By | 16th January 2018

Should you rent a car in Toulouse?

Do you need a car in Toulouse > Should you rent a car in Toulouse France > Toulouse ( TLS ) Do you need a car in Toulouse? Is it worth hiring a car in Toulouse? Should you rent a car in Toulouse?

Toulouse Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]


  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Toulouse but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
  • Cost factors include - price of car hire (peak and off peak season), car hire extras, fuel, tolls and parking costs.
  • Quality factors include - scenic drives, road quality and upkeep, general safety and congestion levels.
  • A complete index of all 10 factors will be uploaded shortly.

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]



  • This is the very lowest price we could find for a one week car rental period in Toulouse during the quiet season.
  • You will almost always end up paying more than this figure, but any extra costs or supplementary charges are usually determined by the renter, so we cannot easily compare like with like.
  • In many cases, rental companies will offer a cheap rental and then expect you to take out expensive insurance waivers. There are always ways to avoid this!

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]



  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "why not" section for more suggestions.
  • For most featured destinations, the peak season will be during the summer, typically July and August for northern hemisphere destinations. However, peak demand might occur at different times, for example in some ski resorts or winter sun destinations etc.

Free parking score

Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking. Total 228 - of which 104 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Free hotel parking is very useful to have when you are hiring a car, and it's always worth checking ahead beforehand.
  • If free hotel parking is not available, you might want to consider renting a car for a single day, rather than for your whole trip.
  • The availability (or lack of) free hotel parking can be a really important factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Toulouse, as it can be a significant extra daily cost which you won't usually be paying at home!
  • Parking costs play a very major part in our consideration of whether or not it's worth hiring a car in each destination.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

Toulouse public transport quick facts

Train score

Higher scores go to the systems which don't just take you to the most amazing places, but also to the ones which are easy to use, fast, reliable and frequent. A good train system on its own is usually enough to determine that you don't need to hire a car in many destinations.


  • [full notes trains]
  • Trains include all kinds of urban rail system from trams up to metro and suburban networks.
  • Trains also include mountain railways and cable cars.
  • Generally, places with a good rail network will automatically mean that you don't "need" to hire a car, but you can still might find that on balance you are better off by having one.

Water travel score

This is a general rating for all types of water travel, including scheduled ferries, sea / rivers cruises and excursions in Toulouse


  • [full notes - water score]
  • The water score looks at means of transport on water - it does not consider water based activities like surfing or kayaking.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel, and also including ferries and other boat services, where they are part of the public transport network.


  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Toulouse good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?
  • Even if public transport is cheap and reliable, you might still feel that you should hire a car in Toulouse because it will still give you more flexibility to reach out-of-the-way places, especially in rural areas.

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Toulouse. It includes factors such as the quality of the street environment, and whether you are likely to feel safe walking or cycling, together with the availability of bicycle hire and the ease of linking walking or cycling routes with public transport.


  • [full notes - active score] walking (city) | hiking | cycling (city /  country).
  • A high active travel score means that you might not need a car in Toulouse, because you can see everything you need to see using a combination of your own two feet and the public transport system.

Car rental in - Toulouse Need v worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Toulouse", "is it worth hiring a car in Toulouse", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme. Here we break each one down according to the criteria we use for each question. This is a weighted score based on the values above. These are explained further in the text which follows - [#why] [#whynot]. Do you need a car in Toulouse?

Do you need a car in Toulouse?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city. For the lowest "need" score, the destination should have a combination of excellent all-round public transport, great opportunities for walking and cycling, together with poor value car hire or generally poor quality roads. 
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "do I need a car in  Toulouse " will swing towards a strong no, because you can do absolutely fine without one).
Is it worth hiring a car in Toulouse?

Is it worth hiring a car in Toulouse?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares? This question mainly looks at issues of cost and practicality.
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "is it worth hiring a car in  Toulouse" will swing towards whichever option offers the lowest overall cost for a group of 2-4 people travelling together.
Should you rent a car in Toulouse?

