Visit the pink city: where to stay in Toulouse? Here is our selection of the best neighborhoods to stay in Toulouse!
Finding accommodation in Toulouse can be a mission if you are traveling on a limited budget. One of France’s most attractive cities – along with Montpellier -, Toulouse has a shortage of accommodation offer, with only 226,154 homes (1999) for 466,297 inhabitants (2014). Therefore, due to this imbalance between supply and demand, accommodation rates can be quite high.
Toulouse is a young city. Home to more than 100,000 students, it is one of France’s largest “student cities.” A dynamic and lively city, the capital of the Occitanie region boasts a rich history and a vast cultural heritage, with many interesting landmarks such as the Capitole, the Saint-Sernin Basilica, the Canal du Midi, the Prairie des Filtres, the banks of the Garonne, etc. Discover the best areas to stay in Toulouse.
The city center
Surrounded by the boulevard d’Arcole, the Boulevard de Strasbourg, the rue de Metz, the Place Esquirol, and the two most famous bridges in Toulouse – the Pont-Neuf and the Pont Saint-Pierre -, this quarter is the beating heart of the “pink city.” If you enjoy getting around on foot, you should definitely book your accommodation in the city center. During the day, this central quarter is swarming with people, particularly along the shopping streets: rue d’Alsace-Lorraine, rue Saint-Rome, rue Pargaminières, Place du Capitole, rue des Lois, rue du Taur, etc. Also, don’t miss the Saint-Sernin Basilica,the largest Romanesque Basilica in the world, famous for its exceptionally well preserved Romanesque sculptures and its iconic organ. In the evening, mingle with the Toulousain night owls who like to party the night away in the area’s array of famous bars.
Just North of the city center, and close to several universities and schools, Compans Caffarelli is a modern and busy hub, with a small underground shopping mall, several fast food restaurants and a metro station. The area houses a large conference center and as such, has a few large hotels that specialize in short business stays, but if you are lucky and arrive between two conferences, their rates are quite affordable. You will find a large park and within in, a small and quaint Japanese Garden, a little haven of tranquility in what is otherwise one of the busiest neighborhoods of the city. Bordering it to the East, Les Chalets is its opposite, a quiet residential area where you will find more home stay accommodations than hotels. Parking here is relatively easy and safe, thanks to the numerous residential streets.
Located between the city center and the train station, the Jeanne d’Arc neighborhood is ideally located if you’re coming by train and makes for a great home base if you plan on visiting some of the cities nearby Toulouse, such as Albi. The neighborhood is made up of large historical buildings, many of them recently renovated, and will have a large selection of hotels thanks to the proximity of the train station, though many are far from one night traveler hotels and you will find cozy and comfortable places with lots of charm. This area of Toulouse is a short walk away from all the animation near Jean Jaurès, with its cinemas, bars and nightclubs, and equally close to the museums ans places to visit in the city center.
Additionally if you are staying in one of the area’s many Airbnbs, you’l be glad to learn that Jeanne d’Arc has its own markets on weekends, with the upscale Victor Hugo Halles or the outdoor Marché Cristal, the cheapest market in France. Finally, if you don’t feel like cooking at home everyday, rue Bayard is full of restaurants, from an upscale oyster bar, to a large and authentic Chinese canteen, a criminally underrated sushi shop, a little hidden but its very generous portions make it well worth the effort to find it, and finally a great little place that is half fishmonger, half fresh fish restaurant, that will cook the fish you chose yourself on large planchas.
The Carmes and Saint-Étienne districts
Photo credit: Flickr – Thomas PLESSIS
The Carmes district feels like a small village with an authentic, friendly and peaceful lifestyle. Unlike the rest of Toulouse, the area exudes a country-like atmosphere, favored by many “bohos” and “hipsters.” We understand them well: situated a stone’s throw from the banks of the Garonne, the quarters of Saint-Étienne and Les Carmes are home to a myriad of small organic food markets, restaurants, music shops, small cafés where you can enjoy live music performances and sometimes even jam with your own instrument. It’s a good neighborhood to stay in Toulouse if you are looking for a friendly, peaceful, and lively atmosphere, while still within walking distance of the city center.
Photo credit: Flickr – Chryst_Gazelle
This district is very well known among locals, and for a good reason: it is a frequently used passageway between the Patte-d’Oie district – and its Arènes – and the city center. Centered around the Allées Charles de Fitte, the Pont des Catalans and the Pont Saint-Michel, the Parc Raymond VI, the Musée des Abattoirs and the very famous Prairie des Filtres – don’t miss the renowned Festival Rio Loco if you happen to travel in June -, Saint-Cyprien is one of the city’s most famous, dynamic, and attractive districts. You will undoubtedly remember the Hôpital de la Grave and its beautiful dome which makes for great pictures at sunset, the Rue de la République, and the Rue du Pont Saint-Pierre. Though there are few hotels in the area, you will find a myriad of comfortable homestay lodgings on Airbnb, providing both a local neighborhood lifestyle and useful proximity to the city center. Thanks to its affordable accommodation rates, this is one of the best areas to stay in Toulouse as it is close to several of the places you will want to visit and easily accessible from the airport.
Saint-Michel and Le Busca
Photo credit: Flickr – JP Tonn
Saint-Michel is one of Toulouse’s most popular student districts in Toulouse. Situated east of the Île du Ramier, this area offers cheaper rentals. From the Palais de Justice metro station to Saint-Michel/Marcel Langer station, the Grande Rue Saint-Michel and its adjacent streets are packed with a wide range of homestay apartments to choose from. Enjoy beautiful urban walks in the neighborhoods of Saint-Michel and Le Busca, including the Jardin Royal, the Grand Rond, the Jardin des Plantes and along the “allées Jules Guesde,” one of Toulouse’s largest green spaces.
Main photo credit : Flickr – Pierre-Selim
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