Top 10 things to do in Montauban

Montauban

Looking for a place to stay in Tarn-et-Garonne? Here are the must-sees in Montauban, the department’s famous town!

One of the highlights of the Occitanie region is the town, which has been classified as an « Art and History » site. Indeed, Montauban is famous for being the birthplace of many important artists of the belle époque. One of the greatest painters of the 20th century, Ingres, the famous sculptor Bourdelle and Gouges all grew up in this urban city on the banks of the Tarn.

Once a medieval trading and military town, Montauban has evolved with the times. Today, Montauban proudly exhibits its tumultuous past, long shunned by royalty, and is modernizing. So don’t hesitate to make an extended stopover in Montauban to discover all its secrets and its indomitable historical past.

Let’s take a look at our top 10 must-sees and must-do’s in Montauban.

1. The Foulcault course

Cours Foucault

Photo credit: Facebook – Office de tourisme du Grand Montauban

It’s the city’s green lung. This long park covers no less than five hectares and offers a shady interlude during your visit to Montauban. The course was originally laid out to retain the land that was collapsing along the Tarn. This action provides Montauban residents with a place to relax and enjoy a pleasant stroll through the town center.

At the far end of the park, you can see the imposing monument to the First World War dead, created by the town’s beloved painter, Bourdelle.

2. Bourdelle’s works

Bourdelle Montauban

Photo credit: Flickr – NCinDC

The painter from the Tarn town is one of the 20th century’s most renowned masters. That’s why, if you visit Montauban, it’s impossible not to stumble across his works in the streets.

There are eight of his sculptures hidden around town. Take a stroll to meet each of them and go back in time on a treasure hunt.

3. Montauban museums

Musée Ingres Bourdelle

Musée Ingres Bourdelle – Photo credit: Wikipedia – Didier Descouens

There are many museums to visit in this historic town. Here are three of them that will catch your eye if you’re visiting Montauban.

Musée Ingres Bourdelle

It is housed in the former episcopal palace. The museum was created in 1820 and exhibits all the studio works of the famous Montalban painter, Ingres.

It’s one of the city’s most emblematic landmarks. Since its creation, it has been modernized, enlarged and even digitized. One floor is dedicated to the works of Ingres, and another to those of Bourdelle.

Victor Brun Museum

This natural history museum is named after naturalist Victor Brun. As you enter, admire the Pinder circus elephant and a collection of birds from around the world. Slide shows present the flora and fauna of the Tarn-et-Garonne region.

If you’re wondering what to do in Montauban, a visit to this museum is an excellent way to get an overview of the wonders of nature. Its many collections are sure to delight anyone curious about the animal world.

Toy Museum

Here, you’ll be able to contemplate the whole world of « Meccano » toys. The two thousand items on display juggle toy trains, toy boats, toy soldiers, cars and Tour de France caravans.

There’s also a games room, where you can play out your own theatrical scenes, or take part in competitions. Family rates are available.

4. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church, Villenouvelle

Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste

Photo credit: Facebook – Office de tourisme du Grand Montauban

Villenouvelle church has a whole history behind it. Its neo-Gothic style features beautiful flying buttresses and vaulted ceilings. Inside, a stained glass window by Montalban painter Gaston Célarié commemorates the First World War.

5. A ride on the little Montalban train

Petit Train Montauban

Photo credit: Facebook – Office de tourisme du Grand Montauban

What better way to visit Montauban and its many points of interest than by train? Explore this city of art and history on board the little tourist train. The guided tour will take you through many of the city’s most important landmarks and narrow streets.

In just under an hour, you’ll have seen the city’s key sights from the outside, without needing your best walking shoes.

6. Old bridge

Montauban le Pont Vieux

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Didier Descouens

It’s the perfect way to reach two of the city’s main points of interest. The Pont Vieux is the link between the Villebourbon district and the historic heart of the city. In itself, it traces much of the city’s history. Dating back to the 14th century, it is a veritable vestige of its time, towering over the Tarn with all its impressive height.

Walk across and contemplate the diamond-shaped floor designs, with white and black pebbles from the Tarn and Garonne rivers. This is why it has been listed as a Historic Monument since 1919.

7. Place Nationale

Place Nationale Montauban

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Anibal Trejo

This historic square is right in the heart of the city. It’s where the city’s lively life has always been, and where you can admire the harmonious facades of the city’s buildings.

Each of them conceals imposingly curved buildings with inner courtyards adorned with stair towers and galleries. You’d never know it from the outside!

8. Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral

Cathédrale Montauban

Photo credit: Shutterstock – FredP

Louis XIV himself had this imposing cathedral built in the heart of Montauban. Built in white stone, its purpose at the time was to serve as a reminder of the supremacy of Catholic royalty over the rebellious town.

Indeed, Montauban was Protestant for a long time. The cathedral’s furnishings reflect this historic period, with a Napoleon III baldachin, a 17th-century organ and 18th-century stalls.

9. The plant garden

Jardins des plantes

Photo credit: Facebook – Office de tourisme du Grand Montauban

A visit to Montauban also means a stroll through its plant garden. Here, you’ll be able to admire a three-hectare area, with trees from the ends of the earth and colorful flower arrangements.

The park has become the world’s first public theme park thanks to augmented reality technology and the Magic Xperience application.

10. Villebourbon district

Quai Villebourbon

Photo credit: Facebook – Office de tourisme du Grand Montauban

This elegant district lies on the left bank of the Tarn, the river that runs through the town. Along the quay, you’ll be able to see the town’s 17th-century mansions and other magnificent Art Deco architecture.

This legendary district of Montauban is home to many of the city’s dye works, tile factories, flour mills and factories, reminiscent of the prosperous days when the city made its living from the textile industry.

11. Other activities in Montauban

Centre aquatique Ingreo

Center aquatique Ingreo – Photo credits: Wikipedia – Didier Descouens

If you are planning a longer stay to visit Montauban, here are some additional ideas:

  • A guided tour of the Centre du Patrimoine to see a beautiful permanent exhibition
  • The market on the allées du Consul Dupuy in the shade of the plane trees every Saturday morning.
  • A wellness break at the Ingréo aquatic complex
  • A street art tour of the city
  • Visit one of the city’s eighty private mansions

How do I get to Montauban?

Depending on where you’re coming from to visit Montauban, there are a number of different options.

By plane

If you’re coming from the north of France, choose a domestic flight, which is quicker and more comfortable. Montauban has its own airport, but you’re better off flying into Toulouse-Blagnac! You’ll then need to hire a car to get to Montauban.

Don’t hesitate to consult a Ulysses flight comparator to find all the available offers at the best price.

By train

You can also get to Montauban by train. It’s the second-shortest way to reach your destination. The station is connected from Paris, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

By car

From Paris, the A20 freeway will take you to Montauban in just over 6 hours. If you’re coming from Bordeaux, theA62 will get you there in 2h30. Alternatively, from Montpellier or Marseille, the A9 then A61 freeways will take you to the capital of Tarn-et-Garonne.

Where to stay in Montauban?

To get the most out of your stay in Montauban, it’s best to stay in the city center or in an area with excellent transport links. The Beausoleil haut, historic center and Fau districts are the best places to stay in Montauban. There’s plenty of choice and some very nice hotels in town. Take a look at all the offers available by consulting a hotel comparator directly.

Some charming Airbnb properties will also make the difference in your selection of accommodation in Montauban. Beautiful addresses are available from as little as fifty euros per night, with all the comforts you could wish for.

Pack your bags and head off to explore Montauban!

Map of hotels and accommodation – Occitanie