Stuck between Paris or Toulouse for your next French city break? It’s a tough choice! Paris, the iconic City of Lights, charms with its world-famous landmarks, amazing cuisine, and beautiful buildings on every boulevard and street corner. On the other hand, Toulouse with its rich culture, and sunny, laid-back vibe is a great place to visit.
In this blog post, we go through everything you need to know about both cities to help you decide where to visit!
Paris, it’s so much more than just a city; it’s a world in itself. Imagine this – you’re sitting in a sidewalk café, sipping your coffee as you watch the world stroll by. You can almost hear the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame whispering stories of love, art, and history.
And trust me, the charm of Paris extends far beyond these famous landmarks. Each neighbourhood, or ‘arrondissement’ as locals call it, is like a mini-city with its own personality. You could be hunting for vintage treasures in the bustling flea markets of Saint-Ouen one moment, and enjoying a peaceful picnic in the quiet parks of Montmartre the next.
Foodies, prepare to fall in love because Paris takes its food very, very seriously. Think fresh baguettes from local ‘boulangeries’, pastries that are too pretty to eat, and restaurants that turn every meal into a feast for the senses.
And let’s not even get started on the art. With a legacy that stretches from Da Vinci to Dali, Paris is a playground for art enthusiasts. Whether it’s classical masterpieces or edgy contemporary works, this city has it all.
Toulouse, a city perfectly perched between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, offers an intriguing mix of history, innovation, and charm. Its historic centre, known as Vieux Toulouse, boasts a tapestry of coral-hued buildings that have earned it the moniker ‘La Ville Rose’, or ‘The Pink City’. But Toulouse is not just about reminiscing about the past.
It’s a dynamic city teeming with academic vigour, courtesy of its vibrant student population, and is a hotbed for aeronautics and space exploration. With an array of museums, a thriving arts scene, and lively local markets, this city caters to a broad spectrum of travellers. Plus, the local cuisine, characterized by hearty Southwestern French specialities, is a gastronomic adventure in itself. If you’re seeking a unique and vibrant destination for your next vacation, Toulouse should unquestionably be on your radar!
While we’re comparing Paris and Toulouse in this post, we’ve also looked at how Paris stacks up against other cities like Bordeaux and Montpellier. We’ve linked to those articles below if you want to take a look!
Pros and Cons of Paris and Toulouse
- 🏛 Rich Culture: From world-class museums like the Louvre to iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Paris is a culture lover’s paradise.
- 🥖 Food Scene: The culinary delights are second to none, with an abundance of cafes, bakeries, and Michelin-starred restaurants.
- 🛍 Shopping: Paris is a hub for high-end fashion and unique boutique stores.
- ✈️ Accessibility: With two major international airports and an efficient public transport system, it’s easy to get around.
- 👩💼 Crowded: Tourist hotspots can get quite busy, especially in peak season.
- 💶 Cost: It can be pricey, particularly accommodation and dining.
- 📣 Noise: As a bustling city, noise levels can be high, particularly in the city centre.
- 😎 Relaxed Lifestyle: Toulouse offers a slower, more relaxed pace of life compared to Paris, which some travellers might prefer.
- 🏛 Rich History: Toulouse’s history is captivating, with Roman ruins, beautiful basilicas, and its iconic rose-coloured buildings.
- 🪐 Space City: Known as the hub of the European aerospace industry, Toulouse offers unique experiences like visiting the Cité de l’espace space museum.
- ☀️ Sunshine: As a southern city, Toulouse enjoys more sunshine and warmer weather than Paris.
- ⛪️ Fewer Landmarks: Toulouse has fewer globally recognized landmarks compared to Paris.
- 🍺 Less Vibrant Nightlife: While Toulouse has decent nightlife, it is less vibrant and diverse compared to Paris.
- 🏴 Fewer English Speakers: Fewer people speak English in Toulouse compared to Paris, which might be a challenge for some travellers.
Which City Has Better Food? Paris or Toulouse?
Food is deeply personal and what tastes fantastic to one person might not hit the spot for another.
In Paris, the food scene is very diverse. You can find pretty much whatever you want within the city. Although you could spend your time eating pizza and ramen, make sure you try some Parisian cuisine. Dishes like duck confit and steak and chips will have your mouth watering. Let’s not forget about the bakeries and pastry shops either. There’s nothing like the simple pleasure of a Parisian crepe or a baguette sandwich eaten on the go.
