Toulouse

Tolosa  (Occitan)
Hôpital de La Grave, Ariane 5 (Cité de l'espace), Basilica of Saint-Sernin, Place du Capitole, the very first Airbus A380, Musée des Augustins
Coat of arms of Toulouse
Coat of arms
Motto(s): 
Per Tolosa totjorn mai
(Occitan for '"For Toulouse, always more"')
Location of Toulouse
Toulouse is located in France
Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is located in Occitanie
Toulouse
Toulouse
Coordinates: 43°36′16″N 1°26′38″E / 43.6045°N 1.444°E / 43.6045; 1.444Coordinates: 43°36′16″N 1°26′38″E / 43.6045°N 1.444°E / 43.6045; 1.444
CountryFrance
RegionOccitanie
DepartmentHaute-Garonne
ArrondissementToulouse
CantonToulouse-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11
IntercommunalityToulouse Métropole
Government
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Jean-Luc Moudenc (LR)
Area
1
118.3 km2 (45.7 sq mi)
 • Urban
 (2010)
811.60 km2 (313.36 sq mi)
 • Metro
 (2010)
5,381.49 km2 (2,077.80 sq mi)
Population
 (2017-01-01)[1]
479,553
 • Rank4th in France
 • Density4,100/km2 (10,000/sq mi)
 • Urban
 (Jan. 2017)
968,638[2][3]
 • Metro
 (Jan. 2017)
1,360,829[2][4]
Demonym(s)English: Toulousian
French: Toulousain(e)
Occitan: tolosenc(a)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
Websitewww.toulouse.fr
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Toulouse (/tˈlz/,[5] too-LOOZ; French: [tuluz] (About this soundlisten); Occitan: Tolosa [tuˈluzo]; Latin: Tolosa [toˈloːsa]) is the capital of the French department of Haute-Garonne and of the region of Occitanie. The city is on the banks of the River Garonne, 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea, 230 km (143 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean and 680 km (420 mi) from Paris. It is the fourth-largest city in France, with 479,553 inhabitants within its municipal boundaries (as of January 2017), and 1,360,829 inhabitants within its wider metropolitan area (also as of January 2017), after Paris, Lyon and Marseille, and ahead of Lille and Bordeaux.

Toulouse is the centre of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus (formerly EADS), the SPOT satellite system, ATR and the Aerospace Valley. It also hosts the European headquarters of Intel and CNES's Toulouse Space Centre (CST), the largest space centre in Europe.[6] Thales Alenia Space, ATR, SAFRAN, Liebherr-Aerospace and Airbus Defence and Space also have a significant presence in Toulouse.

The University of Toulouse is one of the oldest in Europe (founded in 1229) and, with more than 103,000 students, it is the fourth-largest university campus in France, after the universities of Paris, Lyon and Lille.[7]

The air route between Toulouse–Blagnac and Paris Orly is the busiest in Europe, transporting 2.4 million passengers in 2014.[8] According to the rankings of L'Express and Challenges, Toulouse is the most dynamic French city.[9][10][11]

Founded by the Romans, the city was the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom in the 5th century and the capital of the province of Languedoc in the Late Middle Ages and early modern period (provinces were abolished during the French Revolution), making it the unofficial capital of the cultural region of Occitania (Southern France). It is now the capital of the Occitanie region, the second largest region in Metropolitan France.

Toulouse counts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Canal du Midi (designated in 1996 and shared with other cities), and the Basilica of St. Sernin, the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe[12], designated in 1998 along with the former hospital Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques because of their significance to the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. The city's unique architecture made of pinkish terracotta bricks has earned Toulouse the nickname La Ville Rose ("The Pink City").[citation needed]

Geography

Toulouse is in the south of France, north of the department of Haute-Garonne, on the axis of communication between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Hydrography

The city is traversed by the Canal de Brienne, the Canal du Midi and the rivers Garonne, Touch and Hers-Mort.

Climate

Toulouse has a temperate humid subtropical climate (Cfa in the Köppen climate classification). Too much precipitation during the summer months prevents the city from being classified as a Mediterranean climate zone.

