Is Renting a Car in France Worth the Trouble? Episode 185

Is Renting a Car in France Worth the Trouble?

This question comes up all the time on the Facebook group, so let’s talk about it: is it smart to rent a car in France or not? Hint: Yes and No, it’s all explained in the episode!
Is renting a car in France worth the trouble? In other words, for my intellectual friends: To drive or not to drive, that is the question! Wise visitors will weigh the pros and cons of driving vs. finding another mode of transportation while on vacation in France. Fools will ignore this, do what they want, and get stuck in traffic.

As you will find out in this episode, sometimes driving in France is no problem at all. A lot depends on where you are going and when you are going. In general, driving in France is surprisingly easy for most of the people who have talked to me about it on trip reports (see Related Episodes).

But there are a few times and places where driving in France is a terrible idea and I want to tell you why because I am a local and I’ve gotten stuck in traffic myself many time! I also want to give you alternatives that probably won’t pop into your mind naturally if you’re a visitor from North America.

Listen up! This episode will save you a lot of time and aggravation!

Related Episodes: Tips for Driving in France, Driving in France, Mont Saint-Michel Trip Report, Collioure Travel Tips, Tips for Using Uber in Paris (or anywhere in France)

Support the show on Patreon.

RSS | iTunes | Android | Stitcher Radio | TuneIn Radio

Etoile roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe; is renting a car in france worth the trouble
Photo Annie Sargent

What You Will Learn About in this Episode with Timestamps

Is renting a car in France worth the trouble?

[01:23] Here’s the questions we’re going to think about in this episode: Is renting a car in France worth the trouble?

The question is not CAN you rent a car in France. Of course you can, if you have what it takes to rent a car in America, you can rent one in France, the requirements are pretty much the same. So let’s not sweat the small stuff: renting a car in France is no harder than renting a car in North America!

The question you need to ask yourself is SHOULD I rent a car in France? Are there circumstances where I should NOT rent a car in France? In other words: when does it get to be a royal pain in the behind to have a rental car in France?

I decided to address this question because this has come up on several occasions the last few days on the Join Is in France Closed Group on Facebook, and it is confusing indeed.

I live in France, I love to drive, my nickname is “the parking queen”, but still, I have to admit that sometimes I get mad at myself for choosing the car over other modes of transportation. So let me tell you about the times when you do NOT want to have a car in France!

You Should NOT Rent a Car in Paris

[02:45] I suspect most of you won’t have too much trouble understanding that you don’t want a car in Paris. Why? Because parking on the street is really difficult to find (even for me, the parking Queen), there are meters everywhere and when you find the ever elusive parking spot, you have to go back to feed the meter every 2 hours. There are underground parking lots in Paris where you can leave your car longer, but you’ll pay a lot for parking and many of them are not easy to get in and out of.

French parking lot designers don’t think like normal human beings. They have crazy notions like all you really need is 1″ clearance, or that we all drive tiny Smart Cars! You know, it’s just really tight everywhere you go. So, pay parking lots in France will make you sweat bullets when you’re trying not to damage your rental car.

Forget everything you know about parking your car at home! Paris is not American suburbia with straight driveways and a nice wide garage door that you open with the click of a button. I want you to understand that no matter how much you pay for parking in Paris, it will be considerably more complicated than that!

driving sign in france; is renting a car in france worth the trouble
Photo Annie Sargent

French Intersections Will Kill You, Really

[04:06] The other problem with having a car in Paris is that there are a lot of intersections that you won’t understand as a North American driver. They won’t make any sense to you because they barely make sense to French people who learned how to drive in Paris! And when you don’t understand how an intersection works, you’re putting yourself and others in danger.

Many of these truly bizarre intersections have been fixed in other parts of France because they are the cause of many accidents. But in Paris and other large cities, they can’t close the intersection long enough to really fix it, so they slap on a band-aid and everybody has to live with it!