Toulouse is famous for its rich, hearty southern French cuisine. Known as the home of cassoulet, a slow-cooked casserole containing meat (typically pork sausages, goose, duck, and sometimes mutton), pork skin, and white beans, the city definitely packs a punch when it comes to flavours. Also, Toulouse’s food markets, like the Marché Victor Hugo, have incredible local produce on offer.
So, if you’re into haute cuisine and world foods, Paris might have the edge. But if you’re interested in regional specialities and hearty, rustic dishes, Toulouse could be your food heaven. Either way, both cities are a treat for foodies!
Which City is Better For Couples? Paris or Toulouse?
Paris is known around the world for being the ‘city of love’. Picture yourselves walking hand in hand along the River Seine, sharing a bottle of wine under the Eiffel Tower, or locking a love padlock on the Pont des Arts. There’s no shortage of romantic restaurants, and the city’s night-time ambience is pretty much unparalleled. Paris has romance woven into its very fabric.
On the other hand, Toulouse, ‘the Pink City’, offers a more laid-back, intimate setting for couples. Its beautiful terracotta architecture, charming squares, and quieter streets offer plenty of romantic walks. Plus, Toulouse’s location means you’re close to both the sea and mountains, offering diverse day trip options. The city’s vibrant food scene, with its cosy bistros and wine bars, adds to the romantic feel.
So, if you’re into grand gestures and iconic backdrops, Paris wins. But, if you want a relaxed, intimate atmosphere with lots of chances for quiet moments, Toulouse might just steal your heart.
Which City is Better For Families? Paris or Toulouse?
Both Paris and Toulouse have a lot to offer for families but in different ways.
In Paris, you’ve got iconic landmarks and museums that are exciting for both kids and adults. Visit places like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Disneyland Paris! There are also parks for picnics and boat rides on the Seine which kids always love!
Toulouse offers a more relaxed vibe. It’s smaller than Paris, so you won’t spend as much time using public transport. There’s the Cité de l’espace, a cool space-themed park, and plenty of beautiful parks and gardens. Also, its location makes it easy for family trips to the nearby Pyrenees mountains or the Mediterranean Sea.
If your family loves the hustle and bustle, world-famous sights, and doesn’t mind the crowds, Paris would be a great fit. But if you prefer a slower pace, fewer crowds, and a mix of city and outdoor activities, consider Toulouse.
Which City is Better For Partying? Paris or Toulouse?
Paris has a huge selection of bars, nightclubs, and live music venues. You can dance the night away at world-famous clubs like Rex Club and Moulin Rouge or enjoy a relaxed evening at a riverside bar. It’s a huge city, so there’s always something going on.
Toulouse has a thriving student population that contributes to an energetic, youthful nightlife. The city is filled with lively bars and clubs, mainly around Place Saint-Pierre. It’s more laid-back but equally fun. There’s also a strong music scene, with plenty of venues hosting live bands.
If you’re looking for a more glamorous vibe, with plenty of fancy bars, Paris is your city. But if you’re after a more chilled-out, student-friendly vibe, Toulouse might just be the place for you.
Which City is Safer? Paris or Toulouse?
Like any large touristy city, Paris can have some issues with pickpockets and scams. But, generally, it’s pretty safe, serious crime is relatively low in the major tourist areas.
Toulouse, while smaller, is generally considered safe, but it’s also not without its issues. Some parts of the city, particularly certain outer suburbs, have a reputation for being less safe, though these aren’t areas where tourists usually go.
In both cities, using common sense like keeping your belongings secure, not walking alone late at night in unfamiliar areas, and being wary of scams can go a long way.
How long to stay in Paris
Paris is an expansive city, not just in terms of geographical size but also in its cultural, historical, and artistic breadth. It is often said that every street corner in Paris tells a story, every neighbourhood exudes a unique vibe, and every building holds a piece of history. This multitude of offerings can make the city feel vast and overwhelming to the first-time visitor.
If you’re hoping to fully experience the city’s iconic landmarks – from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, from the Champs-Élysées to Montmartre – you will need a few days just to scratch the surface. Each of these sights isn’t merely a quick photo opportunity, but rather they each offer a deep dive into the city’s history, architecture, and way of life.
Furthermore, Paris is a city of neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct character. Exploring these diverse areas, such as the bohemian Latin Quarter, the bustling Marais, or the trendy Canal Saint-Martin, can easily fill several days.
And let’s not forget the world-class museums and galleries that dot the city. Art lovers could spend an entire week in Paris and still not see everything the city has to offer in this regard. The Louvre alone, the world’s largest art museum, can take a full day to explore – and that’s if you’re moving quickly.
