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How to Get Around Toulouse

Toulouse, Bike, Ferris wheel on water

How to Get Around Toulouse

Toulouse is a dynamic and exciting city known for its rich cultural sights, superior culinary scene, and picturesque setting on the Garonne River. But another winning characteristic of Toulouse is how easy it is to navigate.

Toulouse possesses excellent public transport options, is great for cyclists, and is very walkable, making it a great French destination for travelers.

This guide will take you through all the necessary details you’ll need to navigate Toulouse’s public transportation, bike rentals, and walking routes, with insider tips to make your journey smooth and enjoyable.

If you’re going to be in town and would like to explore the city’s famous food scene, consider joining one of our gourmet Toulouse Walking Tours.

Toulouse-Matabiau station exterior

(Source| License)

Toulouse Public Transportation Guide

Public Buses in Toulouse

Public buses in Toulouse are operated by Tisséo, the public transportation authority in Toulouse, providing extensive coverage across the city. The buses run at regular intervals, offering an easy and economical way to explore Toulouse (and as an added bonus, they are air-conditioned in the summer!). 

Tickets can be bought at kiosks (found in every metro, tram, and Téléo station), online, in cash directly from the bus driver (exact change only), or by using your contactless payment card or phone app and popular routes for tourists include bus lines 14 and 31, which pass by many of the city’s main attractions.

Multi-day tickets for three consecutive days of travel can also be purchased, or tickets for 10 journeys. 

As a quick reminder, it’s always considered polite to say “bonjour” to the driver when you board the bus, and “merci, au revoir” as you disembark, even if you are using the back door.

Toulouse’s Tramways and Metro

Apart from the buses, Tisséo also manages the city’s tramways and metro system. Two metro lines, A and B, crisscross the city, linking major landmarks and neighborhoods (a third line, line C, is under construction and expected to open in 2028). 

Two tram lines further enhance connectivity, providing a seamless travel experience.

Trams and metros operate from early morning until late night, with schedules posted at each station. (Be sure to check the routes at the time of your travel as work has been ongoing on the trams, affecting the tram’s connection to the airport.)

Tickets, valid across buses, trams, and metros, are available at ticket machines at each station. You ou can also use contactless credit cards or your phone payment app to pay directly on the tram.

The Free Bus in Toulouse City Centre

For those keen on exploring the historic center, a free electric shuttle bus, known as the Navette Centre Ville Gratuite, is your best bet. These cute, little blue and white buses operate every day except Sunday, from 9 am to 7 pm, every 10 minutes. 

The best part? They will pick you up along the route. If you see one, just flag it down and hop in. It’s an ideal option for those who wish to tour the city without a set itinerary, stopping wherever their interests lead them along a central route of stops..

If you’re searching for a foodie activity in Toulouse’s city center, join us for our delicious Walking Tour of the Historic Victor Hugo Market.

Toulouse’s Cable Car

For a unique perspective of Toulouse, don’t miss out on a ride in the Téléo tricable ropeway, France’s longest urban aerial tramway.

As a part of the Toulouse Agglomeration’s transport network, the cable car crosses a river and travels over a hill, connecting three major activity hubs: the Oncopole Cancer Research Center, Rangueil Hospital, and Paul Sabatier University. 

With more than 8,000 passengers daily, it’s quickly become a favorite among both locals and tourists. So, why not sit back, enjoy the ride, and take in the panoramic views of Toulouse’s cityscape?

Toulouse, Bike, Ferris wheel on water

Bike Rental in Toulouse

Cycling in Toulouse offers an exciting and environmentally friendly way to see the city. With more than 780 kilometers of dedicated cycle paths, it’s never been easier to explore the La Ville Rose on two wheels. 

Here’s all you need to know about renting a bike and exploring Toulouse’s cycling routes.

Bike Rental Services in Toulouse

In Toulouse, you’ll find several bike rental services to suit your needs. A top recommendation is the city’s self-service rental service, VélôToulouse. There are more than 280 collection and drop-off stations across the city, and these urban-style bikes are available 24/7 for a small fee. 

The first 30 minutes of your ride are free, making it a perfect choice for short trips. Going to be biking for longer? Just plan your trip to turn in your bike at one of the many VélôToulouse stations every 30 minutes and grab a different bike from the same station!

The bikes are designed for easy riding and come equipped with all the essential accessories, including wide handlebars, powerful brakes, reflective stripes, lights, a basket, a lock, and quick saddle adjustment. 

Another excellent option to explore is La Maison du Vélo. This cycling hub promotes bicycle use for commuting, leisure, and holidays. They offer lessons, bike rentals, repair training, and itinerary advice.

Popular Toulouse Bike Routes

Once you’ve chosen your bike, it’s time to hit the road. A good starting point is a 15-kilometer cycling route through the heart of the city, taking you past Toulouse’s key monuments (visit bikemap to find the most popular routes used by Toulouse locals). 

For a more leisurely ride, take the Voie Verte, which runs along the Garonne from the city center to Portet-sur-Garonne. This easy and scenic route is part of the Véloroute (France’s cycling network), which crosses Toulouse and is accessible for the whole family.

You could then follow the Véloroute de la Garonne, which jumps from the Canal de Garonne to the Canal du Midi, leading all the way to Montgiscard. This route is part of the “Canal des Deux Mers” and offers views of barges, locks, and traditional bridges.

For those wishing to venture away from the city center, the Voie Verte de la valée de l’Hers offers a natural setting between the Argoulets and the Grande Plaine. This secure track is dotted with playgrounds, sports, and picnic areas, making it perfect for families.

Another great route to consider is the green corridor of Touch, a 9-kilometer lane that connects to the rest of the cycle paths in the area. Offering sports facilities, play areas, and stopping places, this scenic walk alongside the Touch River has something for all ages.

