In the Pink City we turn a little more in circles than elsewhere. If there is no official figure, a ranking places Toulouse as the champion of France by number of roundabouts.
It is a French passion. Since their invention in the early 20th century, rotundas have flourished. In some cities more than others. However, no official data was produced, which makes the election of the roundabout champion difficult. But a map – which lists Toulouse’s roundabouts – published last Tuesday by cartographer Yasmine Bouzid on her Twitter account, has revived the debate. To achieve it, the cartographer relied on data from the BeyonTheMaps website.
An article on the distribution of roundabouts in France, published in 2018, elevates Toulouse to the rank of roundabout capital. To count them, the author turned to “his favorite source of map information, OpenStreetMap”. “For 2018 I used the municipal population (therefore without double counting) instead of the total population, because these figures are more representative of the real demography”, he explains.
According to the website, the Pink City had 499 in 2018. One hundred more than its eternal rival in the field, Nantes, where 383 rotunda are installed. A figure that places the city in second place in this ranking.
The municipality of Toulouse, in the process of mapping and taking a census of the city streets, does not have a precise figure on the number of roundabouts but confirms the data advanced by BeyondTheMaps, estimating that they would be “almost 500”.
One of the largest roundabouts in France is located in the city
Toulouse owes its title of champion of France to its size. It is one of the largest cities. Its 118.3 square kilometers explain the large number of roundabouts. Nantes, much more modest in size, measures 65.19 square kilometers. However, the prefecture of the Loire-Atlantique surpasses Toulouse in the number of roundabouts per inhabitant. It has 1.29 roundabouts per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to 1.07 in Toulouse. But even in this case Nantes is not in first place. The city occupies the 3rd place, on a par with Perpignan. It is one of the neighboring towns, Saint-Herblain, which is the category champion with 3.90 roundabouts per 1,000 inhabitants.
Another element allows Toulouse to affirm its title of champion a little more: the Grand Rond, one of the gardens of Toulouse, is also one of the largest roundabouts in France. Its more than 200 meters in diameter and its surface that borders on 4.5 hectares, place the roundabout in 3rd place, immediately after the Parisian roundabouts of Place de l’Etoile, the first to be created in France, and that of Square of the Nation.
With its nearly 500 roundabouts, Toulouse appears to be far ahead of its rivals. If the number increases over the years, it could quickly reach a glass ceiling. According to a former manager of a road safety association, the Pink City will run out of space to install them …