In Toulouse, rugby isn’t so much a sport as it is a religion. A relaxed university town with an attractive old quarter and blushing rooftops, it’s also home to one of the best rugby teams in France and Europe. And when the mighty Stade Toulousain take to the field, the friendly ‘pink city’ turns black and red. Feel like a rugby pilgrimage? Then try these spots.

Toulouse's rugby stadium is hallowed ground / Image: Alamy

Stade Ernest-Wallon

Whether you’re in Toulouse to watch your team, or just want to see Stade Toulousain, who won the Top 14 in 2019 and are four-time Heineken Cup winners, all the magic happens at the electric Stade Ernest-Wallon. And it’s open for tours. 

The Danu 

For a taste of England in Toulouse, grab a pint or two at The Danu, one of the city’s biggest sports bars, which doubles as an English pub. That’s not to say it’s full of tourists – hundreds of locals pile in to catch games on the big screens.  

Drink pastis with students at Chez Tonton / Image: Alamy

Chez Tonton 

Bargain refreshments and good tunes make Chez Tonton popular with students who head here to drink pastis, a French aniseed liquor. Add it to your bar crawl or pop in for a pre-match pint –  there’s seating outside and frequent happy hours. 

Chez Emile 

A hearty combination of beans and duck leg makes cassoulet the star dish at cosy Chez Emile. If that’s not your bag, there’s ravioli lobster and fish of the day. Don’t skip dessert. 

Take a breath beside the Garonne river / Image: Adobe Stock

The banks of the Garonne 

The morning after the big game blast away the cobwebs with a saunter along the edge of the fast-flowing Garonne. Come summer its grassy banks are the hangout for the city’s laid-back residents – grab a few bottles and join them.