Grand Site Toulouse (Credit: Patrice Thebault)

Toulouse: The perfect ‘Pink City’ to admire Pantone’s Colour of the Year in all its glory

With Pantone announcing its official colour of the year, ‘Living Coral’, what better place to admire the official shade of 2019 than in the famed ‘Pink City’ of Toulouse as part of a 2019 city break?

Known as the “Pink City”, or “La Ville Rose” in French, Toulouse is home to striking pink buildings which gained their Living Coral hue due to iron being present in the clay deposits used to build them.

Not only does this make Toulouse a great place to see the Pantone Colour of the Year, but you will be guaranteed some enviable Instagram photos too.

A walk through history

As the capital of France’s southern Occitanie region, Toulouse is a city with a rich heritage and more than 2000 years of history. Whether it’s a Roman basilica, hidden courtyards, gorgeous churches, pretty squares, fascinating museums, or just friendly locals, there’s plenty to discover.

(Credit: Tourism in Toulouse)
(Credit: Tourism in Toulouse)

Some highlights include the Le Capitole, the emblematic building of the Ville Rose. Housing both the town hall and the Théâtre du Capitole, it’s a walk through history and includes a vast gallery of mirrors and paintings that retrace the history of this grand city.

The Jacobins Convent is described as a “jewel of Southern Gothic art” and is home to the relics of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The church, with its double nave featuring a painted décor and superb stained-glass windows, is an island of tranquillity and also plays host to a bustling events calendar of concerts and exhibitions.

Food, glorious food!

Toulouse will also appeal to foodies as the city is famed for its delicious cuisine including the hearty cassoulet made with meat and beans, confit de canard (duck), and the city’s very own sausage, “saucisse de Toulouse”.

Rue du Taur (Credit: Boigontier)
Rue du Taur (Credit: Boigontier)

Not to mention a whole host of Michelin-starred restaurants and the No. 5 Wine Bar, voted ‘best wine bar in the world’ in the World’s Best Wine Lists. Ice cream parlours are aplenty too, making it hard to resist the odd treat or two.

A lively and bustling city in south-west France, Toulouse has its proximity to Spain to thank for its love of a party. From the end of the day to the rugby weekends, the terraces are always filled with an ambience of conviviality, embodying Living Coral’s energetic qualities.

Dates for your calendar

Fête de la Violette (Toulouse Violet festival) takes place 2-3 February 2019. The violet is the emblematic flower of Toulouse and has been cultivated by the market gardeners in the north of the city since the 19th Century, thus giving its nickname; the City of Violets. The festival brings together the best florists in the local area and the city’s greenhouses open their doors to the public to showcase their extensive collection of violets.

This year will mark 50 years since man first set foot on the moon on 20 July 1969. In honour of this momentous occasion, Toulouse’s aerospace museum, the Cité de l’espace, will launch a new exhibition, Moon: Episode II, and a special Moon Party on 20 July 2019. The exhibition, which starts on 20 April 2019, will allow visitors to relive the mission of Apollo 11 and learn about the challenges NASA had to solve 50 years ago.

From 17 July 2019, the Tour de France will descend on Toulouse for the first time in a decade. Stage 11 of the famous race will start in the small city of Albi and, after 167 kilometres of peddling, the cyclists will arrive in the Pink City.

A particularly tight sprint around the Capitole building to the finish line is sure to create a dramatic atmosphere in the main square. Stage 12 starts the next day from Toulouse and heads into the Pyrenees for gruelling mountain climbs. Following the world-famous event, cyclists can follow one of Europe’s best cycle routes, the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Toulouse has an important connection with Picasso, as the Spanish artist was a major patron of the city’s central hospital and gifted several of his artworks to the city. As a momentum to his generous gifts, Les Abattoirs museum, situated on the banks of the Garonne River in Toulouse, was designed in the style of his major work and the Picasso Room named in his honour.

From 15 March 2019, the museum will host a major exhibition ‘Picasso and the Exile’ presenting his symbolic works. These will include ‘Remains of the Minotaur in a harlequin costume’ which was the stage curtain from the play ‘Le 14 Juillet’ by Romain Rolland that is only presented once every two years for conservation purposes.

The year of Living Coral

Each year, Pantone carefully selects a different hue after thoughtful consideration and trend analysis. 2019’s colour, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral, was chosen in reaction to our need for “authentic and immersive experiences” due to the omnipresence of digital technology and social media.

Pantone describes the hue as “sociable and spirited” and says it “welcomes and encourages light-hearted activity”, symbolising our innate need for “optimism and joyful pursuits” and embodying our “desire for playful expression”.

For more information about Toulouse, please visit

Written by QWEERIST editor

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