Mansion Houses of pastel merchants and parliamentarians
In the XV and XVI Centuries, the growing demand for blue dye and the success of the pastel trade encouraged a number of local merchants to develop this activity further. The merchants of Toulouse drove the transportation of Coques (balls of dried and ground pastel petals) via the Pastel Routes, established trading points throughout the West and created a pastel market in Toulouse itself.
Toulouse therefore became the focal point for this trade. This Golden Age of pastel lasted up until the middle of the XVI Century. It allowed rich merchants from Toulouse to construct sumptuous mansion houses and embellish the city. The parliamentary nobles naturally continued with the construction of these little palaces.
These mansion houses can be discovered by raising your eyes to the sky. In fact, just a short stroll is enough to explore these buildings. Their owners made them the symbols of their social status and wealth.
Many of these mansion houses are still private homes to this day. Often they operate an open-door policy, but otherwise they provide visits accompanied by a guide.
The Tourist Office also offers a range of guided visits that allow you to step inside the courtyards of these mansion houses: "Saint-Rome and the mansion houses" (tour in French) and "A little tour of the courtyards" (tour in French).