Toulouse

Often referred to as The Ville Rose (Pink City) due to the colour of the bricks used in many of its lovely buildings, Toulouse nestles on the banks of the Garonne river. The fourth largest metropolitan area in France, this vibrant and cosmopolitan urban centre is the capital of the Midi-Pyrenees region, and can date its history back to the 8th century B.C. Toulouse can boast two UNESCO World Heritage sites; the Midi Canal, and the Basilica of St. Sernin, the world's largest remaining Romanesque church. The magnificent five tiered bell tower of this 11th century building is one of the city's major landmarks. Toulouse is also noted for its fine museums, including those devoted to natural history, fine arts, and modern and contemporary arts. It is a joy to stroll around the historical centre, and along the river bank to admire the beautiful 18th century houses.

Toulouse offers a wide and varied range of hotel apartment accommodation. The Crowne Plaza Hotel can offer you an apartment close to the sites of historical interest, the theatre and the opera. It also boasts a wellness centre, sauna and whirlpool. The Grand Hotel Opera is housed in a converted 17th century convent, so you can enjoy an apartment room located amidst a combination of old world charm and modern conveniences. This hotel has won several industry awards. The Pullman Toulouse Centre is right in the heart of the city, where you can take an apartment in an elegant and stylish ambience. For the more budget conscious, the Hotel Ariane is close to the Space City theme park, and the Albert is a charming, no frills, family run hotel.

For a relaxingly pleasant hour or two, why not take a tour beneath the city's lovely bridges in a Parisian style riverboat? The City of Space theme park, just to the south of Toulouse, focuses on space and space travel. Here can be found several scale models of famous spacecraft such as the Mir space station, a planetarium and a 3D cinema. The large natural park of the Pech David, on a hill overlooking the city, is a delightful haven of peace and tranquillity, ideal for walkers and cyclists.