The Best Museums to Visit in Toulouse
France is unquestionably one of Europe’s most incredible destinations for those of love to visit museums. The number of world-renowned museums in Paris alone is staggering: the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Centre Pompidou, the Rodin Museum…the list goes on and on.
Visitors to Toulouse, however, may be caught by surprise at just how many notable museums the southwestern city possesses.
If you’re exploring the city during the summer, you may only wish to include a couple of museums as part of your visit (although the air conditioning may provide you a nice respite from the summer heat).
After all, you will have a fantastic, diverse range of experiences to choose from (see our What to Do in Toulouse this Summer for inspiration).
But if you’re going to Toulouse in the cooler autumn or winter months, exploring the city’s many museums is an excellent way to enjoy cultural activities while staying warm and dry.
Below, we have selected some of Toulouse’s best museums. Enjoy finding inspiration for your time in Toulouse! And please be sure to check out our selection of gourmet Toulouse Walking Tours and Tasting Experiences before you leave.
(Source: Cité de l’Espace)
Space and Aviation Museums in Toulouse
Cité de l’Espace (Space City)
Unveil the mysteries of the cosmos at Cité de l’Espace, Toulouse’s museum of space exploration. This discovery center brilliantly showcases the history of spaceflight, providing visitors with an intimate look into humanity’s quest for the stars.
From full-scale models of iconic space modules to the towering Ariane 5 rocket, the journey here is truly astronomical.
With a planetarium and an IMAX cinema, one can marvel at the universe in a variety of interesting ways.
In the fall, they will be debuting their newest interactive attraction – LuneXplorer, an immersive experience that will allow participants to feel sensations similar to what astronauts feel on takeoff thanks to a centrifuge that simulates up to 3Gs of pressure.
Situated just south of Parc de la Grande Plaine, this museum is a portal to the vast universe waiting to be explored. Travelers with a passion for science and young would-be astronauts definitely want to have this at the top of their Toulouse itinerary!
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and is closed on Fridays.
⭑ Cité de l’Espace (Space City), Av. Jean Gonord, 31500 Toulouse, France
Aviation enthusiasts, prepare for takeoff! Aéroscopia explores the wondrous history of flight. Housed within the museum are entertaining and interactive exhibits that span the ages, featuring walk-throughs of legendary aircraft such as the sleek Concorde and the robust Super Guppy.
One of our favorite things is the life-size replica of a Star Wars Lego X-Wing starfighter – built of Lego bricks! During certain times of the year, visitors can pay extra to sit in the cockpit and have their picture taken.
The museum doesn’t just stop at showcasing aircraft; visitors can immerse themselves in activities, from participating in workshops to embarking on behind-the-scenes flight experiences.
Located northwest of the city center near Zac Andromede, Aéroscopia promises a soaring journey through the annals of aviation.
You can visit the museum between 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day, except for Fridays when the museum closes at 6 p.m.
⭑ Aéroscopia, 1 All. André Turcat, 31700 Blagnac, France
Historical and Art Museums in Toulouse
Step into the pages of Toulouse’s rich history at the Musée Saint-Raymond. Located next to the iconic Basilica of Saint-Sernin, this archaeological museum investigates the region’s history from prehistory to the early Middle Ages.
Residing within a 16th-century university college building (on a site that was initially a necropolis), its exhibits shine a light on the past, presented through modern and original scenography. A stroll in its serene garden completes the experience, making it a must-visit for history buffs.
The museum opens its doors from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; it is closed on Mondays.
⭑ Musée Saint-Raymond, 1 ter Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse, France
Fondation Bemberg Museum
Since 1994, the 16th-century Renaissance palace, Hôtel d’Assézat, has housed the Bemberg Foundation, showcasing a premier private art collection in Europe, amassed by affluent Argentinian, Georges Bemberg.
This foundation was established in partnership with the City of Toulouse, boasting a vast array of paintings, drawings, sculptures, ancient books, and furniture. The collection particularly highlights 19th and early 20th-century French and 16th to 18th-century Venetian paintings and drawings.
Notable works include 30 pieces by Pierre Bonnard and creations by notable artists such as Canaletto, Titian, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Pablo Picasso among many others.
Although currently closed for refurbishment, the museum will reopen in 2024.
⭑ Fondation Bemberg Museum, Place d’Assezat, 31000 Toulouse
(Source: Musée des Augustins)
Musée des Augustins
A sanctuary of fine arts, the Musée des Augustins is an ode to artistic brilliance spanning centuries. Set within the historic confines of a 14th-century monastery, this museum boasts collections that trace the evolution of art from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century.
The museum’s collection of the French schools of painting stands out, featuring five centuries worth of wonderful artists, including Toulouse-Lautrec, Delacroix, and Manet.
The museum is open between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through October 16, 2023. After that, the museum will be closed for renovations with an expected reopening in 2025.
⭑ Musée des Augustins, 21 Rue de Metz, 31000 Toulouse, France
Château d’Eau Gallery (Le château d’eau, pôle photographique de Toulouse)
Perched on the left bank overlooking the Pont-Neuf, the Château d’Eau Gallery is a haven for photography lovers, exploring French photography from the 1970s to the present day.
Established by the renowned local photographer Jean Dieuzaide, this gallery offers a vibrant sweep of photographic art. It pays homage to iconic names in the world of photography and provides a platform for emerging talents, ensuring that the art form’s future is as celebrated as its past.
The museum is open every day from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., except for Mondays.
