Albi Off The Beaten Path

  • Pont du 22 Août 1944 (Albi, France)
    Pont du 22 Août 1944 (Albi, France)
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  • Albi (France)
    Albi (France)
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  • Albi (France)
    Albi (France)
    by Redang

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Albi

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    Walk to discover the Saint Salvy Collegial

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    One of the towers, seen from Place Ste Cecile
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    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

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    The church of Saint Salvy Collegial

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The (spoiled) entrance
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    After having had a general view of the church from the Place du Cloître you have to return to rue Mariès to enter the church under a double roman arch where an ugly square door frame has been added (picture 1).
    The building of St Salvy began in Carolingian times (8th century) for monks established here; the tower has been elevated end 11th century, and the main roman church in the 12th century; the cloister we will visit soon has been built in the 13th century;
    The church has been fully re-built in the 15th century, in flamboyant gothic style using the stones of the old roman church stones (at that time, brick was already the usual construction material), and the nave and choir are gothic now (picture3). A baroque marble and gold altar is now in the gothic choir picture 4). Other modifications have been done with time, and from the old roman building, only a part of the nave, the main doors, and a small side chapel are left.
    St Salvy! Who was this saint? He is not very well known outside Albi; he was a monk, then bishop, born in the area in the 6th century, and is mainly known as an advisor to Merovingian king Chilperic, grandson of Clovis; he advised the king to take care of his kingdom, make politics, and leave the theological problems to the priests (him!); he has a nice face on the statue at the entrance of the church (picture 2)

    Place du Cloître St Salvy; Entrance of the church: rue Mariès
    Rue Mariès or Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    Admire the polychrome statues in St Salvy church

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Ecce Homo
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    Strong fragrances of incense welcome you when you enter the church, and immediately on the right side you see one of the jewel of the place! In dim light, in front of a red curtain, a group of human size statues will catch your eyes, your attention, your sensitivity. . . . . That sort of group of statues is quite rare in French churches, and I found them beautiful, and had a long look at their expressive faces. These statues are in the inventory of the French historical patrimony but they are apparently not well known, and except on the French patrimony listing, there is not a lot of information on the web.
    There are 7 statues, Ecce Homo (Christ), dressed in royal cloak and six characters representing the three orders of the Sanhedrin (Elders, scribes, priests) who judge him.
    The statues have been carved in the late 15th, beginning16th century by artists from Burgundy; Middle age was finishing, and the artists were already in the renaissance movement, the characters have very expressive faces, they really look like judges; the artists were of course not afraid of anachronisms or metaphoric symbols (Christ wearing in the same time the crown of thorns and the royal cloak, (picture1) before being taken to the Golgotha) and carved very expressive faces.
    Picture 2 shows five of the seven statues; the two last are left and right, out of camera field; the statues are displayed in symmetrical way, with one representative of each order on each side.
    On picture 3 we see next to Christ, from left to right, the elder, the scribe and the priest.
    On picture 4 is the elder of the left side, and the elder of the right side is on picture 5.
    Anachronisms and symbols, it is just art, but the artists had interesting partisan views or preconceived ideas about Christ’s judgement. . . . . A close look shows that on the right side are the Jews, but on the left. . . . the characters look “middle east”, may be Muslim. . . Well they were all against the Holy Catholic Church (left and right. . . but it is the actual position, who knows how they were located originally?). . . . . Art goes beyond religion and conventions. . . and it is to me enough to justify art and creation.


    Place du Cloître St Salvy; Entrance of the church: rue Mariès
    Rue Mariès or Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    And other little jewels in the church

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The fate of souls. . . .
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    In the St Salvy church are a number of small chapels in the low sides, and there are many interesting paints, sculptures and altars to look at.
    Each little chapel has nice displays, so it is worth to take some time and have a look in the quiet atmosphere of this not very visited church.
    On the left side (looking at the choir) is the chapel of the purgatory (first picture) where the paint displaying the purgatory is very “realistic” in some way; I like how the angels “save” some of the sinners (just miss the music of the trumpets at the entrance of the paradise!), and how the devils take some to hell. . . . for eternity, and they resist. .!
    On the right side of the choir are these two statues (pictures 2 and 3) of Judith and Esther, (red and blue), the faithful widow of the old testament and the young slave who was chosen as wife by Assuerus, the Persian king (who named her Esther= star), and who was so scared to leave her people, her family, her faith. . . .
    This lady in her golden cape (picture 4) is not Jeanne d’Arc but the Virgin discovering the empty cave at the Golgotha (Euh, Personal interpretation).
    In St Salvy are few known saints, like St Roch, or here on picture 5, Jude (Or Thaddeus), the “political apostle”, the one who was a resistant against Roman occupancy of Palestina, and who asked Christ why He came back for the Last Supper to be seen by the Apostles only and not by the whole world.
    Many other old or modern paints and statues can be discovered in St Salvy, a real treasure of art; many artefacts are listed on the “Inventory of the Historical Monuments of the French ministry of Culture”.

