Host Town: Toulouse (France)

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Chapelle de la Grave © Rémi Benali

BETWEEN HERITAGE AND MODERNITY... TOULOUSE, A CITY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

Toulouse is located in the heart of the South-West, on the banks of the Garonne and the Canal du Midi, with a privileged geographical location between the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees and the Atlantic. It is the fourth largest city in France with an urban area of 1.4 million inhabitants, one of the two main metropolises in Occitania and the capital of the Haute-Garonne department.

Its historic centre is home to some remarkable monuments: the Saint-Sernin basilica, a jewel of Romanesque art, and a unique work of engineering art, the Canal du Midi. Another exceptional ensemble is the Jacobins convent, a typical Southern Gothic building. The Capitole, an impressive classical-style building that has become the city hall, has housed the Opera since 1818. In 2019, Toulouse was awarded the Ville d’art et d’histoire label by the Ministry of Culture.

Home to the Airbus Group and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, Toulouse is a stronghold of the European aeronautics and space industry. Its history and economic development have been linked to flight since the pioneers of Aéropostale, a century ago. Toulouse is also a city of excellence in digital and scientific research thanks to engineering schools, universities, start-ups, laboratories and its unique network of scientific culture facilities (museum, Quai des savoirs, aeroscopy, Pionniers flight, Cité de l'espace). At the crossroads of technology, entertainment and the graphic arts, the Halle de la Machine is home to the stable of the company of the same name.

In Toulouse, music is essential, from the most sophisticated to the noisiest. Music is a permanent live experience in the city with its historical concert venues. The extent of musical taste and practice has generated demanding but ever-enthusiastic audiences. The city has earned an international musical reputation with the Orchestre National du Capitole, the operas and ballets of the Opéra National du Capitole, along with its major events: Piano aux Jacobins, Toulouse les Orgues, Rio Loco, Mekanic Paradise, Les Siestes, Festival de Toulouse and Rose Festival.

Toulouse is committed to the cinema, with four Art et Essais cinemas and France's second-largest Cinémathèque, and almost 30 festivals throughout the year. They showcase foreign cinema, emerging talent, heritage works and genre films. Each film festival is an opportunity to create a festive atmosphere with concerts, shows and discussions with directors and actors.

If you add events like the Marathon des Mots (reading festival), the Biennale des arts vivants, the Nouveau Printemps (contemporary art), as well as some thirty theatres, Toulouse offers a cultural life of rare density and diversity.