Toulouse is the capital of the French department of Haute-Garonne and of the region of Occitanie. The city is on the banks of the River Garonne, from the Mediterranean Sea, from the Atlantic Ocean and from Paris. It is the fourth-largest city in France, with, 466,297 inhabitants as of January 2014.
The Toulouse Metro area, with 1 312 304 inhabitants, as of 2014, is Frances fourth-largest metropolitan area, after Paris, Lyon and Marseille, ahead of Lille and Bordeaux.
Toulouse is the centre of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus, the Galileo positioning system, the SPOT satellite system, the Airbus Group, ATR and the Aerospace Valley. It also hosts the European headquarters of Intel and CNESs Toulouse Space Centre, the largest space centre in Europe. Thales Alenia Space, and Astrium Satellites also have a significant presence in Toulouse. The University of Toulouse is one of the oldest in Europe and, with more than 103,000 students, it is the fourth-largest university campus in France, after the Universities of Paris, Lyon and Lille.
The air route between Toulouse–Blagnac and Paris Orly is the busiest in Europe, transporting 2.4 million passengers in 2014.
The city was the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom in the 5th century and the capital of the provinces of France|province of Languedoc in the Late Middle Ages and early modern period, making it the unofficial capital of the cultural region of Occitania. It is now the capital of the Occitanie region, the largest region in Metropolitan France.
A city with unique architecture made of pinkish terracotta bricks, which earned it the nickname la Ville Rose, Toulouse counts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Canal du Midi, and the Basilica of St. Sernin, the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, designated in 1998 because of its significance to the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route.
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