Toulouse is a large urban area, offering a wealth of activities for visitors. An aviation hub, the city is home to the Airbus factory, where you can join tours in English or French. With a rental car, you'll have the opportunity to explore beyond the historic central district. Head to the majestic Pyrenees, just an hour's drive from Toulouse, for a range of outdoor activities such as walking and biking. Toulouse is also close to many of the finest vineyards in France, and a trip to one of the many wine-producing facilities is a must for any vino-lover. If you'd prefer to leave the car in the city while you tipple, joining an organised tour is an excellent option – it will also give you the chance to mingle with fellow travellers.
One of the delights of Toulouse, known as the 'Pink City,' is wandering the streets and admiring the pastel buildings. For the best atmosphere, head to the banks of the Garonne River at dusk and sample a glass of local wine while watching the locals. Stroll across the ancient Pont Neuf to the park on the north banks and picnic on a summer's afternoon. If you're interested in culture, the former monastery, Les Augustins, is home to an impressive art museum. The city also boasts a modern art museum, Les Abattoirs – don't let the name deter you! The central square, home to a resplendent capitol building, is a wonderful place to spend a few hours enjoying a coffee and taking in the city's sophisticated architecture.
Despite Toulouse's classical appearance, it's France's most alternative cities, thanks to its many students and artists. You won't find their passion for alternative music and culture in other French destinations. St Pierre Place, one of the city's nightlife hotspots, is the place to kick back with a casual glass of wine or dance at a disco until dawn. To catch some live music, performance theatre, or cabaret, check out La Dynamo, a must-see venue in a former sex club close to Metro Jean Jaurès. If you rent a car in Toulouse, visit Albi, just 79km from Toulouse. Explore its captivating UNESCO-registered city centre, where the Sainte-Cécile cathedral dominates the skyline. Take a boat cruise down the majestic Garonne River. It's the perfect way to see the stunning French countryside, and many of the cruises will stop for lunch at a charming taverna or bistro, where you can tuck into some local cuisine and a glass of wine.
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When you rent a car in Toulouse, you'll find that driving is a stress-free and captivating way to see the city and surrounding area. You'll be driving on the right, and if you have an EU licence, you won't need to apply for international paperwork – other nationalities should check the regulations in advance. The alcohol limit for drivers in France depends on how long you've held your licence – if you have over three years' experience, the limit is 0.5g/litre, and less-experienced drivers' limit is 0.2g/litre. However, zero consumption is always the best idea when getting behind the wheel. If you'll be driving in France, make sure to bring your passport and relevant documentation, and research driving rules before your trip. For instance, headphones for either music or phone calls are not allowed, and vehicles entering cities must display a clean air sticker to avoid a penalty fee.