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Albi

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Tarn

Albi - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Tarn
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Enjoying a stunning location on the banks of the Tarn, Albi really deserves its nickname of "the red city"! A mixture of brick and stone, this episcopal city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the pearls of the South-West. The reason? Its superb buildings and picturesque charm. To soak up the atmosphere of the city, wander the narrow old streets of the historic city centre, or along the banks of the Tarn, both ideal places for a leisurely stroll. On the way, admire the old brick and half-timbered houses and the Renaissance mansions like the Maison Enjalbert or the Hôtel Reynès.

A gem of the Southern French Gothic style, the Cathedral of St. Cecilia is the world's biggest brick cathedral, and also the largest painted cathedral in Europe. Built in two centuries, from 1282 to 1480, it presents a richly decorated interior: 18,500 m² of frescoes, a roodscreen in the Flamboyant Gothic style and remarkable statuary. Look up to the vaulted ceiling and admire magnificent decorations in the Italian Renaissance style. The unusually large organ with four keyboards dates from the 18th century. It is placed just above one of the oldest depictions of the Last Judgement, painted in the 15th century. Another attraction on display in the building is a facsimile of the Mappa Mundi, one of the pages of a manuscript belonging to the cathedral chapter. In the Treasury, nine information signs tell the cathedral's whole story, from the 8th century to the present day.

Next to the fortress-like cathedral is the Berbie Palace, formerly the Bishops' Palace and another architectural gem. With a cour d'honneur (ceremonial courtyard) and a tower on either side, it is still very well preserved. Built in the 18th century, the palace houses the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, exhibiting many works by the famous Albi-born artist: early paintings, portraits, scenes from brothels, prints from the world of entertainment... Round off your visit with a walk in the magnificent palace gardens, offering a superb panoramic view of the river, the banks of the Tarn, the Pont-Vieux bridge, and the surrounding hills in the distance.

Continue your tour of Albi via the 11th-century Collegiate Church of St. Salvi, a subtle blend of brick and stone. Inside this beautiful monument combining Romanesque and Gothic styles, six large paintings tell the life story of St. Salvi as well as the history of the city. Under the organ, look carefully at the fine details and colours of the sculptures. Then head towards the charming cloister with Romanesque arcades and surprising carved Gothic capitals.

The very symbol of the historic city centre, the Old Alby House (Maison du Vieil Alby) is probably one of the most distinctive houses in this neighbourhood. Made of brick and timber framing, it has kept all of its medieval character: corbels, half-timbering, an open-air attic called a soleilhou... Upstairs is a permanent exhibition about Toulouse-Lautrec's younger years.

Measuring 151 metres in length, the Pont-Vieux d'Albi is one of France's oldest bridges. Built in around 1040, it was a defensive element during the Hundred Years War, then families moved in during the 16th century. They stayed in half-timbered houses built over the road. A few metres away, the Academy of Miniatures museum will enchant children and adults with its extraordinary collection of around sixty displays of miniatures recreating the interiors of elegant homes.

Albi is also associated with other renowned figures. First there was Lapérouse, an 18th-century navigator who went on an expedition around the world. A museum about him tells the story of this voyage. There is also Raphaël Cordoba, a painter who wanted to share his passion for art by creating a Museum for All. Based in the former Renaissance home of a wealthy pastel merchant, the Saunal Mansion, this museum showcases 65 reproductions of famous paintings executed by the artist from Albi.

Additional information
Albi

45 minutes from Toulouse, Albi, located on a promontory on the banks of the Tarn, can be proud of its rich heritage from the past. It is true that it has survived the centuries without too much damage. Even today, the old center with alleys lined with medieval houses and magnificent buildings bear witness to its history.

The Sainte-Cécile cathedral and the Berbie palace, built in the 13th century to consolidate the power of the Catholic Church after the chaotic episode of the Crusade against the Albigenses, the Pont-Vieux, which from the 11th century allowed the economic development of the city, the 16th century mansions which recall the flourishing period when pastel, a dye plant, was cultivated between Albi, Toulouse and Carcassonne… Not to mention colorful characters, such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec or adventurers like Lapérouse and Rochegude.

But one of the assets of the city of Albi is its "south" side... medium-sized city, with its brick architecture, it seduces with its singing accent, its colorful markets where the products of the terroir attract the eye as much as the taste buds.

Along the Tarn which divides the city, a hiking trail in the heart of the city follows the banks for 4 kilometres: the Échappée Verte.

Albi, a dynamic city, a cultural city, a student city, but also a sports city, hosting many national and international meetings.

