Basilica of Our Lady of the Daurade (Notre-Dame de la Daurade)
The neoclassical facade and pediments of the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Daurade are an impressive sight on the riverfront promenade in Toulouse. There’s been a church on this site for over 1,500 years, and there’s plenty of history and intrigue to explore here.
The first building on the riverside site of Notre-Dame de la Daurade was a temple dedicated to Apollo, the sun god in Greek mythology. It was converted to a church in the year 410 AD, when the then Roman emperor Honorius allowed pagan sites to be converted to Christianity. The current building dates from the 19th century and was constructed in the neoclassical style.
The church hosts regular orchestral concerts, with performances on the basilica’s grand organ often taking center stage. When taking a stroll around the structure, seek out the chapel, housing the rare Black Madonna of Toulouse, also known as Notre-Dame la Noire, protector of the city and its mothers-to-be.
Things to know before you go
- Entrance to the basilica is free.
- For the best view of the exterior cross over the river and look back at the church.
- The church is not accessible to wheelchair users.
- Try to spot the bell tower, which seems to be absent
- Pets are not allowed
How to get there
The Notre-Dame de la Daurade Basilica is located on the banks of the River Garonne in the Old Quarter of Toulouse. It can be reached by taxi or bus from Toulouse-Blagnac airport, taking roughly 15 minutes by car. Alternatively, it can be reached from Toulouse central train station (Gare Toulouse) taking roughly 10 minutes by taxi or 25 minutes on foot.
When to get there
The basilica is open daily year-round. Toulouse city and the surrounding region enjoy a temperate climate with plenty of sunny weather. In spring or early autumn, the temperatures are agreeably warm, summer months are mostly hot with a humid climate while winters are mostly mild and wet.
Visit Place de la Capitole
In the heart of Toulouse and flanked by the imposing façade of the Capitole building—home to the city hall and a famed opera house—it’s almost impossible to visit Toulouse without spending time in Place de la Capitole. Stroll the square, stop for coffee at one of the sidewalk cafes, and soak up the southern French atmosphere.
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- Garonne River
- Pont Neuf
- Place du Capitole
- Museum of Augustins (Musée des Augustins)
- St. Sernin Basilica (Basilique Saint-Sernin)
- Toulouse Cathedral (Cathedrale St-Etienne)
- Les Abattoirs Museum
- Space City (Cite de l'Espace)
- Fronton Wine Region
- Albi Cathedral
- Toulouse-Lautrec Museum (Musée Toulouse-Lautrec)
- Black Mountains (Montagne Noire)
- Cabardès Wine Region