Toulouse
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
 
 
51
 
 
10
2
 
 
42
 
 
11
3
 
 
49
 
 
15
5
 
 
70
 
 
17
7
 
 
74
 
 
21
11
 
 
60
 
 
25
14
 
 
38
 
 
28
17
 
 
47
 
 
28
17
 
 
47
 
 
25
13
 
 
57
 
 
20
11
 
 
51
 
 
13
6
 
 
52
 
 
10
3
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Climate data for Toulouse (TLS), elevation: 151 m (495 ft), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1947–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.2
(70.2)
24.1
(75.4)
27.1
(80.8)
30.0
(86.0)
33.4
(92.1)
40.2
(104.4)
40.2
(104.4)
40.7
(105.3)
35.3
(95.5)
30.8
(87.4)
24.3
(75.7)
21.1
(70.0)
40.7
(105.3)
Average high °C (°F) 9.5
(49.1)
11.1
(52.0)
14.5
(58.1)
17.0
(62.6)
21.0
(69.8)
25.2
(77.4)
28.0
(82.4)
27.9
(82.2)
24.6
(76.3)
19.5
(67.1)
13.3
(55.9)
9.9
(49.8)
18.5
(65.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.9
(42.6)
7.0
(44.6)
9.8
(49.6)
12.1
(53.8)
16.0
(60.8)
19.7
(67.5)
22.3
(72.1)
22.2
(72.0)
19.0
(66.2)
15.0
(59.0)
9.5
(49.1)
6.5
(43.7)
13.8
(56.8)
Average low °C (°F) 2.4
(36.3)
3.0
(37.4)
5.0
(41.0)
7.1
(44.8)
10.9
(51.6)
14.3
(57.7)
16.5
(61.7)
16.5
(61.7)
13.4
(56.1)
10.5
(50.9)
5.8
(42.4)
3.2
(37.8)
9.1
(48.4)
Record low °C (°F) −18.6
(−1.5)
−19.2
(−2.6)
−8.4
(16.9)
−3.0
(26.6)
−0.8
(30.6)
4.0
(39.2)
7.6
(45.7)
5.5
(41.9)
1.9
(35.4)
−3.0
(26.6)
−7.5
(18.5)
−12.0
(10.4)
−19.2
(−2.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 51.3
(2.02)
41.6
(1.64)
49.1
(1.93)
69.6
(2.74)
74.0
(2.91)
60.3
(2.37)
37.7
(1.48)
46.8
(1.84)
47.4
(1.87)
57.0
(2.24)
51.1
(2.01)
52.4
(2.06)
638.3
(25.13)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 9.2 7.8 8.6 9.6 9.9 7.1 5.0 6.1 6.5 8.1 9.2 8.6 95.7
Average snowy days 2.1 2.0 1.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 1.6 7.5
Average relative humidity (%) 87 82 77 76 76 72 68 71 74 81 85 88 78
Mean monthly sunshine hours 92.5 115.0 175.1 186.1 209.2 227.6 252.6 238.8 204.0 149.2 96.0 85.3 2,031.3
Source 1: Meteo France[13][14]
Source 2: Infoclimat.fr (relative humidity 1961–1990)[15]


History

Vomitorium at the Roman amphitheatre in Toulouse

Early history

The Garonne Valley was a central point for trade between the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic since at least the Iron Age. The historical name of the city, Tolosa (Τολῶσσα in Greek, and of its inhabitants, the Tolosates, first recorded in the 2nd century BC), it is of unknown meaning or origin, possibly from Aquitanian or Iberian,[17] but it has also been connected to the name of the Gaulish Volcae Tectosages.[18]

Tolosa enters the historical period in the 2nd century BC, when it became a Roman military outpost. After the conquest of Gaul, it was developed as a Roman city of Gallia Narbonensis. In the 5th century, Tolosa fell to the Visigothic kingdom and became one of its major cities, in the early 6th century even serving as its capital, before it fell to the Franks under Clovis in 507 (Battle of Vouillé). From that time, Toulouse was the capital of Aquitaine within the Frankish realm.[19][citation needed]

