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Visit Pink Toulouse in the Year of Living Coral


With Pantone announcing its official colour of the year, ‘Living Coral’, what better place to admire the official shade of 2019 than in the famed ‘Pink City’ of Toulouse as part of a 2019 city break? With January airline sales offering flights from the UK to Toulouse from as little as £9.99 one way, Brits planning a city break need look no further than ‘The Pink City’ for an inspiring travel destination in 2019.

Known as the “Pink City”, or “La Ville Rose” in French, Toulouse is home to striking pink buildings which gained their Living Coral hue due to iron being present in the clay deposits used to build them. Not only does this make Toulouse a great place to see the Pantone Colour of the Year, but you will be guaranteed some enviable Instagram photos too.

Toulouse has plenty to offer those who visit, including gorgeous churches, pretty squares, fascinating museums, friendly locals, and nice weather for much of the year. Toulouse will also appeal to foodies as the city is famed for its delicious cuisine including the hearty cassoulet made with meat and beans, confit de canard (duck), and the city’s very own sausage, “saucisse de Toulouse”. Not to mention a whole host of Michelin-starred restaurants and the No. 5 Wine Bar, voted ‘best wine bar in the world’ in the World’s Best Wine Lists.

A lively and bustling city in south-west France, Toulouse has its proximity to Spain to thank for its love of a party. From the end of the day to the rugby weekends, the terraces are always filled with an ambience of conviviality, embodying Living Coral’s energetic qualities.

Here are some of the city’s best events to look forward to:

Tour de France, 17-18 July 2019

From 17 July 2019, the Tour de France will descend on Toulouse for the first time in a decade. Stage 11 of the famous race will start in the small city of Albi and, after 167 kilometres of peddling, the cyclists will arrive in the Pink City. A particularly tight sprint around the Capitole building to the finish line is sure to create a dramatic atmosphere in the main square. Stage 12 starts the next day from Toulouse and heads into the Pyrenees for gruelling mountain climbs. Just a short flight from the UK will take visitors to experience the thrill of the Tour de France where they can cheer on the peloton. For those keen to get active themselves, what better way to see the city than by bike? Cyclists can follow one of Europe’s best cycle routes, the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fête de la Violette (Toulouse Violet festival), 2-3 February 2019
The violet is the emblematic flower of Toulouse and has been cultivated by the market gardeners in the north of the city since the 19th Century, thus giving its nickname; the City of Violets. Nowadays, La Violette de Toulouse is a registered trademark to be found on a wide variety of products, from sweets to perfumes and liqueurs. These locally made products are available to purchase from stalls at the Fête de la Violette. The festival brings together the best florists in the local area and the city’s greenhouses open their doors to the public to showcase their extensive collection of violets.

New Exhibition: ‘MOON: EPISODE II’ at the Cité de l’espace, from 20 April 2019

This year will mark 50 years since man first set foot on the moon on 20 July 1969. In honour of this momentous occasion, Toulouse’s aerospace museum, the Cité de l’espace, will launch a new exhibition, Moon: Episode II, and a special Moon Party on 20 July 2019. The exhibition, which starts on 20 April 2019, will allow visitors to relive the mission of Apollo 11 and learn about the challenges NASA had to solve 50 years ago. The Moon Party will bring back to life the chronology of the stages which enabled Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to walk across the lunar surface. Events will be on offer all day to help explain the key moments of the lunar voyage and meet witnesses of this grand human and technological adventure. Tickets for the Cité de l’espace are available from €21/£19.

‘Picasso et l’exil’ at Les Abattoirs Museum, 15 March–25 August 2019

Toulouse has an important connection with Picasso, as the Spanish artist was a major patron of the city’s central hospital and gifted several of his artworks to the city. As a momentum to his generous gifts, Les Abattoirs museum, situated on the banks of the Garonne River in Toulouse, was designed in the style of his major work and the Picasso Room named in his honour. From 15 March 2019, the museum will host a major exhibition ‘Picasso and the Exile’ presenting his symbolic works. These will include ‘Remains of the Minotaur in a harlequin costume’ which was the stage curtain from the play ‘Le 14 Juillet’ by Romain Rolland that is only presented once every two years for conservation purposes.

Toulouse Rugby FestOval – June 2019

Toulouse’s love of rugby will be celebrated when the city’s main square, the Capitole, will be turned into a rugby pitch for the final of the French Championships Top 14 rugby union match. Tournaments and training sessions – to introduce the sport to the youngest fans and for adults to learn more about the sport – will be organised across the weekend, ending with a friendly match for kids and former rugby professionals. A rugby photography exhibition will also feature around the city streets.

For more information about Toulouse, please visit

Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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