Toulouse is the capital of Région Midi-Pyrénées in the Southwest of France. It is ideally placed, on the river Garonne, equidistant from the Atlantic ocean, the Mediterranean sea, the Pyrénées mountains, and the "Massif Central" area. It is only about 250km from Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia in the north east of Spain. The "Canal du midi", an attractive place for holidays or tourism by boat which links the Atlantic ocean near Bordeaux to the Mediterranean sea near Sète, passes through the city. Toulouse is in the heart of the South of Europe, at the intersection of various cultures and very different geographical areas, and is also very rich on the historical side.
In the last decades, Toulouse has also become one of the main places in Europe for the development of aeroplanes and for space activities, which makes it a hot spot for research activities and for emerging technologies.