In 721, Duke Odo of Aquitaine defeated an invading Umayyad Muslim army at the Battle of Toulouse. Many Arab chroniclers consider that Odo's victory was the real stop to Muslim expansion into Christian Europe, incursions of the following years being simple raids without real will of conquest (including the one that ended with Charles Martel's victory at the Battle of Tours, also called the Battle of Poitiers).[20]

The Frankish conquest of Septimania followed in the 750s, and a quasi-independent County of Toulouse emerged within the Carolingian sub-kingdom of Aquitaine by the late 8th century. The Battle of Toulouse of 844, pitting Charles the Bald against Pepin II of Aquitaine, was key in the Carolingian Civil War.

County of Toulouse

The town became the capital of the County of Toulouse during the Carolingian era.

In 1096, Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse, left with his army at the call of the Pope to join the First Crusade, of which he was one of the main leaders.

At the beginning of the thirteenth century the county of Toulouse was taken in another crusade, of which it was the target this time. The reason for this was the development of Catharism in the south of France, which the Pope wanted to eradicate by all possible means. This struggle took on several aspects, going beyond the military crusade, such as the creation of an original and militant Gothic architecture: the Southern French Gothic.

In 1215, the Dominican Order was founded in Toulouse by Saint Dominic in the context of struggle against the Cathar heresy.

In the Treaty of Paris of 1229, Toulouse formally submitted to the crown of France. The county's sole heiress Joan was engaged to Alphonse, Count of Poitiers, a younger brother of Louis IX of France. The marriage became legal in 1241, but it remained childless and so after Joan's death, the county fell to the Crown of France by inheritance.

Also in 1229, University of Toulouse was established after the Parisian model, intended as a means to dissolve the heretic movement.[citation needed]

Various monastic orders, like the congregation of the order of frères prêcheurs, were started. They found home in Les Jacobins.[citation needed] In parallel, a long period of inquisition began inside the Toulouse walls. The fear of repression forced the leading figures to exile or to convert themselves. The inquisition lasted nearly 400 years, making Toulouse its capital.[citation needed]

Kingdom of France

In 1271, Toulouse was incorporated into the kingdom of France and declared a "royal city".[citation needed] In 1323 the Consistori del Gay Saber was created in Toulouse to preserve the lyric art of the troubadours by organizing a poetry contest; and Toulouse became the centre of Occitan literary culture for the next hundred years. The Consistori del Gay Saber is considered to be the oldest literary society in Europe, at the origin of the most sophisticated treatise on grammar and rhetoric of the Middle Ages, and in 1694 it was transformed into the Royal Academy of the Floral Games (Académie des Jeux Floraux), still active today, by king Louis XIV.

The 14th century brought a pogrom against Toulouse's Jewish population by Crusaders in 1320,[21] the Black Death in 1348, then the Hundred Years' War. Despite strong immigration, the population lost 10,000 inhabitants in 70 years. By 1405 Toulouse had only 19,000 people.[22]

The situation improved in the 15th century.[23] Charles VII established the second parliament of France after that of Paris. Reinforcing its place as an administrative center, the city grew richer, participating in the trade of Bordeaux wine with England, as well as cereals and textiles. A major source of income was the production and export of pastel, a blue dye made from woad.[24] The fortune generated by this international trade was at the origin of several of Toulouse's superb Renaissance mansions.

The Capitole de Toulouse, Toulouse's city hall, is an example of the 18th-century architectural projects in the city.

French Empire

The Battle of Toulouse (1814) was one of the final battles of the Napoleonic Wars, four days after Napoleon's surrender of the French Empire to the nations of the Sixth Coalition. Toulouse, the regional capital, proved stoutly defended by Marshal Soult.

