Toulouse, France

Toulouse is a city in the department of Haute-Garonne in southwestern France. It lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea and 230 km (143 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean, and 580 km (360 mi) away from Paris. With 1,202,889 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008, the Toulouse metropolitan area is the fourth-largest in France, after Paris (12.1 million), Lyon (2.1 million), and Marseille (1.7 million).
Toulouse is the centre of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus, Galileo positioning system, the SPOT satellite system, EADS, ATR and the Aerospace Valley, considered as a global cluster.
The city also hosts l'Oncopole de Toulouse, the largest cancer research centre in Europe, the European headquarters of Intel and CNES's Toulouse Space Centre (CST), the largest space centre in Europe. Thales Alenia Space, and Astrium Satellites, EADS's satellite system subsidiary, also have a significant presence in Toulouse. Its world renowned university is one of the oldest in Europe (founded in 1229) and, with more than 119,000 students, is the third-largest university campus of France after Paris and Lyon.
Toulouse was the capital of the former province of Languedoc (provinces were abolished during the French Revolution), the former Visigothic Kingdom and was the capital of the historical region of Occitania (Southern France). It is now the capital of the Midi-Pyrénées region, the largest region in metropolitan France. It is also the capital of the Haute-Garonne department.
A city with a typical architecture of Southern France, Toulouse has two historic sites added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Canal Du Midi (shared with other cities), since 1996, and the Basilica of St. Sernin under the description: World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France, since 1998.
Stade toulousain, Toulouse's main rugby union club, is a symbol of the city, holding an impressive record of nineteen Top 14 and four Heineken Cup titles.


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