Toulouse is a city in southwest France on the banks of the Garonne River, half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. With 1,117,000 inhabitants in 2007, the Toulouse metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in France and the fastest growing in Europe.
Toulouse is one of the centres of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus, Galileo positioning system, the SPOT satellite system, and CNES's Toulouse Space Center (CST), the largest space center in Europe. Thales Alenia Space, Europe's largest satellite manufacturer, and EADS Astrium Satellites, EADS's satellite system subsidiary, also have a significant presence in Toulouse. It worldwide known university is one of the oldest in Europe (founded in 1229) and, with more than 120,000 students, is the second largest university campus of France after Paris.
Toulouse was the capital of the former province of Languedoc (provinces were abolished during the French Revolution). It is now the capital of the Midi-Pyrénées région, the largest région in metropolitan France. It is also the préfecture (capital) of the Haute-Garonne département.