If You Must, Rent a Car from a Train Station

[05:06] So, if you absolutely need to pickup a car in Paris because you’re driving out to other parts of France, I recommend you get your car at one of the major train stations in Paris. There are 6 major train stations in Paris: Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, gare Saint-Lazare, gare Montparnasse, gare d’Austerlitz, and gare de Lyon.

You could also go to one of the airports, but that’s harder to do, a simple metro line will take you to any of the train stations. I’ll put a map on the show notes so you can see where they are in Paris, to see that go to

All of these train station have car rental agencies, but not all of them have all agencies. So, if you absolutely want to rent from Hertz, check out which ones have Hertz, but they probably all do. I think you should avoid Paris city driving as much as possible. So, if you’re going to drive in the direction of Lyon, then pickup your rental at Gare de Lyon. If you’re going to drive in the direction of Toulouse, rent from Gare Montparnasse. If you’re going to Alsace, rent from Gare de l’Est, makes sense? And come to the train station with all your luggage so you don’t have to track back into the city.

map of major train stations in paris; is renting a car in france worth the trouble

What Is It Like in the Rest of France?

[06:59] Now, let’s talk about other areas in France. Outside of big cities, France is easy to drive in. Most French people follow the rules, we’re predictable well trained drivers. Roads are well-maintained overall, all of that is going to seem normal to you. One of these days I’ll put out a book on driving in France because I used to teach driving and it’s fun to think about how it all works. But in general, if you can drive in a major metropolitan are in America, you’re not going to be startled driving in France.

Most of the Time You’ll Need to Park Far Away from the Main Attraction

[07:47] Most of us think of cars as a great option for people with limited mobility. Well, in France, they are and they’re not. Let me explain. If you, the driver, has limited mobility, it’s going to be a problem. You need a driver who can do a fair bit of walking, up and down hills, stairs, without a proper sidewalk also.

As you visit scenic little villages perched up on a hill or medieval towns with beautiful half-timbered houses, you will always need to park quite far from the place you want to visit. And when you are visiting a place with narrow streets and cobblestone paths, you will not park in that village. Most of these places make you park away from the village. Sometimes it’s not very far away, sometimes it is quite a way!

French People Are Unruly When It Comes To Parking

[09:06] These villages need tourism, so they do the best they can to be accommodating. They often have a small parking lot pretty close to the village and an overflow for high affluence days. I’ve seen places where the overflow is full and people start parking every which way along the roads which makes it hard for everyone trying to walk to the village. But if a village only gets that busy a few days a year they can’t invest in an expensive parking lot just for those few days.

French people don’t care anyway, they’ll park anywhere. But we get visitors who are used to a little more structure and might get startled. I overheard an English visitor say “why don’t they hand out tickets to all those badly parked cars?” The reason is, this is a village that needs the visitors, they don’t want to get a reputation for ticketing people!

narrow street in medieval town in france; is renting a car in france worth the trouble
Too narrow for you? French people could drive through there because we’re used to it! Photo Annie Sargent.

Parking at Les Baux-de-Provence and the Mont-Saint-Michel

[10:49] One example, Les Baux-de-Provence. Beautiful place. But you park far away from the center of the village and it’s up-hill and most of that way there isn’t a proper sidewalk, It’s totally doable and worth it for most of us, but if you’re going with a person who requires a wheelchair or strollers, you won’t enjoy the walk! These are things you need to know in advance.

I’m not saying don’t go, but I am saying, be aware that there is no parking in those scenic little villages! Some places have shuttles at high season between the parking lots and the venue you want to see. Those are wonderful but most places don’t have one because it’s expensive. So, you’ll need to walk. It’s good for you, right?

Mont-Saint-Michel does this well. They make you park pretty far, and then they give you a free shuttle. There are also tiny towns that do this. Once you’ve decided where you want to go, look it up, the google will tell you about parking anywhere you wish to go. Why do they have a nice shuttle service at the Mont-Saint-Michel and not at Les Baux-de-Provence? You guessed it: money!

