Those of us who have a love of all things French, look no further than Toulouse as Aer Lingus announce it will operate up to 4 flights* a week direct from Dublin to Toulouse from 03 May 2021.
Known as the ‘Pink City’, Toulouse offers fantastic weather, exciting cultural events, and plenty of amazing exhibitions and attractions for visitors. Whether it’s indulging in the famed gastronomy scene, sipping wine at the world’s best wine bar or learning about the city’s 2,000 years of history, Toulouse offers something for every holidaymaker including solo travellers, families or couples.
A gateway to the majestic Pyrenees, Catalan Perpignan, historic Montpellier and the pilgrimage site at Lourdes, which are all incredibly popular with many holidaymakers, Toulouse has rounded up just some of the reasons why the destination should be on every travel bucket list.
Toulouse keeps its Michelin Stars and sees two restaurants awarded by the BIB Gourmand: Hito and Cartouches. Lesser known, it celebrates tables offering “a quality menu at a moderate price”. Visitors can enjoy a three-course meal for a maximum of €35 approx.
Two Michelin Star Chef and beloved TV Chef Michel Sarran launched Croq’Michel in Toulouse to celebrate his “guilty pleasure”: the croque-monsieur. Six recipes inspired by flavours across the world are available for delivery and soon to be a restaurant in the old town, rue des filatiers!
Emily is a brand new “Haute Couture” Pâtisserie that offers each season six desserts, in sizes S to XL. A unique concept by pastry chef Emilie Bertrand and Guillaume Momboisse, Michelin star chef of Sept Restaurant next to Saint-Sernin Basilica.
Taste of Toulouse offers guided tours of the impressive Victor Hugo covered market in the heart of the city and teaches English-speaking tourists about the local products on offer and French culture. Visitors can tuck into baked goods, pastries, charcuterie, cheeses and sweet treats on their way around while Jessica the guide teaches them about the food and top tips on how to buy it. https://www.tasteoftoulouse.com/
After eight years of research and development, Hélène Vié, the creator and owner of La Maison de la Violette, has reflected her passion for the Toulouse emblematic flower in the creation of the first cosmetic firm with the natural violet extract. Jardin Confidentiel is made in the Occitania region from natural violet extracts and one hundred per cent local products, with which it extols the medicinal properties of this flower through delicate soaps, oils, emulsions and body lotions. https://www.jardinconfidentiel.com/fr/
Les Jardins de l’Opéra, the restaurant of Michelin-starred chef Stéphane Tournié in Toulouse next to the Capitole, has been awarded the Green Food label end of 2020. This French label certifies restaurants choosing to commit to sustainable development including a majority of local and/or organic products, waste reduction and reuse, use of ecological products for maintenance, reduction of energy costs. https://lesjardinsdelopera.fr
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Walking tours are a fantastic way to explore the surrounding landscapes of the pink city. Centre-based at a comfortable mountain hotel in the pretty spa town of Ax-les-Thermes, this walking holiday will highlight the best of Midi – Pyrenees, with a series of short and scenic day-walks. Accessed through Toulouse, this part of the Pyrenees is home to some great peaks and wild landscapes. The itinerary takes in the best circular loops and summits of the area. With views of Andorra there is a walk to the summit of Pic de Tarbesou (2364m) before passing several peaceful, hidden, high lakes. Some of the walks pass through the cool forest whilst others take on high plateaus to mountain refuges. Walkers can keep an eye out for marmots, chamois and possibly the odd golden eagle. The town of Ax-les-Thermes is famous for its natural thermal baths.
Travellers can venture on a relaxing cycle through the city and along the Canal du Midi’s towpaths with VélÔ Toulouse, a self-service bike scheme with more than 280 stations dotted around the coral streets. The service is open 24/7 and is free to use for the first half-hour.
OUT OF THIS WORLD EXPERIENCES
A must-do activity is the Cité de l’espace (space museum), which offers hands-on exhibitions for aspiring space cadets to learn about the Earth, universe and space travel. Families can go on a space exploration and budding astronauts will board a real space station, as well as experience what it’s like to feel out of this world with the museums’ space-hopping simulator. Kids will try on a spacesuit, ride inside a lunar rover and even watch a film in the on-site IMAX cinema. For those feeling brave, the rotating pod will test their tolerance for space travel and make this experience truly out of this world. The outdoor playground for three- to six-year-olds allows younger members of the family to explore space in a light-hearted way by sliding sown rocket slides, climbing into a space station and pretending to be a cosmonaut in space. The variety of interactive exhibitions and educational areas mean all generations leave feeling like experts on life beyond Earth, whilst providing parents with answers to those budding questions from their children about space.
With its impressive collection, Aeroscopia is the home of rich local aviation heritage, creating a link between the past, present and future of aviation. Visitors to Toulouse can view two models of Concorde at the city’s Aeroscopia museum. Beyond the preservation and promotion of legendary aircraft, Aeroscopia’s mission is to pass on a culture of aviation, transmit knowledge and create an attractive and educational place to encourage scientific and technical careers.
Visit www.musee-aeroscopia.fr/en for more information.
WHERE TO STAY
Located in the heart of Toulouse close by to the museums, shops and attractions, the beautiful La Cour Des Consuls et Spa Toulouse – MGallery collection is a little slice of luxury in the city centre. With a magnificent 18th century courtyard, ‘La Terrasse by CC’ has become a popular meeting place for locals and holidaymakers alike. With 32-bedrooms, this boutique property offers comfortable rooms and fantastic dining options. Those staying should relax in the courtyard with a cocktail and try a selection of tapas from the menu, which was created by Michellin-starred chef Thomas Vonderscher. On weekends, this inner-city gem is the ideal setting for brunch with friends. For more information or to book, visit www.la-cour-des-consuls-hotel-and-spa-toulouse-mgallery-collection.at-hotels.com/fr/
HOW TO GET THERE
From 03 May 2021, Aer Lingus will operate up to 4 flights* a week direct from Dublin to Toulouse. Fares start from €39.99 one-way including taxes and charges. For more information please visit Aerlingus.com