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What to Do in Toulouse in the Fall?

Woman in blue pausing in Jardin Royal Toulouse

What to Do in Toulouse in the Fall?

Located in the Haute-Garonne department in the far south of France, Toulouse is a winning destination that sparkles all year round. However, as fall graces the city with its presence, there is an unmistakable atmosphere that sweeps through the streets of Toulouse. 

Imagine the low golden sun casting its warm embrace on the iconic red brick buildings, making them radiate with an ethereal glow. Visualize the cobblestoned streets getting carpeted by a mosaic of autumnal leaves. With the summer crowds having retreated and the arrival of a cooling gentle breeze, serenity, and beauty now reign supreme.

From its lush gardens and meandering waterways to the pulsating world of rugby, its culinary delights, and its treasure troves of art and history, Toulouse in the fall is a destination that invites exploration.

So, join us as we discuss some of our favorite autumn activities in Toulouse. And if we leave you feeling inspired, please browse our selection of gourmet Toulouse Walking Tours.

Jardin des Plantes in Toulouse entrance

(Source: License)

Explore Toulouse’s Gardens and Parks

Between the classic fall colors and the crisp breeze, Toulouse’s mild fall days are perfect for picnics and exploring gardens and parks. With its rich assortment of green spaces, the city invites you to embrace nature in its full autumnal glory! Below, we select some of our favorite green spaces in Toulouse. 

Jardin du Grand Rond

Situated in the heart of Toulouse, the Jardin du Grand Rond dates back to the 18th century. This historic garden is a testament to the city’s rich heritage. As you step into the park, you’re greeted by manicured lawns that seem to stretch on forever, punctuated by statues, ornate street lights, and a central fountain that adds a touch of grace to the landscape. 

Come fall, the Jardin du Grand Rond transforms into a painter’s palette, adorned with vibrant hues of gold, amber, and red as the leaves change. This array of colors makes it an idyllic spot for a tranquil walk. Or you can have a cozy picnic, basking in the gentle embrace of the autumn sunshine. The Jardin du Grand Rond, with its blend of history and natural splendor, is a haven in the heart of the city.

Look out for the park’s musical kiosk, which makes for a perfect photo opportunity! You might even discover one of the impromptu music or dance performances that seem to pop up with magic frequency at the kiosk.

From the Jardin du Grand Rond, you can take one of the passerelles (elevated pedestrian walkways) that connect to the next two gardens on our list!

Jardin des Plantes

This botanical sanctuary, spanning a generous 7 hectares, is laced with gentle streams that cascade into small waterfalls and fountains that are tenderly embraced by blooming flowers. The streams, that traverse the gardens, are the joyous abode of ducks, swans, and geese, creating a lively and picturesque setting.

The Jardin des Plantes is home to an impressive array of around one hundred different botanical species, a homage to its historical roots. Established in 1794 and commissioned by the naturalist Philippe Picot de Lapeyrouse, the garden was initially created as a repository for medicinal plants, serving as a living classroom for medical students. The age-old trees and plant beds still whisper the secrets of ancient remedies.

Fast-forward to today and the Jardin des Plantes has evolved into a hub of activity and relaxation for the city’s residents and visitors alike. Joggers find solace in its green pathways, while families, particularly, are drawn to the plethora of activities it offers. Children’s laughter fills the air as they indulge in the playground, the carnival rides, or the snack stand.

The garden even surprises visitors with delightful pony rides amidst the foliage!

Woman in blue pausing in Jardin Royal Toulouse

Jardin Royal

Established in 1754 by Louis de Mondran, this historical garden proudly stands as Toulouse’s first public garden. Originally designed in a classical style, the garden transformed in the 19th century, adopting the picturesque charm of an English garden.

As you meander through the garden’s winding paths, you’ll be enchanted by its features – a tranquil duck pond, reflecting the hues of the sky; a quaint bridge that beckons for stolen moments of reflection; and ornate forged iron benches, which ingeniously double as railings. These benches invite you to sit and lose track of time amidst the natural beauty.

