Properties in the pink city
Find out why life is rosy for all generations in this Haute-Garonne city and get the property lowdown on who should live where, as Claire Winterton discovers
With a vibrant mix of families, young couples, retirees, students and even scientists, Toulouse is a multicultural, multi-generational melting pot with much to offer everyone.
A jaunt around France’s fourth biggest city offers bustling food markets, a thriving music and cultural scene, the tranquil Canal du Midi and charming architecture – often featuring the famous pink brick that gives the city its nickname La Ville Rose (the pink city). And all this comes with a great range of shops, bars, cafés and restaurants.
Out of this world
This European capital for the aeronautical and space industry is a winning blend of scientists and students, being home to Airbus and an out-of-this-world space centre (Cité de l’espace), along with one of the largest universities outside of Paris.
The stunning Place du Capitole in the middle of the city, with its striking city hall and national theatre, is the perfect spot to indulge in some people watching over a good café crème. When hunger strikes, head to Place St-georges for some of the best restaurants in Toulouse.
When it comes to property, many of the city buildings – mainly apartments – are taken up by the rental market. A lot of expats choose to live on the outskirts to take advantage of the delights the city has to offer, while having an affordable retreat in the beautiful countryside of the Haute-garonne.
Sarah Day, owner of property agency Maisons et Manoirs, says: “The Toulouse market is on the periphery of our area but we are getting lots of clients who want to be a bit further away, who would like countryside and local schools for their children. A huge number of international people are coming to the area as a result of Airbus and its subsidiaries.
“The country market here is extremely active at the moment. Property enquiries have gone up considerably after the Brexit vote and Emmanuel Macron’s election. Prices are still good in this area and properties offer great value for money.”
Toulouse’s biggest suburb, Colomiers, to the west of the city but still within easy reach, is very popular with expats because of the Airbus factory and industry surrounding it, as well as its highly acclaimed international school, says Sarah. “We are finding buyers who are willing to travel 30-45 minutes to work in order to have a cheaper home and a bit more rurality. All of our properties are within about 10 minutes of a market town with schools, shops, farmers markets, banks and other amenities.”
Anne de la Sauzay, Director of Groupe Mercure (Toulouse, Midi-pyrénées, Périgord), agrees that the western side is more suited to professionals as there is more economic activity, but she points out that the Lauragais area, south-east of Toulouse, is also very popular with expats because of the beautiful hilly landscape.
However, if it’s really the city you’re after, you’ll be up against tough competition to bag the perfect property, says Anne. “The most sought-after places are the charming renovated apartments with a terrace, a parking space and a lift. But it is rare to have all these features in the same home, so you have to make choices. What makes us fall in love with a property is very personal, but don’t forget the most important criteria: location. That’s why it’s very important to be guided by a professional who will advise you on the best areas.”