If You Have a Car Drop If Off ASAP

[12:23] The other thing I want to emphasize is, Provence with a car in the summer is hell. There are so many people driving around just trying to find a parking spot that city streets are always packed with cars going nowhere. It will be as much fun as LA at rush hour. So, if you are going to Cannes, Nice, Sainte-Maxime, Saint-Tropez, FrĂ©jus, Antibes, Cagnes-sur-Mer or anywhere along that coast, don’t go by car, or if you do, drop off the car at a car rental agency as soon as you arrive.

Annie, the parking queen; is renting a car in france worth the trouble
Annie, the parking queen!

Go By Bus If That’s An Option!

[13:04} If you’re staying for several days and you picked a hotel in Nice for example. You want to go to Saint-Paul-de-Vence for the day. The first thing you should ask yourself is “Is there a bus that will take me there?” That’s a good question for the local tourist office, isn’t it? Ask them! Their job is to help you find local transportation! They know all the lines, they know all the good tips, that’s what they are there for! So, first, try to go by bus! It’s cheap, it’s clean, it’s safe, and you don’t have to mess with driving or parking!

Don’t Keep Your Rental Car For Several Days In A Row

[14:09] If you want to take a day-trip somewhere that doesn’t have a bus from where you are, rent a car for the day, but only for that day. One of the worst things you can do in the summer in those popular vacation spots is rent a car and keep it for several days. You’ll be stressed out about parking the car the whole time. Renting a car for several days in a row doesn’t even get you a discount on the rental, you pay same per day if you keep the car for one day or for one week, so don’t keep it for a week! Go back a get a different car for a few days in a row if you need to.

Choose a Hotel that Will Work for You

[15:00] If you’re going to be mostly on the beach and don’t plan on day trips or visiting museums or anything like that, stay at a hotel on the beach. If you’re going to be moving around visiting various places, get a hotel near the city center. I like to stay next to the main city plaza or the main cathedral or a major covered market, but always city center.

In France Avoid Hotels Right Close to the Train Station

[15:54] Train station and bus station are usually next to one another and they are always walking distance to city center. So, a hotel or apartment city center, but not right at the train station is ideal. Why not right at the train station? Many cities in France the area right next to the train station can be a bit seedy. Not always, but for a long time that’s where you went to find a prostitute or buy weed, I mean nothing too bad, but the area right around the train station is never as nice as the city center.

Parking Is Difficult In All Popular Spots In France

[16:22] I’m telling you this about Provence, but it’s not just Provence. It’s anywhere that’s popular for summer vacation or long weekends (and we have a lot of those in May and June). Anywhere there’s a beach, when the weather is good, parking is awful. Or if it’s beautiful and scenic. Parking will be awful.

Your Homework For Today

[16:57] Your job, as a smart visitor, is to figure out where you want to go. Make a real plan and then when you are ready with your real plan in hand, you can figure out the specifics of the easiest way to get there. If you show up at the Tourism Office asking “Is there a bus between Nice and Menton?” they can help you with that. If you show up saying “I have no idea what to do and I don’t even know what I want, but I hear this place is cool” they’ll shove a map in your hand and hope you leave soon. So do your job, decide what you want.

This podcast is a great resource to help you decide what you want and there are other resources like it. So keep listening, and decide what you want. If you have friends who are coming to France, tell them about this resource and encourage them to be a well-prepared traveler. You vacation time is precious, don’t waste it looking for a parking spot!


[18:15] To conclude: if you need a car, keep it for as little time as you can. Check it back in to the car rental agency and let it be their problem, not yours. Use tourist offices to find out about bus service and excursions to various places. You could call an Uber too, we have that in France you know! Maybe they’ll tell you to take the train. They know what’s best for that area! Summer in Provence and anywhere near a beach is driving and parking hell. You have been warned!

