There’s zero doubt that France is one of the most exciting places to visit in Europe. After all, when it comes to natural scenery, this country can easily rival most destinations.

Think snow-capped peaks, endless nature reserves, glittery cities, and over 100,000 hectares of protected coastlines, all rolled up into one! Crazy, right?

Nestled in southwestern France is found Toulouse, the country’s best-kept secret. Oozing allure and charm, this city is famous for its medieval alleys, exquisite cuisine, well-rounded wines, and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

With neighborhoods as diverse as they are vibrant, finding where to stay in Toulouse can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never visited the city before. But let me assure you that whether you’re planning a romantic break, a culturally charged vacation, or a pub-crawling adventure, you’ll definitely find a neighborhood with your name on it!

backpacking france
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Where Is the Best Place to Stay in Toulouse?

Whether you’re backpacking in France or planning a quick getaway in Toulouse, these 3 areas are bound to provide an epic experience!

Mama Shelter Toulouse | Best Hotel in Toulouse

Mama Shelter Toulouse

Another great accommodation option in the city, Mama Shelter Toulouse, commands a great location near the Jardin Royal.

There’s plenty to keep you entertained onsite, with a 45-seat cinema and a rooftop terrace with a brick pizza oven. The hotel also has a restaurant with a BBQ and an Argentine grill.

At the end of the day, enjoy a relaxing snooze in the Small Double, Classic Double, or Superior Double room.

La Petite Auberge de Saint-Sernin | Best Hostel in Toulouse

La Petite Auberge de Saint Sernin

This is one of the best places to stay in Toulouse, especially if you don’t want to spend a fortune on accommodations!

Offering dorms of four, six, and eight beds, La Petite Auberge de Saint-Sernin is equipped with a kitchenette – perfect for when you don’t feel like going out to eat!

A stay in this hostel places you close to the main Capitole Square and Saint-Pierre Square.

Homely Apartment for 4 | Best Airbnb in Toulouse

Bright Apartment for 4

Nestled in the center of the city, this cozy apartment is designed to comfortably accommodate up to four guests.

Fitted with a well-equipped kitchen and a fireplace, this space features two bedrooms, one with a sofabed and one with a queen-sized bed.

When it’s time to explore, you can always check out nearby spots like Le Bijou Theatre.

Toulouse Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Toulouse

FIRST TIME IN TOULOUSE
The Matabiau District
FIRST TIME IN TOULOUSE

The Matabiau District

Wondering where to stay in Toulouse as a first-time visitor? Well, if you ask me, there’s no better place than the Matabiau District!

ON A BUDGET
Toulouse 1 University Capitole
ON A BUDGET

Les Minimes

Here’s one that totally takes the cake as far as Toulouse neighborhoods are concerned! Located north of the city center, Les Minimes is home to the TBS business school and the Toulouse Capitole University- basically a student neighborhood.

FOR FAMILIES
Chalets District
FOR FAMILIES

Les Chalets

Surrounded by some of the most popular attractions in Toulouse, Les Chalets is an absolute gem of a place that lends itself super well to families!

NIGHTLIFE
Carmes District
NIGHTLIFE

Carmes

One of the most animated places to stay in Toulouse, Carmes is always buzzing with some kind of event. Peppered by wine cellars, bars, and clubs, this neighborhood lies just a few minutes from downtown Toulouse.

FOR COUPLES
Saint Cyprien District
FOR COUPLES

Saint-Cyprien

As awesome as all the other Toulouse neighborhoods are, Saint-Cyprien holds a special place in my heart. And if you’re wondering why, wait until you see this absolutely delightful area for yourself!

Toulouse’s Five Best Neighborhoods to Stay In

As the fourth-largest city in France, Toulouse definitely packs a punch! Believe me when I say you sure as heck won’t run out of places to stay in the city, regardless of your budget and travel plans.

If this is your first time visiting Toulouse, I would suggest that you stay in the Matabiau District, which just so happens to be something of a transportation hub. As such, it’s super easy for you to catch a ride to nearby districts. Home to the Toulouse Matabiau Station, this area is also more affordable than most other Toulouse neighborhoods.

