Place Wilson (19th c.), an oval-shaped square.
Place du Capitole, the main square of Toulouse (19th c.).
Facade with moulded terracotta decorations (19th c.).
Facade with moulded terracotta decorations (19th c.).
Yellow brick of Alsace-Lorraine street (19th c.).
Art nouveau facade, Gambetta street (20th c.).
Art Deco facade, Alsace-Lorraine street (20th c.).
Banks of the Garonne, Canal du Midi, parks
The banks of the Garonne river
offer an interesting urban panorama of the city. Red brick dykes from the 18th century enclose the river which was subject to destructive floods. The Pont-Neuf
took almost a century to build as the project was so ambitious (1545-1632). It was a very modern bridge for its time, removing the housing on the deck and using, possibly for the first time together, techniques such as basket-handle (surbased) arches, openings in the piers and stacked spouts to spread the water, making it the only bridge in Toulouse to withstand the violent floods of the past. Further downstream, the Bazacle
is a ford across the Garonne
river, in the 12th century the Bazacle Milling Company
was the first recorded European joint-stock company. On the left bank of the river, historically a flood-prone bank, stand two former hospitals whose origins date back to the 12th century: the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques and the Hôpital de La Grave
. Isolated on the left bank, victims of the plague and other sick people were thus kept away from the city by the width of the river.
Built at the end of the 17th century, the Canal du Midi
bypasses the city centre and has linked Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea ever since. Its 240 kilometres were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Jardin des Plantes
is a large park spanning several blocks, including the museum of Natural History, cafés, activities for children and a botanical garden
(early 19th century).
- Banks of the Garonne, Canal du Midi, parks
Pont-Neuf bridge (16th-17th c.).
Red brick dykes from the 18th century.
Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques former hospital (12th–19th c.).
former hospital (12th–19th c.) and the dome of its chapel.
Port de la Daurade, a former port converted into an amenity area.
Prairie des filtres park.
Grand rond park.
Romanesque wall in Jardin des plantes park.
Museums and theme parks
Toulouse has many museums, the most important of which are:
- Musée des Augustins is the fine arts museum of Toulouse, it is located in the former Augustinian convent.
- Bemberg Foundation, housed in the Hôtel d'Assézat, presents to the public one of the major private collections of art in Europe.
- Musée Saint-Raymond is the archeological museum of Toulouse, located in a former college of the university it presents the ancient history of Toulouse and a very rich collection of Roman sculptures from the imperial Roman villa of Chiragan.
- Musée Paul Dupuy is the museum of Decorative Arts and Graphic Arts, including a very rich collection of clocks and watches.
- Musée Gorges Labit is dedicated to artifacts from the Far-Eastern and Ancient Egyptian civilizations.
- Muséum de Toulouse is one of the most important natural history museums in France, housed in the former convent of the Discalced Carmelites.
- Les Abattoirs is the museum of modern and contemporary art of the city, opened in a former municipal slaughterhouse.
Toulouse also has several theme parks, notably highlighting its aeronautical and space heritage:
- Cité de l'espace is a scientific discovery centre focused on spaceflight.
- Aeroscopia is an aeronautical theme park located near Toulouse–Blagnac Airport, dedicated to the preservation of aeronautical historical heritage (it hosts for example two Concorde airliners).
- L'Envol des pionniers is a museum that traces the great adventure of l'Aéropostale, a pioneering airmail company based in Toulouse which operated between France and South America from 1918 to 1933, and employed legendary pilots such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Jean Mermoz or Henri Guillaumet...
- Halle de La Machine is a vast hall that houses numerous small or giant animated machines, often inspired by the world of aeronautics, human or technological epics.
The main industries are aeronautics
, space, electronics, information technology and biotechnology
. Toulouse hosts the Airbus
headquarters and assembly-lines of Airbus A320
. (A320 lines also exist in Hamburg
, Germany, Tianjin
, China, and Mobile, Alabama
, USA.) Airbus has its head office in Blagnac
, near Toulouse.
Airbus's France division has its main office in Toulouse.
Toulouse also hosts the headquarters of ATR
, one of the two headquarters of Liebherr Aerospace
and Groupe Latécoère
. The Concorde
supersonic aircraft was also constructed in Toulouse.
Portal of the college de l'Esquile (1556), a symbol of the university's seniority
Toulouse has the fourth-largest student population in France after Paris, Lyon
with 103,000 students (2012).
Colleges and universities
A historic building of the University of Toulouse.
