View from the Pont Vieux
The Pont Vieux (Old Bridge),over the Tarn river, was built in 1.039, and it is an excellent place to admire the city from.
- Main: Pont du 22 Août 1944
- Second: General view
- Third: General view of the Cathedral and Palais de la Berbie
- Fourth: Pont S.N.C.F (French railway)
Note: No pics of the Old Bridge itself, sorry.
Palais de la Berbie
Before you visit the Toulouse Lautrec museum, it is worth to have a look at the building which hosts this museum: Palais de la Berbie.
The construction of this Episcopal palace began in 1265 and this palace became soon a huge fortress, with impressive high brick towers and donjons (picture 1), massive walls which later have been pierced with renaissance windows (picture 2). On picture 3, you see from left, the extremity of the cathedral, the donjon of Palais de la Berbie, the entrance to the Toulouse Lautrec museum, the Episcopal residence,, and the tourist office in the small house.
When you enter the yard in the Palais de la Berbie, mixed feelings may invade you, as you will have views to nice small arches, a cobble stone paved yard decorated with flowers (picture 4), and if you look another direction, you will almost feel oppressed by the high massive donjon. . . . . (picture 5).
The Palais de la Berbie, with the Cathedral and the surrounding houses constitutes one of the biggest brick constructions ensemble in Europe; bishop Durand de Beaucaire had not that objective when he began the construction in 1265, but he wanted to show the power of the “Holy Catholic Church” after the crusade against the Cathars (also known as croisade des Albigeois) and their massacre, who had Albi as stronghold for many decades. Locals had to pay with their money, heir work, the loss of property for local aristocracy, and the beginning of loss of cultural identity of the south of France. . . . . . Well, that is History, sense of History (not necessarily good sense. . . ) may be. . . ?
Don’t forget: the tourist office (picture 3) is here, facing Place Ste Cecile.
The Tourist office website, in English, gives information about where to stay, about cultural events, and about what to see and do in general; shops, markets, restaurants. . . .
"On the River Tarn"
Albi is called "red" because the ancient city was built with local red bricks : the churches, the palaces and the houses.
It was set up more than 3 thousands years ago and has many things to show to the tourists.
Office de tourisme (visitors center) : place Sainte Cecile - 3126.96.36.199.80 - Fax : 3188.8.131.52.98 - www.tourisme.fr/albi