Population

Historical population[2][3][4]
Urban Area Metropolitan
Area
1695
43,000
1750
48,000
1790
52,863
1801
50,171
1831
59,630
1851
95,277
1872
126,936
1911
149,000
1936
213,220
1946
264,411
1954
268,865
1962
329,044
1968
439,764
474,000
1975
509,939
585,000
1982
541,271
645,000
1990
650,336
797,373
1999
761,090
964,797
2007
859,336
1,187,686
2012
906,457
1,270,760
2017
968,638
1,360,829

The population of the city proper (French: commune) was 479,553 at the January 2017 census, with 1,360,829 inhabitants in the metropolitan area (within the 2010 borders of the metropolitan area), up from 1,187,686 at the January 2007 census (within the same 2010 borders of the metropolitan area).[2][4] Thus, the metropolitan area registered a population growth rate of +1.4% per year between 2007 and 2017, the highest growth rate of any French metropolitan area larger than 500,000 inhabitants, although it is slightly lower than the growth rate registered between the 1999 and 2007 censuses.

Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, after Paris, Marseille and Lyon, and the fourth-largest metropolitan area after Paris, Lyon, and Marseille.

Fueled by booming aerospace and high-tech industries, population growth of +1.49% a year in the metropolitan area in the 1990s (compared with +0.37% for metropolitan France), and a record +1.87% a year in the early 2000s (+0.68% for metropolitan France), which is the highest population growth of any French metropolitan area larger than 500,000 inhabitants, means the Toulouse metropolitan area overtook Lille as the fourth-largest metropolitan area of France at the 2006 census.

A local Jewish group estimates there are about 2,500 Jewish families in Toulouse.[citation needed] A Muslim association has estimated there are some 35,000 Muslims in town.[25]

Government and politics

Toulouse Métropole

The Community of Agglomeration of Greater Toulouse (Communauté d'agglomération du Grand Toulouse) was created in 2001 to better coordinate transport, infrastructure and economic policies between the city of Toulouse and its immediate independent suburbs. It succeeds a previous district which had been created in 1992 with fewer powers than the current council. It combines the city of Toulouse and 24 independent communes, covering an area of 380 km2 (147 sq mi), totalling a population of 583,229 inhabitants (as of 1999 census), 67% of whom live in the city of Toulouse proper. As of February 2004 estimate, the total population of the Community of Agglomeration of Greater Toulouse was 651,209 inhabitants, 65.5% of whom live in the city of Toulouse. Due to local political feuds, the Community of Agglomeration only hosts 61% of the population of the metropolitan area, the other independent suburbs having refused to join in. Since 2009, the Community of agglomeration has become an urban community (in French: communauté urbaine). This has become a métropole in 2015, spanning 37 communes.[26]

Local politics

Toulouse's city hall, the Capitole de Toulouse, and the square of the same name with the Occitan cross designed by Raymond Moretti on the ground
The fountain in Wilson Square (Place du Président Thomas Wilson) shows the poet Pèire Godolin

One of the major political figures in Toulouse was Dominique Baudis, the mayor of Toulouse between 1983 and 2001, member of the centrist UDF.[citation needed] First known as a journalist famous for his coverage of the war in Lebanon, 36-year-old Dominique Baudis succeeded his father Pierre Baudis in 1983 as mayor of Toulouse. (Pierre Baudis was mayor from 1971 to 1983.)

Baudis tried to strengthen the international role of Toulouse (such as its Airbus operations), as well as revive the cultural heritage of the city. The Occitan cross, flag of Languedoc and symbol of the counts of Toulouse, was chosen as the new flag of the city, instead of the traditional coat of arms of Toulouse (which included the fleur de lis of the French monarchy). Many cultural institutions were created, in order to attract foreign expatriates and emphasise the city's past. For example, monuments dating from the time of the counts of Toulouse were restored, the city's symphonic concert hall (Halle aux Grains) was refurbished, a city theater was built, a Museum of Modern Art was founded, the Bemberg Foundation (European paintings and bronzes from the Renaissance to the 20th century) was established, a huge pop music concert venue (Zénith, the largest in France outside Paris) was built, the space museum and educational park Cité de l'Espace was founded, etc.