Whether you’re planning to cover long distances or just take a leisurely sightseeing tour of Toulouse by bike, the city’s extensive cycling network offers something for every cyclist.

Navigating the City: Landmarks of Toulouse

Navigating Toulouse is quite straightforward once you familiarize yourself with the city’s layout and landmarks. (Of course, a great introduction to the city and its culture is taking a walking tour in the company of a local guide: Browse our Toulouse Food Tours.)

The heart of Toulouse is its historic center, with most of the key attractions situated within walking distance of each other. Here are some major landmarks you shouldn’t miss:

Capitole de Toulouse

The Capitole de Toulouse, located in the city’s central square, Place du Capitole, is the heart of the municipal administration of the city and an architectural masterpiece. 

Its eight columns represent the original eight capitouls (councilors) of the city. You can enter some parts of it for free, where you’ll find beautifully decorated halls and rooms featuring artworks and historical exhibits.

Saint-Sernin Basilica

As the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, the Saint-Sernin Basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit. 

This ancient church was built to house the remains of Toulouse’s first bishop, Saint Saturnin, and is a significant stop on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route.

Couvent des Jacobins

This Dominican monastery is a fine example of Southern Gothic architecture. Its stunning palm tree vault is a unique architectural feature. Additionally, the monastery is home to the relics of Thomas Aquinas, making it an important religious site.

Man sitting on Pont Neuf bridge in Toulouse

Pont Neuf

Despite its name, which means “New Bridge,” the Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Toulouse. Constructed in the 16th century, this bridge offers a stunning view of the Garonne River and the cityscape.

Cité de l’espace

For space enthusiasts, the Cité de l’espace is a must. This scientific discovery center is dedicated to space and the wonders of the universe. Its exhibits include a planetarium, life-size spacecraft models, and interactive exhibits.

Musée des Augustins

This fine art museum housed in a former Augustinian convent showcases artworks from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century.

Here, you can admire paintings, sculptures, and a unique collection of Romanesque capitals when it reopens after renovations in 2025 (though it is open on a limited basis during the summer of 2023).

Player in Toulouse Stadium field

(Source| Stade Toulousain)

Getting to and from the Stadium for the Rugby World Cup 2023

Toulouse, a city with a strong rugby tradition, is the most successful club in Europe, having won the /European Rugby Champions Cup a record five times and the French domestic league trophy, the Boucliers de Brennus, a record 22 times (including 2023!),

The city is also one of the host cities for the Rugby World Cup France 2023. The games will be held at the Stadium Municipal, also known as Stade de Toulouse (not to be confused with our rugby union team, Stade Toulousain, which plays at Stade Ernest Wallon), which is located on the Île de Ramier.

Whether you’re a die-hard rugby fan or a casual observer, getting to and from the stadium is a breeze with the right information.

Public Transportation: One of the most straightforward ways to reach the stadium is by public transport. The Tisséo public transportation network provides easy access to the stadium. Take metro line A and get off at the station “Saint-Michel Marcel Langer.” From there, the stadium is just a 10-minute walk away.

By Bike: If you prefer to cycle, Toulouse’s extensive bike lane network provides a sustainable and scenic way to travel to the stadium. You can rent a bike from one of the many VélôToulouse stations around the city and cycle to the stadium.

Walking: Walking to the stadium from the city center is also an option if you have a bit more time. This walk can take around 30-to-40 minutes, depending on your pace. It’s a pleasant stroll along the banks of the River Garonne and through the public gardens of the Grand Rond.

By Car: For those who prefer to drive, the Stadium Municipal does offer limited parking. However, be aware that traffic can be heavy on match days, and parking spaces fill up quickly. Consider arriving early to secure a spot!

If you’d like to learn more about Toulouse’s rugby culture, read our blog, The Complete Rugby Fan’s Guide to Visiting Toulouse.

Getting to the Airport

The most convenient way to get to the airport from Toulouse city center is normally by taking the tram. However, from June 2023, this tramline is out of service due to work on the tram lines (more information is found here).

As such, you will have three options for reaching the airport: 

Airport shuttle: During peak times, there is a departure every 15 minutes; off-peak, every 25 minutes. This is the quickest, most direct solution for connecting the airport to Toulouse city center. The airport shuttle costs 9€ per person.

Bus 30: This route has been modified to serve the T1 Odyssud-Ritouret tram station on the outward and return journey. The connection with the airport takes about 7 minutes.

Bus 31: A new bus line has been created to connect the airport to the T1 tram at Pasteur-Mairie de Blagnac and Guyenne-Berry stations (estimated travel time between 9 and 15 minutes) from 5:30 a.m. to midnight. This line will also serve the Daurat tram station.

(The above information is from Tisséo, but always check the latest travel information in relation to your airport connections at the time of travel.)

Begin Your Toulouse Journey

When navigating Toulouse, it’s useful to have a city map to pinpoint these landmarks and other places of interest. Physical maps are available at the tourist office, or you can download digital maps from Toulouse’s official tourism website

Interactive online maps like Google Maps can also provide real-time navigation and help you find the quickest routes, whether you’re walking, cycling, or taking public transport.

Toulouse is a city that blends old-world charm with modern efficiency. Its robust public transportation network, user-friendly bike rental system, and picturesque walking routes make getting around the city a delight for any visitor. 

And with the bonus of attractions like the free electric shuttle and the Téléo cable car, you’re sure to find traveling in Toulouse a unique and memorable experience.

Whether you’re here for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the beauty of the city’s historic landmarks, or its world-class cuisine, Toulouse is a city that’s perfect for exploration.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.

And before you go, be sure to explore our Toulouse Walking Tours.

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