As near to the Spanish border as it is to the Mediterranean, this sunny red-brick city has long been known as a place of welcome and diversity, far removed from the divisive politics of Paris. In contrast to much of the French south, the far right, with its virulent anti-immigrant stance, has little presence here. Nor does radical Islam.
Toulouse is by no means without racism, anti-Semitism, crime or the deep social segregation that marks many French cities, but with a culture shaped by successive waves of immigration, it is described by its inhabitants as a place of particular tolerance.
Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards fled the Franco dictatorship into France after the Spanish Civil War, and many settled here. So, too, did the pieds noirs, the French expelled from newly independent Algeria in 1962, as well as the harkis, the Algerians who had backed the French colonialists, and thousands of Jews.