Should you rent a car in Toulouse?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
  • The final "carometer" swing is much more opinion based, and it takes into account which options will give you the truly best travel experience (n our humble opinion of course). Where a destination offers an excellent score with or without a car, the swing will go towards whichever option we feel gives the most truly unforgettable experience.
  • Ultimately, it's your choice whether or not you rent a car here. We're trying to give you something that's sufficiently far enough away from a "maybe" to help you make that choice. Ultimately, people only come to us because they are uncertain, but we don't really know what each person's preferences are. Whether we say you should or you shouldn't rent a car in  Toulouse, you might also want to look up some of our other cities to see how  Toulouse compares with other destinations in  France or  Europe.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

What does everyone else do?

Do most people hire a car in Toulouse?

This is based on our observations of (a) car rental facilities and (b) what we think most people will do here. It's not an exact figure, just an estimate of how likely people are to get hold of a rental car here.
  • his is based on the percentage of people "in the market" who we think are likely to hire a car. This includes anyone arriving on holiday here who would usually hire a car on their travels, so it doesn't include people who don't usually drive (or don't drive), people staying with friends etc.


Visitors per year (million)

  • Cities with more visitors are more likely to have more complex airport car rental arrangements, and generally they will also have better public transport, but this is not always the case, especially in North America.


  • [full notes - do as everyone else does?]
  • You may wish to go with the flow, or you might prefer to avoid doing the most popular or obvious option. This will vary according to the range of choice available. This tends to be much higher in destinations which are closer to the middle of the car or no car scale.

Who is travelling?

Your group size and travel budget has a major impact on whether or not getting a rental car is good value compared to using public transport as your main means of getting around. Ultimately, these are all "worth" questions:

Is it worth renting a car in Toulouse if I am a solo / budget traveller?

Generally, hiring a car is not good value for solo travellers for multiple reasons, especially as most of the costs of renting apply to the car, not the occupants. With public transport, the reverse is usually true! However, there are always some places where you will need a car, simply because they are almost impossible to reach using public transport.

Is it worth renting a car in Toulouse for 2 people travelling together?

A rental car can be good value for couples or for friends travelling together, but since most cars come with at least four seats, it's often still better value to use public transport. However, if you prefer to keep yourselves to yourselves, then you might still want to rent.

Is it worth renting a car in Toulouse for families?

Families of groups of 3-4 people travelling together will always get the best value from a rental car. However, you may also be burdened with extra costs for car seat hire, and you well also prefer to use local trains and buses, if they are quicker than getting stuck in heavy traffic.

Where are you staying?

The place you are staying, together with the sort of places you want to see, will have a large impact on whether or not you "need" to rent a car:

Do you need a car in Toulouse if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

Most large towns or purpose built holiday resorts will have some kind of public transport, whereas parking provision will vary greatly from one place to the next. 

Do you need a car in Toulouse if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

Typically you may be staying in an apartment or hmall house on the edge of a resort or urban area. These places usually have some level of public transport, but not as much as city / resort centres.

Do you need a car in Toulouse if we are staying in a rural area?

Rural proprties might include larger villas or apartments, but they can still be within a short walk of a bus stop or local railway station, and the opportunities for hiking and cycling might also be substantial, depending on the destination.

What is your attitude towards driving?

We can give you suggestions based on whatever we consider to be a "typical" visitor to Toulouse, but ultimately your decision is also going to be influenced by whether or not you ususally prefer to hire a car in the first place.

Should I hire a car in Toulouse if I prefer not to drive?

This is especially the case when there is only one main driver in the group, and it's based on the attitude of the driver rather than their passengers! The main driver may also simply prefer to use public transport, or they may prefer to take scenic train journeys where available.

Should we rent a car in Toulouse if we are easy either way?

This is more aimed at the typical visitor who isn't that bothered about how they get around, as long as it is the most convenient / best value option.

Should I rent a car in Toulouse if I prefer to drive?

For people who usually prefer the freedom and flexibility of having a hire car. Is it still best to rent a car in Toulouse, or are there good reasons not to?

The city is best known as a gateway to the Pyrenees and also as the hub for Europe’s aerospace industry. Anyone flying in for a ski holiday should easily be able to take a coach transfer, but what about visiting elsewhere, or hitting the Pyrenees outside the ski season?

