St Sernin Basilica
St Sernin Basilica © Eric Pouhier
Of the many beautiful buildings in Toulouse, the St Sernin Basilica is one that should not be missed. The church, built from the region's distinctive rose-coloured bricks, is the largest Romanesque church in Europe and contains many beautiful frescoes and sculptures. The Basilica was built around 1100, and contains many relics, as well as the graves of Saint Sernin and Saint Honoratus. Saint Sernin was the first Bishop of Toulouse and was martyred in the year 250; it is largely due to his remains in the crypt that the basilica is an essential stop on the pilgrimage of Saint Jacques de Compostela which culminates in Arles. There are also some 19th-century treasures on display for visitors, including chalices and ciborium. The main attraction, however, is the building itself, which is astounding in its size and design and quite unlike most churches found in France. The mix of architectural styles from different centuries is what makes it feel so original. There are free guided tours of the basilica on weekends but they are conducted in French only. Although entrance to the main area of the church is free, visitors will have to pay small amounts to enter certain areas.
Address: Place Saint-Sernin