Toulouse has a reputation for being friendly and sunny, perfect conditions to take advantage of all that’s on offer. It’s also famous for its great food from cassoulet to markets and gastronomic restaurants.
The spicy, meaty, unctuous and utterly mouth-watering stew with haricot beans is one of the most famous specialities of the region and there are plenty of restaurants dishing it up. With a lovely sunny climate, eating outdoors is the order of the day. In the city of Toulouse, the cassoulet boasts Toulouse sausage, another regional speciality, and you’ll find plenty of tree lined elegant squares, like Place St Georges or Place St Pierre (Bar Basque is a favourite with the locals), where you can sit and enjoy watching the world go by and revel in the luxury of al fresco dining late into the night.
There’s loads of choice for a spot of mooching at a market in Toulouse. One of the best is the atmospheric more than 100-year-old Victor Hugo covered market. It’s a show-stopper market and a place of tempting aromas. Top tip: head to the first floor – there’s a fabulous bistro called L’Impériale – impossible to not be intoxicated by the delicious smells of the freshly cooked food, their cassoulet is divine!
On a Sunday morning don’t miss the picturesque marché held around the church Eglise St Aubin. It’s a “bobo” (bohemian bourgeois) style affair with clothes, flowers, spices and great produce on offer – it’s like a village within a village.
Pick up details of all the markets in Toulouse from the tourist office.
With several Michelin-starred restaurants in Toulouse metropolis and over 1,700 places to eat, the city is known as one of the country’s best served in terms of restaurants.
Locals love: Le Poisson Vagabond (42 Rue Peyrolières) with a scrumptious fresh menu. This street is also great for vintage shopping.
Snack attack: Head to Le Petit Malgre (4 Rue Baronie) it’s a tea room which also serves salads and cakes – it’s very pretty and don’t miss the waffles, they’re fabulous. If its a sunny day, Le Moaï café at the Jardin des Plantes, Museum of Toulouse is perfect for relaxing.
Wine and dine at La Bibent, a beautiful Art Deco listed café on Place Capitole, great at any time of the day for a drink, coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Wine divine: Toulouse is where you’ll find the world’s best bar. Bar No. 5 (5 rue de la Bourse) has won a plethora of awards and is loved for its offering of wine by the glass with more than 3,500 varieties.
Bake my day
Try a local speciality – Le Fenetra, a typical “gateau Toulousain” made from candied lemons and almonds, one of the best-kept secret recipes of the occitanie region. You’ll find it in specialist bakeries but many locals say Regals (25 rue du Taur) is where you’ll get the finest Fenetra.
And, finally, for cake lovers, Sandyan is THE place to go. (54bis Rue d’Alsace Lorraine). Star Chef Yannick Delpech’s sweet creations are simply the best.
If you’re seeking a vegetarian option – there’s plenty of choice there too. Check out our feature: Toulouse for vegetarians