One of France’s largest cities, Toulouse is known as the Ville Rose (the “Pink City”) because of its old buildings made of beautifully faded red brick. This is also a term used tongue-in-cheek to describe the large and welcoming gay community. It has one of the country’s biggest concentrations of gay bars, clubs, and saunas. Toulouse’s colorful Marche des Fiertés, the pride march held each June, is the year’s biggest street party.
Toulouse is a city with business on its mind, as this is France’s center for aviation. But it’s also a city proud of its past, which is evident in its lovingly restored buildings. It has revered churches, grand public spaces, and the Canal du Midi, a 150-mile-long engineering marvel that has been designated a United Nations World Heritage Site.
All international flights bound for Toulouse land at Blagnac Airport, about 5 miles northwest of the city. The Flybus Airport Shuttle departs every 20 minutes and takes appproximately 20 minutes to arrive at Gare Routière des Voyageurs (next to the main Matabiau train station) and other points downtown. Tickets, at 5 euros each way, may be bought at the bus station or from the bus driver.
The main railway station is Gare Matabiau, 64 boulevard Pierre Semard, with trains to and from points around France, and connections to all of Europe - see SNCF. An information center at the station has English-language staff and materials, 9am-5:30pm.
The historic center is very small, so you’ll want to stroll. Buses, trams and the metro can get you to more distant destinations. For public transportation info see the website of Tisseo. Tickets can be purchased on the bus or at many tabacs around town. For bike rentals there are scores of VéloToulouse stands around town where the swipe of a credit card provides easy access to wheels. Their website has details, and an interactive map of pickup and return areas. If your French is rusty, see the overview in English at the AIT (American expat site) transportation web page - along with other useful tips.
Currency and Money
France is part of the Euro Zone, so the euro is the accepted currency. The many ATMs in the downtown area will dispense euros at good exchange rates for your dollars. Consult with your bank before leaving home for French partner banks to save on cash withdrawal charges, and for a credit card with an imbedded chip and pin number now required by many ticket machines in Europe. Also get your bank's 24-hour non-800 service number in case of card loss.
Local Media & resources
LOM Magazine, along with their GPS (Guide Plein Sud), is the best gay resource for what's happening in Toulouse, as well as other southern cities including Lyon, Montpellier, Nîmes and Perpignan. They can be read online too, with pdf copies to download. Actu-Gay also has an online guide to gay Toulouse.
Extra-Muros Toulouse is a social club of 17 years, for outdoor gay/lesbian adventures of mountain hikes, skiing, camping, rafting, beach trips - as well as bowling nights, picnics, restaurant visits, theater and musical soirées.
Têtu is the national gay magazine, packed with interesting features and profiles. It’s also one of the slickest gay magazines ever produced and they publish periodic listings guides for all of France.
ToulouseForYou is a general website guide to the local hotels, clubs, restaurants, shopping, entertainment and activities.
See listings of gay and gay-friendly bars, restaurants, saunas and other businesses, with locations and website links, at our map & listings tab.
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