Albi Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Albi

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    Cathedral

    by iaint Written Apr 27, 2014
    huge!
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    The cathedral dominates the town. It took 200 years to build, starting in 1287. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

    It is one of the two main reasons to visit the town

    Check opening times before you go. It was about to close for lunch as I was going around. Remember - this is SW France. Lunch is important.

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    Musée de Toulouse-Lautrec

    by iaint Updated Apr 2, 2014

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    a glimpse
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    The artist's museum is house in the impressive Palais de la Berbie. It was one of the main attractions for me in visiting Albi.
    The gardens of the palace are very alluring. I decided to have a look around the gardens before going inside as it was sunny when I got there. Lovely, and great views of the river, the Pont Vieux and La Madeleine.
    The bad news - I finished with the gardens about 11:45 and then discovered that the museum closes between 12 and 2!
    End result was I haven't been inside! I wasn't able to hang around for 2 hours, see the museum and then head back to Toulouse.
    Work...
    Anyway, be warned. Check the opening times before you go.

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    Pont Vieux

    by iaint Updated Apr 2, 2014

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    view from south bank
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    This is one of the bridges over the Tarn, and is a great place to get good views of the cathedral and museum.
    It is also a good place for a quiet picnic - that's where I went with my sandwich.
    It dates from 1040, and is one of the oldest bridges in France which is still in use.
    Walking there and back from the cathedral (for example) will take you through a charming part of the medieval quarter.

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    Cathedral of Albi.

    by alectrevor Updated Sep 17, 2012
    Worlds biggest brick building.
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    Albi cathedral formally the cathedral of saint Cecilia is the seat of the Archbishop of Albi. It was first built as a fortress in 1287, built in brick it claims to be the largest brick built building in the world. In 2010 the cathedral became a world hertage site. The inside is stunning to see.

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    Musée Toulouse Lautrec

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Art and publicity
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    “Aaaah, what a daubing!” exclaimed a woman next to me when discovering a Kandinsky in a museum in . . . . . Well, Toulouse Lautrec who, by far, is not in my painter’s pantheon, can certainly not be considered as a dauber, and I have to admit his lithographic works are very expressive and precise, they really transmit a message, and even just a publicity for bike chains (first picture) is just more than publicity; and, . . imagine, Toulouse Lautrec was almost a cripple and he probably never biked. . . . . . but his particular drawing carries what has to be transmitted (like the muscle power via the chain. . . . ) with a very personal style made of very sober lines and special perspective compositions. Stop, I am not an art critic, I just write what some paints inspire me and keep heart, eyes and brain open, like when on high mountain trails or deeply immersed in popular districts of big cities . . . and certainly see a difference between a daubing and an artwork, even the latter is not the style I like the most. . . .
    The Toulouse Lautrec museum, hosting more than 1000 of his works is of course one of the most important places to visit in Albi, for the paints and also for the Palais de la Berbie and the gothic brick vaults of the rooms (picture 2). Some of Toulouse Lautrec’s major works are not here, but all the works displayed here give a comprehensive overview about this important artist.
    Don’t forget to look at the yard inside the fortress (not accessible when I visited) (picture 3)
    On the ground level, three main rooms are dedicated to three themes:
    Youth works and Toulouse Lautrec painted by his friends;
    Portraits
    Brothels
    Lithographs are exposed in a wide spacious room in the lower level (-1)
    Temporary exhibitions can be seen in (-2) level room.
    Ah! Normally, photographs are not allowed in the museum!
    Entrance : 5 Euros. Closed Tuesdays.

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    Magnificent Cathedral

    by pigletsmom Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Seen from the Musee Toulouse - Lautr

    You must visit the extraordinary and massive Sainte-Cécile Cathedral. It dominates the Albi skyline like a bird hovering over it's nest. It is quite impressive and dominating, and very captivating. The interior is grand and ornate, but not heavy or busy. It is just plainly magnificent. Jaw dropping, must not be missed!

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    Oh, the Beauty of it

    by pigletsmom Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The garden & view of the Palais de la Berbie

    The Palais de la Berbie, is one of the most spectucular spots in all of Europe. I was just amazed at how lovely it is. The views and scenery, the architecture and sculputure, and of course the impeccable gardens. All together they are breathtaking. Very impressive and lovely and a testement to the weath and power of the the French Church during the middle ages. The palace/fortress was built in the 13th century as the home for the French bishops and other cleric leaders of Albi. It is one of the most completely restored fortresses in France today.

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    Palais de la Berbie/Musée Toulouse-Lautrec

    by Redang Written May 3, 2010

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    Toulouse-Lautrec Museum (Albi, France)

    This Palace is even older than the Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace) in Avignon. Former the Bishops' Palace of Albi, it houses now the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum and the Tourist Office.

    Its name comes from the Occitan word Bisbia, meaning Bishops' Palace.

    For the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec/Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, I didn't visit it, so, I can't give you an opinion, however, I leave here the address and how to conact.

    - Fax: (+33) (0)5 63 49 48 88

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    Cathédrale de Sainte-Cécile (1/2)

    by Redang Updated May 3, 2010

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    Cath��drale de Sainte-C��cile (Albi, France)
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    Some other buildings were on the site where this Cathedral was built. The first one, from the 4th century, was destroyed in 666. The next one, from 920, received the name of Saint Cécile, the patroness of musicians and was replaced in the 13th century by a Romanesque Cathedral.

    The Gothic Cathedral we can admire now, was built between 1.282 and 1.480. The bell tower, of 78 m. of height, was added in 1.492.