The University of Toulouse
(Université de Toulouse
) was established in 1229 (now split into three separate universities). Like the universities in Oxford
and Paris, the University of Toulouse was established at a time when Europeans were starting to translate the writings of Arabs of Andalus and Greek philosophers. These writings challenged European ideology—inspiring scientific discoveries and advances in the arts—as society began seeing itself in a new way. These colleges were supported by the Church, in hopes of reconciling Greek philosophy and Christian theology.
- ICAM Toulouse (Institut catholique d'arts et métiers)
- INSA Toulouse
- ISAE SUPAERO (Institut supérieur de l'aéronautique et de l'espace)
- ENAC (École Nationale de l'Aviation Civile)
- INP ENSEEIHT (École Nationale Supérieure d'Électronique, d'Électrotechnique, d'Informatique, d'Hydraulique et des Télécommunications)
- ENSFEA (École nationale supérieure de formation de l’enseignement agricole)
- INP ENSIACET (École nationale supérieure d'ingénieurs en art chimique et technologique)
- INP ENSAT ('École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse)
- INP ENM (École Nationale de la Météorologie)
- EPITA (École pour l'informatique et les techniques avancées)
- EPITECH (École pour l'informatique et les nouvelles technologies or European Institute of Information Technology)
- IPSA (Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Avancées)
- EIPurpan (École d'ingénieurs de Purpan)
Primary and secondary schools
International schools serving area expatriates are in nearby Colomiers
In addition to an extensive bus system, the Toulouse Metro
is a VAL
(Véhicule Automatique Léger) metro
system made up of driverless (automatic) rubber-tired
trains. Line A runs for 12.5 km (7.8 mi) from Balma-Gramont in the north-east to Basso Cambo in the south-west. Line B, which opened in June 2007, serves 20 stations north to south and intersects line A at Jean Jaurès.
Line C has existed since line A was completed. It is not VAL but an urban railway line operated by SNCF
. It connects to line A at Arènes
. Two other stations located in Toulouse are also served by line C. Lardenne, formerly named "Gare des Capelles", changed its name in September 2003 when line C opened.
Le TOEC station opened on 1 September 2003 with the creation of line C, allowing an urban train service in Toulouse and close western suburbs.
The tramway line T1
(operating since December 2010), runs from Beauzelle to Toulouse passing through Blagnac. All urban bus, metro and tram services are operated by Tisséo. Tramway line T2 is a branch of the first line serving notably Toulouse Blagnac airport.
In 2007, a citywide bicycle rental scheme called VélôToulouse was introduced,
with bicycles available from automated stations for a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly subscription.
Toulouse public transportation statistics
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Toulouse, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 44 min. 9.1% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 9 min, while 10.4% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 7 km, while 8% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.
Toulouse is the home of Bonhoure Radio Tower, a 61-metre high lattice tower used for FM and TV transmission.
In 2001 a large (100 km) optical fiber
(symmetric 360Gbit/s) network named Infrastructure Métropolitaine de Télécommunications
was deployed around the city and suburbs.
The Halle aux grains, a former grain market now used as a concert hall.
Toulouse is the seat of the Académie des Jeux Floraux
, the equivalent of the French Academy
for the Occitan-speaking regions of southern France, making Toulouse the unofficial capital of Occitan culture
. The traditional Cross of Toulouse
(from Provence, under the name of cross of Provence), emblem of the County of Toulouse and commonly widespread around all of Occitania during the Middle Ages is the symbol of the city and of the newly founded Midi-Pyrénées région
, as well as a popular Occitan symbol.
Concerning arts, Toulouse is the birthplace of Impressionist painter Henri Martin
as well as sculptors Alexandre Falguière
and Antonin Mercié
. Moreover, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
and Antoine Bourdelle
were trained at the Toulouse fine arts school. Post Impressionist painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's (1864-1901) father was Count Alphonse Charles de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa (1838-1913) and was part of an aristocratic family of Counts of Toulouse, Odet de Foix, Vimcomte de Lautrec and the Viscounts of Montfa. French graffiti artist Cyril Kongo
was born in Toulouse in 1969.
Twin towns and sister cities
Toulouse is twinned with:
- Atlanta, United States, since 1975
- Bologna, Italy, since 1981
- Elche, Spain, since 1981
- Chongqing, China, since 1981
- Kyiv, Ukraine, since 1975
- Tel Aviv, Israel, since 1962
Toulouse also has accords of cooperation with the following towns:
^ Speyer cathedral
is slightly larger, but unlike Saint-Sernin this church has been largely destroyed and rebuilt in its history, so the question of which is the largest remaining Romanesque church depends on the criteria chosen as to Romanesque character.
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