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Toulouse travel guide — Toulouse tourism and travel information

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about Toulouse

Toulouse (Tolosa in Occitan) is a city in southwest France on the banks of the Garonne River, half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. With a population of 1.05 million inhabitants, the Toulouse metropolitan area is the second largest in southern France and one of the fastest growing in Europe. It is the home base of the European aerospace industry and hosts the headquarters of Airbus S.A.S..

Toulouse is the former capital of the province of Languedoc (provinces were abolished during the French Revolution). It is the capital of the Midi-Pyrénées region, the largest region in France although it encompasses only half of the former Languedoc province. It is also the préfecture (capital) of the Haute-Garonne département. It is the seat of the Académie des Jeux Floraux, the equivalent of the French Academy for the Occitan-speaking regions of southern France, making Toulouse the unofficial capital of Occitan culture. The traditional Occitan cross was adopted as the symbol of both the City of Toulouse and the newly-founded Midi-Pyrénées region.

Toulouse has the following official sister cities: Atlanta (USA), Chongqing (China), Tel Aviv (Israel), Kiev (Ukraine), Bologna (Italy), and Elche (Spain).

Toulouse history

Once a major metropolis of western Europe, Toulouse sank into a sleepy regional-level status in the 18th and 19th centuries, completely missing the Industrial Revolution. In the 20th century, relocation of key military and aerospace industries in Toulouse by the French central government have awakened the city again. In an ironic twist of history, what was once a big liability for Toulouse has now become its best asset: no Industrial Revolution meant a falling economic status for the city, but it has spared Toulouse the environmental damages and painful socio-economic restructuring that are plaguing so many northern European industrial cities.

Benefiting from its status as Europe's capital of aerospace industry, as well as from the flow of population from the industrial belt to the sunbelt of Europe, Toulouse metropolitan area doubled its population between 1960 and 2000 (in the meantime the population of France increased only by 30%). With good prospects for aerospace and biotech industries, growth is likely to continue in the near future. Toulouse is thus recovering step by step its former rank as a major European metropolis, but it faces increasing challenges: how to accommodate such a rapid growth, how to upgrade transport and develop housing and infrastructures, in short how to reinvent the city in the 21st century.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Toulouse".

This city is also known as: Toulouse.

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