Do you need a car in Toulouse? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Toulouse?", this often breaks down to two key questions:
  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Toulouse? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?
Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Toulouse as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Toulouse?
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Why should you rent a car in Toulouse?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Toulouse?
  • Limitations of public transport — Toulouse only has a relatively small metro system, and a few major railway lines heading out of the city. Although you can take the TGV to Toulouse from Paris or from Perpignan, services are relatively slow compared to the fast dedicated lines which are available elsewhere.
    Once outside the edge of the city, the landscape becomes rural very quickly, and it is much easier to get around with a car.
  • Scenic drives — there is plenty of good scenery heading out in just about any direction from Toulouse, especially to the southwest, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Take the local road out to Rieumes for the start of a great scenic drive – this is why so useful to get a hire car in Toulouse, although this has to be compared with the enjoyment of the scenic rail routes that also attract many tourists to this part of France.
  • Pyrenees — Toulouse is naturally a great start for a road trip through the Pyrenees Mountains.
  • Languedoc — Toulouse isn’t just about the Pyrenees. Head due east to Castres for the start of the Languedoc Natural Park for some superb lakes and mountain scenery. This area also makes for excellent cycling and walking. Although it is much easier to access this region in a hire car, you can take also the train to Castres or Mazamet.
  • Andorra — together with Barcelona, Toulouse has traditionally been one of the main gateways to the mountainous principality of Andorra, which doesn’t have any airport of its own. Whilst coach transfers are available to the major ski resorts, getting a hire car in Toulouse is a much better option for having the flexibility to drive during the summer months.
    However, as there is only one major road running through Andorra, and because of its duty-free status (and source of cheap petrol), prepare for long tailbacks!
[whynot2 num=”283″]
    • Metro — as with most other major French cities, Toulouse has a small four line metro and tram system covering the busiest parts of the city, run by Tisseo.
      This is supplemented by an RER regional rail network. One tram line (blue on system map)  runs near to the airport, but does not call directly at the terminal.
      A shuttle bus service is also available to the airport from the main (Matabiau) station and city centre.
  • Carcassonne — the superb walled city of Carcassonne is an easy day trip by train from Toulouse. You should reserve seats in advance for any of the TGV services, which take around 40 minutes, as do the regional trains. The local stopping services take just over an hour, but watch for a large gap in service (all trains) between mid-morning and late afternoon. See our Carcassonne car hire advice page for more details.
  • Ski transfers — plenty of transfers are available to the major Pyrenees ski resorts during the winter, although getting a hire car in Toulouse will provide a bit more flexibility, and it can work out as reasonable value for a group of travellers, especially when compared with some of the longer ski transfers.
  • Andorra by coach – A twice daily coach service offers year round transfers to Andorra, compensating for the principality’s lack of an airport of its own.
  • Andorra and the Pyrenees by train. Although services are by no means frequent or fast, there are a couple of superb train routes heading west of Toulouse towards the Pyrenees.
    You can head to L’Hospitalet pres-l-Andorre (approx 2 1/2 hours) for the solitary bus connections into Andorra, whereas train buffs might appreciate travelling to Latour-de-Carol (approx. 3 hours, every 2 hours), a station with three scenic railway routes heading out in different directions, each with its own gauge.
    Little Yellow Train – one of Europe’s great rail routes is the Little Yellow train on the Cerdagne line which continues from Latour down to Villefranche-de-Conflent. This 40km narrow guage route takes nearly four hours, but is one of the most treasured in France. From here you can continue back to Toulouse (aprox. 4 hours) via Perpignan and Narbonne.
    To continue onward to Barcelona, use “La Tor de Querol-Enveig” to search Renfe Cercanias trains – there are around 6 each day, usually taking just under 3 hours.

Conclusion — Should you rent a car in Toulouse? There are more than enough options for visiting Toulouse without a car, either through staying within the city itself, or through using some of the great scenic railway lines which venture into the Pyrenees. Although a hire car in Toulouse is certainly useful, we have to balance this out against some of the really beautiful rail scenic routes which are also available.


Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


What is our final score for Toulouse on the Carornocar scale?

Remember, this isn't so much a rating of the road network, or a score for what we think of the buses or trains, but it's simply a scale showing the swing between whether or not we think a rental car is a good idea here.


Toulouse Car Hire Notes

  • Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS).
  • Tisseo Metro, tram and bus.
  • Resort transfers.
  • The yellow train.

Toulouse Metro map

Metro v Hire Car in Toulouse

Is it worth getting a hire car in Toulouse or just using the metro and other public transport?

Would you hire a car in Toulouse?

Have you driven in Toulouse? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Toulouse}? Do you need a car in Toulouse? For some or all of the time? Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *