The city Establishment resisted industrialization and modernization in the 19th Century, keeping Toulouse too small and insignificant for sophisticated tastes. As the French Institute of Architecture described them in a recent study, the rich of Toulouse in the 19th Century preferred "writing bad poetry and playing dominoes rather than directing factories."
Stylish boutiques have now come to Toulouse, and some Parisians say that, unlike such larger cities as Bordeaux and Lyon, Toulouse has boutiques that keep up with Paris fashions. The city also boasts a well-regarded symphony orchestra.
[Dominique Baudis], in many ways, symbolizes the modernity of Toulouse. Although he comes from an old political family, Baudis first attracted notice as a news anchor on national television. Although his politics are moderate-to-right in a city that has been traditionally Socialist, Baudis is very popular in Toulouse. He has authorized construction of a city subway, strengthened relations with Spain in advance of its entry into the Common Market, and campaigned hard for the building the Hermes space shuttle in Toulouse.