Since August 1, 2010, the episcopal city of Albi has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The episcopal city is structured around the cathedral, the palace-fortress of Berbie where the museum dedicated to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is located, the collegiate church and the cloister of Saint-Salvi... The classified perimeter over 19.47 ha brings together districts of medieval origin, historical monuments and major sites:

Things to see and do

Leisure activities

Last nameActivity typeRateCity
Barge trip in Albi and on the Tarn
Entertainment7 € to 25 € Albi
Day Trip to Albi – Departing from Lourdes
Culture and education150 € Lourdes

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Monuments
Performance halls
Transport

Events and festivities

Photos

Berbie Palace (© OT Albi)
Berbie Palace (© OT Albi)
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Barge on the Tarn at Albi (© OT Albi)
Barge on the Tarn at Albi (© OT Albi)
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Bridge over the Tarn
Bridge over the Tarn
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Saint-Salvi cloister (© OT Albi)
Saint-Salvi cloister (© OT Albi)
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Old quarters
Old quarters
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Albi and the Tarn by boat
Albi and the Tarn by boat
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A street near the cathedral
A street near the cathedral
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Albi, the episcopal city
Albi, the episcopal city
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Cathedral
Cathedral
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Saint-Salvi cloister
Saint-Salvi cloister
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Sainte-Cécile cathedral
Sainte-Cécile cathedral
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Cathedral
Cathedral
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Interior of the cathedral
Interior of the cathedral
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Interior of the cathedral
Interior of the cathedral
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Interior of the cathedral
Interior of the cathedral
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Interior of the cathedral
Interior of the cathedral
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Interior of the cathedral
Interior of the cathedral
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Interior of the cathedral
Interior of the cathedral
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Cathedral
Cathedral
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Statue of La Pérouse
Statue of La Pérouse
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Rue d'Albi
Rue d'Albi
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Rue de la Croix Blanche
Rue de la Croix Blanche
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Bridge over the Tarn
Bridge over the Tarn
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Old bridge over the Tarn
Old bridge over the Tarn
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Bridge over the Tarn
Bridge over the Tarn
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Museum entrance
Museum entrance
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Old quarters
Old quarters
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Breuil church
Breuil church
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Albi, the steeple dominating Sainte-Cécile cathedral
Albi, the steeple dominating Sainte-Cécile cathedral
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Albi in the heart of the historic center (© OT Albi)
Albi in the heart of the historic center (© OT Albi)
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On the green escape, hike in the heart of the town of Albi
On the green escape, hike in the heart of the town of Albi
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Brick and half-timbering (© OT Albi)
Brick and half-timbering (© OT Albi)
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Entrance to the Toulouse-Lautrec museum (© OT Albi)
Entrance to the Toulouse-Lautrec museum (© OT Albi)
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Saint-Salvi collegiate church (© OT Albi)
Saint-Salvi collegiate church (© OT Albi)
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By little train at Albi (© OT Albi)
By little train at Albi (© OT Albi)
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Ruelle d'Albi
Ruelle d'Albi
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Rue d'Albi
Rue d'Albi
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Rue d'Albi
Rue d'Albi
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Rue d'Albi
Rue d'Albi
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The cathedral
The cathedral
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Albi and the Tarn by boat
Albi and the Tarn by boat
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Albi and the Tarn by boat
Albi and the Tarn by boat
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Albi and the Tarn by boat
Albi and the Tarn by boat
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Albi and the Tarn by boat
Albi and the Tarn by boat
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The Tarn by boat
The Tarn by boat
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Albi and the Tarn by boat
Albi and the Tarn by boat
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The bridges of Albi by boat
The bridges of Albi by boat
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The bridges of 'Albi by boat
The bridges of 'Albi by boat
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The cathedral from the Tarn
The cathedral from the Tarn
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On the tarn at Albi
On the tarn at Albi
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The cathedral and the Tarn
The cathedral and the Tarn
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Albi from a hot air balloon
Albi from a hot air balloon
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Musée de la Mode au 17 rue de la Souque
Musée de la Mode au 17 rue de la Souque
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Fashion Museum
Fashion Museum
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Fashion Museum
Fashion Museum
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Fashion Museum
Fashion Museum
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Fashion Museum
Fashion Museum
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Cloister of Saint-Salvi
Cloister of Saint-Salvi
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Pont Neuf (© ViVilRoz)
Pont Neuf (© ViVilRoz)
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Interior of the cathedral
Interior of the cathedral
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Berbie Palace
Berbie Palace
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Gardens of the Berbie Palace
Gardens of the Berbie Palace
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View from the Berbie Palace
View from the Berbie Palace
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Gardens of the Berbie Palace
Gardens of the Berbie Palace
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Saint-Salvi Cloister
Saint-Salvi Cloister
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Old Quarter
Old Quarter
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The Grand Site Albi Tarn Valley
The Grand Site Albi Tarn Valley
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

Restaurants

Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals

Campsites

Hotels

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