14 May 2024

Toulouse: Where history meets innovation at #EAIE2024

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As the countdown to the 2024 EAIE Conference and Exhibition in Toulouse begins, the anticipation amongst our community grows! This year’s conference, under the apt theme 'En Route!', invites participants to explore both the literal and figurative journeys within the international education landscape. Toulouse, with its rich tapestry of history, culture, and cutting-edge technology, offers the perfect setting for this exploration. Start planning your trip today to make time for exploration outside of the conference!

In Toulouse, think pink

Known as the Pink City for its unique terracotta brickwork that bathes the city in a warm, rosy glow at sunset, Toulouse is a city that beautifully melds the old with the new. It is the capital of the Occitanie region and the fourth largest city in France, boasting a vibrant cultural scene alongside its status as Europe’s aerospace hub. 

The Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, with connections to major European cities, is conveniently located near the city centre. Additionally, the city is well-connected by train to other major French cities, making it easily accessible for all attendees to travel sustainably. Upon arrival, the Tisséo public transport network – comprising metro, tram, and bus services – provides reliable and efficient travel within the city. Thanks to the Toulouse Convention Bureau, all conference participants will receive a free public transport card to use during the week of the conference. 

Architectural splendours and academic settings 

Toulouse’s architecture tells stories of its past, from the Roman era to the prosperous times of the dye trade that funded many of its Renaissance hotels. Take a journey through the past by visiting the Capitole de Toulouse, not just a stunning piece of architecture but also the beating heart of the city. You can also visit the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, a UNESCO World Heritage site that stands as a marvellous testament to the city’s religious history and importance on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. 

Moreover, the city’s educational institutions, like the University of Toulouse, one of the oldest in Europe, echo the conference’s emphasis on historical and ongoing journeys in education. These settings offer not just a backdrop but a deep dive into the evolution of higher education in Europe. 

A hub of innovation and culture 

While boasting a rich history in education, Toulouse is also a city looking firmly to the future. It is prominently positioned in the global aerospace industry, with giants like Airbus and the CNES space agency headquartered here. The Cité de l’Espace (City of Space) is a must-visit for those interested in astronomy and space exploration. It provides interactive exhibits that showcase Toulouse's pivotal role in aerospace advancements. 

Culturally, Toulouse does not disappoint. The city's love for the arts is evident in its numerous galleries and theatres, such as the Théâtre du Capitole and the contemporary art museum, Les Abattoirs. The blend of classical and contemporary offerings reflects the dynamic and evolving nature of this historic city. 

Journey through Toulouse’s gastronomy 

No visit to Toulouse would be complete without indulging in its culinary delights. The city is renowned for its distinctive southwestern French cuisine, with local specialities for you to discover in a bustling, vibrant atmosphere where attendees can taste a variety of local products, adding another layer of cultural exchange to their visit. 

Exploring the region 

While the conference will provide a packed schedule, it is highly recommended that you take time to explore outside Toulouse. The medieval city of Carcassonne is within reach and provides a stunning example of a fortified town. Alternatively, the tranquillity of the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage site perfect for leisurely boat trips or bike rides, offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city. 

For those willing to venture further, the Pyrenees are within reach, offering spectacular natural scenery and outdoor activities that can help clear the mind and invigorate the spirit after intensive conference sessions. 

En route to an inspiring city 

Participants will find in Toulouse a city that not only welcomes them with open arms but also challenges them to think about their paths and where they are ‘En Route!’ to in both their professional lives and beyond. As the EAIE prepares to bring the 2024 EAIE Conference to Toulouse, the city stands ready not just as a venue but as an integral part of the educational journey. Its unique combination of rich history and progressive innovation provides the perfect backdrop to examine the changing paths in global education and aligns with our community's journey towards international higher education's future. If you wish to be part of this journey, early-bird registration will open on 29 May.

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