Cycling in Toulouse

“The Toulouse City Council works to promote the use of bicycles in the city, and to make cycling safer and more spontaneous.” So it says on the city’s website.

In 2013, a magazine called TerraEco made a list of French cities “which are good to ride in”, and they ranked Toulouse as the third best, after Strasbourg and Bordeaux. To decide on the rankings, fifteen criteria were taken into account, including the number of kilometers of bicycle trails, the number of two-way cycling paths, the arrangement of intersections, bike rental and bike parking.

The president of the Toulouse Bicycle Association was not convinced by this ranking, saying it was merely quantitative but not qualitative. “We have many kilometers of bicycle tracks, but the quality is not always acceptable. Still, this is encouraging, it shows that our efforts are bearing fruit.” (As reported in the local newspaper La Dépêche.)

Maison du Vélo at 12 boulevard Bonrepos in Toulouse

This “House of the Bicycle” is located in the premises of the former Bayard Lock House on the Canal du Midi, facing the Toulouse-Matabiau railway station.

Inside the Bicycle House in Toulouse

The Bicycle House brings together a number of services and resources for people who use bicycles: urban bicycle rental, a hands-on repair shop, a cycling school for children and adults and a resource center for bicycle tours and political action.

Café and restaurant at the Maison du Vélo

The Bicycle House at 12 boulevard Bonrepos in Toulouse includes a pleasant indoor and outdoor restaurant called Le Vélo Sentimental, which is open for lunch “with traditional cuisine that varies depending on the mood and season.” Throughout the day they offer coffee, drinks and pastries “under the lime tree or in Grandma’s dining room”.


Before leaving Paris, I went online and ordered a seven-day ticket for the bike sharing system VélÔToulouse. This cost me all of five Euros. It is also possible to get a one-day ticket for €1.20, a monthly subscription for ten Euros or a yearly subscription for twenty-five Euros. (The prices are unchanged as of 2019.)

VélÔToulouse is a system which resembles Vélib’ in Paris, Vélo’v in Lyon, VéloCité in Besançon and V’Lille in Lille, and all of which I had used before with great success.

As in these other cities, the ticket or subscription entitles you to unlimited rides of up to thirty minutes at no additional cost. For a ride exceeding thirty minutes there is an additional charge of €0.50 for the next half hour and higher charges for each hour after that.

When my next monthly credit card statement arrived, I found that they had charged me exactly five Euros, meaning that none of my many rides in Toulouse had lasted longer than thirty minutes.

VélÔToulouse has 283 stations (at last count), with more still to be added. The system has about 2600 bicycles.

My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2019.

See more posts on Toulouse, France.
See more posts on cycling in European cities.

6 thoughts on “Cycling in Toulouse”

  1. When I was a kid I was told by my parents that keeping money plants in the house will bring good fortune. As I grew older I came across many people who followed this belief. The plant didn’t give us any 💱 currency leafs but the practice is still widely followed. I waited through my childhood to become rich overnight but it didn’t happen 😀
    Some businessman also keep in their offices. (Money plant is like a creeper which grows in length).

    I read the above comments and I suggest Don you can publish a new blog on this topic. There is enough material on this subject now.
    Recommended blog title “Sacred Trees”

    😅😅😅just joking

  2. The lime trees there (unlike the citrus in my back yard in California) are tilia cordata which are known as little-leaf linden in the USA and the UK. There is also tilia platyphyllos which is large-leafed linden. They are flowering trees (tiny flowers) but not fruiting. When they are severely pruned, they do not flower either.

  3. How delightful it must be to wander such a beautiful place on bicycle.

    May I ask a very silly question? You mentioned lime trees. I have often read something that touches on lime trees but somehow I get the impression they don’t actually bear limes. Do they bear limes or is it an honorary title? We have an ornamental pear tree here that is beautiful in both spring and fall but never gives pears.

    1. I don’t know much about lime trees, but the ones we have here in Germany (called Linden or Lindenbaum in German) are definitely not fruit trees. I don’t know why they are called lime trees in English, since they don’t even look like the trees that really produce limes in more southerly climates.

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