Too short a time in lovely Toulouse, but enough to get a good taster of this pretty pink city. I’d need to go back for a proper mini break for a decent length travel guide, but there are absolutely some gems worth passing on here, so here’s a bite sized version for you.
FOOD AND DRINK
Ma Biche sur Le Toit
4-8 Rue du Lieutenant Colonel Pélissier, 31000 Toulouse
Let’s start with a rooftop bar, because if there’s a rooftop bar to be found, I will find it. Consider it one of my many pointless life skills. Ma Biche sur Le Toit sits at the top of the Galleries Lafayette department store, a sweeping terrace overlooking the orange rooftops of the city beyond. With well priced wines (a gorgeous Provence rosé came in at €6), it would be all too easy to while away a few hours up here in the sunshine, and I can imagine it’s a fantastic spot during sunset.
Mama Shelter Toulouse
54-56 Boulevard Lazare Carnot, 31000 Toulouse
This boutique hotel has a beautiful summery rooftop terrace open in the warmer months with comfortable seats strewn with brightly coloured cushions and parasols to shield from the sun’s rays.
2 Place de la Bourse, 31000 Toulouse
5, rue du poids de l’huile 31000 Toulouse
I nipped into the small patisserie Perlette on my way back to the airport, grabbing a macaron and some insanely delicious chocolate and salted caramel eclair thing I’m pretty sure I can still taste. I’ve since found out they have a proper cafe, or Le Salon de Thé, and next time I’m in Toulouse I will definitely be going in for the full dining-in experience. I actually really regret not turning around to also get one of their choux pastries with pistachio and raspberries despite the fact I’d just paid and had a flight to catch. Sadly that is a regret I will have to live with for the rest of my life. Or until I return to Toulouse.
6 Place Roger Salengro, 31000 Toulouse
Tucked away in a little square not too far from the impressive Capitole building, Flower’s Cafe is well known for their desserts. To my detriment, I only had time to grab a quick coffee for the road whilst I looked upon the tables beside me, where people tucked into wonderful tarts and gorgeous crumbles, of all things. Not something I would expect from a French cafe, but the dishes of crumble looked like the best choice on the menu – particular the pear and chocolate. That teemed with good espresso or a steaming chocolat chaud? Oui, s’il vous plait.
Brasserie Les Beaux Arts
1 Quai de la Daurade, 31000 Toulouse
We had a wonderful prix fixe lunch in this gorgeous brasserie which felt like many of the old Parisian brasseries I’ve been lucky to visit – white tablecloths, wood panelling, mirrors lining the walls. Mussels gratin were cooked to perfection, Toulouse sausage with the butteriest of mash was spot on and as for the Paris-Brest choux pastry dessert with praline and chunks of hazelnut – oof. We washed it all down with a beautifully smooth Côtes du Rhône and I would do the whole thing all over again given the chance.
5 Boulevard de Strasbourg, 31000 Toulouse
One and the same as one of my favourite restaurants in London, Le Relaise de Venise L’Entrecote, the menu here in Toulouse is exactly as you’ll find at home. Whilst I don’t usually see the point in recommending places that have a London outpost (although I’d do well to remember not everyone is from London!), this is also the best steak frites of all time, and I’d happily visit again and again. A green salad with walnuts and a more-ish mustard dressing starts off proceedings, followed by perfect steak frites with their signature secret sauce. They’ll bring you up seconds halfway through your mains, too. Seriously. God, it is the best. I can also vouch for the profiteroles here.
Meet The Meat
18 Boulevard de Strasbourg, 31000 Toulouse
Just over the road from L’Entrecote with a similar vibe but slightly bigger menu (choose from three starters, various cuts of meat with a selection of different side options, plus some fish dishes for those not inclined to red meat), Meet the Meat is the one for if you want a bit more choice, or if you can’t agree with your dining companions. A massive steak with a gorgeous peppercorn sauce and frites followed goats cheese and honey on toast, washed down with good French red wine (always).
Le Grenier de Pépé
1 Rue Denfert Rochereau, 31000 Toulouse
I love a crepe, and it’s not really a proper visit to France without one, is it? Le Grenier de Pépé’s opening hours didn’t work for us on this trip (only open a short while at lunch and dinner, closed weekends) but the hype around this place very much sounds deserved. There are salads and fondue on the menu too (in the evenings), but the star of the show is the galettes and crepes. This is a good value cheap eat too, with galettes starting from €7.50.
7 Bis Rue de la Colombette, 31000 Toulouse
If you want the ultimate classic French meal in a country style setting, with sausages hanging from the ceiling and an oak wood fire serving as the grill, look no further. With three courses and a glass of wine available at a mere €20 your credit card will also thank you. The menu carries all the French classics: cold cuts of meat, pâté, cheese and foie gras; plus steak, duck and Toulouse sausages.
La Cave au Cassoulet
54 Rue Peyrolières, 31000 Toulouse
More classic French fare done well at La Cave au Cassoulet. In a cave like space, all brick and cozy, the cassoulet comes highly recommended, as you would hope – the clue is kind of in the name after all. Profiteroles are huge with lashings of dark chocolate sauce and flaked almonds, so despite the large portions, worth keeping some space for afters. Booking is recommended!