Speaking of affordable, budget backpackers may wish to drop anchor in Les Minimes, another beautiful yet inexpensive neighborhood. Home to a large concentration of locals, Les Minimes is also something of a student neighborhood, so you’ll find plenty of small supermarkets and inexpensive cafes.

Traveling with the kids? Then be sure to check out Les Chalets, a centralized area that’s commonly referred to as a ‘Village in Toulouse’ because of its quiet, laidback vibes. Plenty of leafy green spaces are available – perfect for enjoying a soothing sunset stroll.

For something that’s not quiet, though, there’s no better destination than Carmes, Toulouse’s party hub by excellence! Speckled with colorful architecture, this area brings together an eclectic cluster of bars, pubs, and nightclubs. A quick heads-up, though: the local bars and restaurants do get quite crowded on Friday nights, so you may wish to make your reservations in advance.

1. The Matabiau District – Best Place to Stay in Toulouse for Your First Time

Wondering where to stay in Toulouse as a first-time visitor? Well, if you ask me, there’s no better place than the Matabiau District!

Nestled by the banks of the Canal du Midi in southwest Toulouse, this cosmopolitan area is well-suited to newbies since it’s got such a great transportation network. In fact, the entire district surrounds the Toulouse-Matabiau station, where you can catch a ride to neighboring cities and villages.

cityscape of the Matabiau District, Toulouse
Each building tells a different story!

In addition to being a great destination for first-time visitors, I noticed that Matabiau was quite affordable too – well, as far as French princes are concerned!

Matabiau is generally a safe neighborhood in France, but I would advise you to avoid sketchy spots like the Rue Bayard and Bonnefoy, especially at night. Be sure to keep a close eye on your belongings when traveling through the Gare Matabiau station as well.

Mama Shelter Toulouse | Best Hotel in the Matabiau District

Patio space in Mama Shelter Toulouse

If you ask me, this is easily one of the best places to stay in the Matabiau neighborhood – and for good reason!

Set within walking distance of Toulouse Matabiau Station, this hotel offers plenty to keep you entertained when you don’t feel like going out.

Think a sprawling rooftop terrace where you can watch the sun go down over a fresh pizza from the brick oven, a 45-seat cinema, a BBQ restaurant…the whole shebang!

Guests can choose from Classic and Superior double rooms.

Hotel des Ambassadeurs | Best Hostel in the Matabiau District

Bunk bed and a queen bed in a  room at Hotel des Ambassadeurs

Unfortunately, Toulouse doesn’t have a lot of hostels to choose from – something that I learned the hard way!

But if you’re looking to crash in a hostel-like atmosphere, I can vouch for the Hotel des Ambassadeurs, located right opposite the SNCF train station (yay- no more dragging your luggage all over the city!).

You can pick from various types of rooms, including Quintuple rooms for groups. You’ll find heaps to do nearby, including the popular Place du Capitole, the Saint-Raymond Museum, and the Royal Garden.

Stylish Condo Near Train Station | Best Airbnb in the Matabiau District

Queen bed from an Airbnb in the Matabiau District

Here’s another great accommodation option that lies smack bang in the very heart of the city!

One of the best French Airbnbs – at least according to me – this stylish condo is just steps from the Canal du Midi and the train station.

All the comforts of home await, including a modern, well-equipped kitchen, but with some of Toulouse’s best eateries practically on your doorstep, why bother cooking, right?

Things to See and Do in the Matabiau District:

a bustling scene at Place du Capitole, with people strolling around its large courtyard and a rainbow in the sky
Palace du Capitole is an architectural marvel!
  1. Stroll around Victor Hugo Market alongside a native, English-speaking guide. With over 80 stallholders, this market even has a restaurant on the first floor.
  2. Take in the district’s old-school charm and ancient buildings. Some of Matabiau’s basilicas and churches date back to the 13th century.
  3. Visit the Place du Capitole, a historical landmark located just 10 minutes from Matabiau.
  4. Take in the best sights from an electric Tuk Tuk.
  5. Check out the Couvent des Jacobins, a unique Dominican monastery with Gothic vaults.
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2. Les Minimes –  Where to Stay in Toulouse on a Budget

Here’s one that totally takes the cake as far as Toulouse neighborhoods are concerned!