    Place du Cloître St Salvy; Entrance of the church: rue Mariès
    Rue Mariès or Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    The beautiful romantic cloister of St Salvy

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Arriving in the cloister from the church
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    And last , but not the least, there is the cloister of St Salvy; a very little one, but really charming, with the small square yard, the gallery with the roman arches, the small well in the yard, the sculptures on the columns, the colonnade,. . . well, a real nice little cloister set against the church.
    When you have finished visiting the church, go out on the opposite of the main entrance and a small green oasis with papyrus, bamboo, acanthus, and other beautiful green inhabitants will appear (first picture) between double columns sustaining roman arches; on the church side, many capitals and columns have been renovated as you can see on the picture, there is only one old carved capital, but the alley on the other side (picture 2) has all the old columns and capitals, showing some interesting sculptures; these eared dragons, (or wolves? or ??) do (picture 3) what monks were not allowed to do: kiss! Many of the sculptures are weathered, difficult to decipher, but it is very interesting to look how the middle age artists represented the capital sins and other sins, because many of the sculptures here are representations of sins, reminding to the monks who lived there all the horrors of the life outside the monastery; we find the sculptures interesting and beautiful, but they were carved to look ugly and frightening.. . . . . .
    Today this cloister is a very quiet place, with very few visitors (specially on rainy days!), and enjoy the quietude of the garden (picture 4) and the view of the arches of the galleries (picture 5).

    Place du Cloître St Salvy; Entrance of the church: rue Mariès
    Rue Mariès or Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    Roman and Gothic sculptures

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Roman statues group
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    There are a number of medieval roman sculptures (characters or animals) and a few gothic carvings (leaves, plants) on the capitals but also a strange sculpture group in a corner of the southern gallery (picture 1); it looks like an “Adoration”, but where is the third wise king? Is the right statue originally beheaded? . . . . I could not find information. . . And have a closer look at the small pillar (picture 2), how exquisite the sculpture work is (well, imagine, it is quite weathered, but the face of the angel is very fine. . . ).
    Ah, medieval sculpture. . . . . I am almost totally ignorant, but I love medieval (looking primitive, but really not at all primitive!) art, profane and religious representations, the symbols, allegories, and the beautifully expressive faces in medieval paintings and carvings: look at these (weathered, a pity!) big meditative faces (picture 3) . . . . . Who are they representing? What are they thinking about? What did the artist want to transmit? Scholars have some clues, mine are very personal. . . . . . and “uncultured”!
    The capitals on picture 4 are gothic, as the botanical motif suggests; I prefer the roman capitals. . . .
    It was a long stop and visit in St Salvy; walking in the south gallery, we now find the other entrance into the cloister which for me was the way out that day; a last look back (picture 5), see the columns and the roof structure of the gallery; we now are walking out in rue Ste Cecile and walk in the narrow streets of the city.

    Place du Cloître St Salvy; Entrance of the church: rue Mariès
    Rue Mariès or Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Hôtel Reynès

    by Redang Written May 4, 2010

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    H��tel Reyn��s (Albi, France)

    The Hôtel Reynes belongs to the period of prosperity that Albi enjoyed in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was built by Roger Reynès, a merchant prominent in the pastel trade (pastel was a blue plant dye extracted from woad).

    Where: Rue Timbal

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    View from the Pont Vieux

    by Redang Updated May 4, 2010

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    Pont du 22 Ao��t 1944 (Albi, France)
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    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.

