Toulouse, a rugby destination open to all!

Myriam and Pierre from the blog Wheeled World have been wanting to visit Toulouse for a long time, to discover its brick walls and legendary atmosphere... On the eve of the Rugby World Cup 2023, five matches of which are scheduled to take place in the city that embodies the sport in France, the disabled adventurous couple didn't hesitate for a second to take the temperature of the pink city, which is very accessible to disabled travellers.

Day 1: Pink bricks, covered markets and gardens

A visit to the Capitole and Carmes districts is a journey back in time to Toulouse's past, where medieval vestiges blend harmoniously with modern touches. The ochre-coloured façades of the buildings stand proudly, silent witnesses to the eras they have passed through, while the lively terraces evoke an incomparable vitality.

Toulouse has been awarded the "Destination for All" label, so it's a real pleasure to walk the streets of the city centre. It's very easy to get around in a wheelchair, thanks to pavements that have been lowered or even eliminated and a completely flat surface.

In the hot early summer sun, we took refuge in the covered markets of Victor Hugo and Carmes to cool off a bit. The colourful stalls made our mouths water and we couldn't resist sampling some cheeses and sausages.

On our way out, the swallows led us to the Grand-Rond, a park linked to two other gardens by flowered footbridges. With its fountains and plane trees, it's the perfect place to relax on the grass and listen to Claude Nougaro's songs.

We ended our first day on one of the terraces of Place Saint-Georges, where the smiles and lilting accents of the Toulousans created a convivial atmosphere.

Day 2: Creativity serving science and dreams

On this second day, we'll leave the city centre to visit two unusual places that are perfect for a family outing!

We start with the Cité de l'Espace. Its permanent exhibitions take us on a dazzling journey through the twists and turns of space exploration, inviting us to gaze at the stars and wonder about the next steps in the space adventure, whether it be to the Moon or the promised land of Mars. Our footsteps then take us through a park where life-size spacecraft come to life, offering our curious minds a window into understanding the vast universe that surrounds us. Immersed in this infinite quest, we dream, if only for a moment, of being on board the ISS with Thomas Pesquet, exploring the infinite cosmos.

A little further on, another dream, woven by the creative hands of François Delarozière. An engineer and a visionary, he has given life to extraordinary articulated creatures, born of his own imagination and materialised in wood and steel: the Minautore, the Elegant Spider, the Fierce Dragon Horse... The stature of these mechanical colossuses is impressive: they tower over us at full height, spreading their magic to the rhythm of the slow movements of their metal joints. Disabled or not, everyone can experience the wonder of a ride on the back of the Minautore and embark on a fascinating escapade. In the hangar of the Hall of Machines, the real machinists, masters of an army of inventions as impressive as they are bizarre, take us on a poetic and amusing ride. Our eyes are drawn in turn to musical instruments made from recycled materials, a table set for a mechanical dinner, and the meticulous diagrams of machines waiting to see the light of day... A magical interlude!

Cité de l'Espace (External link)
Hall of Machines (External link)

Day 3: Rugby and the Garonne, two symbols

On the eve of the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France from 8 September to 28 October, the city is buzzing with excitement! Rugby in Toulouse is much more than a sport, it's a way of life that goes beyond the pitch. The colours of the Stade Toulousain are flying proudly in the streets of the city a few weeks after the 'Red and Black' won the final of the French Rugby Championship (Top 14).

On the Ile du Ramier, we visit the stadium, normally home to Toulouse Football Club, which will host five matches during the World Cup. The stadium has two areas for people with reduced mobility, including wheelchair access, and offers an excellent view of the pitch. At the edge of the pitch, technicians and gardeners will be tending to the pitch before the Japanese and Chilean players take to the field on 10 September! To complete the experience, a fan zone will be set up in the Prairie des Filtres on the banks of the Garonne where everyone will be able to watch the matches on a big screen.

On the way back, we followed the Garonne as close to the water as possible, along the completely renovated quays. It's the ideal way to get to the city centre in a wheelchair, while avoiding the hustle and bustle of the city. We passed under the Pont-Neuf and stopped on one of the benches in the Port de la Daurade to enjoy the view. A little further on, the Place Saint-Pierre comes alive, offering passers-by the promise of a lively third half: it's an institution here.

We ended the day on the terrace of the Galeries Lafayette to admire the setting sun illuminating the tiles on the roofs... An unforgettable memory and the best way to say goodbye to this city, to which we can hardly wait to return and leave our suitcases for a few days!

In just 3 days, Toulouse enchanted us with its brick facades and lively streets. Its accessibility for people with disabilities allowed us to enjoy it without frustration, and we're leaving with the joie de vivre of its people deep in our hearts!

Getting to Toulouse, in Occitanie