Located north of the city center, Les Minimes is home to the TBS business school and the Toulouse Capitole University – basically a student neighborhood. As such, it’s not super difficult to find cheap accommodations and entertainment.

a row of brick arches surrounded by trees and many falling leaves in Les Minimes
The perfect spot to sit back and enjoy some V.Hugo!

What I liked the most about this neighborhood – other than its affordability, of course – was the fact that nearly everything was within walking distance. So, don’t forget to bring your best walking shoes!

Foodies will be glad to learn that this neighborhood is bursting with family-owned eateries where you can sample local delicacies.

Hôtel Alizé | Best Hotel in Les Minimes

Basic queen room in Hotel Alize, Toulouse

Putting you right in the heart of the city, Hôtel Alizé makes an ideal home base for exploring all those great attractions in Les Minimes!

Rooms are basic but cozy, and some are even fitted with microwaves – perfect for a midnight snack!

Each morning, you’ll wake up to a complimentary continental breakfast so you can properly fuel up before checking out nearby points of interest like Capitol Square, the Jardin Compans-Caffarelli, and the Mazades Theatre.

La Petite Auberge de Saint-Sernin | Best Hostel in Les Minimes

Dorm room with a seating space at La Petite Auberge de Saint Sernin Hostel, Toulouse

Anyone who’s ever been to France knows it’s not a cheap place to travel broke, especially when it comes to accommodation.

But let me assure you that it’s still possible to find some affordable places to lay your head – like this quaint hostel located just over 5 minutes from Les Minims.

Just around the corner from the hostel, you’ll find the Place Saint-Pierre, a lively area speckled with bars and pubs. At the end of the day, you can crash in standard eight or six-bed mixed dormitories.

Cozy 2-Bedroom Apartment | Best Airbnb in Les Minimes

A two-level Airbnb with a furniture and a seating space in Les Minimes, Toulouse

Homely amenities, a great location, and an affordable price tag? Sign me up!

One of the top places to stay in Toulouse for budget travelers, this apartment has two bedrooms for four. And yes- compared to many buildings in France, this one does have a lift!

It’s fitted with all the practical stuff you’ll need for a comfy stay, including a kitchen. Not that you’ll be doing a lot of cooking since the space’s central location means that several restaurants are just a quick walk away.

Things to See and Do in Les Minimes:

a red bridge crossing a pond in the Japanese Garden Compans Caffarelli in Les Minimes, Toulouse
The beautiful Japanese Garden Compans Caffarelli.
  1. Discover the best wine bars in Toulouse.
  2. Catch a show at the Théâtre des Mazades.
  3. Explore the Musée Saint-Raymond, home to an impressive archeological collection.
  4. Enjoy a soothing stroll along the banks of the Garonne.
  5. Enjoy a picnic with the family at the Jardin Compans-Caffarelli, a gorgeous green space, walkways, benches, and a Japanese garden.

3. Les Chalets – Best Area in Toulouse for Families

Surrounded by some of the most popular attractions in Toulouse, Les Chalets is an absolute gem of a place that lends itself super well to families!

a row of bicycles parked on the side of a street with trees on both sides in Chalets District
I’m taking this scenic path as my daily commute!
Photo: Kuremu Sakura (WikiCommons)

For starters, this awesome French neighborhood has quite a central location, making it easy for you to go sightseeing. It’s also well-served by bus and tramway, perfect for parents traveling with children.

Despite its central location, I was surprised to see how green and leafy this area was. Tree-lined paths are peppered all around, and there are plenty of lush gardens, where you can just kick back and relax with a picnic. This area is usually referred to as the ‘Toulouse Village’ because of its beautiful scenery and laid-back vibes.

Children totally have it made since this neighborhood offers easy access to oodles of family-friendly fun like Safari Kids.

Plaza Hotel Capitole Toulouse | Best Hotel in Les Chalets

A large room with a queen bed and seating area at Plaza Hotel Capitole Toulouse

I sure hope you’re ready to be wowed because this 4-star hotel is quite something indeed!

Families will no doubt revel in the generously sized rooms that can easily accommodate up to four guests. An American breakfast buffet is served daily.

There’s also a bar offering an extensive range of cocktails as well as a restaurant offering scrumptious dishes sourced from local ingredients.

