A guide to serviced offices and office space to rent in Toulouse as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in Toulouse.
History & Geography
Toulouse, capital of the beautiful Languedoc region, is located on the bend of the Garonne River where it arcs towards the Atlantic. The city’s location in the middle of southern France has ensured that it has always functioned as an important point of trade between the Pyrenees Mountains, Atlantic and Mediterranean. In the third century BCE the Gauls settled in the area and Toulouse, then called Tolosa, became an important and wealthy city, due in no small part to the gold and silver mines in the vicinity. The city was taken over the Romans in 106 BCE and became a valued military outpost for their empire. Eventually the settlement grew into a city and became one of the most important areas for the Romans in western Europe. The city boasted aqueducts, a circus, roads, a sewage system and a forum. In the early fifth century however, as Rome weakened, Toulouse fell under the influence of the Visigoths and became part of their kingdom. Next it was the turn of the Franks, who defeated the Visigoths and took Toulouse in 507 CE. The Franks, including the famous dynasty of the Counts of Toulouse, successfully ruled the city until the Middle Ages, when the city technically fell under the auspices of the King of France. The Middle Ages saw the city continue to expand, though the Dark Ages saw little advancement in learning or civilization. In 1229 the University of Toulouse was founded, however the city was devastated during the 100 Years’ War with England. Subsequently in the 17th century Toulouse was ravaged by plague and its population decreased substantially. When the French Revolution occurred the clergy in Toulouse lost much of their power, as did the city itself. However by the end of the 19th century the city was once again considered one of the most important in the country. Toulouse was occupied by the Germans in WWII though not extensively damaged by fighting. Today Toulouse continues in its role as the most important city southern France and an economic powerhouse in its own right.
Toulouse has a fairly varied economy with a selection of industries very highly represented in the city. Recently Newsweek rated the city as the fifth most dynamic in the world. The largest industry is aeronautics with several well-known companies calling the city home. Airbus has its headquarters in the city as well as assembly lines for its A320, A330, A340 and A380 models. Toulouse is also one of the bases of the Aerospace industry, with the French space agency (CNE) running the Toulouse Space Centre from the city. Additionally, the EU’s Galileo positioning system and the SPOT satellite system are based in Toulouse. Electronics, information technology and biotechnology are also major industries in the city. Toulouse is also a university town, and the University of Toulouse is one of the oldest and most respected in Europe. It is attended by almost 100,000 students annually. Finally tourism also has a significant role in the economy of the city, with thousands of tourists visiting every year.
Toulouse and the Languedoc region is blessed by some of the best weather in Europe, boasting a Mediterranean, temperate climate which renders the city hot in the summer and merely pleasantly cool in the winter months. As one of France’s oldest cities Toulouse also has an abundance of culture and breathtaking architecture. The Capitole de Toulouse, the heart of the municipal administration in the city dates from the late 18th¢ury. The Pont Neuf is even older, constructed in the 16th century. The Canal du Midi, on which it is possible to take cruises is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and wends its way from the Garonne to the Etang du Thau lake on the Mediterranean. During summer the Jardin des Plantes, a vast botanical garden dating from the early 18th century is idyllic and shouldn’t be missed. Toulouse also has a plethora of palaces dating from the 18th and 17tth and 16th century, including the Hotel d’Assezat, the Hotel de Vieux Raisin, the Hotel de Bernuy and the Hotel de Bagis. Many visitors also take in the city’s religious buildings, the most famous of which is the Saint-Sernin Basilica, the largest Romanesque church in Europe. The city’s unique cuisine is also popular with visitors, including the Saucisses de Toulouse, a herb sausage unique to the city. Of course the area also specializes in foie gras, the liver of an overfed duck or goose.
Toulouse boasts an extensive bus system as well as an efficient metro, called the VAL. The VAL lines cover the entire city and the surrounding areas. Recently a bicycle rental system has been introduced called the Velo Toulouse, which is accessible from automated stations scattered throughout the city. Weekly, monthly or yearly subscriptions are available. The main railway station in the city is Toulouse Matabiau, which has regional and national service. Toulouse is served by Toulouse Bagnac, the main local airport and Toulouse Lasbordes, a small non-commercial airport.
France was particularly badly hit by the economic crisis, however certain regions suffered much more than others. Toulouse’s economy survived better than most mainly due to the strength of its aeronautics industry. Due to the recent delivery of new projects Toulouse is somewhat oversupplied with office space. Currently the average rent in Toulouse for prime space is approximately EUR 148 per square metre per year. For second-hand and Grade B space rent is approximately EUR 123 per square metre per year.