⭑ Château d’Eau Gallery, 1 place Laganne, 31300 Toulouse, France
(Source: Les Abattoirs Museum)
Les Abattoirs Museum
Marrying the gritty with the grandiose, the Les Abattoirs Museum occupies the former slaughterhouse (abattoir) of Toulouse, providing an arresting contrast to its contents. Inside, over 3,000 square meters of exhibition space unfold a world of modern and contemporary art.
From thought-provoking installations to evocative paintings, this museum challenges perceptions and stirs emotions. And for bibliophiles, the museum’s art-centric bookstore is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.
The Museum is open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
⭑ Les Abattoirs Museum, 76 All. Charles de Fitte, 31300 Toulouse, France
(Source: Muséum de Toulouse)
Museums of Discovery and Innovation
Muséum de Toulouse
The Muséum de Toulouse invites its visitors to embark on a journey of natural wonders and anthropological exhibits. This institution not only showcases the diverse flora and fauna of the world but also allows you to trace the evolutionary tale of our planet.
From prehistoric fossils to vibrant dioramas, it explores Earth’s incredible biodiversity and the intricate web of life.
The museum’s collection of mummies and Egyptian artifacts is a popular favorite among visitors.
Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., apart from Mondays.
⭑ Muséum de Toulouse, 35 All. Jules Guesde, 31000 Toulouse, France
Quai des Savoirs
At Quai des Savoirs, you become the scientist amidst 800 square meters of interactive exhibitions, designed for learning and wonder.
The venue offers a variety of scientific workshops, events, and activities, making science accessible to all ages, including a special section called “Quai des petits” for children under 7.
Upon entering, a range of interactive tools like touch tables and augmented reality engage you in exploring local research and innovation.
The manipulation hall allows hands-on experience with original exhibitions, while a large room hosts an annual exhibition, and a 100 square meter space encourages young children to learn through active exploration.
⭑ Quai des Savoirs, 39 All. Jules Guesde, 31000 Toulouse, France
(Source: Halle De La Machine)
Halle De La Machine
Stepping into the Halle De La Machine is like diving into a fantastical steampunk universe. This space celebrates the awe-inspiring mechanical creations of the Compagnie de la Machine.
The highlight is undoubtedly the Minotaur – a gargantuan masterpiece of steel, wood, and leather that can carry visitors on its back. Accompanying the Minotaur is the equally impressive Giant Spider, stretching up to 20 meters.
Situated where Saint-Exupéry once took to the skies, this museum offers a blend of history, fantasy, and engineering marvels.
Open daily, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., except for Mondays.
⭑ Halle, De La, Machine, 3 Av. de l’Aérodrome de Montaudran, 31400 Toulouse
Museums Celebrating Toulouse’s Heritage
Musée du Vieux Toulouse
Nestled in one of the oldest districts, the Musée du Vieux Toulouse is a journey into the city’s bygone days. This museum offers a rich narrative of Toulouse’s heritage, highlighting its vibrant traditions, significant events, and the everyday lives of its inhabitants.
From ancient artifacts to heartwarming anecdotes, it’s a heartfelt ode to the Ville Rose.
The museum is open every day from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
⭑ Musée du Vieux Toulouse, 7 Rue du May, 31000 Toulouse
Musée départemental de la Résistance & de la Déportation
The Departmental Museum of Resistance & Deportation serves as a poignant reminder of World War II’s turmoil, showcasing documents, photos, and objects from the Resistance era.
Spanning 1,000 square meters across two levels, it features both permanent and temporary exhibitions, with two new thematic displays introduced annually.
Beyond being a museum, it acts as a hub for preserving and promoting heritage, also providing a space for community engagement through its diverse range of scientific, cultural, and artistic programs held during evenings and weekends.
By doing so, it embodies a tri-fold mission: to educate on historical events, honor memories, and foster a sense of citizenship.
⭑ Musée départemental de la Résistance & de la Déportation, 52 All. des Demoiselles, 31400 Toulouse
Musée de l’Histoire de la Médecine
Housed within the historic Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques, the Musée de l’Histoire de la Médecine offers a riveting insight into the evolution of medicine. The building, a UNESCO World Heritage Site from the 12th century, sets the stage for a journey through time.
Visitors can appreciate medical tools from various eras, tracing the progress of healthcare – a story as important as any we can think of.
This museum has limited opening hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
⭑ Musée de l’Histoire de la Médecine, 2 Rue Charles Viguerie, 31000 Toulouse, France
(Source: Musée Paul-Dupuy)
Delve into the exquisite world of decorative and graphic arts at the Musée Paul-Dupuy. Spanning from the Middle Ages to the late 1930s, the museum’s collections captivate with their craftsmanship and artistry.
Among its many treasures are a fascinating array of clocks and watches, a meticulously recreated 17th-century pharmacy, and a trove of medieval religious artifacts.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except for Mondays when it is closed.
⭑ Musée Paul-Dupuy, 13 Rue de la Pleau, 31000 Toulouse, France
Discover Food Culture with Taste of Toulouse
With its intricate blend of history, innovation, and artistic flair, Toulouse ensures that every museum visit becomes a memorable chapter in one’s travel journey.
The city’s diverse museums showcase what makes Toulouse a French cultural epicenter.
Of course, no exploration of French culture is complete without sampling the country’s world-famous cuisine. Treat your taste buds while walking this historic city on one of our Foodie Walking Tours of Toulouse. History lovers will particularly enjoy our Tours of the Iconic Victor Hugo Market.
If you have any questions, get in touch.