Touring Toulouse Art and History

Photo by Guillen Perez

Divining the artistic currents that influenced the city

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In the heart of the old town, this route takes you back in history to discover the art and architecture of the epic and medieval times, the Gothic and the Renaissance golden age … not forgetting local cultural roots and popular traditions.

Starting point: Esquirol underground station
Length: 1.5km.
Estimated time: Half-day

The Augustins Museum
Housed in the preserved environment of the Augustins Convent built in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Fine Arts museum collection presents a rich combination of medieval sculptures (Romanesque pillars and Gothic statuary). Its paintings collections include masterworks painted between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Saint-Georges Square
This specific square, once the largest in the city, used to be a location for assemblies and markets prior to becoming the site of capital executions. It is surrounded by beautiful houses with different types of architecture. On one side, the Lafage private mansion features one of the nicest monumental facades, typical of the 18th century. Today, it is mostly appreciated for its lively large terraces.

Saint-Jerome Church
Behind its discreet facade, this 17th and 18th century building, all in curbs, is remarkable for its theatrical decor. It is the former “Blue Penitents” chapel, a secular guild created to counteract Protestantism.

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Salengro Square
This small triangular square, inaugurated in the 19th century, is adorned with a fountain including cast iron allegorical elements. Among the beautiful brick house fronts, you may notice, at number 20, a plate indicating that French political activist Jean Jaurès lived here for a few years.

Saint-Rome Street
Following the North/South former Roman town’s centre line (cardo), this  was known until the 19th century as the town’s main street, in the heart of the business district. You will notice there some beautiful brick private mansions such as Serta who’s tower overlooks the crossroad. Some half-timbered houses are a testimony of the main architectural style used until the 1463 big fire. Today, this pedestrian street is carrying on its past business activity tradition thanks to its numerous shops.

Vieux-Toulouse Museum
Housed in a traditional private mansion dating back to the end of Renaissance, its collection of documents, paintings and objects visualises the artistic and historical past of the city.

Compagnonnage Museum
This 16th century half-timbered house was restored by the “compagnons du tour de France”, a centuries old craftsmen guild. It houses a museum allowing you to explore the universe of the craftsmen guild members thanks to some of their masterpieces and to some related ancient and contemporary objects.

L’Ostal D’Occitania
Hugues de Boysson, and later Jean de Cheverry, merchants and “capitouls” (town representatives), had this house built both in the Gothic and Renaissance styles. It is now the setting for l’Ostal d’Occitània, a place enhancing the image of our lively Occitan culture.

The Asszat Private Mansion and The Bemberg Foundation
This town’s private mansion, a major Toulouse Renaissance building was built between 1555 and 1557 for the merchant Pierre d’Assézat, whose wealth came from woad trading. It is organised around a large courtyard with frontages, balconies and access balconies. It is now the headquarters of the Bemberg Foundation (rich collection of furniture, objects and paintings) and the site of academies, including the “floral games” (Jeux floraux).


Itinerary from Visit Toulouse, see the route map.

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