TOULOUSE, a city of south-western France, capital of the department of Haute-Garonne, 443 m. S. by W. of Paris by the Orleans railway, and 159 m. S.E. of Bordeaux by the Southern railway. Pop. (1931), 161,515. Toulouse stands on the right bank of the Garonne, which here describes a curve round which the city extends in the form of a crescent. On the left bank is the low-lying suburb of St. Cyprien. The river is spanned by three bridges—that of St. Pierre to the north, that of St. Michel to the south, and the Pont Neuf in the centre ; the last, a fine structure of seven arches. East and north of the city runs the Canal du Midi, which here joins the lateral canal of the Garonne.
The church of St. Sernin or Saturnin, whom legend represents as the first preacher of the gospel in Toulouse, where he was perhaps martyred about the middle of the 3rd century, has an 11th century choir, and is the largest Romanesque basilica in existence, being 375 ft. from east to west and 210 ft. in extreme breadth. The nave (12th and 13th centuries) has double aisles. The choir (I i th and 12th centuries) ends in an apse, or rather chevet, surrounded by a range of columns, marking off an aisle, which in its turn opens into five chapels. Against the northern wall is an ancient table d'autel, which an itth century inscription declares to have belonged to St. Sernin. In the crypts are many relics, which, however, were robbed of their gold and silver shrines during the Revolution. On the south there is a fine outer porch in the Renaissance style. The church was restored in the i9th century. The cathedral, dedicated to St. Stephen, has an th century nave and a 13th century choir, restored, the axis of which is not in a line with that of the nave. It is surrounded by 17 chapels. The western gate is flanked by a huge square tower. Over this gate there is a beautiful 13th century rose-window. The city contains other interesting old churches.
The principal secular buildings are the capitole, with a long Ionic facade built 1750-60, and the museum. The law courts stand on the site of the old Château Narbonais, once the residence of the counts of Toulouse and later the seat of the parlement of Toulouse. Toulouse is singularly rich in mansions of the i6th and 17th centuries, notably the Hotel Bernuy, a fine Renaissance building and the Hotel d'Assezat of the same period. The Maison de Pierre has an elaborate stone façade of 1612.
Toulouse is the seat of an archbishopric, of a court of appeal, a court of assizes and of a prefect. It is also the headquarters of the XVII. army corps and centre of an educational division (academie). There are tribunals of first instance and of com merce, a board of trade-arbitrators and a chamber of commerce.
The educational institutions include faculties of law, medicine and pharmacy, science and letters, a Catholic institute with faculties of theology and letters, schools of veterinary science, fine arts and industrial sciences and music, and an agricultural institute. Toulouse, the principal commercial and industrial centre of Languedoc, has important markets for horses, wine, grain, flowers, leather, oil and farm produce. Its numerous indus trial establishments include the national tobacco factory.