Paris is also renowned for its culinary scene, and foodies will want to allow plenty of time to explore the city’s bistros, patisseries, markets, and wine bars.
Given all this, a trip of 3 to 5 days allows for a good overview of Paris, but to truly appreciate all that the City of Light has to offer, a stay of a week or longer allows you to explore at a more leisurely pace, delve deeper into the areas that interest you most, and even make a few day trips to the surrounding regions. Remember, Paris is a city that rewards those who take the time to wander its streets and absorb its charm.
How long to stay in Toulouse
Figuring out how long to stay in Toulouse? That’s a great question and depends on what kind of trip you’re planning. If you’re popping by for a quick visit, I’d say two to three days should suffice. This will give you enough time to visit the main sights, such as the iconic Capitole de Toulouse, the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, and the Toulouse Museum of Natural History.
But if you’re anything like me and love to delve a little deeper, immersing yourself in the local culture and lifestyle, you might want to consider staying a little longer – perhaps around five to seven days. This will allow you to explore at a leisurely pace, have time to appreciate the city’s vibrant arts scene, meander through the charming neighbourhoods, and even try out some of the local bistros and cafes. Trust me, the cassoulet is to die for!
Toulouse is also a great base to explore the surrounding region. If you plan on taking day trips to places like Carcassonne or Albi, then a week or even ten days would be a good estimate.
In the end, remember this – travel isn’t a race. It’s about the experiences, the people, the food, the culture, and the memories you make. So, take your time in Toulouse and enjoy what the ‘Pink City’ has to offer!
Which City is More Budget-Friendly? Paris or Toulouse?
Comparing Paris and Toulouse on budget, it’s Toulouse that takes the win. While Paris is globally renowned, this fame comes with higher costs. Accommodation, dining, and general expenses can add up very quickly in the French capital.
On the other hand, Toulouse, with its more laid-back charm, is generally more affordable. From budget-friendly hotels to reasonably priced eateries, your wallet will thank you for choosing Toulouse. But remember, with good planning, any city can be enjoyed within a budget!
How much is food and drink in Paris and Toulouse?
|€5 to €8
|€5 to €7
|Glass of wine
|€5 to €15
|€3 to €10
|€2 to €4
|€1.50 to €3
|€25 to €50
|€15 to €30
How much is it to stay in Paris or Toulouse?
|€300 to €800 (or higher) per night
|€150 to €500 (or higher) per night
|€100 to €200 per night
|€70 to €150 per night
|€50 to €100 per night
|€40 to €70 per night
|€20 to €40 per night
|€20 to €40 per night
When is the best time to visit Paris?
Deciding when to visit Paris can make all the difference in your experience, from crowd sizes to weather conditions. Paris enjoys a temperate climate that allows for relatively comfortable conditions throughout the year, though each season offers its own charm.
From March to May, Paris experiences Spring – a season known for its blooming beauty and refreshing temperatures. As trees and flowers throughout the city burst into bloom, the City of Love turns into a picturesque wonderland. This is also a perfect time for open-air picnics in parks like the Champ de Mars or the Tuileries Garden.
June through August mark the summer season in Paris, offering long, sunny days and a lively atmosphere. This is the peak tourist season, when you can enjoy alfresco dining, boat cruises on the Seine, and the famous Fête de la Musique, a city-wide celebration of music. Just be prepared for the crowds at major tourist sites!
Autumn graces Paris from September to November with mild weather and beautiful changing foliage in city parks. It’s also a fantastic time to experience the cultural life of Paris, with plenty of exhibitions, concerts, and theatre performances going on. The grape harvest in nearby wine regions, like Champagne and Burgundy, might be of interest to wine lovers!
December through February, winter in Paris is marked by chilly temperatures and festive cheer. Tourist crowds thin out significantly during this time, making it easier to explore the city’s landmarks. Don’t miss out on charming Christmas markets and the city’s grand holiday decorations. If you don’t mind the cold, winter in Paris can be quite magical.
Weather: Paris has a relatively mild climate. Summers can get warm, but not usually excessively hot, while winters are chilly but rarely below freezing. For the most comfortable weather, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of Spring and early Autumn.
When is the best time to visit Toulouse?
Picking the best time to explore Toulouse is a big part of your planning. Known for its temperate climate, Toulouse can be great to visit throughout the year, each season bringing its own charm and unique experiences.
Spring (March to May) in Toulouse is a beautiful season, the trees will be blossoming and the temperature won’t be too high. This time is ideal for sightseeing and soaking in Toulouse’s distinct architectural beauty, particularly the Capitole and Saint-Sernin Basilica. Spring is also the start of the outdoor festival season, adding an extra dash of liveliness to your visit.
