With its characteristic architecture, the city of Toulouse has earned the nickname "ville rose" or "pink city" due to the colour of the local building material traditionally used - terra cotta bricks. Toulouse is now one of Europe's high-tech cities with a large number of cutting-edge businesses in the aeronautic, IT and space industry, as well as many research institutes. It is an important university town with prestigious cultural centres.
Toulouse is undergoing rapid demographic expansion, the fastest-growing in France and, for agglomerations with more than 850,000 inhabitants, even in Europe. It is considered one of the larger intermediate European cities along with Lyon, Marseille, Florence, Hamburg and Zurich.
Toulouse was ranked by Lonely Planet among the 10 European Destinations in 2014.