As well as the banks of the River Garonne and the Canal du Midi, Toulouse has many parks and gardens totalling almost 2,500 acres in 2005 with 160 gardens and 600 green spaces.
In 1754 Toulouse opened its first public gardens, the Jardin Royal, which lay outside the city's medieval fortifications. This was named the Mondran project and its aim was to open up a space with a wider perspective for walking and general wellbeing. This large-scale project, which included the Grand Rond, the quaysides and the facades along the banks of the Garonne, transformed the city.
Later, during the 19th century, Toulouse's Jardin des Plantes (botanical gardens) were created. In the 1970s, several inner-city garden projects were brought to the city's inhabitants. At the same time, town planners designed several parks including Compans-Cafarelli, Maourine and Reynerie.
The city's parks and gardens are very diverse, ranging from the Japanese garden in the business district of Compans-Caffarelli to the Prairie des Filtres park on the banks of the River Garonne.
Other gardens such as the Jardin des Plantes, Grand-Rond and the Jardin Royal date back a very long time.
Finally, on the outskirts of the city, Reynerie park offers a haven of peace. Since 1971, Toulouse has boasted four sports and leisure grounds, situated on the outskirts of the city in four different directions:
- To the west, La Ramée boasts a 93-acre lake and almost 700 acres of parkland.
- To the south, the 700-acre park of Pech-David lies 130 metres above the Garonne and overlooks the city and its industrial zone.
- To the north, Sesquières park offers almost 300 acres of green space and a 30-acre lake on which you can waterski.
- To the east of the city is Argoulets park.
Finally, redevelopment of the exhibition centre following its move to a new location will bring about the creation of Toulouse's very own Central Park and a new "oxygen bottle for the city", according to former mayor Pierre Cohen. Situated on an island on the Garonne River, Ile du Ramier, the park really will be in the heart of the city.
Toulouse's avenues, paths and waterways have been planted with a large number of trees. Dominant species are plane trees (approx. 9,000), poplar (approx. 5,000), lime (approx. 4,000), hackberry (approx. 3,000), Stone Pine (approx. 1,500) and cedar (approx. 700).
The city has around 500,000 trees in total, of which 160,000 are looked after by the city council.
As well as the trees, the council grows more than 450,000 plants each year in the municipal greenhouses to decorate the city with flowers.
Click here to find out more on sustainable development in Toulouse.