Summers (June to August) in Toulouse are warm and vibrant. This is a great time to indulge in outdoor activities, such as a leisurely stroll along the Garonne River or a picnic in the lush Japanese Garden. Summer evenings in Toulouse are particularly charming with open-air concerts and night markets for you to explore.
Autumn (September to November) brings a beautiful colour palette to Toulouse, with the tree-lined avenues transitioning to shades of gold and red. The weather remains pleasant for outdoor exploration. In addition, the cultural calendar is full, making it a perfect time for art and music lovers to visit the city.
Winter (December to February) in Toulouse is typically cool and sometimes rainy.. With fewer tourists around, you can explore the city’s impressive museums and galleries at your own pace. Don’t miss the Toulouse Christmas Market for a dash of festive spirit and warm, comforting treats.
Weather: Toulouse has a fairly temperate climate, making it suitable for visits year-round. Summers can get a tad warm, but winters are generally mild. For the most pleasant weather, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April to June or September to October. These periods provide a good balance of excellent weather and manageable tourist crowds.
Average Monthly Temperatures
|Paris High / Low (°C)
|Paris Rainy Days
|Toulouse High / Low (°C)
|Toulouse Rainy Days
|8° / 3°
|10° / 2°
|9° / 3°
|11° / 3°
|13° / 5°
|14° / 5°
|17° / 8°
|17° / 7°
|20° / 11°
|21° / 11°
|24° / 14°
|25° / 14°
|26° / 16°
|28° / 16°
|25° / 16°
|28° / 16°
|22° / 13°
|25° / 13°
|17° / 10°
|20° / 10°
|11° / 6°
|13° / 5°
|8° / 4°
|10° / 3°
Please note that these are average temperatures, and actual weather conditions can vary. The number of rainy days is also provided for each month.
Getting around Paris:
Paris boasts an extensive public transportation network that includes the Métro (subway), buses, trams, and a bike-sharing service called Vélib’. The Métro is particularly convenient as it connects all major tourist attractions and extends well into the suburbs. It’s fast, efficient, and a great way to avoid the city’s notorious traffic congestion.
The buses and trams are also reliable options to get around Paris, offering the added benefit of sightseeing as you travel. The tickets you purchase are valid across buses, trams, and the Métro for a certain period of time, typically an hour and a half. This means you could take a bus and a metro ride on a single ticket as long as your journey falls within the valid period.
For those looking to add a bit of exercise to their exploration, the Vélib’ bike-sharing scheme is a fun option. Paris is becoming increasingly bike-friendly, with many dedicated cycle lanes across the city.
Walking is also a fantastic way to explore Paris. Many of the city’s iconic landmarks are conveniently close together, and strolling along the Seine River or through charming neighbourhoods like Montmartre and Le Marais is a pleasure in itself.
Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also widely available throughout Paris. However, in high-traffic areas and pedestrian-only zones, they might not be the most efficient choice. Do keep in mind that Parisian traffic can be heavy, particularly during rush hour.”
Getting around Toulouse:
Toulouse is very easy to get around, with regular buses, trams and a metro system there are plenty of options. The public transport system is clean and well-maintained. You’ll find it easy to get around the city when using it. The Toulouse city pass is well worth getting if you plan on using public transport a lot. If you wanted a more active holiday, the city is very walkable. You could even hire a bike if you wanted to get around a bit quicker. As with any city, taxis and Uber are readily available.
Top things to do in Paris
- Eiffel Tower: No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to this iconic landmark. For an unforgettable experience, take the elevator up to the viewing deck for panoramic views of the city, or enjoy a picnic in the park below.
- Louvre Museum: Home to the Mona Lisa and countless other art treasures, the Louvre is one of the world’s most famous museums. Be sure to explore its grand architecture, including the striking glass pyramid at the entrance.
- Montmartre: This historic and artistic neighbourhood is a must-visit. Climb the steps to the stunning Sacré-Cœur Basilica for a fantastic view of Paris, and wander the cobblestone streets to discover charming cafés, boutiques, and the bustling Place du Tertre, where artists sell their work.
- Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe: Stroll down the world’s most famous avenue, lined with shops, theatres, and cafés. At the end, you’ll find the Arc de Triomphe, another iconic Parisian monument, offering beautiful city views from its top.
- Notre Dame Cathedral: Although currently under reconstruction after the fire in 2019, Notre Dame’s grandeur can still be admired from the outside. It’s also a great starting point for a leisurely walk along the banks of the Seine River, which are lined with bookstalls, artists, and charming views.