    The exterior resembles a fortress, nothing to do with... (see next tip).

    - Fax: (+33) (0) 5 63 43 23 44

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Study the Art of Toulouse-Lautrec

    by hquittner Written Oct 11, 2009

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    Englishman At Moulin Rouge (lith 1892)
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    Lautrec was a minor great painter, in part because he did not live very long and had an infirmity. He was primarily a sketcher with a strong lively line. He became interested in the new technic of color lithography which required him to develop a simpler "Japanese"-like style and qualifies him to be considered as an Art Nouveau artist. He was very diligent in this field and his simplifications were probably less painful and not inhibited by his increasing alcoholism. He made many preparative sketches for his major works and had a keen memory as well. He was a strong influence on the expansion of color lithography as a technic. He brought a new style to commercial art through his creation of a large poster style. (The museum shows all of his 32 posters and most of his lithographs).He did not do this type of work for need of money but rather to spread his recognition. As a painter, he was not innovative but abandoned the tenets of Impressionism as he matured. The museum has a large number of his paintings from late childhood up until the end of his life. His lively work and subject matter (which is never obscene) and the wide distribution of his lithographs and posters makes it likely that almost every museum contains his work, and assures his lasting popularity. Albi has over 600 works in all the media that he employed. It is rare that one can get such an immersion in a single artist. (Although we could not copy his work at the museum, we were able to find good examples of their holdings from a folio at home).

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    Le Palais de la Berbie

    by hquittner Written Oct 11, 2009

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    The Entire Palace (from the Cathedral East)
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    The Museum Toulouse-Lautrec is housed in the Berbie Palace (the name a corruption of the local term for a Bishop). When Bernard de Castenet started the cathedral in 1265, he altered the plans for his palace already underway to participate in the fortress function, including a donjon and massive protective walls. In 1598 after the Edict of Nantes, such precautions were eliminated and the bishops undertook beautifications (in the 17 and 18C) including an impressive set of terrace gardens facing on the Tarn. These can be seen to best advantage as part of a museum tour. In 1922 with bequests from Lautrec's family and friends, the palace became a museum in his honor. Since they had preserved a large part of his paintings and sketches, and all of his lithographs and posters were readily available, it allows one to see the entire development of his style from childhood to his premature death, along with preparatory sketches and efforts, an unusual opportunity about a popular artist. There are also shown important personal biographical materials (See our General Tip). Be aware that photography is not permitted in the museum (but vistas outward are allowed). Beyond that some contemporary works and a few earlier ones are on view (Guardi, Bonnard, Dufy, Utrillo, etc). For years the museum had a deplorable viewing reputation but that is no longer true.

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    Le Vieil Albi: Hotel de Reynes

    by hquittner Updated Oct 10, 2009
    Arcade, Gallery &Well
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    The Hotel is next to the Prefecture. It was the home of a rich merchant and now is the seat of the Chamber of Commerce. It has an inner courtyard entered through an impressive gate on the street. The courtyard is fronted by two a stone dressed arcade and gallery with a brick tower in the corner. In the courtyard is an ancient well (another sign of wealth). The two-light windows have sturdy stone carved central posts, mostly decorated with female figures. On one wall a carving displays the busts of Francois I and his second wife, Eleanor of Austria.

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    Le Vieil Albi: Maison Enjalbert

    by hquittner Written Oct 10, 2009

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    The House at the Corner
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    This large 16C home is also known as the "Pharmacie des Penitents". It is on the next corner after the Prefecture. Today there is a modern pharmacy on the ground floor. It has most beautiful and varied carving on its vertical posts and horizontal frames and window surrounds. On one there can be seen, at the center, a "Mannekin Pis". Here in Albi, brick in various patterns fill the spaces instead of plaster, making the buildings sturdier and the most attractive in France. An old tradesman's sign hangs outside.

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    Le Vieil Albi: A 15C House

    by hquittner Written Oct 10, 2009

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    A 15C House
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    Walking east from St.-Salvy on r. Maries, this wood and brick "half-timbered" (colombages) house appears on the left. It is also cantilevered on the upper floors (encorbelment or jettying). The reason for the overhanging is found in the fact that buildings were taxed on their ground-floor square areas. This type of encroachment was outlawed in the 17C. Note the gallery on the upper flloor (now glassed-in). This space was used to dry the woad flowers from which indigo was extracted. Continuing east the stree ends in a small olanted square before the Prefecture of the Tarn.

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    Walk to the Church of St.-Salvy

    by hquittner Written Oct 8, 2009
    The Church Belfry
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    Since we had to wait until after lunch to visit the Cathedral Choir , we walked east on r. Maries from the Cathedral apse to the church of St.-Salvy only 2 blocks away. It is the oldest church in Albi (11C). As we started, we could see its peculiar belfry sticking up from its northeast end. It was obviously started as a stone faced Romanesque structure with Lombard bands (11C) and continued with a stone Gothic level (12C) and ultimately topped in brick (15C). Built out and upward on its inner side is a brick watch tower. When we arrived at the church door on its north side it looked unattractive and in poor repair. We could not enter the body of the church because it was under reconstruction, (this was 15 years ago), but we could enter the cloister. The closter received much care since we visited as did the neighborhood around the nave. There are fine recent pictures and comments by “kokoryko” under Off the Beaten Path as well as our material for a “before and after” comparison. Incidentally there may be a pleasant place to lunch behind the apse. We found a place long ago.

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