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. Ticket are valid for 3 transfers across 3 different lines for a period of 90 minutes after validation.
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 & 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 direct from an American or Canadian dollar account, but consult with your bank before leaving home to see if it has French partner banks that can save on cash withdrawal charges. Also get a credit card with an imbedded chip and pin number, now required by many ticket machines in Europe, and 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.
The website of Arc en Ciel Toulouse, the city's gay activist group, also lists area gay hangouts and upcoming events.
Extra-Muros Toulouse is a social club of 18 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, saunas and some hotel and restaurants suggestions, with map locations and website links, at our gay Toulouse listings pages.
Appart'City Toulouse Hippodrome (1, allée Antoine Osète), near airport and city transport to center, 32 studios, 180 apartments, good prices, outdoor pool.
Chambre d'Hôtes Centre-ville Toulouse (1, rue Michel Ange, Matabiau), central, homey, one-room gay B&B chez Alain and Rony, breakfast, laundry services.
Crowne Plaza Toulouse (7, place du Capitole, Center), 172 rooms and suites, concierge, fitness center, Club Lounge, Grand Patio al fresco dining.
Hôtel Albion (28, rue Bachelier, place du Capitole), 27 rooms, LCD-TV, moderate prices, breakfast, WiFi, secure parking, breakfast served in breakfast room or in your room.
Hôtel Croix-Baragnon (17, rue Croix Baragnon, Center), budget-priced modern rooms at center, buffet breakfast, WiFi.
Hôtel de France (5 Rue d'Austerlitz), 1890 building, 63 moderately-priced rooms, breakfast, cable TV, WiFi.
Hôtel Heliot (3, rue Héliot, Place d'Armenie), 12 quiet, central guestrooms, all with bath/wc, breakfast, satellite TV, WiFi.
Hotel Patio Wilson (7, rue Lafaille), 21 modern 2-star guestrooms near place Wilson, breakfast, satellite TV, WiFi, airport shuttle.
Hôtel Riquet (92, rue Pierre Paul Riquet, Center), 56 Club and Executive Class rooms and suites at the center, 54-208 euros per night; breakfast buffet, private parking, spa, massage services, WiFi.
Hôtel Royal Wilson (6 rue Labéda), 27 rooms, breakfast, Wifi, moderate prices, central location, central courtyard patio, breakfast in lounge or room, satellite TV, WiFi, secure parking.
Mercure Toulouse Saint Georges (1 rue Paul Mériel), 148 rooms, 28 apartments by rue Saint-Jérôme; business center, laundromat, WiFi, bar, room service meals and snacks.
Sarl Hôtel Président (45 rue Raymond IV), 31 rooms, patios, satellite TV, buffet breakfast, secure parking, moderate prices.
La Luna Loca (9 bis chemin du Prat Long), women-only nights, karaoke bar, grill & waffle specials.
L'Autre (30 rue de Stalingrad), chic aperitif bar, DJs: nu-jazz to deep house, duck snacks.
Le Bear's (20, rue des 7 Troubadours), men/bears bar near place Jeanne-d’Arc; naked and underwear nights, karaoke, videos.
Le Beaucoup (9, place du Pont Neuf), terrace coffee/cocktails, breakfast, lunch/brunch; evening music until midnight.
Le Grand Cirque (14 boulevard Riquet), hard-cruising men-only bar, karaoke, cabaret; Sunday mixed crowd for shows, tapas and BBQ.
Le Kleo/ Hot Peppers (18 avenue du Grand Ramier), Friday/Saturday midnight to dawn dancing on two floors, sand beach bars beside the Garonne.
Le Limelight (23, boulevard Riquet), trendy gay and lesbian dance club and lounge from 10pm, heated terrace cocktail bar, shows.
Mojito Bar (13 rue des Couteliers), Tuesday-Saturday mixed gay/lesbian and friends' warm-up bar, tapas and happy hour drinks, bears' nights.
Le Quinquina (26 rue Peyras), well-established gay bar, heated terrrace, theme party nights, tapas and mojitos, open daily except Sunday.
Le Shangaï (12, rue de la Pomme), trendy young gay and mixed dance "boîte," men's cruise area.
Maison des Plats Canailles (7, rue Jean Aicard), fresh produce, traditional French cuisine; bargain-price Monday-Saturday lunch, Thursday-Saturday dinner.
Le Colonial Sauna (1 allée Antoine Osète), Têtu readers' "best," big, plush men's sanua, massage sevices, internet cafe.
Le KS Sauna (6, rue Saint-Ferréol), men's sauna, bears' nights, black-out nights, massage services.
Au Peilharot (23, rue des Blanchers), local/regional foods, seasonal menus; soup, salad, cold cuts, choice among three entrees and three sides from the buffet table.
Café Jean (75 allée Jean Jaurès), bistro toulousain, classic lunchtime menu, evening chef's creative cuisine, fresh, local and seasonal.
Chez Jeannot | Bar à Huîtres des Carmes (2 Place des Carmes, Center), fifth-generation family seafood restaurant, oyster bar and market.
La Maison du Cassoulet (3 bis, bd de Strasbourg, Center), hearty regional cassoulets, duck and foie gras specialities, lunch and dinner, local wines.
La Table à Jules (7, place Arnaud Bernard), "à la plancha," traditional local and Basque food specialities.
Le 31 (1, rue Saint-Paul), bar and cocktail lounge/restaurant; Saturday/Sunday 5am-noon after-hours club.
Le Chacha (50 avenue d'Italie), French traditional cuisine re-interpreted for today, lunch/dinner, beer/wine/cocktails; wood-fire BBQ, large terrace, special Friday soirées.
Le Cri de la Truffe (9, rue Joutx Aigues), classic Southwest regional French cuisine, fish, poultry/duck specialities.
Le Guili-Guili (230, avenue de Grande Bretagne), French cuisine, lunch and dinner, garden and terrace seating.
Le Nouveau Thé (7 rue Tolosane), tea salon, fine dessert pâtisserie, light meals, teas and coffees.
Le Paradise Cafe (3 rue des Tourneurs), cafe/restaurant, breakfast, sandwiches, pizza, cocktails.
Le Rose Bonbon (6 bis, impasse de la Colombette), gay-friendly restaurant, pleasant terrace, dining and cocktails.
Les Jardins de l'Ambassade (22 boulevard de la Gare, quartier St Auban), elegant, eclectic, traditional-new cuisine, full bar, garden.
Rest’O Jazz (8, rue Amélie, Zone de Vic), New Orleans Jazz, Armstrong-Gadjo Zaz Trio; French cuisine
Villa Tropezienne (8-10, place Victor Hugo), French/Mediterranean restaurant, wine bar, tapas, DJs, gourmet grocery.
Sex Shops/ Cinemas
Lynx Vidéo ( 2, rue Lafon), daily 10am-2am sex shop, DVDs, backroom cruising, g-holes, gay and straight cinemas, video preview cabins @10€ per film.
StoreiX (29, rue Heliot), sex shop, accessories, toys, gay and straight DVD videos, photo books, S&M items, oils, underwear