Do you dream of infinity and want to discover the mysterious world of the cosmos? Then visit the Cité de l’espace in Toulouse! Find out all the practical information you need for your visit.
Climb aboard the Ariane rocket, take a walk on the Moon, discover the constellations and more. Why not make your childhood dreams come true with a visit to the Cité de l’espace? Since 1997, Toulouse has been sharing with the public the marvellous world of the Universe and the workings of our planet.
How do astronauts live in their weightless capsule? How did the cosmos come into being? What is the history of the conquest of space? The interactive exhibitions and events will help you discover the world of aerospace in an intelligent and entertaining way. A real playground for adults and children alike, the site is well worth a day’s visit.
In the evenings, there are also evening visits in the summer to admire the sky and understand how the universe is organised. Not sure where to start? Here’s all the information you need to visit the Cité de l’espace in Toulouse!
History of the Cité de l’espace in Toulouse
The Cité de l’espace was born out of Toulouse City Council’s desire to create a place where the public could discover the history, achievements and projects of mankind in space. In 1994, the city council and its partners commissioned Jean-Noël Plachez, former project manager for the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, to design and build the museum.
At the same time, it purchased the land needed for its construction. The Cité de l’espace was inaugurated on 28 June 1997. Since then there have been a number of developments, including the deployment of a full-scale replica of the Mir space station in 1998, and the creation of a permanent exhibition room devoted to the planet Mars in 2002.
Its efforts to improve accessibility were rewarded in October 2003 when it was awarded the ‘Tourisme et Handicap’ label. In 2006, an area dedicated to children was opened, and in 2013 the museum acquired a Martian meteorite. In over 20 years of existence, almost 5 million visitors have walked through the doors of this centre for scientific culture.
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What to see and do at the Cité de l’espace
The Cité de l’espace offers a remarkable plunge into infinity. Nearly 2,500 m2 of interactive exhibitions allow you to learn more about space, space flight, the weather and our planet. Renowned for its scientific value, the Cité is also a fun place accessible to everyone.
Inside, as you wander through the exhibition halls, adults and children are invited to discover celestial mechanics, remote communication, life in space and the exploration of the universe. The tour begins with a model of the first Sputnik artificial satellite, the first object to be sent beyond the atmosphere more than 50 years ago.
There are experiments in each zone:
- Entering simulators to “walk on the Moon”
- Touching the Moon rock
- Watch first-hand films
You’ll even find a branch of Météo France with a specialist on hand to answer your questions!
Outside, 5 hectares of gardens feature life-size replicas of spacecraft. The Ariane 5 rocket towers 53 metres above the Cité de l’espace. Curious visitors can also climb aboard the Mir station or the Soyuz.
Perhaps you’ll also be tempted by the gyro-extreme, an attraction that replicates the astronaut training system? You’ll soon lose your terrestrial bearings! A large telescope lets you admire the vault of heaven.
An IMAX® cinema lets you experience the conquest of space immersed in the ISS international space station. Finally, the Planetarium invites children and adults to take a fun journey into space under a six hundred square metre sky.
Children can take part in a wide range of experiments to help them understand while having fun. Finding your bearings by looking at the stars, recognising the planets, putting on a spacesuit and sleeping standing up are just some of the activities dedicated to the youngest visitors.
How to visit the Cité de l’espace in Toulouse?
As the site is very large, you should allow at least a day to visit it in its entirety. To make sure you get the most out of your visit, it’s best to check the timetable 48 hours in advance. Activities cannot be booked in advance; all you have to do is turn up at the times indicated.
That way, you can make the most of your time. When you arrive, take a guide map with you. You can also consult it online or download it to plan your visit in advance.
It’s a good idea to start your visit with a session at the planetarium or IMAX cinema, so you can see things the way most tourists do.
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Visits with children
Do you have children with you? Here are the places dedicated to them:
- The children’s base (in the gardens, access via the Ariane rocket)
- The little astronauts’ square
- The water rocket animation
- The Stellarium and its two animated projections
Visits for people with disabilities
If you are accompanied by a disabled person, here are some tips for your visit:
- Follow the dotted paths
- Read the recommendations in the Comfort section of the guide map.
- A wheelchair or folding seat is available at reception.
- An audio-description system for the auditoriums is available for the visually impaired, as well as a Braille presentation of the site.
- A practical guide and a booklet in Braille and large print are provided for the site and gardens.
- There is a script for the films shown in the Imax, Planetarium and Stellarium for the hearing impaired.
How do I get to the Cité de l’espace in Toulouse?
The site is located on avenue Jean Gonord, 31500 Toulouse.
If you have a GPS, the geographical coordinates are: latitude 43°35’12 ” North – longitude 1°29’38 ” East.
- From Toulouse city centre
Allow 15 minutes and follow the signs for “Cité de l’espace – direction Castres”.
- From the airport
It takes 25 minutes following the signs. If you take the ring road, take exit 17.
Please note Parking is free on site.
Line 37: “Cité de l’espace” stop
Line A: to Jolimont
Line B: to Ramonville
Then take bus line 37, “Cité de l’espace” stop
Cité de l’espace opening times and prices
The Cité de l’espace in Toulouse follows a precise timetable, which can be consulted on their website.
On opening days, the museum usually welcomes visitors from 10am to 6pm or 10am to 5pm. In some weeks, the museum is also open from 9.30am to 6.30pm, and on certain days there are late-night openings until 11pm. The ticket office closes 1 hour before the site closes.
The museum also closes for a few days each month.
The day ticket gives access to the gardens and exhibitions for one day.
- Adults: €26
- Reduced*: €23
- Children/Students*: €19.5 (€17 concessions)
Night rates (July-August)
- Full price: €29
- Reduced*: €26.50
- Children/young people*: €22.50 (€21 concessions)
Free for children under 5.
There are also year-round passes, group rates and day passes. Visit the website.
*jobseekers, disabled people with proof of disability
**children aged 5 to 18 inclusive and students with their card.
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