My City Celebrates: Abigail’s Toulouse

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This year, inspired by our ever-popular “I Heart My City”

series on Intelligent Travel, we’re kicking off the holiday season by asking our readers to share their favorite ways to celebrate in their cities. Today’s city-lover is travel writer Abigail King of the Inside the Travel Lab blog, giving us a glimpse of Toulouse (which she reminds us is the fourth largest city in France).

What to share the things that make your city special?

We’ve put together a festively-themed fill-in-the-blank questionnaire, and we’d love to hear your responses. So cut and paste the list, fill in your answers, and e-mail us your picks at

(Please include links and photos if possible). We’ll be featuring your “My City Celebrates” posts through the New Year, click here for a list of cities we’ve featured so far. Happy Holidays!

My City Celebrates: Toulouse

When I need a dose of holiday cheer, I always head to the outdoor Christmas Market in Place Capitole, the heart of Toulouse.

The best place to grab a cup of cocoa is in Café Bapz on 13 Rue de la Bourse. You can also get cinnamon, vanilla, and blackberry tea plus all the crumbly cakes you could ever want.  

If you want to find great sledding you have to head to the Pyrenees, baby! You can reach the French ski resorts in an hour or push on for another 30 minutes to reach the giant playground of Grandvalira in Andorra.

Strap on your skates at Place Capitole and enjoy the view of the marble columns in swirling pink outside the Town Hall (pictured, above).

For a classic holiday photo op, be sure to check out the Place de Daurade, which is known for its laid back feel and view of the floodlit bridges stretching across the Garonne.

A great place to take the kids during the season is the Cité de l’Espace (Space City), with a planetarium for watching the stars and a space gym and rockets to clamber around in.

For all of your gift-giving shopping in one store, check out Galeries Lafayette on Rue de Lapeyrouse.

Rue Victor Hugo has the best markets, be sure to pick up a handcrafted ice-cream sculpture for your festive dinner party.

No holiday meal in my city is complete without foie gras and Armagnac.

My favorite holiday tradition in my city is buying steaming Aligot (a blend of mashed potato, Tomme cheese and garlic) and cherry-flavored mulled wine from the street stalls at night.

Locals know to avoid the throngs in the out-of-town shopping centers and find the real magic in the independent shops between Rue de Saint-Rome and Place Saint-Étienne.

The best part about my city during the holiday season is the beautiful city center, with wooden chalets, stylish lights, and people so well-dressed you’d think they’d just stepped out of a Victorian Christmas card.

Photo: Abigail King