    Pics:
    - 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.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    St.-Salvy: Find the Square Behind the Apse

    by hquittner Updated Oct 8, 2009
    Romanesque ChapelsAt Apse of Church
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    Behind the apse of the church was a scruffy wide parking area with a few interesting buildings, one with a fine set of brick arcades. It was called, we think, the Pl.St.-Salvi. We found a place to eat lunch there but do not have a record. We just saw a fine picture of it in the tourist office website (which is full of pictures) as a recommended resting stop with tables and large umbrellas (and no cars), but no mention of an eatery. Give it a look.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    St.-Salvi: Examine the Cloister Capitals

    by hquittner Written Oct 8, 2009
    Two Roosters (?)
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    The capitals of the cloister are worn but some still show the skill and vigor with which they were shaped. How far sculpture had come in 200 years (mid 13C). Two that we show are Romanesque and figurated, and one is Gothic and foliated.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    St.-Salvy: Enter the Cloister

    by hquittner Written Oct 8, 2009
    The Remaining Whole Aisle of the Cloister
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    The Cloister is south of the church. Only the south gallery of the cloister remains, along with the northwest angle alonside the church wall. When we visited long ago, nothing had been done to make it more attractive, but the worn late Romanesque (13C) figurative capitals could be discerned. The cloister had been redone in the 13C by Vidal de Malvasi and he and his brother are buried in an attractive mauoleum in the cloister, also showing great wear, The cloister close was unadorned then, except for some old trees.

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    All sorts of mints in St Salvy

    by kokoryko Written Sep 5, 2009

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    Cloister and medieval garden
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    The cloister of St Salvy is not really off the beaten paths, specially the locals who walk through for a short cut between rue Maries and rue St Julien or Ste Cecile Since my last visit, the central part of the cloister garden has been laid out like a medieval herb garden; basil, thyme, borage, parsley. . . and mints! Mints, lots of mints! I had never noticed there were so many mints used for culinary or medicinal purposes! I knew plain mint, peppermint, Moroccan mint, and. . . that’s it. . . but there is also Spanish mint, crisp mint, deer mint, apple mint, cologne mint, pineapple mint, etc, etc. . . Common mint is used to help digestion or as a breath system antiseptic, but the others? Generally, they have the same properties, and some of them are cultivated for their essential oils, which are slightly perfumed, like chocolate mint (After Eight?), cologne mint. . . .
    It is just fun and nice to comb the plants with the hand and then smell the hand and try to find if the name is appropriate, and to be amazed how the shapes of leaves are different, as well as the silhouettes of the plants.
    The medieval gardens were surrounded by wicker lattices (picture 1), allowing the earth to be higher than the alleys: the ground was not so far for the arthritic monks and more seriously, the plants were protected from pests like mole crickets, mole rats, . . .
    Crisp mint and peppermint (foreground) were blooming. . . (picture 2), whilst Spanish mint and Swiss mint (right) displayed light yellow-green leaves (picture 3).
    The Cologne water mint has relatively tough leaves, and you see it on picture 4 with basil in the lower right corner and a red blooming sage upper right: a feast for the nose. . . . .
    The apple mint (picture 5) has dark sub-rounded leaves. . . . there are many more in this garden which gives a bit a medieval character to the St Salvy cloister.

    Place du Cloître St Salvy; Entrance of the church: rue Mariès
    Rue Mariès or Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi

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  • Renteboy's Profile Photo

    Go off road

    by Renteboy Written Apr 8, 2006
    go downstairs here...
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    As I mentioned in an other tip, go en explore some roads that are not described in the guide. There is a nice trairway that brings you from the center of town (behind the Catedral) to the river "Le Tarn" ... It was baricaded but if want to go for it ... just do it ;-)

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  • GUYON's Profile Photo

    Ambialet

    by GUYON Written May 4, 2003

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    Ambialet

    Located on a meander of the River Tarn, the village of Ambialet is a peninsula, 20 meters large at the narrowest point.
    It is overhanged by a cloister from which it is possible to admire and to photograph the village.
    Use route D74.

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    Pedestrian streets

    by GUYON Written May 4, 2003

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    Rue Ste Cecile

    The rues Ste Cecile and du Verdusse (and several streets of the area) are devoted to the pedestrians who can shop and look at the ancient half-timbered houses.
    See : la Maison du Vieil Albi - 1 rue Croix Blanche - 335.63.54.96.38

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Albi Off The Beaten Path

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