The best way to connect with me is via email or if you have a question you’d like answered on the show, leave a message on 1-801-806-1015. Don’t be shy, call 1-801-806-1015! Au revoir!

narrow street in French village; is renting a car in france worth the trouble
Photo Annie Sargent


The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, Episode 184

 The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris

When we do  a tour in Paris, we always start with the Luxembourg Gardens. Why? Because it’s a haven of peace and simple joy for everybody we know who has ever visited it. Our tours also always start on a Sunday, and Sundays and Wednesdays are the best times to go to the Luxembourg Gardens, not that there is a bad time to go, mind you.

In this episode of the podcast we explain how the Luxembourg Gardens came about historically and we list most of the things you can enjoy there today. The Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the best places to take a walk in Paris, and it is also something we recommend to everyone, even first-time visitors to Paris.

Support the show on Patreon.

RSS | iTunes | Android | Stitcher Radio | TuneIn Radio

Luxembourg Gardens, pond and toy boat with the Senate building in the background

What You Will Learn About in this Episode

 The Luxembourg Gardens Are a Favorite

[02:00] The Luxembourg Gardens are a favorite for both Annie and Elyse and for most people who know Paris well. Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens are roughly of the same size, but have a different feeling to them.

The Origins of the Luxembourg Gardens

[04:06] At first there was a large Palace and they built the Luxembourg Gardens around it. The large Palace you see today is the French Senate, this dates from the late 1500s. But first, there was a smaller palace that is now off to the side. The small palace dates from the late 1300s. It was the residence of the Duke of Luxembourg, and it had a small garden and orangery to begin with.

Marie de Medici Commissioned both the Palace and the Luxembourg Gardens

[07:00] Marie de Medici was the wife of Henri IV and a cousin to Catherine de Medici (who was the wife of Henri II and they are hard to keep straight!) Marie grew up in Florence with the Boboli Gardens. When Henri IV was assassinated in 1610, she became the regent. She hated the Louvre, so she hired Italian designers and engineers to build her a wonderful palace and gardens. You can’t visit the French Senate other than on the Week-End du Patrimoine each September.

The Life of Marie de Medici and Henri IV Painted by Rubens

[10:53] Marie de Medici also commissioned a series of 24 paintings on her life by Rubens. You can see them in a special wing at the Louvre. When you visit the Louvre it is good to target a particular area to look at so it is not so overwhelming and this cycle of paintings by Rubens would be a good choice for that!

The Medici Fountain at the Luxembourg Gardens

[12:57] Marie de Medici kept the name Luxembourg for the park, but she had the fountain named after herself. It is not a large fountain, but it was a replica of one in Florence. The reflecting pool was added later. This fountain is really dark by now, it would look much nicer it they cleaned it up. This is in stark contrast with the Senate that looks lovely and creamy.

Luxembourg Gardens Medici fountain and reflecting pond
The Medici Fountain and Reflecting Pond, photo Annie Sargent

A Symmetrical Garden

[14:58] The style at the time was to build symmetrical gardens and that’s what they decided to do at the Luxembourg Garden, except for a small part of the garden that is more English-style. The Statues were not part of the original design of the garden, they were added in the late 1800s, Annie will talk about that later on.


Historical Tidbit: Marie and her Son Louis XIII Didn’t Get Along!

[165:48] In 1642, Marie’s son kicked her out of the Palace and the Luxembourg Gardens and she had to go live in a different palace. The palace was turned into the French Senate after the French Revolution. In the meantime it was a museum that has since moved to the smaller building that was owned by the Duke of Luxembourg, a good place to visit if it starts raining while you are visiting.

An Official Government Building

[18:25] The Luxembourg Gardens today belong to the French Senate. As such, it is an official governmental center, it is well protected and could be closed on account of a terror alert, but we’ve never seen that happen.

luxembourg gardens senate building with dramatic grey sky
Photo Annie Sargent

The Attractions You Will Find at the Luxembourg Gardens

Small Is Beautiful

[20:18] The Luxembourg Gardens are tiny compared to major parks in world capitals. It is only 23 hectares of which 21 are open to the public. By comparison, Central Park in New York is 315 hectares. Hyde Park in London is 256 hectares. A small park is better in Annie’s opinion because there is so much in a small space, it’s easy to enjoy because all the different attractions are near one another.

