Toulouse is known affectionately as the Ville rose - the pink city - thanks to the warm, sun drenched local brick used through the streets of its historic centre. The regional capital of the Midi Pyrenees, Toulouse is a bustling hub surrounded by quiet rural countryside to the north and the rolling plains of the Pyrenees to the south.
One of France's more pleasant regional capitals, it has a large crowd of high-tech industries, more than 100,000 students and is also home to one of Europe's finest rugby union teams, all of which gives it a young, cosmopolitan and strongly European feel.
Toulouse's pretty centre clings to the eastern banks of the River Garonne, which flows down to the city from its source in the Pyrenees. The city centre is home to a collection of interesting landmarks including the St Sernin Basilica, an extraordinary Romanesque church building built in the 11th and 12th centuries; the Place du Capitole, home to lively weekly market; and the Chateau d'Eau, the city's former water tower that today functions as an excellent photography gallery.
Toulouse is not just a wonderful city break destination, but also a great place from which to explore the rest of Southwestern France.