The “pink city” has an attractive and quite distinctive old centre with a distinct Mediterranean flavour. Worth visiting are the magnificent St Sernin basilica, the Jacobins church and cloisters, and the Place du Capitole, a very fine city square. Beside the city centre is the Canal du Midi, the oldest canal in Europe and a UNESCO world heritage site. Toulouse also has a popular aerospace museum.
This ancient Mediterranean port has a vibrant city centre, with its main thoroughfare La Canebière. Worth seeing are the city’s cathedrals and the mediaeval St. Laurent church. The old port area is very attractive, and boat trips can be taken to the historic fortress on the Ile d’If, lying in the middle of the bay.
The old city centre of Lille is famous for its Flemish squares and belfries. See also the 17th century Citadel, and the Lille art gallery, reputed to be the second best in France after the Louvre. Lille also boasts a good modern art gallery, and there is another must-see gallery, La Piscine, in the suburb of Roubaix. The Lille zoo is a popular place with locals and tourists alike.
The old city centre has narrow pedestrian streets, with an almost Parisian feel. The city’s two main monuments are the St. Pierre cathedral and the Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany. Boat trips can be taken up the Erdre river, flanked by a succession of old mansion houses.
A naval port city with an industrial heritage, Toulon has an attractive old quarter near the old port; but it is the city’s beautiful Provençal hinterland and the fine coast to the east and the west that are generally more visited than the city itself.