  • The French Senate
  • The Medici Garden and reflecting Pond
  • Circular pond in the middle with little boats you can rent
  • Large children’s playground, fenced, good for people with toddlers who tend to run off!
  • Puppet Show: Guignol. This is a classic show that won’t suit everybody, it’s like English Pantomime but simpler. All in French, the idea is to interact with the children, if your kids don’t speak any French they won’t understand anything.
  • PĂ©tanque Club. Anybody can play if they buy a yearly membership for about 20€. Super friendly people that welcome people from all over the world. Great place to go try pĂ©tanque!
PĂ©tanque game at the Luxembourg Gardens
PĂ©tanque game, photo Annie Sargent
  • Statue of Liberty that was made to test the bigger one you see in New York. There’s another one near the entrance of the Art & MĂ©tiers Museum in Paris.
  • Music kiosk where amateurs get to play, your mileage may vary.
musical kiosk at the luxembourg garden
Music Kiosk at the Jardin du Luxembourg, photo Annie Sargent.
  • Paths for joggers.
  • Wonderful chairs that are free now, but you had to pay to sit on them long ago. Free today! You will see people reading, chatting
Couple sitting in chairs at the Luxembourg Gardens
Photo Annie Sargent
  • There are two cafĂ©s where they make crĂŞpes and sell good coffee.
Luxembourg Gardens café with chairs
Photo Annie Sargent
  • It is very scenic, the trees are cut in a rectangular shape, topiary-style to maintain the one point perspective.
  • Les Reines de France and Femmes Illustres: this is a hodge-podge collection of French women who are mostly wives and mothers of French Kings.
statue of the famous women of france at the luxembourg gardens
Notable women of France, photo Annie Sargent.

Other Major Attractions You See Near the Luxembourg Garden

[33:00] The Pantheon is nearby (episode 71). You also have the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is next to the Pantheon, Annie’s favorite church in Paris. You can also see the magical steps in Midnight in Paris next to the church. The neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Près is also nearby. Beautiful stores, lively most of the time. The theater of the Odeon isn’t far, Elyse thinks it’s gorgeous. The Marie Curie Museum (episode 79). It is also a lovely area to stay in if you like a quiet area.

The Luxembourg Gardens Are a Must-See

[37:43] If you are going to Paris, even if it is your first time, go to the Luxembourg Garden. You will feel a part of French life that is genuine, posh, historical, and pleasant. There are also photography exhibits outside of the garden, it’s fun to walk around the outside of the gate to see that too. We like the café called Le Petit Suisse on rue Vaugirard. It is full of Parisian charm, you will love it!

Is It OK to Bring a Bottle of Wine to the Luxembourg Gardens?

[39:42] Whenever Annie goes to the Luxembourg Gardens she sees people enjoying wine there. They bring a bottle of wine to share with friends. It’s a bit crass from a French perspective, but not forbidden. Open container rules in France are very lax, unless you’re a homeless person or it’s an area where students get out of control.

Free WiFi in Paris

[43:00] Like any other fenced park in Paris, you will find free WiFi at the Luxembourg Gardens.


The Ultimate Guide to Toulouse, Episode 183

The Ultimate Guide to Toulouse

If I ask what part of France you want to visit besides Paris, you will probably respond Normandy or Provence. But if I ask French people where they’d like to move to in France, Toulouse is always at the top of the list. So what do French people know about Toulouse that most visitors to France don’t? Stay tuned and you will hear about it all in today’s Ultimate Guide to Toulouse!

These are the things that can make any city wonderful to live in: a strong local culture, strong food and wine traditions, good jobs, strong high tech industries, good universities, great sports teams, proximity to both the sea and the ski slopes, and of course mild weather. Toulouse gets the check mark on all of those.