Top things to do in Toulouse
- Capitole de Toulouse: This stunning city hall and opera house is an iconic sight in Toulouse. Its grand façade and beautiful square are absolute must-sees when in the city.
- Cité de l’espace: A unique experience for space enthusiasts, Cité de l’espace offers fascinating insights into the universe and space exploration. You can see life-sized rockets, try astronaut activities, and even observe the skies in the planetarium.
- Basilique Saint-Sernin: This UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe. Its stunning architecture and rich history make it a highlight of any visit to Toulouse.
- Rue d’Alsace-Lorraine: As a main shopping street in Toulouse, Rue d’Alsace-Lorraine offers a vibrant mix of shops, boutiques, and cafés. It’s a great place to soak up the city’s lively atmosphere.
- Banks of the Garonne: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Garonne River. The riverside is beautifully developed and offers spectacular views of Toulouse’s historic buildings and bridges. Consider a river cruise for a different perspective of the city.
How to spend three days in Paris
Day 1: The Heart of Paris
Begin your Paris adventure in the heart of the city. Start your morning with a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Take the elevator up for an amazing view of the city, or simply admire it from the ground. From there, make your way to the Musée d’Orsay, which boasts an extensive collection of Impressionist masterpieces. After lunch, head to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Even though it’s currently under reconstruction, its facade is still worth seeing. Walk along the banks of the Seine River to the famous Louvre Museum, and spend the rest of your afternoon exploring its vast collections. Finish your day with a delicious dinner in the Latin Quarter, a vibrant area known for its bustling bistros and cafés.
Day 2: Arts and Bohemian Flair
Start your second day in Montmartre, the historic arts district known for its bohemian past. Visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and enjoy a panoramic view of Paris from its steps. Explore the area’s charming streets, and check out the Place du Tertre, where local artists sell their work. For lunch, grab a crepe from one of the street vendors. In the afternoon, head to the Centre Pompidou, a modern art museum with a unique architectural design. End your day in the Marais district, where you can enjoy dinner and explore the area’s diverse boutiques and galleries.
Day 3: Chic and Glamour
Begin your final day on the famous Champs-Élysées. Start at the Place de la Concorde and make your way up the avenue, window shopping and enjoy a coffee at a streetside café. At the end, you’ll find the impressive Arc de Triomphe. Afterwards, take a metro to the stylish Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, where you can enjoy a relaxed lunch and explore its chic boutiques. Spend your afternoon at the Musée Rodin to admire the sculptor’s masterpieces, including The Thinker. As the sun begins to set, take a scenic cruise on the Seine River, a perfect and romantic end to your three days in Paris. Enjoy your final dinner at one of the cosy bistros along the river.
How to spend three days in Toulouse
Day 1: Explore the Vibrant City Center
Kick off your Toulouse adventure in the bustling city centre. Start your day at the Capitole de Toulouse, a magnificent city hall that also houses an opera house. Be sure to take memorable photos of its grand façade. Stroll down Rue d’Alsace-Lorraine for some retail therapy and grab lunch at one of the many inviting cafés. In the afternoon, visit the Basilique Saint-Sernin, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and marvel at its Romanesque architecture. Conclude your day with a delightful dinner in the lively Saint-Georges district, a hotspot for local gastronomy.
Day 2: Immerse Yourself in Science and Space
Begin your second day at the Cité de l’espace, Toulouse’s famous space city. Dive into the world of space exploration and get a closer look at rockets, satellites, and more. Post lunch, head to the Musée des Augustins to admire a rich collection of fine arts from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. Later in the afternoon, visit the modern art museum, Les Abattoirs. Round off the day with a relaxing dinner in the Carmes district, renowned for its chic bars and restaurants.
Day 3: Venture Beyond the City
On your last day, consider exploring the surroundings of Toulouse. Take a half-day trip to the medieval city of Carcassonne, where you can explore the old town, fortified city walls, and its fairytale-like castle. Back in Toulouse, spend the rest of your afternoon strolling along the banks of the Garonne River, or relax in the expansive Prairie des Filtres park for a leisurely end to your trip.
Gareth is an avid city adventurer with a particular passion for finding amazing food! There’s quite literally nothing he doesn’t like. He spends most of his travelling time trying to find great restaurants and cafes to eat at. Alongside trying local street food which he loves! He’s done most of his travelling in Europe so far but would love to visit Japan and Mexico
When not travelling you can find Gareth boxing, running, or in the gym. He’s got a passion for exercise and loves physical challenges.
You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org