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If you're planning a campervan tour of France or Europe, chance are the you'll be including the wonderful city of Toulouse in your itinerary. Whether you're starting or ending your motorhome travels in Toulouse, or just passing through, you'll find plenty of useful information here about Toulouse for campervan travellers. Enjoy!
Toulouse is one of the Best Spots in France
Welcome to Toulouse, where you will see the world through dreamy rose-coloured glasses. The city has earned the name ‘La Ville Rose’ in recognition of its pink-hued coral-clad shops, rooftops and streets. The living here is easy and a welcome break from the bustle of other major French cities where you may feel the need to rush from one tourist hot spot to another. In Toulouse, you are required to take it down a notch, to relax and revel in the city’s old-world charm, taking things in at a slower pace if you really want to appreciate its splendour.
Nestled on the Garonne River and the mighty Canal du Midi, Toulouse may have a more laid-back vibe than most other French cities, but it is still a modern city — France’s fourth-largest. You can still anticipate an exciting contemporary music scene; the city’s large university ensuring the place is brimming with youth and vitality. You will also want to wander the area referred to as Old Town, with its charming streets, enchanting churches and hidden lanes.
The culinary scene alone is something to swoon over, with gastronomic wonders to be found in world-class restaurants and also in seemingly ordinary bistros and cafés. Art, history and culture lovers won’t want to miss the Musée St-Raymon, Musée des Augustins or the intriguing Musée Paul Dupuy. Outdoor markets and one-of-a-kind boutiques will delight your inner shopper. Or take a break and cruise the city’s waterways aboard a boat or barge in the company of a knowledgeable guide.
Experiencing Toulouse in a campervan is an ideal way to embrace all that is amazing about this superstar city. You can park at one of the many campervan parks just outside the city, with amenities that the kids, too, will love. You will just be a quick trip from the city, able to enjoy both nature and an urban wonderland while on holiday.
How far are campervan depots from Toulouse airport?
Depending on which rental brand you select, you may find the airport is very close to your rental depot. Some depots, however, are around 20 kilometres away and you’ll need to make sure you have sufficient Euros handy for the cab fare and tip. Taxis are available immediately outside of the arrivals terminal.
When are the best times to visit Toulouse?
Toulouse’s weather is more oceanic than tropical, with distinctive seasons. No matter what time of year you are visiting, be sure to pack some warm layers as the city’s location can mean surprise cold fronts. Toulouse is a charming place to visit any time of year, however, so don’t let the weather intimidate you.
December to February means very cold temperatures with highs topping out at 11°C and lows at 6°C. Spring is temperamental but there are gorgeous days from March to May that can get as high as 22°C with lows around 5°C. June-August is peak summer season with crowds to match and temperatures reaching 28°C with lows of 16°C. Autumn (September-November) is an ideal shoulder season to visit, with temperatures that range from 6°C-25°C.
Dec - Feb: Low 6°C, High 11°C
Mar - May: Low 5°C, High 22°C
Jun - Aug: Low 16°C, High 28°C
Sep - Nov: Low 6°C, High 25°C
Places to Visit in and around Toulouse
Appreciate the Pyrenees
Nature lovers will want to take their time touring the Pyrenees Mountains, a backdrop to Toulouse and amongst the most beautiful ranges in Europe.
A little less than three hours from the city is the Pyrenees National Park, a remarkable spot for wildlife and nearby ski resorts if you want to hit the slopes. You can expect snow-capped mountains, blooming wild flowers, beautiful streams, breathtaking views and so much more.
Winning Winery Scene
The vineyards are very old in this region, and are said to have been planted in the time when the Romans occupied Gaul. The wine fields are set at the foot of the Pyrenees, providing stunning views while you are wine-tasting. Head south and you will find bubbly perfection in the sparkling wines of Limoux.
You can combine your beverage-filled tour de France with wine-making classes and expertly-paired meals, experiencing the region via your palate. For those with less time, there are many wine tour operators willing to whisk you away from the city for the day. They typically stop at three to four vineyards, letting you wine and dine before taking you back to your campervan park.
Square-up for a Lovely Time
Toulouse’s pedestrian-only Place du Capitole is one of the best squares in all of Europe, combining amazing architecture with the perfect opportunity for people-watching. Pull up a seat at one of the many outdoor cafes for a plate of fresh oysters, or swing by after dinner for a nightcap before taking transport back to the campervan park.
Flights of Fancy
Aeronautics plays a large part in the history of Toulouse and is celebrated in many ways. Even if you’ve never thought yourself interested in the history of aviation, you will still appreciate the Cité de l'Espace, the continent’s best space museum. The exhibitions are both informative and fun at the same time. What will really impress are the moon rocks, interactive displays and a full-size model of the Sputnik. There’s also an innovative planetarium that kids will adore.
Construction of this ancient walled city started in the 12th Century, and from afar it looks like something straight out of a fairytale. Guided tours are available and well worth the expense, allowing you a couple of hours to get to know this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site. The walled city of Carcassonne is within walking distance of the Carcassonne train station.
7 Tips for Visitors to Toulouse
- Locals really appreciate the effort if visitors try to speak their language. Even if your accent is terrible and you stumble a bit, try to learn some French, even if you can only master a few phrases.
- Saint-Etienne District is a well-kept secret where you can escape from other tourists. Here you will find small antique shops, and shops selling local arts and crafts.
- If you have the kids along then don’t miss the Natural History Museum — the little ones will love the interactive exhibitions.
- Lovers of the outdoors will want to walk, bike or cruise the Canal du Midi.
- August is incredibly hot and many shops and hotels are closed for the month so owners can go on holiday themselves. Expect prices to rise during this time.
- Many places are closed on Sunday so make sure you fill your RV with petrol the day before as it can be hard to come by.
- Pickpockets are known to troll tourist areas so make sure you keep your valuables secure.
MAJOR EVENTS IN TOULOUSE
- Festival de la Violette celebrating the flower — February
- Festival Flamenco with dancers descending on the city — March
- Toulouse International Art Festival — May–June
- Rio Loco — June
- Les Siestes Electroniques — June–July
- Tangopostale – June
- The Toulouse Summer Festival — July–August
- Paris Banlieues Tango - November
- Christmas Markets - December
What are the best ways to get around Toulouse?
Local buses and the two-line metro are run by Tisséo and will serve you well as you get around the city. You will find ticket kiosks at the airport, Place Jeanne d'Arc and at all metro stops.
A single ticket costs €1.60, a 10-ticket carnet (book of tickets) is €13.40, a one-day pass is €5.50 and a two-day pass is €8.50. Most bus lines run daily until at least 8pm and then night bus lines run until about 10pm. Bicycles are a fabulous way to see the city. The city’s bike-hire system is called Vélô. Toulouse has pick-up/drop-off stations dotted about every 300m around the city. Tickets cost €1.20 a day or €5 a week, plus a €150 credit-card deposit.
The city is extremely walkable so don’t hesitate to put on some comfy shoes and take on Toulouse by foot. Whatever you do, don’t drive into Toulouse as there is nowhere to park and the streets are far too narrow for a motorhome.
Where Can You Camp in Toulouse?
In addition to being illegal to camp within the city limits, taking your campervan into Toulouse just isn’t a good idea. Streets are narrow and parking a beast to find. You’re much better off parking at a lovely campervan park outside the city and taking public transport into town. There are some fabulous options close by for an awesome camping experience:
- Les Violettes
- Le Rupé in Toulouse
- La Bouriette
What Campervan Brands are Available in Toulouse?
Motorhome rental brands in Toulouse include:
- Big Sky
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