To deal with growth, major housing and transportation projects were launched. Line A of the underground was opened in 1993, and line B opened in 2007. The creation of a system of underground car parking structures in Toulouse city centre was sharply criticised by the Green Party.[27]

In 2000, Dominique Baudis was at the zenith of his popularity, with approval rates of 85%.[citation needed] He announced that he would not run for a fourth (6-year) term in 2001. He explained that with 3 terms he was already the longest-serving mayor of Toulouse since the French Revolution; he felt that change would be good for the city, and that the number of terms should be limited. He endorsed Philippe Douste-Blazy, then UDF mayor of Lourdes as his successor. Baudis has since been appointed president of the CSA (Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel) in Paris, the French equivalent of the American FCC.

Philippe Douste-Blazy narrowly won in the 2001 elections, which saw the left making its best showing in decades. Douste-Blazy had to deal with a reinvigorated political opposition, as well as with the dramatic explosion of the AZF plant in late 2001.

In March 2004, he entered the national government, and left Toulouse in the hands of his second-in-command Jean-Luc Moudenc, elected mayor by the municipal council. In March 2008, Moudenc was defeated by the Socialist Party's candidate Pierre Cohen.

At the next elections in 2014 Moudenc defeated Cohen in a rematch to re-take the job with more than 52% of the votes.

Mayors

Mayor Term start Term end   Party
Raymond Badiou 1944 September 1958 SFIO
G. Carrère September 1958 16 October 1958 SFIO
Louis Bazerque 16 October 1958 1971 SFIO
Pierre Baudis March 1971 March 1983 UDF
Dominique Baudis March 1983 23 January 2001 UDF
Guy Hersant 23 January 2001 23 March 2001 UDF
Philippe Douste-Blazy 23 March 2001 30 April 2004 UDF
Françoise de Veyrinas 30 April 2004 6 May 2004 UMP
Jean-Luc Moudenc 6 May 2004 17 March 2008 UMP
Pierre Cohen 17 March 2008 4 April 2014 PS
Jean-Luc Moudenc 4 April 2014 incumbent UMP

Sights

Toulouse Cathedral (mainly 13th c.)
«Palm tree» of the Jacobins (1292)

Religious buildings

Toulouse has many interesting churches, but three of them are of remarkable architectural and historical interest.

Saint-Sernin Basilica, part of the Way of Saint James UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest remaining Romanesque church in Europe. With more than two hundred relics (including six apostles), most of them donated by Charlemagne to the sanctuary that preceded the present church, Saint-Sernin makes Toulouse the second city in Europe after Rome for the number of relics. The church was built at the end of the 11th century and at the beginning of the 12th century to welcome the crowds of pilgrims, its double-sided aisles and the ambulatory surrounding the apse make it the archetype of the great pilgrimage church, where pilgrims could make the circuit around the church and were able to stop for meditation and prayer at the apsidal chapels of the transept and the radiating chapels of the choir.

Cathedral of Saint Stephen is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toulouse. Its construction, which was mainly done at the beginning and then at the end of the 13th century, reflects the history of this decisive century which saw the city lose its independence to become a French city. The single nave is the very first example of Southern French Gothic, at 19 metres wide it probably was at its completion the widest in Western Europe (1210-1220). The higher choir that adjoins it was built in the Gothic style of northern France shortly after the city became part of the Crown of France in 1271.

The convent of the Jacobins (late 13th century / early 14th century) is considered to be, together with the Albi Cathedral, the pinnacle of Southern French Gothic architecture. Like all Southern French Gothic churches it has a deliberately austere exterior, but it reveals the beauty of its architecture on the inside with an alignment of columns that are said to be the highest in Gothic architecture (28 metres high). The masterpiece of this church is the column that closes the choir (1275-1292), its palm tree shape was a hundred years ahead of the flamboyant gothic fan vaults. Because he thought it was the most beautiful Dominican church in Europe, and perhaps also to compensate Toulouse, the birthplace of the Dominican order, for not having obtained the relics of Saint Dominic kept in Bologna, Pope Urban V made the church of the Jacobins the burial place of the Dominican friar Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the most famous philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages.

