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Prefecture of Haute-Garonne

Population: 487,170. 762,960. for the 37 municipalities of Toulouse Métropole

Personalities: Claude Nougaro, Zebda, Juliette, Images Bigflo and Oli (singers). Toulouse rugby players who played for France (among many more): Vincent Clerc, Cédric Heymans, Clement Poitrenaud, Fabien Pelous, Frederic Michalak. Cyclists: Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Quentin Pacher (Vital Concept), Didier Rous (Vital Concept)

Specialties: foie gras, cassoulet, Toulouse sausage. Violet (flower, candy, perfume). 5 starred restaurants.

Sport: 85,000 licensed players, 500 sports clubs: Stade Toulousain rugby (19 French league titles, 4 European Cups), Toulouse Football Club (L1), Fenix ​​Toulouse Handball (Division 1), Spacer's Toulouse (volleyball -League A), Toulouse Olympique XIII (rugby league), TOEC dolphins (swimming), Toulouse rowing. Events: Bike Tour (April), FilVvert (mountain biking, June), Toulouse beaches (July-August, 350,000 visitors), Marathon Toulouse Métropole (October). Cycling Clubs: Empalot Bike Club- TOAC cycling.

On the bike: "VélôToulouse" (283 self-service bicycle stations), 84 km of cycle lanes on Toulouse Métropole, 8,500 on-street bicycle parking spaces, 11 bicycle parking facilities (stations and metro stations), set up of a bike plan 2017-2020.

Economy: Aeronautics and space (10,000 jobs), Electronics, Biotechnology, IT, Telecommunications. Airbus (aeronautics and civil and military space), ATR (aeronautics, regional transport aircraft), Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (research and development centre for future travel), National Center of Météo-France. 163 research and development centres, 200 start-ups, 3,000 ICT companies. Second university town in France (more than 110 000 students). Tourism (5 million visitors a year)

Festivals: Printemps du rire (April), Rose Béton: Biennial Street Art (June-September), Marathon of words (May), Rio Loco (music, June), Toulouse summer (July-August, concerts pay) , Jacobins Piano (September), September Spring (Contemporary Art), Toulouse the Organs (October), Marionetissimo and International Children's Theater Festival (October) /

Labels: Active and Sport City (2018) / European Capital of Science in 2018

Websites / social networks: www.toulouse.fr / www.toulouse-tourisme.com / www.toulouse-metropole.fr / www.facebook.com/Toulouse / twitter.com/Toulouse / www.instagram.com/Toulousefr/ / www.youtube.com/user/Toulousefr / #TDFToulouse

Toulouse bids for UNESCO World Heritage

Toulouse already has on its soil sites associated with UNESCO’s World Heritage list: the St. Sernin basilica and the St-James Hotel-Dieu are listed as parts of the St. James Way in France (1998) a 12.6-km section of Canal du Midi (1996) flows across the city. On the strength of this heritage, Toulouse is preparing a bidding project encompassing the historical centre, which it wishes to see inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Restoration work has been undertaken to put the historical centre of Toulouse on the indicative list submitted by France to UNESCO. This is the first step before the application itself, which will be prepared in the years to come. The decision will ultimately be made by the French government. The average time to complete an application is about ten years.

The development projects of the city centre extend until 2020 and were entrusted to Catalan urban planner Joan Busquets. By relying on the major avenues that structure the city, the idea is to streamline traffic, harmonise and connect neighbourhoods, create more peaceful and greener spaces, but also renew the link to the river Garonne. Among the major projects under construction, the rehabilitation of the St. Sernin basilica and its heritage, the development of the rue des Lois and the forecourt of Matabiau station and the installation of ramblas on the Allées Jean-Jaurès.

© CC BY-SA 4.0
Basilique Saint-Sernin © Patrice NIN

The Tour never goes far from Toulouse but it has not actually finished in the city since 2008. It still landed twice in Blagnac, site of the city airport, in 2012 and in 2017. Or in Cugnaux in 2011 and in Muret in 2015, two cities located in the urban area of ​​the “pink city”. 2008 was the year of the revelation of Mark Cavendish, who won i the second of his thirty victories on the Tour. The Mannish rider had opened his meter three days earlier in Chateauroux. The terrain is indeed favourable for sprinters, and it is not surprising to find the names of Rik Van Steenbergen, Andre Darrigade or Jacques Esclassan among the stage winners near Place du Capitole. But it was also in a bunch sprint that the most prestigious stage winner in Toulouse, Gino Bartali, won in 1948. On the map of the inaugural Tour of 1903, the city had from 1909 been snubbed by the race for thirty years. Henri Desgrange was bored to death during the stage won in 1909 by Jean Alavoine and decided to ignore Toulouse and head for the Pyrenees to make the race more exciting! The idea paid off.

There are countless riders born in Toulouse, but the best known are probably Jean-Christophe Péraud, second in the 2014 Tour or Frederic Moncassin, winner of two stages in 1996. Sylvain Marcailllou, 5th of the 1937 Tour, as well as Christian Chaubet or Robert Forest in the 80s, also represented Toulouse on the roads of the Tour. In the current peloton, Toulouse's Anthony Perez made his debut in 2018.