Toulouse is also a lot more affordable than Paris and not as stress-inducing as Paris for everyday life. So yes, French people would love to be able to move to Toulouse and about 10,000 new people do just that every year, it is one of the fastest-growing areas of France.

But what does Toulouse have to offer for visitors? That’s the question we answer with our ultimate guide to Toulouse. Here are a few of the reasons:

Looking to see a lively yet laid-back part of France? Toulouse.
You like great food and wine? Toulouse!
You want to enjoy French culture through museums, art events and leisurely walks through Medieval streets? Toulouse, of course!

Annie and Elyse are supremely qualified to talk about Toulouse, not just because we’re awesome podcasters who love to share the best of everything France has to offer, but also because Annie was born and raised in Toulouse, and Elyse has been living and guiding in Toulouse for 20+ years. We know the place! We know it effortlessly, like locals do.

So, please come along with us on this Ultimate Guide to Toulouse!

Support the show on Patreon.

RSS | iTunes | Android | Stitcher Radio | TuneIn Radio

Saint-sernin basilica; ultimate guide to toulouse
Saint-Sernin Basilica, photo Annie Sargent

What You Will Learn About in this Episode

What Is There to Do in Toulouse?

[02:23] Today we are presenting an overview of the City of Toulouse to explore all of the things the city has to offer, and we also mention all the episodes where we’ve talked about Toulouse in the past.

The Pink City: “la ville rose”

[03:00] Toulouse is a Roman brick city, called la ville rose in French. The color of the brick looks orange/rose, it looks particularly pink at sunset. All the roofs are pink and when you fly in, it makes a big impression.

The city has built out in a circle with the Garonne river right in the middle. Toulouse was founded by the Romans and later the Gauls.

The City that Grows on People

[06:34] Toulouse is the kind of city that grows on people. When people visit they enjoy it very much, but it is not a destination city. You can visit the city within a couple of days and if you can stay longer, you can take several day-trips. The people of Toulouse have a specific and charming accent.

City for Business Visitors

[08:00] Airbus is the major industry in Toulouse and it attracts a lot of business visitors. It is also a major city for the satellite industry, all sorts of satellites are built in Toulouse.

Major Attractions in Toulouse

[08:27] Some of the oldest houses in Toulouse date back from the middle 1400s and they have been renovated very well. The rich merchants of Toulouse built some lovely mansions around the city. The city center is very dense with homes and small gardens in the back.

group of people at a café; ultimate guide to toulouse
Toulouse café, photo Annie Sargent.

Parks and Gardens of Toulouse

[10:41] Toulouse also has lovely parks and gardens. During the warm weather, walks along the river Garonne are also wonderful.

Charming Toulouse Plazas

[12:33] We also did an episode about the most beautiful plazas in Toulouse (episode 72) and they make the city lovely to live in. Toulouse has mild weather, which makes it pleasant year-round.

Café Culture in Toulouse

[14:00] Toulouse is the kind of city where cafes have terraces where you can sit and enjoy watching the world go-by any time of year. Toulouse is a medium size city, it’s easy to visit on foot or by checking out one of the public bicycles.

Soon Coming to Toulouse: a Spanish-Style Rambla

[16:00] The city is now developing a “rambla” with a long walking path between the Toulouse train station and the city center, which are about 1 kilometer apart. The original plan was to make it a walking path, but in the end turned into a 4-lane boulevard. It will now revert to a wide walking boulevard with one lane of traffic each way.

Toulouse, Cultural City

[18:50] Toulouse is a cinema city with a “cinémathèque” that shows lots of classic films, we also have a large university system and lots of students. We have small theaters, pubs, lots of bars.

The Augustin and the Abattoirs Museums in Toulouse

[19:48] Places to visit in Toulouse: Les Augustins Museum (Medieval art and sculpture housed inside of an old monastery from the 1300s, complete with a lovely cloister) and Les Abattoirs (modern and contemporary art, the building used to be the slaughter house).

