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Toulouse is the capital of the Midi-Pyrenees region in southwestern France. It is located less than 100 km from the border with Spain, and 150 km from the Mediterranean.

Toulouse is known as the "pink city" (la ville rose) due to pink-colored brick used during the construction of many buildings. The city is also known for two locations on the UNESCO World Heritage List - the Southern Canal (Canal du Midi) and the Basilica of Saint-Sernin.

It is one of the most pleasant cities to visit in France, thanks to the well-preserved medieval history and a deeply rooted local identity. The city's pride is the local rugby club, local cuisine and artistic and cultural scene.

The city has not lost its medieval character - there are visible bilingual street signs in French and Occitan, cobblestone streets and exquisite houses with towers.

History of the city

Since the Iron Age, the valley of the Garonne River was a trade area.

In the 2nd century, the Roman army was stationed here, and in the 5th century, the city was taken by Visigothic Kingdom, becoming a capital. In the 8th century the Toulouse County was established, partly dependent on the Carolingian dynasty.

In 1229, the Paris Treaty was signed and the city was incorporated into France.

From the 13th century, the city became a literture center, after which the fortune turned away from the city. In the 15th century the city began to prosper again but in the 16th and the 17th century, riots between Catholics and Calvinists broke out in the city.

The Battle of Toulouse in 1814 was one of the last battles of the Napoleonic Wars. In the first decade of the 20th century immigrants from northern France, Italy and Spain arrived to Toulouse. In the 1960s immigrants from Algeria arrived and city expanded.

Canal du Midi

The famous Canal du Midi connects Garona River with the Mediterranean port of Sete. In 1996, the canal was addeed to the UNESCO list. Opened in 1681 as the Royal Canal of Languedoc, it was a private initiative of Pierre Paul Riquete. It was probably built to facilitate grain trade, as it shortened the journey from Toulouse to Sete. Later, it was used to transport passengers.

The construction of the Canal lasted 15 years - it was one of the largest construction projects of the 17th century.

Nowadays, the canal is used mainly for recreational purposes, as a source of water, and a tourist attraction. In summer, you can go on a cruise on the canal, find floating hotels or romantic restaurant-boats. There also are winding paths along the banks of the canal ideal for bikes, rollerblades and walking.