Civilian buildings

Renaissance windows at the Hôtel du Vieux-Raisin (16th C.)

The Capitole de Toulouse (mainly 18th century), houses the Hôtel de Ville (city hall) and the Théâtre du Capitole (opera house). It is located on the Place du Capitole, a large 19th century square that has the size of a royal square (place royale). The large neo-classical facade of the 18th century (1750-1760) hides elements from various periods: the Henri IV courtyard of the early 17th century with a remarkable Renaissance portal; a 16th-century tower, called «the keep» (le donjon), which housed the archives of the Capitouls; vast rooms and galleries with walls painted to the glory of the history of Toulouse (late 19th century)...

Toulouse has also preserved a rich civil architectural heritage from the medieval and Renaissance periods. Forty or so Gothic and Renaissance stair towers still dot the city, mostly hidden in inner courtyards. More than two hundred mansions (called hôtels particuliers) or remains of mansions give an account of the evolution of civil architecture since the 12th century. The most remarkable are those of the Renaissance, a period which constitutes a golden age for Toulouse. Among these are the Hôtel d'Assézat, the Hôtel de Bernuy, the Hôtel du Vieux-Raisin, the Hôtel de Bagis...

Some other sights

Pont-Neuf bridge (16th-17th c.)

The banks of the Garonne river offer an interesting urban panorama of the city. Red brick dykes from the 18th century enclose the river which is subject to violent floods. The only bridge to have withstood the floods of the past is the Pont-Neuf, it took almost a century to build it as the project was so ambitious (1545-1632). Further downstream, the Bazacle is a ford across the Garonne river, in the 12th century the Bazacle Milling Company was the first recorded European joint-stock company. On the left bank of the river, historically a flood-prone bank, stand two former hospitals whose origins date back to the 12th century: the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques and the Hôpital de La Grave. This is how the plague victims and other sick people were kept away from the city by the river.

Built at the end of the 17th century, the Canal du Midi bypasses the city centre and has linked Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea ever since. Its 240 kilometres were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

The Jardin des Plantes is a large park spanning several blocks, including the museum of Natural History, cafés, activities for children and a botanical garden (early 19th century).

The Cité de l'espace (Space City) is a theme park of space exploration.

Gallery

Economy

The main Airbus factory in Blagnac, near Toulouse, lies next to Toulouse Airport

The main industries are aeronautics, space, electronics, information technology and biotechnology. Toulouse hosts the Airbus headquarters and assembly-lines of Airbus A320, A330, A350 and A380. (A320 lines also exist in Hamburg, Germany, Tianjin, China, and Mobile, Alabama, USA.) Airbus has its head office in Blagnac, near Toulouse.[28][29] Airbus's France division has its main office in Toulouse.[29] Toulouse also hosts the headquarters of ATR, Sigfox, one of the two headquarters of Liebherr Aerospace and Groupe Latécoère. The Concorde supersonic aircraft was also constructed in Toulouse.

Education

Portal of the college de l'Esquile (1556), a symbol of the University's seniority

Toulouse has the fourth-largest student population in France after Paris, Lyon and Lille with 103,000 students (2012).[30]

Colleges and universities

IONIS Education Group Toulouse campus
ENAC entrance

The University of Toulouse (Université de Toulouse), established in 1229, is located here (now split into three separate universities). Like the universities in Oxford and Paris, the University of Toulouse was established at a time when Europeans were starting to translate the writings of Arabs of Andalus and Greek philosophers. These writings challenged European ideology—inspiring scientific discoveries and advances in the arts—as society began seeing itself in a new way. These colleges were supported by the Church, in hopes of reconciling Greek philosophy and Christian theology.[citation needed]

Toulouse is also the home of Toulouse Business School (TBS), Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), the Institut supérieur européen de gestion group (ISEG Group), the Institut supérieur européen de formation par l'action (ISEFAC), E-Artsup and several engineering schools: