Toulouse or Cannes – Which southern French city will you visit? The beautiful riverside city of Toulouse, with its pink-hued architecture and iconic bridge? Or the glamorous, sun-soaked beaches of Cannes. We’ll go over each city’s, pros and cons, average prices and top attractions so you can get a better idea of what suits you most.
Toulouse is a charming city in southwestern France that is often overlooked by tourists. We’re not too sure why, to be honest! It’s a beautiful city that is bisected by the Garonne River. Filled with amazing restaurants to try, and interesting architecture. It is also located close to a lot of other interesting places.
Located on the world-famous Côte d’Azur, Cannes is known for its yearly film festival. But there’s so much more to this city than just the red carpet. Beautiful beaches, luxury shopping and delicious food all await. If you like the finer things in life, Cannes is the place for you.
Pros and Cons of Toulouse and Cannes
- Rich history: Toulouse offers an array of historical sites and museums, such as the Basilique Saint-Sernin and the Musée des Augustins.
- Vibrant food scene: Renowned for its local cuisine, visitors can indulge in delicious dishes like cassoulet and duck confit.
- Cultural attractions: With venues like the Théâtre du Capitole and the Cité de l’espace, Toulouse offers a diverse range of cultural experiences.
- Lively atmosphere: Known as “La Ville Rose” for its pink-hued buildings, Toulouse boasts a bustling city centre with numerous cafes, bars, and shops.
- Overlooked by tourists: Compared to other destinations in France, Toulouse goes a bit under the radar, meaning it doesn’t get as busy as other destinations like Paris or Nice.
- Parks and green spaces: The city offers a variety of parks, such as the Jardin des Plantes and the Jardin Japonais, for relaxation and recreation.
- University town: Home to multiple universities, Toulouse has a vibrant student scene, contributing to its youthful energy.
- Garonne River: The picturesque river provides a scenic backdrop for walks, picnics, and boat tours.
- Traffic and parking: The city can be congested, and finding parking can be challenging.
- Language barrier: While a lot of people speak English it might not be as widely spoken as in more touristy destinations.
- Occasional petty crime: Like any city, Toulouse has its share of petty crime, such as pickpocketing, especially in crowded tourist areas. It’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions.
- Inland city: With Toulouse being inland it doesn’t have access to the sea or beaches like Cannes does.
Best for: History buffs, foodies, culture enthusiasts, and nature lovers.
- Glamorous atmosphere: Known for its film festival, Cannes exudes luxury with upscale shops, hotels, and marinas.
- Beautiful beaches: Cannes boasts pristine sandy beaches along the Mediterranean, perfect for sunbathing and swimming.
- Proximity to other attractions: The city’s location on the French Riviera makes it easy to explore nearby destinations like Nice, Antibes, and Saint-Tropez.
- Cultural events: Cannes hosts numerous events throughout the year, including the famous Cannes Film Festival and the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
- Île Sainte-Marguerite: A short boat ride from Cannes, this island offers a peaceful escape with lush forests, quiet beaches, and a historic fort that once imprisoned the Man in the Iron Mask.
- La Croisette: This iconic promenade, lined with palm trees and luxury hotels, is perfect for leisurely strolls and people-watching.
- Art museums: Cannes is home to several art museums, such as the Musée de la Castre and the Musée de la Mer, offering a taste of culture and history.
- Outdoor activities: With its stunning coastline and nearby mountains, Cannes provides plenty of opportunities for water sports, hiking, and cycling.
- Expensive: The city is known for its high prices, especially during peak seasons and events.
- Crowded during events: Major events like the film festival can cause overcrowding and make it difficult to find accommodations.
- Limited historical sites: Compared to other French cities, Cannes has fewer historical attractions for visitors to explore.
- Seasonal tourism: Cannes can be relatively quiet outside of peak season, with some businesses and attractions closing.
Best for: Luxury travellers, beach lovers, culture enthusiasts, and those looking to explore the French Riviera.
How long to stay in Toulouse
Toulouse may not be a big city, but there’s plenty to see and do. You could cover most of the city in a day, but you’d miss out on the best parts. Toulouse is a city best enjoyed at a slow pace. Take your time to explore and discover all that it has to offer.
Toulouse is Frances’s fifth biggest city, so there is a lot to see and do. We feel like most people would happily spend two to three days here and not get bored. If you really wanted an interesting holiday though, you could use Toulouse as a base to explore the region. There are plenty of amazing towns and cities nearby like Albi or Carcassonne, you could even hire a car and drive to Andorra!
There are plenty of museums and galleries like the Muséum de Toulouse, Georges Bemberg’s Foundation — Hotel of Assézat and even a scientific discovery centre that focuses on spaceflight called the Cité de l’Espace.
How long to stay in Cannes
Cannes isn’t a big city, so you could comfortably see most of the main attractions in two to three days. But, there are plenty of tourist hot spots nearby like Saint-Tropez and Nice to visit if you want a longer break. You could even do a road along the French Riviera!
How much is food and drink in Toulouse?
Toulouse is home to a diverse culinary scene, and you can find everything from traditional French cuisine to international dishes. Here are some estimated average prices for food and drink in Toulouse:
Beer: A beer in a typical bar or restaurant in Toulouse will likely cost between €5 and €7.
Glass of wine: As Toulouse is located in the heart of the Occitanie wine region, wine is readily available and is often a better value than beer or cocktails. A glass of wine in a typical bar or restaurant can range from €3 to €10, depending on the quality and rarity of the wine.
Coffee: A cup of coffee in a typical café in Toulouse will likely cost between €1.50 and €3.
Meal at a midrange restaurant: A meal at a midrange restaurant in Toulouse will likely cost between €15 and €30 per person, depending on the restaurant and the menu.
How much is food and drink in Cannes?
Cannes is known for its high-end dining options, but there are also plenty of more affordable options available. Here are some estimated average prices for food and drink in Cannes:
Beer: A beer in a typical bar or restaurant in Cannes will likely cost between €6 and €8.
Glass of wine: A glass of wine in a typical bar or restaurant can range from €5 to €12, depending on the quality.
Coffee: A cup of coffee in a typical café in Cannes will likely cost between €2 and €4.
Meal at a midrange restaurant: A meal at a midrange restaurant in Cannes will likely cost between €25 and €50 per person, depending on the restaurant and the menu.
How much is it to stay in Toulouse?
The cost of accommodation in Toulouse can vary depending on the location and the type of accommodation you choose. Here are some estimated average prices for accommodation in Toulouse:
Luxury hotel: A room in a luxury hotel in Toulouse can cost anywhere from €150 to €500 per night, or even higher for the most exclusive properties.
Midrange hotel: A room in a midrange hotel in Toulouse will likely cost between €70 and €150 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
Budget hotel: A room in a budget hotel in Toulouse will likely cost between €40 and €70 per night, depending on the location and the quality of the hotel.
Hostel: A bed in a hostel in Toulouse will likely cost between €20 and €40 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
How much is it to stay in Cannes?
The cost of accommodation in Cannes can vary greatly depending on the time of year and location. Here are some estimated average prices for accommodation in Cannes:
Luxury hotel: A room in a luxury hotel in Cannes can cost anywhere from €300 to €1000 per night, or even higher for the most exclusive properties.
Midrange hotel: A room in a midrange hotel in Cannes will likely cost between €100 and €300 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
Budget hotel: A room in a budget hotel in Cannes will likely cost between €60 and €100 per night, depending on the location and the quality of the hotel.
Hostel: A bed in a hostel in Cannes will likely cost between €20 and €40 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
When is the best time to visit Toulouse?
Toulouse has mild weather year-round, making it a great destination to visit at any time of the year. Here are some things to consider:
Weather: The weather in Toulouse is relatively mild throughout the year. Summers can get hot. Winters can be wet and mild. We recommend visiting in Spring or Autumn when the weather is mild and there aren’t too many tourists.
Festivals: Toulouse hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. Like the Festival de Rio Loco (one for music lovers) and the Violet Festival which celebrates the city’s emblematic flower.
Crowds: Like most places, the summer months can get pretty hectic, so avoid July and August if you can. You’ll find a much more relaxed vibe in the off-season.
When is the best time to visit Cannes?
Cannes is great to visit all year round. But it gets extremely busy during summer and the Cannes Film Festival. Here are a few things to consider before booking:
Weather: Cannes has a beautiful Mediterranean climate. So mild winters and hot summers, you’ll rarely see freezing temperatures here, even in winter. It can get very hot in summer, so don’t forget your sun cream!
Festivals: Cannes is world famous for its film festival. But there, are other festivals like the Cannes Dance Festival held in December and the Cannes Yachting Festival in September.
Crowds: Cannes is a summer destination so July and August get extremely busy. If you don’t like crowds visit in the off-season. The city also fills up when the Film Festival is on every year.
Average Monthly Temperatures
The average monthly temperatures for Toulouse are:
The average monthly temperatures for Cannes are:
Getting around Toulouse:
Toulouse is very easy to get around, with regular buses, trams and a metro system there are plenty of options. The public transport system is clean and well-maintained. You’ll find it easy to get around the city when using it. The Toulouse city pass is well worth getting if you plan on using public transport a lot.
If you want a more active holiday, the city is very walkable. You could even hire a bike if you wanted to get around a bit quicker. As with any city, taxis and Uber’s are readily available.
Getting around Cannes:
Cannes is a small city, that’s very easy to walk around. There are regular buses that are cheap and easy to use. But, on a nice day why wouldn’t you walk?
There are plenty of bike hires available if you want to cover a bit more ground.
Top things to do in Toulouse
Visit the Basilique Saint-Sernin: One of the most visited landmarks in Toulouse. This was once part of the Abbey of Saint-Sernin, but unfortunately, only the church remains. Take a guided tour to learn more about the history of this amazing building.
Explore the historic city centre: Wander around the city, take in cultural sights, admire the architecture and eat some good food. Is there a better way to experience a city?
See the Canal du Midi: Considering it is 240 kilometres long, you won’t be able to see it all. But, you could go for a nice walk along its relaxing banks or even hire a bike!
Visit the Musée des Augustins: Housed in a former Augustinian convent this museum possesses an impressive collection of European art from the middle ages to the early 20th century.
See the Cité de l’Espace: Toulouse might not be the first place you think of when you think of space. But, this space museum is well worth a visit. The planetarium presents shows throughout the day, there are plenty of exhibits to keep you busy too.
Take a food tour: Food tours are always a great way to experience a city’s cuisine and learn about its history. You’ll often get to visit restaurants most tourists won’t know about. You’ll get to try cassoulet, a hearty bean stew, and other delicious dishes.
Check out the Musée Saint-Raymond: Opened in 1892 this archaeological museum went through various transformations before becoming a museum. It was even a prison at one point! It features exhibits from prehistory to the middle ages, history buffs don’t miss out.
Visit the Jardin des Plantes: Not to be confused with the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. This botanical garden is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax.
See the Capitole de Toulouse: This iconic building located in the heart of the city is home to the offices of the local government. Free to enter, it’s full of artwork and impressive interiors.
Take a day trip to Carcassonne: Located about an hour’s drive away from Toulouse. This medieval fortified city will take your breath away. Even if you’re not interested in history it’s very impressive and well worth a visit.
Top things to do in Cannes
La Croisette: Take a stroll along the famous promenade, La Croisette. This palm-lined boulevard runs parallel to the sea and is home to designer boutiques, upscale hotels, and glamorous restaurants. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely walk or a spot of people-watching.
Le Suquet: Visit Cannes’ charming Old Town. There are plenty of narrow streets to wander through, colourful houses to look at and cute little squares to sit in. Make sure to visit the beautiful Notre-Dame-de-l’Espérance church, too.
Palais des Festivals et des Congrès: This convention centre is where the world-famous film festival is held! Go and take a picture on the red carpet, or you could even go and see a show.
Îles de Lérins: Go on a boat trip to Îles de Lérins, these four islands are just off the coast of Cannes. Only two are inhabited, one is home to an 11th-century monastery and the other is home to a 14th-century castle. The islands are seriously beautiful, make sure they go on your must-see list!
Rue d’Antibes: If you’re fancying a bit of retail therapy head to Rue d’Antibes, one of the main shopping streets in Cannes. You’ll find plenty of boutique shops and high-end fashion stores here.
Musée de la Castre: Sitting at the top of a hill in Le Suquet, this medieval castle is home to a museum featuring a variety of art and artefacts. The views over Cannes and Îles de Lérins is incredible. Even if you’re not into art, just go for the view!
Le Marché Forville: This daily marketing has amazing fresh produce on offer, cheeses, meats, vegetables and anything else you can think of. If you’re into cooking or food you have to go! It’s perfect for finding ingredients for a picnic or just grazing.
Villa Rothschild: Built in 1881 for Baroness Betty Rothschild, this beautiful mansion is definitely worth visiting. The manicured gardens are great for relaxing in, it’s location also offers amazing views of the city and the sea.
Plage du Midi: This beach is a short walk away from the city centre. It’s a bit quieter than Croisette Beach located in the centre. Great for a relaxing afternoon sunbathing or swimming in the sea.
Iron Mask and Fort Royal Museum: Located on Ile Sainte Marguerite, part of the Îles de Lérins. This fort contains the prison cell of the legendary man in the Iron Mask. The museum isn’t big but it’s got some great views and it’s nice to wander around the island.
How to spend three days in Toulouse
Morning: Start your day at the Place du Capitole, a stunning square in the heart of Toulouse. Try and get there early so you can enjoy a coffee overlooking the square whilst the city wakes up. Have a wander into the Capotiole building to see the artwork and lavish rooms.
Afternoon: Visit the Musée des Augustins to learn more about the history and art of the region. The museum has a brilliant collection of sculptures and paintings.
Evening: Enjoy a leisurely dinner in the Saint-Cyprien district, once one of Toulouse’s roughest areas. It’s now one of the coolest parts of the city. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to keep you busy for the evening.
Morning: Get the train to Carcassonne, an amazing fortified medieval city about an hour away by train. It almost looks like something out of a Disney film. Walk around the castle and visit the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire. Opt for a guided tour to fully immerse in the city’s history.
Afternoon: Get the train back to Toulouse and spend a relaxing afternoon seeing the Canal du Midi. Either walk along the banks or hire a bank if you want to see more of it.
Evening: Go and find a nice French restaurant and try some of the local cuisines such as a cassoulet or saucisse de Toulouse. Once you’re suitably full go and explore the Carmes neighbourhood. It’s the perfect place to wander around aimlessly stopping off for drinks and exploring the little side streets.
Morning: Start the day with a visit to the Cité de l’Espace, a space museum not too far from the city centre. An interesting place for adults and kids alike.
Afternoon: After lunch let your food settle with a relaxing afternoon in the Jardin des Plantes, one of Toulouse’s most beautiful parks.
Evening: Go and see a performance at the Théâtre du Capitole, one of France’s most prestigious opera houses. Or if opera isn’t your thing, go and see some live music at La Dynamo, a small club that hosts a variety of different live performers.
How to spend three days in Cannes
Morning: Begin the day with nice coffee and some pastries from a local bakery, then head to Plage du Midi Beach. Soak up a bit of sun and relax on the sand. Maybe go for a quick dip to wake yourself up!
Afternoon: Treat yourself to a bit of retail therapy on Rue d’Antibes. This street is full of chic boutiques and high-end shops, perfect for shopaholics! After you’ve worked up an appetite head to Le Suquet, Cannes’ charming old town. Grab a traditional French lunch at a cosy bistro, and don’t forget to try some local specialities like a Nicoise Salad with a nice glass of rose.
Evening: Head to Quai Saint-Pierre to see the huge yachts and watch the sun go down. There are plenty of restaurants offering beautifully fresh seafood dishes. Have a few drinks and head back to the hotel.
Morning: Get the ferry to Île Sainte-Marguerite and discover the island’s hidden gems. Have a wander around the Iron Mask and Fort Royal Museum and see the cell where the island’s most famous prisoner was imprisoned. There are plenty of lush forests to explore, maybe take a picnic and have an alfresco lunch whilst looking out over Cannes and the Côte d’Azur.
Afternoon: Get a boat over to Abbaye de Lérins. An ancient monastery on Île Saint-Honorat, the second largest of the Lérins Islands. The island is still inhabited and managed by the monks that live at the monastery!
Evening: Make your way back to the mainland and visit the Musée de la Castre. A medieval castle sat on a hill overlooking the Riviera. There are plenty of exhibits to look at, the views are incredible too.
Morning: Spend the morning wandering around Le Marché Forville. This bustling market offers amazing local produce like cheeses, meats and pretty much anything else you can think of! Grab some street food for lunch or buy some local produce for a picnic.
Afternoon: See how the other half used to live at The Villa Rothschild, a stunning 18th-century mansion. This impressive villa is surrounded by well-kept gardens. Not to be confused with Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Nice.
Evening: Head over to Palais des Festivals et des Congrès to get some photos on the red carpet. You could do a tour or catch a show if there’s one on. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting at the same time as the film festival you might even catch a glimpse of some world-famous actors and celebrities.
Food and drink: 9
Culture and history: 9
Total score: 61
Food and drink: 9
Culture and history: 6
Total score: 62