When it’s time to explore, you can always head over to nearby spots like the Galerie Le Château d’Eau and the Saint-Raymond Museum.

Eklo Toulouse | Best Hostel in Les Chalets

Eklo Toulouse

Located right on the outskirts of Les Chalets, this chill hostel in Toulouse is definitely my top choice for families!

In addition to standard dorms, the hostel also has a private Family Room fitted with a double bed for 2 adults and wooden cabin beds for the kids.

With a stay at the hostel, you’ll be close to the Zenith de Toulouse and the Pierre Baudis Japanese Garden.

Dulaurier Les Chalets | Best Airbnb in Les Chalets

A bedroom at Dulaurier Les Chalets apartment with a queen size bed and a working space

Perfect for up to four guests, this apartment features a double bed in the bedroom and a sofa-bed in the living area.

Boasting a kitchenette, this refurbished space offers a tranquil location with courtyard views.

Not only will you be close to the Jeanne d’Arc Metro Station, but the apartment also offers proximity to popular spots like the Toulouse Museum.

Things to See and Do in Les Chalets:

Museum de Toulouse surrounded by lush greenery
The Museum de Toulouse is one of the oldest natural history museums in the world.
  1. Visit the Place du Capitole, the liveliest square in Toulouse. This space is especially known for its neoclassical stone and brick façade and Henri IV courtyard.
  2. Treat yourself to a classic French breakfast at the Café de la Concorde, the oldest café in Toulouse.
  3. See the city from a whole new perspective while playing a fun escape game with the kids.  
  4. Take the children to Safari Kids, an amusement park with a play area and restaurant.
  5. Spend an afternoon at the Museum de Toulouse, a natural history museum with kid-friendly activities.
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4. Carmes – Best Area in Toulouse for the Nightlife

Night owls, rejoice! One of the most animated places to stay in Toulouse, Carmes is always buzzing with some kind of event.

a row of brick buildings along a narrow street at Carmes District
Beautifully lined up!

Peppered by wine cellars, bars, and clubs, this neighborhood lies just a few minutes from downtown Toulouse. It’s known for its super colorful architecture and lively vibes that perpetually permeate the place.

Oh, and it won’t take you long to realize that the people living in Carmes are passionate about food. Like, really passionate. So, there’s quite an eclectic dining scene for you to explore as well! Heaps of choices are on offer, including a British pub and a restaurant offering French-style tapas.

Hôtel Croix Baragnon | Best Hotel in Carmes

A small room with a bed and a armchair in Hotel Croix Baragnon, Toulouse

Hang up your dancing shoes and kick back with a stay in this quaint hotel set within walking distance of popular nightspots like Karma Club.

Other spots like the Carmes District and the Saint Etienne Cathedral all lie just a 5-minute walk away.

You can choose from Single, Double, or Triple rooms. There’s a buffet breakfast each morning, or pop into the gastronomic restaurant located just down the road.

As great as this hotel is, I do need to mention that it doesn’t have an elevator, so keep that in mind if you’ve got mobility issues.

Le Bivouac – Toulouse B&B | Best Hostel in Carmes

Queen size room at Le Bivouac Toulouse B and B

Here’s a place that offers hostel-like prices with heaps of personal space!

An excellent option for budget travelers, Le Bivouac – Toulouse B&B offers well-appointed units fitted with kitchenettes.

If you don’t feel like rustling up something to eat in the morning, you’ll be glad to learn that the B&B does offer a continental breakfast. The Grand Cirque café is also close to the B&B.

Bright Apartment for 4 | Best Airbnb in Carmes

Bright Apartment with a kitchen, living area, and dining table in Carmes

Is there anything better than crashing in an exceptionally comfy place after a big night out in a loud neighborhood? I think not!

Well, that’s along the lines of what you can expect from this apartment, which just so happens to be one of my favorite places to stay in Carmes!

Not only does this space offer laundry facilities, a kitchen, and an indoor fireplace, but it’s also close to venues like The London Town English Pub Toulouse.

