Harry's Free Tour

Duration: 3h
Languages: English
Guru: Harry
Quality Verified Registered on September 02, 2019

Hi, I'm the guy that'll show you the fun things that there are to do in Toulouse and will share with you the dramatic events that have occurred (not just the dry boring history.) I am a writer, researcher, barman, quizmaster and history fanatic. Over 20 years ago I moved from Edinburgh to Toulouse. That's from Rain and Whisky to Sun and Swimming Pools. And no, as much as I miss my people I've never, ever regretted the decision. I love this place, I love how alive it is and always has been. And if you let me show it to you, you will too.

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  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free

Tour description

Hi. I've lived here over 20 years now and have spent quite a lot of that time trying to write an Historical Fiction of this city. What does that mean for you? It means I've studied its History with a passion and have always regarded its Historical events through the lens of "How could this event best be told in narrative form?" Which is what I do. I tell stories. True stories of things that happened here in Toulouse. But stories, nevertheless.

On this Tour you you will see…

  • Place du Capitole
  • Rue Saint Rome
  • Hotel Assezat
  • Pont Neuf
  • La Daurade and la Basilique
  • Les Jacobins
  • Rue de Taur
  • La Basilica St Sernin

And, although the History stuff does tend to wander I try to make its telling as linear as possible.

I will cover… 

  • Medieval Toulouse
  • The Cathars
  • The Albigensian Crusade
  • The Inquisition
  • The Canal du Midi
  • The Revolution in Toulouse
  • The Great Flood of 1875
  • and a lot more…

Things like the Capitouls, the Troubadours and their influence, a bit of the Ligne Aeropostale, some Martydom by Bull, the Resistance and all the fun of the Black Plague.

I won't leave you ignorant either as to where is best to eat and drink in town and what other things there are to do. I always try my best but constrained as I am by the limitations of time and geography I cannot cover everything I would like.
Most notably lacking from my Tour will be mention of Toulouse's Blue Dye Trade, the rebellion of the Huguenots and a visit to the Cathedral. There is (of course) lots of other stuff I have to leave out but these three pain me the most. Sorry.   

P.S.  In the summer I tend to open up some afternoon tours. These are less reliable than the morning tours. If you book an afternoon tour understand that it may get  cancelled if it gets too hot.  Around 35c is ok with a bit of wind but from around 38c or over the tour is probabaly going to be cancelled a couple of days before. With that kind of heat we'd all just be feeling like rotisserie chickens anyway! It's no fun. Those are the kind of days where you want to find a cocktail and some air conditioning.


1. I sometimes get involved in the subject matter. I never tire of telling my stories but if English is a foreign language to you I may at times talk too quickly. Let me know and I will slow. I try to remember but... hell! How do you give a passionate tour while talking slowly and carefully?

2. I like variety in the world. I like religions. In my opinion the Modern day Catholic church and the Dominican Order are organizations that give a lot of people hope and strength and help have my full support. The Pre-Enlightenment Catholic Church was not so nice. Not all saints were saintly and the first century of the existence of the Dominican Order and its expansion of the Inquisition and what they did was positively evil. If you have a problem with any of these statements and/or can't bear to hear ill spoken of the church or the Dominican Order in any context then you REALLY don't want to take my tour. I'm not here to offend and yet -even avoiding all conjecture- I keep managing to do so. It's not through some wish to be contentious, more a refusal to give an anodyne or sterile tour. That's just not me.

3. If you've come for the match (any match) and you're just looking to find out where the good restaurants and bars are and what there is to do I will cover it all (I know them well) but unless you're also really, really into history you might be bored. "Too much information." is a comment I get a lot of. I'm sorry.
There are other tours and they are all shorter and may be more fit for purpose. I'm not trying to be rid of you I just say this because - you're on Vacation, you want to have fun! And I'm not here to bore you. I try to make the tour as funny and entertaining as possible but I accept that history just isn't everyone's bag.

4. I am a Scot (from Scotland) I know I sound American. It's a complicated thing. ;)

Final Note.

Percentage wise by time spent my History Tour is divided by the relevance of the era to the Modern day city (I.M.O). All in all, in the tour it comes out about -

15% Antiquity
5% Dark Ages
35% Medieval
5% Renaissance
15% Industrial era/Post
15% Architecture
10% Food Places/Stuff to do.

The percentages may vary depending on whether people show a particular interest in one era. And the tour may overrun if everyone seems like there having fun, but rarely more than by 10 mins.

Basically I tried to create the Tour I'd like to go on.

There. That's done. I hope I haven't put you off too much. Toulouse is an amazing place and its history isn't so much drama as melodrama and I love telling people all about it.

I look forward to seeing you on the Tour.  Take care.


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What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse, France
    Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse, France
    View on map

    I'll be in a hat and the Hawaiian shirt waiting across the street from the cafe "Les Delices de Saturnin." I will be standing in the grounds of the Basilica Saint-Sernin at the point where where rue Saint- Bernard joins Place Saint-Sernin. Type "Harry's Free Tour Toulouse" into google if you require a GPS pin. If you can see doors into the Basilica then you are in the WRONG place. The Cafe "Les Delices de Saturnin" is across the street from the rdv and is open every day from 8 if you want to arrive early and grab a coffee or if you need to hide from the rain.

  • 1
    Outside visit
  • 2
    Outside visit
  • 3
    Outside visit
    Convento de los Jacobinos
  • 4
    Outside visit
    Quai de la Daurade
  • 5
    Outside visit
    Hotel d'Assézat
  • 6
    Outside visit
    Église Saint-Jérôme de Toulouse
  • 7
    Outside visit
    Marché Victor Hugo

How much does this tour cost?

Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).

Tour opinions

897 ratings
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Annie 11 Feb 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Feb 2024
Harry is a real character and incredibly knowledgeable! We really enjoyed his tour and highly recommend it.
Tom Burrows 09 Feb 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Feb 2024
My wife and I were visiting Toulouse from the UK and took Harry's tour. I cannot recommend this tour enough if you're looking to learn about the city's history and culture, whilst still also seeing the major sights and getting your bearings in the city. Harry is friendly, welcoming, knowledgeable and very enthusiastic about his tour which made for a fun and insightful 3 hours.
Deseré 07 Feb 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2022
Harry is well informed and an entertaining guide
Alexandre 04 Feb 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Feb 2024
I’ve been living in Toulouse for almost a year now, and so naturally I had been growing interest in the city’s origin, given its exquisite monumental architecture. At first I didn’t know how I would be able to indulge in the city’s culture, because I’ve never been much of a tour person, but Harry gives you that warm friendly speech that can never be too tiring. He’s enthusiastic and contagious and I could not recommend it enough. If your looking for a vast variety of interesting “golden nuggets” about the history & origins of Toulouse, or even if you just want to get a bunch of useful recommendations of the town, then Harry is your guy. Cheers, H (: Alex and Joana from Portugal
Annsh 04 Feb 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Feb 2024
It was amazing 😍 Harry is the Most fun and knowledgeable tour guide.
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Who is this tour for?

Suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Does not accept large group reservations.
Suitable for carrying pets.

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
A minimum of 5 people is required for the tour.
Additional costs:
The tour does not require the payment of entrance fees or additional expenses.
Free cancellation
If you will not be able to attend the tour, please cancel your booking, otherwise the guide will be waiting for you.
Payment methods
Only cash payment is accepted.
When do you want to go?
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