For those asking what is pink about Toulouse, the city’s history tells a great deal about why it emerged to be dubbed such name among the many that sound cooler. ‘Pink City’ is just one of the two sobriquets given to Toulouse. Its distinct architectural style, tiles, and red-pink clay bricks form why it is called Ville Rose. 

The use of bricks as a building material was introduced by the Romans in the 1st-century. At that time, the city was called Tolosa and was a part of the Narbonnaise area. When the Garonne River suddenly moved back after the last glacial period around 10,000 years ago, Tolosa extended on clay terraces. Therefore, stone was not common around the town, but clay was incredibly much.

The history books have it that the clay had a dense concentration of iron oxide that gave it a pink color while in the fire. This was used to make bricks, traditionally known as brisques foraines and canal-type tiles. These were cheap and easy to make. They are environmentally friendly and insulating as well. The remains of these have been able to stand the test of time.

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Pink Bricks: The City’s Architectural Signature

For many years, red-pink bricks were used to build the city’s regular home official buildings and religions structures. This distinct pink brick architecture was partly responsible for the development of Languedoc Romanesque and subsequently, Languedoc Gothic styles. The perfect evidence of this is the church of the Jacobins Convent and the Basilica of St. Sernin, one of the 2 grandest Romanesque structures in the continent.

Toulouse Pink City Name

A Pink City Built By The Wealthy Merchants of Blue Pastel  

The famed pink bricks also helped in raising lots of private mansions and official structures commissioned by the magistrates and the wealthy merchants of Toulouse. In the 1500s and 1600s, Toulouse the Pink City emerged as one of the great global centers of the pastel commercialization. Of a fact, the rich owned their affluence to the pastel trade, and they duly raise large mansions to display their class and status. The city has preserved much of these today, and as you will see, some of these private mansions are the most beautiful in Europe.

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Capitole de Toulouse

Toulouse’s magistrate did not do differently. Every year, the capitouls were elected by the districts to make the municipal council. The council sat in the Capitole and made key decisions that affect the city. History recalls that it was there that the city was administered from the 1100s to the Revolution. The Capitole was built in 1190 but was rebuilt in the 1600s and, it retained its pink-red features.

But different materials brought about its beautiful pink façade. For example, the eight marble columns that hold the pediment is an emblem of the initial eight capitulates or city districts. Belize-en-Comminges in the Pyrenees is where the white stone comes from. As for the cream-colored limestone, it is from Agen while the sandstone is from Carcassone.

This magnificent building now hosts Le Capitole Theatre and the city’s hall. Toulouse’s architecture went through a series of changes in the 1800s when the first clay façade ornaments were made by the Virebent family. Years after, however, the pink-red lost its charm, and yellow bricks gradually replaced them for a while.

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Toulouse the Pink City

The blend of architectural components and bricks made arrange of colors that changed with the daylight; from pink at dawn, they evolve to crimson in the midday sun and finally change to purple at night. The last color emerges when the sun goes behind the city’s roofs.

Toulouse’s General Facts 

Today, the city is the 4th largest French city trailing behind the capital, Marseille, and Lyon. The city also serves as the European capital for space activities. It is not difficult to tell why the aerospace industry is in collaboration with Airbus.

Perhaps because of its tertiary academic institutions, Toulouse has a young population. And as such, the city gets lively and alive whenever it wants to. The city is known among the French for many things. But its rugby team, Stade Toulousain, is a national pride. Meanwhile, its scrumptious sausage and cassoulet are must-tries when you visit.

Why Is Toulouse Called The Pink City

What’s More

Basilica of Siant-Sernin

The city is very French in character and appearance. At almost every corner, some trendy shops and cafes look upon the large palaces. Toulouse’s major place of Catholic worship. This church is a big Romanesque one, but a majority of it was rebuilt in Gothic. They did not include the work, however.

It might be strange and interesting to see how services are functioning inside of the same church. With radial chapel deambulatory and 3 naves, it is rather interesting to see what is going on there. The Basilica of Siant-Sernin was built on the tomb of the revered St Saturnin, who was the city’s first bishop. This is regarded as the greatest examples of Romanesque structures in southern France.

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World Heritage Site

It might also interest readers to know that since 1998, Toulouse has been added to the long French list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Also, Toulouse is a clean city because it is well arranged, the Garonne River complements it, and the city’s gardens are well pruned. There is even a Japanese garden if you want a quiet space.

Strolling across the city is a satisfying task. You will be constantly be fascinated by the charming architecture, the iron balconies, the rose facades, and the skylights that are so French. Before you visit, ensure you add a boat tour of Toulouse to your itinerary. Participants will not merely sail back and forth, the ride is expected to take them to the linked canal via the enclosures, and as the water rises under their feet, the gates tend to open and close to let people pass. It is a thrilling experience even though the weather says much about how much fun to have.

The Reason Toulouse Is Called The Pink City

Most tours start from the port of Daurade and pass through the locks to approach the popular Canal du Midi. This canal is a man-made canal with a 240 km length that links the city to Sète on the Mediterranean. To allow sailing between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Louis XIV built it. With the canal, there will be no need to navigate around Spain. 

As it is, going up the Garonne River, one could go from the city of Bordeaux to Toulouse, and through Canal du Midi, it is easy to reach the Mediterranean. Historians believe that the Romans had the same idea as well but lacked the resources to execute it. Canal du Midi crosses lots of areas, and in its banks, centuries-old trees make an attractive green structure.

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Why Toulouse Is Called The Pink City – Summary

There you have it. The reason why Toulouse is called the Pink City (Ville Rose) is not because of a river where pink-colored water flowed, but because of the city’s reddish color buildings. This is because of the ferrous elements that are in the building materials that, by oxidizing, give off red tints. This is dependent on the bricks’ baking, though. So, Toulouse got the name from the building materials of its early buildings.