Things to See and Do in Carmes:

Cite de Carcassonne sitting on top of a hill with views of the Camens
There’s something about this medieval architecture.
  1. Take a day trip to the Cité de Carcassonne, Europe’s largest walled city and home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  2. Party the night away at Karma Club, one of the most popular nightspots in Les Carmes. This place can get pretty packed on Friday nights!
  3. Enjoy scrumptious tapas washed down with aromatic gin cocktails at Le Club.
  4. Catch a show at Le Bijou, a small independent theatre located in the backroom of a charming bistro.
  5. Sip on craft beer at the London Town English Pub Toulouse, a British-style beer located near the Carmes Metro Station.

5. Saint-Cyprien – Best Area in Toulouse for Couples

As awesome as all the other Toulouse neighborhoods are, Saint-Cyprien holds a special place in my heart. And if you’re wondering why, wait until you see this absolutely beautiful place in France for yourself!

view of a village by a river with a bridge in the background in Saint Cyprien District
French village vibes.

Perched on the left shore of the Garonne, this area reminds me of Les Chalets since it’s got that same French village vibe – complete with historic monuments, large parks, and heaps of heritage. In fact, this is one of the oldest areas in Toulouse, so don’t be surprised to see old buildings dating back to Medieval times.

With plenty of cobblestone alleys where you can enjoy a romantic stroll with your partner, the Saint-Cyprien area is awash with old-school charm. It’s also something of a cultural hotspot, with venues like the Theatre Garonne just a short distance away.

Hotel Gascogne | Best Hotel in Saint-Cyprien

Hotel Gascogne

Couples, this one’s for you!

With stylish double rooms, this low-key hotel lies just a short walk from Les Abbatoirs and the riverfront Prairie des Filtres Park. The Hotel Gascogne also offers a continental breakfast each morning. Guests can take advantage of the onsite bar.

The property is pet-friendly, perfect for couples traveling with their pooch!

If you’re backpacking around the world with your pooch, check out our curated selection of pet-friendly Airbnbs, perfect for you and your furry travel buddy!

Hotel Royal Wilson | Best Hostel in Saint-Cyprien

Hotel Royal Wilson

Located just a few kilometers from Saint-Cyprien, Hotel Royal Wilson is housed in an elegant building.

With a classic Toulouse façade and a gorgeously appointed interior, this hotel offers private rooms and comfortable 9-bed mixed dorms.

Speaking of sightseeing, the property commands an excellent location near the Capitole and Wilson Squares.

Elegant Condo for Couples | Best Airbnb in Saint-Cyprien

Elegant Condo for Couples

Wondering where to stay in Toulouse without breaking the bank or sacrificing your comfort for that matter? How about a stay in this elegant condo, fitted with everything you’ll need for an independent stay?

Ideally located near the T1 and T2 tram lines, this space offers a well-equipped kitchen, balcony, and a bedroom with a double bed on the mezzanine level.

Things to See and Do in Saint-Cyprien:

Saint Pierre bridge crossing Garonne River with Chapel Saint Joseph de la Grave in the background
Can’t miss capturing a shot at Saint Pierre Bridge!
  1. Check out Les Abattoirs, a modern and contemporary art museum with works from local artists. Reserve your tickets now for an unforgettable artistic experience.
  2. Discover the neighboring district of Saint Etienne.
  3. Be awed by the Chapelle de la Grave, a historic, 18th-century chapel that was part of a hospital built in 1197. This church is easily recognizable by its impressive dome.
  4. Bike or hike alongside the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO-recognized canal that dates back to the 17th century.
  5. Cross the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Toulouse. Keep your eyes peeled for a hidden sculpture depicting a statue of a child sitting on a pier.
  6. Attend the Rio Loco festival in Prairie des Filters Park. This is one of the most anticipated festivals in France.  
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What To Pack For Toulouse

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

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Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Toulouse

Before you set off, getting good travel insurance is essential. You hope you don’t need it, but it’s not worth the risk.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Toulouse

Whether you’re there for the art or simply want to wander the city while soaking up that distinctive French charm, Toulouse never fails to seduce with its irresistible energy.

By now, you already know there are several places to choose from, but if I had to pick a favorite, I would totally go for the Plaza Hotel Capitole Toulouse in Les Chalets!

Girl at a restaurant in France about to try snails
It was a good one!
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

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