My younger brother is a professional ballet dancer who gets to live and work in Europe, that lucky duck. Although for the first five years of his professional dance career he lived in Dusseldorf, Germany, about a year and a half ago he accepted a position with a new company and moved to Toulouse, France. Yes, he really does now get to live in the South of France all year round!
Although it’s hard for us as a family to only be able to see him twice a year (once in the winter and once in the summer), we have been lucky enough to turn winter visits into a European family vacation that we all look forward to each year.
Toulouse is a lovely and sleepy little old French town, where there’s not much to do except eat, drink and sleep! It’s the perfect place to come and relax if that’s all you’re really looking to do, like my family does. Since last year I didn’t put together a blog post of the places I visited, I thought I’d take the opportunity this year to share some of my favourite foodie spots that I’ve discovered in the city.
Mainly so that I won’t forget, and also to make it easier to share with any friends, family and readers who are headed to Toulouse in the future. So, as mentioned here are 7 great spots for foodies!
L’Air de Famille is a lovely little restaurant that my parents and I stumbled upon during our first visit to Toulouse. I’m not kidding when I say that we ate there for three separate meals in two days. We were IN LOVE! This place is teeny tiny and run by a group of people who all look like teenagers but are also the best and kindest servers. And the food? INCREDIBLE. It’s light, delicious and fresh. As you can imagine, it was one of our first stops upon our return.
L’Air de Famille, 20 Place Victor Hugo, 31000 Toulouse, France
If you are a fellow Torontonian than the best hometown comparison to Marché Victor Hugo would be our St. Lawrence Market. Although Victor Hugo doesn’t have the same architectural appeal from the outside (it looks like a giant parking lot, because most of it is a giant parking lot), but inside is a total food mecca. On our first family visit to Toulouse, we checked out the market and were over the moon to discover that you could order fresh oysters and prosecco right there from the fishmonger, even at 11am. As you can imagine, this has become our new breakfast routine every time we visit. Don’t judge us.
Marché Victor Hugo, Place Victor Hugo, 31000 Toulouse, France
As you can imagine, there are a many amazing cheese shops in France, and there’s certainly no shortage in Toulouse. Although pretty much every shop I’ve passed by looks lovely and filled with an incredible array of stinky cheeses, one that I’m totally smitten with is Betty Fromager Affineur. This is a little cheese boutique we stumbled upon while walking around the Victor Hugo area. In fact, it’s literally right across the street from the market, and only a few doors down from our favourite restaurant, L’Air de Famille. Don’t you love that? You can hit all three spots on one street! Aside from their amazing cheese selection, they’ve also got a generous amount of samples for you to try which makes it even more fun (and yummy!) when visiting.
Betty Fromager Affineur 6 Place Victor Hugo, 31000 Toulouse, France
4. Bar Au Pere Louis
As mentioned before, there really isn’t much more that we get up to when on a family vacation than eat and drink, all day long. Naturally, all of the places we want to visit involve food and/or drinks, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when my mom went on a mission to hunt down one of the oldest bars in Toulouse ‘for lunch’. Au Pere Louis has been up and running since 1889, and walking in feels like stepping into a time machine. The menu is simple, and the walls are lined with bottles of wine – perfect! The servers, of course, are old grumpy French men, but, what else do you expect? It’s worth the visit.
Au Pere Louis, 45 Rue des Tourneurs, 31000 Toulouse, France
5. Boulangerie Patisserie Saint A
One thing to note when visiting Toulouse, is that similar to the Spanish siesta, most of the businesses (and especially restaurants!) shut down in the afternoon from about 2:30 to 8pm. This can cause serious problems for jet lagged tourists who wander around the city and decide they’re ready to eat at 3pm. Do not do this if you can avoid it because you will be shit out of luck. FOR REAL. Thankfully, our favourite little bakery, Boulangerie Patisserie Saint A, never closes (during the day) and we often found ourselves there two to three times a day! Their fresh baked goods are exceptional and it’s hard to believe their amazing traditional baguette is only one euro to buy. Go in and buy all the carbs, you won’t regret it!
Tiki bars are all the range in Toronto right now, and the trend seems to have hit Toulouse as well. On this trip my brother took me to a new cocktail bar he liked called L’Heure de Singe or “Monkey Hour”. This place is cute, eclectic and modern with a fun cocktail menu to enjoy. I’ll definitely be back!
L’Heure Du Singe, 59 Rue Riquet, 31000 Toulouse, France
Although we didn’t make it back on our second visit, a quick look through my #graciegoestotoulouse posts from last year reminded of a place I absolutely loved visiting on our very first trip. Chez Authié is another super old bar in Toulouse, in fact it’s even older than Au Pere Louis! I love all of the fun pictures, signs and antiques in this establishment, also that Marion Cotillard loves it too. This spot is definitely worth a visit for a glass of wine!
Chez Authié, 25 Place Dupuy, 31000 Toulouse, France
(Top image via Design Sponge)