The Jardin Royal is also a gallery under the open sky, housing an array of statues that pay homage to notable figures. Among them are statues honoring Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his beloved character, the Little Prince.

What confirms the Jardin Royal’s status as a ‘remarkable garden’ is its botanical heritage. It boasts many tree species, each with its own tale to tell. From the ancient wisdom of the ginkgo biloba and the regal stature of the Lebanese cedar to the unique beauty of the tulip tree, Virginia tulip tree, and the Osage orange tree, the garden is a living testament to the diversity and splendor of nature.

Practical Information When Visiting Toulouse’s Parks

  • Opening Hours: The parks are generally open from dawn to dusk, but check the Toulouse tourism website for seasonal variations. Parks are also subject to weather-related closures, such as for high winds.
  • Directions and Public Transportation Options: All three parks are close to the city center and can be reached easily by walking, cycling, or public transport (bus and metro).
Canal du Midi Cruise

(Source: Les Bateaux Toulousains)

Enjoy a Canal du Midi Cruise While in Toulouse

Enjoy the charming fall ambiance of the Canal du Midi, an engineering marvel that meanders through the stunning landscapes of Southern France. The Canal du Midi, with its tranquil waters, historic locks, and scenic tree-lined banks, holds the prestigious title of a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

A testament to the ingenuity of the 17th century, it was constructed under the direction of Pierre-Paul Riquet. As fall sets in, the canal’s plane trees don an array of golden hues, with their leaves casting an inviting and warm glow on the water below – an ideal setting for a leisurely cruise. Les Bateaux Toulousains offers two wonderful cruises on the Canal du Midi during the fall season.

The delightful 60-Minute Cruise along the Garonne River and Brienne Canal includes passage through the Saint Pierre lock and offers a unique perspective of Toulouse as you glide past its most beautiful monuments by boat.

Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture these picturesque moments. Also, it’s a good idea to dress in layers since fall weather can be unpredictable, and pack some snacks and water (check with the cruise provider for their policy on bringing food and drinks aboard).

For the latest information on schedules and prices, it’s recommended to visit the Les Bateaux Toulousains website. The departure points for the cruises are easily accessible from the city center, with options for public transport or a short taxi ride.

Experiencing the Canal du Midi from the deck of a boat, especially during the fall, is an unforgettable way to appreciate the historic charm and natural beauty of Toulouse and its surroundings.

Rugdy Stadium De Toulouse aerial view

(Source: Rugby World Cup, France 2023)

Watch a Rugby Match in Toulouse, “Land of Rugby”

In Toulouse, embracing the city’s deep-rooted passion for rugby is an absolute must! Though spring is often celebrated as the prime time for the sport, the truth is that there’s no bad time to watch a rugby match in this city, especially since it’s been aptly dubbed the “Land of Rugby.” 

Toulouse’s love affair with rugby is palpable, and attending a match is an electrifying experience that allows you to connect with the local culture in an authentic way. This fall is particularly special for rugby enthusiasts, as Toulouse is hosting several matches during the Rugby World Cup in September and October 2023. 

Being a part of the global fervor and watching the world’s best teams compete on Toulouse’s home turf is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The atmosphere is bound to be electric, with fans from around the world converging in the city to cheer on their favorite teams.

If you’re new to rugby or want to deepen your understanding of the game before attending a match, check out our comprehensive Guide to Rugby in Toulouse.

When attending a match, remember to arrive early to soak in the pre-game atmosphere, which is often filled with energetic chants and songs. Remember to wear comfortable clothing, and if you want to blend in with the local crowd, consider sporting the colors of the team you are supporting.

As you join in the cheers and experience the sheer passion of the spectators, you’ll soon realize why rugby is more than just a sport in Toulouse; it’s a way of life that unites people across all walks of life.