1909 - Jean Alavoine en tête après Aix-les-bains © Presse Sports
1948 - Gino Bartali, vainqueur sur une étape de montagne © Presse Sports COLLECTION LAGET
Tour de France 2017 - Victoire de Matthews Michael © ASO /B.BADE

Le Capitole
In Toulouse, no town hall, but a majestic Capitol! An emblematic building, it houses the town hall, a theatre and ceremonial rooms where the city's celebrities meet. The site of municipal power since its construction, decided by the Capitouls in the 12th century, transformed and embellished throughout history, the Capitol deploys its majestic neoclassical facade on the inevitable square of the same name. Its walls tell the great moments of Toulouse's history: from the Albigensian period to the creation of the Floral Games, from the counts of Toulouse to the city's siege. Upstairs magnificent reception rooms are adorned with the allegories of Love by Paul Gervais, ten giant paintings by Henri Martin, the most famous of then being Salle des Illustres (Room of the Illustrious), displaying paintings tracing the history of Toulouse and the busts of the personalities that marked the city.

St. Sernin basilica
This 11th century basilica of brick and stone is simply one of the largest Romanesque buildings in the West. A former halt on the pilgrims road to Compostela, it is listed as a UNESCO heritage site since 1998. Under its octagonal bell tower is an immense vaulted nave of 21 meters high and a crypt where many relics are kept. Among them, those of St. Sernin, a martyred bishop of the 3rd century to which the basilica owes its name. It is also possible to admire the enamelled reliquary of the True Cross, in the shape of a sarcophagus. The richly decorated transepts are remarkable for their moving medieval frescoes. The basilica and its immediate surroundings are undergoing a vast rehabilitation scheme called Grand Saint-Sernin.

The convent of the Jacobins
The remarkable element that surprises visitors is the unique palm-shaped arch. The church, with its double nave with painted decor and beautiful stained glass windows, also houses the relics of St. Thomas Aquinas. As for the cloister of the convent, an island of tranquillity in the city, it regularly hosts concerts and exhibitions. A jewel of southern Gothic art, this ensemble was founded in the 13th and 14th centuries by the order of the Dominicans.

Canal du Midi
Several canals cross the city: the Canal du Midi, the Brienne Canal and the side canal of the Garonne. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Canal du Midi connects Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea. Built under the reign of Louis XIV by Pierre-Paul Riquet and completed in the 19th century by the side canal to the Garonne heading for the Atlantic, this waterway is ideal to walk or ride along, or to discover by boat. In the summer, visitors enjoy the coolness of the paths lined by plane trees and the calm green waters.

Les Abattoirs
These slaughterhouses converted into a museum of modern and contemporary art, have not seen animals for a long time ... This unusual setting devotes its   3,000 sq. metres to the 4,000 works of art of its permanent collection and to the prestigious temporary exhibitions which made its reputation (Franz Gertsch, Dado, Daniel Spoerri, Roland Topor ...). The halls are spacious and make for a pleasant flow even at rush hours.
All the great names of of modern and contemporary art are on display: Fontana, Riopelle, Chaissac, Hartung ... Outside, 16 monumental works constitute an original and colourful path beginning at the entrance to the museum with Fernand Léger's parrot.
In 1823, the city of Toulouse decided to regroup its several slaughterhouses on a single site. In 1825, architect Urbain Vitry was in charge of the project. He conceived a basilica-type construction, marked by a symmetrical articulation and a neo-classical organisation.

City of Space
Take a walk on the moon, embark on the Mir space station, contemplate the Ariane 5 rocket, dream with your head in the stars ... You can do all this in the Cité de l'Espace, a stone's throw from the centre of Toulouse. The City offers 2,500 m2 of interactive exhibitions to learn everything about the Earth and the Universe, about space flights and even to predict the weather.
Its 5-hectare gardens, home to life-size replicas of spacecraft and a large telescope, its IMAX® giant-screen, interactive planetarium and numerous animations for the young and old make space travel even more fun.

The Hall of the Machine
La Halle de La Machine opened its doors on November 9, 2018 in the Montaudran district, on the Piste des Geants, the former historical landing runway of the Aeropostale air postal services.
Since then, the show machines designed and manufactured by François Delaroziere and the La Machine Company are on display in a permanent and lively exhibition. Conceived like an invitation to travel, La Halle de La Machine gives life to this extraordinary team of machines under the eyes of the public. It is home to a new and unique creature, the Minotaur, whose first appearance took place in Toulouse from in November 2018, on the occasion of the Guardian of the Temple show.

© Patrice NIN
Basilique Saint-Sernin © Patrice NIN
© Chloé Sabatier
© Chloé Sabatier
© CC BY-SA 3.0
© Wikimedia / Pistolero / CC BY 3.0
Les abattoirs - Musée d'art morderne de Toulouse © A.S.O.
© CC BY 2.0
© CC BY 2.0
© Benoit Auvray

Fenestra

This typical Toulouse pastry, composed of meringue, almond powder and candied bark had been largely forgotten by the people of Toulouse themselves before some pastry chefs and tour guides brought it back to life.

The cake dates back to the Roman era, when it was consumed during the Feretralia period, celebrating the ides of March. The Toulouse population then went in a procession to the large necropolis in the south of the city. In the 18th century, it became a procession coupled with a family meal during which the fenestra was served. It is still a bit difficult to find fenestra today in Toulouse. Some pastry shops make it all year long, as well as the Regals shop, rue du Taur, which was one of the first to revive the tradition.

© CC BY-SA 3.0
Cité de l’espace, Toulouse © P.Non

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