The area around Les Abattoirs is a lovely area to visit today, but it wasn’t always so. Augustins and Abattoirs is episode 69 if you want to go into more detail on these museums.

The Canal du Midi in Toulouse

[23:44] Canal du Midi: it’s lovely to walk along the Canal, or cycle, or take a boat ride. The Canal du Midi is a World Heritage Site. Running along the Canal du Midi is a favorite of joggers and dog walkers.

The Saint-Sernin Basilica

[24:40] Saint-Sernin Basilica is also a World Heritage Site.Saint-Sernin Basilica, we need to add another episode specifically about Saint-Sernin some day, it is on the Saint-Jacques de Compostelle pilgramage.

Les Jacobins in Toulouse

[26:12] Les Jacobins is also a former monastery with a cloister that you can visit in Toulouse. It is now a church any more, but a great place to visit. Saint Thomas of Aquinas rests at the Jacobins.

Saint Raymond Museum in Toulouse

[27:54] Saint Raymond Museum, housed in a Renaissance home, it is the city archeology museum. It is a gorgeous little museum, it is important because it collects precious pieces that have been found by farmers around Toulouse, mostly from Roman times. It’s a great museum to take children to because it has good interactive displays and it is not very big.

Aeroscopia and the Cité de l’espace in Toulouse

[29:57] Aeroscopia is wonderful, it shows all the airplanes developed and tested in Toulouse, including the Concorde. You can walk through the old airplanes and see how the industry developed over time.

La Cite de l’Espace is another attraction related to space. They have lots of interactive displays, a MIR station, rocket boosters, solar system displays, it’s a great place for children.

Toulouse is also the home of Meteo France where they make weather predictions for the entire country and also do climate research.

band in front of the Donjon du Capitole; ultimate guide to toulouse
Street music in front of the Donjon du Capitole, photo Annie Sargent.

The Natural History Museum

[31:39] The Natural History Museum, “Museum d’histoire naturelle” in French, is great for kids and adults both. It’s considered to be one of the better natural history museums in France. They explain things really well.

Toulouse Has Enough to Do for 3 or 4 Days

[32:38] The City of Research, new museum on the process of research and science. It’s brand new, worth visiting at the same time as the Natural History Museum.

You can stay in Toulouse and visit all of these things over 4 days which most people don’t do, but we hope to change all that.

Fondation Bemberg and the Hotel d’Assezat

[34:12] Fondation Bemberg, hotel d’assezat. A museum in a building that is one of the nicest Renaissance mansions of Toulouse. It’s an art and object museum based on the private collection of an Argentinian man who loved the Renaissance. He collected paintings, lamps, furniture. He used his own money to renovate and modernize this renaissance building, provided he could use the building to display his own collection. The museum holds a large collection of late impressionist and post impressionist.

Toulouse and History of Pastel

[37:30] Toulouse has a long history of pastel and how that industry made it possible for Toulouse to get several Renaissance mansions.

The Richest Man in France under Louis XIV and Louis XV

Book on Croza, L’Homme qui possédait l’Amérique

Toulouse Food and Wine Specialties

[39:38] Food in Toulouse (Episode 31) local specialities are cassoulet and duck, local wines are Gaillac, Jurançeon, Malbec (Cahors). One of the best food areas in France.

Professional Sports in Toulouse

[40:30] Toulouse is well-known for Rugby, we have several professional sports teams, a women’s basketball team, pro volleyball, pro handball, pro soccer.

some of the mascots of Toulouse sports clubs; ultimate guide to toulouse
Some of the mascots of Toulouse sports clubs, photo Annie Sargent.

Toulouse Universities

[41:16] The university is huge, aeronautics engineering programs, one of the top 5 schools of economy in the world, the city attracts a lot of smart people.


[41:37] Try to visit Toulouse avoid the dead of the winter, we have a long warm season from March until October. Elyse gives wonderful tours in Toulouse, you can book a tour with her through her website Toulouse Guided Walks

Sharing the Best of France