Our top 5 sensory experiences in Toulouse…

See the blushing pink-brick buildings that give the city its nickname of ‘La Ville Rose’. The façade of the Capitole has eight pink marble columns.

Hear music of every genre. Take your pick of festivals from Rio Loco (world music) or Les Siestes Électroniques in June, Piano at the Jacobins in September, and the organ and jazz bonanzas in October.

Smell violets, which line the flowerbeds of the Henri-Gaussens botanic garden from March to May. The Toulousain violet is said to have been introduced to France by Napoléon III in the 19th century and is celebrated at a dedicated festival every February.

Taste foie gras and confit duck. South-west France is a veritable foodie paradise – and these two dishes are particular delicacies here. The Cordon Rose on rue Valade offers foie gras as a starter if you want a gentle introduction.

Touch rides and attractions at the Cité d’Espace. This exciting theme park on the outskirts of Toulouse is home to full-scale models of the Ariane 5 rocket, Mir space station and Soyuz spacecraft.

Nicknamed ‘La Ville Rose’, blushing pink Toulouse (External link) in south-west France is a tangle of ochre rooftops and attractive churches. Its charming old quarter is packed with boutiques and beyond it is a considerable ring of urban sprawl; this is France’s fourth-largest metropolis. Its animated character is tempered by the presence of two serene waterways: the Garonne River and the mighty Canal du Midi. Toulouse is also a major university city and aeronautical hub – the Airbus factory is situated just outside town. Getting into holiday mode is easy here, whether wandering the food markets, sipping espresso in the cafés or soaking up smouldering jazz at one of the plethora of music festivals.

Getting to ToulouseBy air: Toulouse-Blagnac International AirportBy train: 5h30m from Paris by TGV

Further information:Toulouse Tourist OfficeDonjon du Capitole31080 ToulouseTel. +33 (0)5 40 13 15 31 (External link)