Indulge in Toulouse’s Local Food and Wine

Indulging in local cuisine and sipping exquisite wine is an affair for all seasons. However, fall brings with it a special charm that makes it an ideal time to savor the hearty flavors of Toulouse’s gastronomic delights, complemented by the rich wines of the region. 

As the temperature drops, the traditional dishes, known for their generous portions and robust ingredients, feel particularly comforting and fulfilling. Many of Toulouse’s iconic dishes tend to be on the heavier side and pair perfectly with the local red wines from Gaillac and Fronton. 

Cassoulet, a classic bean stew with pork and duck, is one such dish that is both soul-warming and delectable. Another must-try is the Toulouse sausage, a flavorful and succulent sausage often enjoyed grilled or in cassoulet.

Now, let’s talk wine. The local vineyards of Gaillac and Fronton produce some of the most divine red wines you’ll ever taste. These wines are characterized by their unique, local grapes and bold flavors, which make them the perfect companion to the hearty dishes of Toulouse. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a casual enthusiast, taking the time to appreciate the depth and complexity of these wines is a gratifying experience.

What makes the fall season even more enticing for food and wine lovers is the ability to enjoy these delights al fresco. Toulouse boasts numerous terraces that cater to diners looking to make the most of the crisp autumn air. Whether you prefer an intimate corner café or a bustling restaurant patio, there’s a spot for everyone to enjoy the outdoor dining experience. 

If you’d like to explore the city’s first-class cuisine on a walking tour of Toulouse, consider joining us on our Victor Hugo Market Tour, Toulouse Wine Bar Tour, or Cheese & Wine Tasting Tour, which will expand your tasting vocabulary and increase your confidence in discerning between different wines and cheeses.   

You can also learn more about wine and cheese in Toulouse by reading our Guide to Cheese and Wine in Toulouse.

Aeroscopia Museum in Toulouse exterior

(Source: License)

Spend Time at One of Toulouse’s Museums

As the fall season progresses, the weather can sometimes turn towards cold or rainy days. But fret not, as these are the perfect days to immerse yourself in Toulouse’s rich cultural life by exploring one of its many museums. With an eclectic range of interests catered to, from aviation and space to modern art, decorative art, and natural history, there’s a treasure trove of knowledge and inspiration waiting to be discovered.

For aviation and space enthusiasts, the Aeroscopia Museum and the Cité de l’Espace are must-visit destinations. Aeroscopia is home to an impressive collection of aircraft (our favorites are the Concord and the Beluga), shedding light on the historical and technological aspects of aviation. The Cité de l’Espace, meanwhile, offers a journey through the cosmos with its planetarium, exhibitions, and full-scale spacecraft models.

If art captivates your soul, the Les Abattoirs Museum is a haven for modern and contemporary art lovers. Its dynamic exhibitions and collections include paintings, sculptures, and installations from various periods and movements. 

Another gem for art aficionados is the Musée Paul-Dupuy, which houses an incredible collection of decorative arts, ranging from timepieces and graphic arts to period clothing and various decorative objects.

Nature lovers aren’t left behind, as the Muséum de Toulouse caters to their curiosity with its extensive natural history collections. With a wide array of exhibits, ranging from prehistoric fossils to taxidermy specimens and botanical displays, the museum offers insights into the natural world and its evolution.

Explore with Taste of Toulouse This Fall

From the tranquil gardens painting the city in hues of gold to the energetic rugby matches that ignite the spirit of the locals; from the peaceful cruises down the historic Canal du Midi to the indulgent flavors of hearty cassoulets paired with rich local wines. From the contemporary canvases of modern art to the historical aircraft that have soared the skies, Toulouse in the fall makes for a memorable travel experience.

Join us for one of our delicious Toulouse Walking Tours if you’d like to see the city through the eyes (and tastebuds) of a local. If you have any questions, get in touch

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