Albi: the beautiful rival

art and culture
Albi: the beautiful rival

Not far from Toulouse is Albi, a city that boasts surprising colours

The first thing that will impress you is the immense Saint Cecilia Cathedral built of red brick, the only church built on this scale with this material in the world. Constructed in the 13th century, its 135 metres give it the appearance of a fortified castle (which it was originally).

Just next door, you can push open the heavy doors of the Berbie Palace, the former Episcopal Palace with its proud air, which now houses the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, born in Albi, was the direct descendant of the Counts of Toulouse and was raised here. Aristocratic, whimsical, and small in stature due to a genetic disease, the painter made this last quality an asset. After his death (at age 37), his family bequeathed many paintings to his hometown, including some of the painter's most famous. Lautrec was among those who popularised 'the soul of Montmartre' in Paris, where he lived and made himself known.

And while you are here, we suggest you try the delicious recipes of the Epicurien, one of Albi's finest tables, which features its own organic bread, fresh seasonal ingredients, and a savvy, well-conceived menu.

Musée Toulouse-Lautrec
Palais de la Berbie
Place Sainte-Cécile
81000 Albi
+33 (0)5 63 49 48 70

42, Place Jean Jaurès
81000 Albi
+33 (0)5 67 00 68 04