Nicknamed 'la Ville Rose' (the Pink City) on account of the terracotta bricks used in many of its buildings, Toulouse is France's fourth largest urban area. The site of a human settlement since at least as far back as the eighth century BC, Toulouse has embraced the technological age in recent years, becoming the capital of the European aeronautics industry and boasting the continent's largest space centre, as well as a vibrant university population.
At the same time it remains steeped in history and can claim to be one of France's most enchanting destinations, having often been voted the most desirable place in the country to live. Highlights include the medieval old town, the elegant Capitole building and the Canal du Midi, which links the Garonne river to the Mediterranean Sea. Cassoulet enjoys pride of place among the local culinary specialities.
Stadium de Toulouse
UEFA capacity: 33,000
Tenants: Toulouse FC
• Situated on an island in the heart of Toulouse, the stadium was built specifically for the 1938 FIFA World Cup and was soon labelled 'mini Wembley' because of its resemblance to the iconic London venue.
• The biggest ground in the Midi-Pyrenees region, the stadium underwent considerable renovations in 1949 and 1997, the latter work coming ahead of the 1998 World Cup when it hosted six matches. Upgrading work, which is being done with the football team in situ, is due for completion by mid-2015.
• The arena has witnessed many of Toulouse's finest moments, including a UEFA Cup first round victory against SSC Napoli in October 1986, when Diego Maradona fired against the post during the penalty shootout.
• The stadium was damaged and required extensive repair efforts after a nearby chemical plant suffered a major explosion in 2001.
• In addition to football, the ground regularly holds rugby matches, and was a venue for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.