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Things to do in Toulouse

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Le Capitole
In Toulouse there is no Mairie, but rather a majestic Capitole! An emblematic building, it is home to the town hall, a theatre and rooms of state where you can bump into celebrities from the city. The seat of municipal power since its construction, commissioned by the Capitouls in the XII Century, transformed and embellished in every era, La Capitole shows its majestic Neo-Classical façade to the unmistakable square that shares its name. Its walls could tell of the great moments in the history of Toulouse: from the Cathar episode to the creation of the Floral Games, from the Counts of Toulouse to the siege of the city. On the first floor, you cross magnificent reception rooms that are decorated with the Allegories of Love by Paul Gervais, 10 giant canvases by Henri Martin and, notably, the Salle des Illustres whose paintings retrace the history of Toulouse and whose busts bring back to life the personalities that have defined the city.
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Basilica of Saint-Sernin
The largest church (115 metres in length), a jewel of Roman art begun in 1075 and consecrated in 1096. Pilgrimage church, designed to receive the crowds of pilgrims walking towards Compostela, and to shelter a religious community. One of the symbols of Toulouse, this basilica of brick and stone is certainly imposing. Majestic and luminous, it was built between the XI and XIV Centuries in honour of St Saturnin (or Sernin), the first bishop of the city. An important stop along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, it inspires reverence and its vast proportions are ideal for strolling past the numerous reliquaries.
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Cite de l'espace
Walking on the moon, stepping aboard the Mir Space Station, gazing at the Ariane 5 rocket, dreaming with your head in the stars… You can do all of this at the Cité de l’Espace, a short hop from the centre of Toulouse. The Cité offers 2,500m² of interactive exhibitions to help you become an expert on the Earth and the Universe as you learn everything about space flight and even find out how to predict the weather. You can train like a genuine astronaut thanks to the moonwalk simulator and explore the life of astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Try on a space suit, jump into a lunar rover… Its 5 hectares of gardens, which are home to life-sized replicas of spacecraft and a giant telescope, its IMAX® cinema with giant screen, its interactive planetarium and countless activities for young and old alike make this journey into outer space even more fun.
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Fondation Bemberg
This museum that brings together works from the Renaissance and Impressionist masterpieces can be found in the most beautiful mansion house of the city: a feast for the eyes. This foundation housed in the Hôtel d’Assézat and created by Argentinian collector Georges Bemberg brings together numerous works of western art from the Renaissance to the early XX Century. In the Renaissance-style salons, the first floor brings back to life the interiors of different eras by combining period furniture, tableaux and objet d’art. The 2nd floor is given over to modern paintings and it is important not to miss the 35 tableaux by post-impressionist Bonnard. Among the artists on display we find Guardi, Cranach the Elder, Veronese, Titian, Fantin-Latour… In order to fully appreciate this visit, lift your gaze and admire the well-preserved XVI Century ceiling on the 1st floor.
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Hotel D'assezat
A short hop from the Pont Neuf, a monumental stone doorway hides a masterpiece of the Classical Renaissance. You can even take tea here in the summer, if you are brave enough to face the lions and warriors… The sumptuous courtyard of honour is the backdrop for two façades punctuated by antique columns and linked by a stairway tower. Everything matches the level of ambition of the man that commissioned it, Pierre d’Assézat, merchant and Capitoul of Toulouse, who made his fortune from pastel in the XVI Century. Bequeathed to the city in 1895, it was then home to the academies and learned societies where the Floral Games were created in 1323. It was this exceptional venue that was selected by the Argentine Georges Bemberg in which to display his collection of art, which you can explore at the foundation that shares his name. Beneath the loggia, you can quench your thirst as you contemplate the courtyard and façades of the most beautiful Renaissance mansion house of Toulouse.
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Pierre Baudis Japanese Garden
If you would like enjoy a journey to the Orient, treat yourself to a Zen promenade in the Japanese Garden, which is labelled a Remarkable Garden. Situated in the heart of Compans-Caffarelli Park, this garden’s exotic feel is a surprise. A veritable invitation to meditate and relax, it is a synthesis of the gardens you can find in Kyoto, Japan, constructed between the XIV and XVI Centuries. It is made up of all the characteristic elements: a showcase of the worlds of minerals and plants and the aquatic world complete with traditional decorative features. You can discover a rock garden with islands devoted to the crane and the turtle, nine rocks, a lake, a tea pavilion and a landscaped garden featuring a dry waterfall, Japanese stepping stones, a lantern, a red bridge, an Island of Paradise, a Mount Fuji and the headstones of three saints.
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Couvent Des Jacobins
In this building entirely made of bricks, the contrast between its massive or even austere aspect of the exterior and the extraordinary lightness of the interior architecture where the famous palm-tree ribs thrust upwards.
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The Augustins Museum
A museum rich in sculptures, the Musée des Augustins has a unique collection of Roman sculptures and also masterpieces from the area’s Gothic era as well as numerous 19th Century sculptures representing the vitality of Toulouse’s artistic creation.