Walk to discover the Saint Salvy Collegial
When you walk on the great square between the Basilica and Palais de la Berbie, and look on the roofs of the old city, you will see a small crenulated circular brick tower above a square base and will be wondering what that is (picture 1). You will walk in Rue Mariès to get closer, and at the intersection of this street with the Place du Cloître St Salvy you will see this beautiful little white marble Virgin at the corner of the house (picture 2); look at its peaceful face, full of serenity.
From Place du Cloître you see now the little tower, above a massive bell tower (picture 3); have a close look, the base of the tower is not bricks, but stone. . . . and look more. . . . the lower part is typically Roman style, surmounted by a gothic level with high thin pillars, decorated capitals and gothic arches, itself surmounted by a brick level with no well defined style. . . . All this summarises the story of this collegial, very old, and many additions and modifications during time.
Before entering the church of the collegial, it is worth to have a walk under the arcades of the Place du Cloître, look at the old houses, enjoy the perspectives, enjoy the quietude of the place (pictures 4 and 5 ).
Place du Cloître St Salvy; Entrance of the church: rue Mariès
Rue Mariès or Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi
Ste.-Cecile: Examine the Jube and Ambulatory
The rood screen (Jube), already illustrated, was constructed along with a choir enclosure which isolated the gated ambulatory from the nave and altar. It is a single unit of carved limestone, started around 1480 when the west wall mural painting began. The sculptors are unknown but its Burgundian character is clear. (It is possible that these craftsmen went on to Brou in Bourg-en-Bresse). Their names are unknown. The structure is a welter of Flamboyant forms: ogee arches, keystones, lace-like lattice work all carved from the soft limestone. The ambulatory is lined with poly chromed statues of the heroes of the Old Testament that prefigure Christ. Before the Revolution there were 265 statues in the church; now 178 remain. Various chapels face into the ambulatory, housing prized objects, and on the north side it connects to the Sacristy. The poly chromed statues along the inner walls are heroes of the Old Testament. On the inner side of the South ambulatory entry is a Mary and the Annunciation suggesting the symbolization of the entire complex. Particularly impressive is the area on the back of the Altar where Simeon stands with Zacharias and Jacob attended by two Angels. (The poor light did not allow our pictures to do it justice).
Albi is a nice city some 76 kms. north east of Toulouse, and just for the Cathedral, it deserves a visit.
- Main: Cathédrale de Sainte-Cécile
- Second: Cathédrale de Sainte-Cécile
- Third: Albi seen from the Vieux Pont (Old Bridge