Trains to Toulouse

France’s fourth-largest city is an intriguing mixture: Toulouse has an impressive and very historic centre in the heart of an assertively modern city. Space research and the aviation industry give economic muscle to Toulouse, augmented by many small technology start-up companies. It is a city which many rail travellers pass through on their way to the Pyrenees, but it certainly deserves a stay for a day or two. With an excellent range of rail links, it’s a good base for exploring this region of south-west France.

The compact centre of Toulouse lies on the east bank of the River Garonne. It is a relaxed and pleasant area, with striking squares (notably the place du Capitole), excellent museums and an oddly asymmetric cathedral. Across on the other bank of the river, one-time slaughterhouses have been converted into a world-class gallery of contemporary art called Les Abattoirs.

The city’s main station is Toulouse-Matabiau, about a 15-minute walk north-east of place du Capitole. The efficient métro system makes it easy to get around town. From the Gare de Matabiau, long-distance trains radiate out to destinations across France. Toulouse is not itself on the French high-speed network, but links to Paris were improved in July 2017 with the opening of a new high-speed line from Bordeaux to Tours. Using this new line, TGVs now speed from Toulouse to Paris in 4 hrs 20 mins. There is also an overnight train from Toulouse to the French capital - it's one of France's few surviving proper overnight trains, offering a choice of couchettes or seats.

There is a useful TGV link with Lyon, with the journey taking four hours. Direct trains run to Marseille, Limoges, Bordeaux, Nantes and many other cities. From early April until late September, Spanish operator Renfe runs a daily AVE service from Toulouse to Barcelona. There are also good rail links running south from Toulouse into the Pyrenees.

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Child and youth passengers

The definition of "Child" and "Youth" varies by country and operator. This is why we ask for the age of young passengers.

Sometimes children below a certain age can travel without a seat for free. If you want to guarantee a seat for child passengers, enter '6' as the age of the child.

Read more about child and youth passenger ages. See also youth discounts and railcards.