Toulouse is one of France’s largest cities, and a place we decided to rest for a few days. We rented an apartment and took it easy: enjoying quiet morning walks, picnic lunches, and lots of playtime with our little one.

Our rental was on the top floor of an apartment building which felt muggy and left us sweaty in the hot summer days of Toulouse. However, we were located right on a large plaza. As soon as we opened our windows, the bustling sounds of a city alive at all hours filled our room. Clanging of forks from the patios below, children’s shouts from the playground, chants from football-watching sports fans. Music would waft in from an afternoon parade or from an evening salsa lesson in the square. I loved feeling the city right there in our home.

Unlike some other big French cities, the refreshing part of Toulouse is that it feels like a lived-in city that doesn’t specifically cater to tourists. It’s a great city to dive into and pretend like it’s home.

One striking feature of Toulouse is its reputation as “La Cite Rose”, or the pink city. Unlike the beige stones of Bordeaux, much of Toulouse’s old city is composed of rose colored bricks. This gives old town a pinkish hue. It also feels like a completely different world when compared to the architecture of Paris or Bordeaux.