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Overview

Albi, with its graceful arched bridges and leafy riverside promenades, is often overlooked by travelers, which is a shame. It is a pleasant, friendly city, and its old town center, built in Languedoc-style brick, is thriving and lively. The city is best known as the birthplace of the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who immortalized the dance halls and cabarets of Paris’s Montmartre quarter in his paintings and posters. More than 1,000 of his paintings, posters, drawings, and lithographs are shown in The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, housed in the 13th-century former Bishops’ Palace. But the city’s star attraction for art and architecture fans ...

Albi, with its graceful arched bridges and leafy riverside promenades, is often overlooked by travelers, which is a shame. It is a pleasant, friendly city, and its old town center, built in Languedoc-style brick, is thriving and lively. The city is best known as the birthplace of the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who immortalized the dance halls and cabarets of Paris’s Montmartre quarter in his paintings and posters. More than 1,000 of his paintings, posters, drawings, and lithographs are shown in The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, housed in the 13th-century former Bishops’ Palace. But the city’s star attraction for art and architecture fans is the outstanding Cathedral of Ste-Cecile, dating from 1282. Along with its fortress-like exterior, its vaulting and masterpieces of wall painting, it contains one of the few rood screens to survive in French churches. This wall of carving that separates the choir and high altar from the nave is simply magnificent, its white limestone intricately carved with figures from the Old and New Testament. Saint Salvi, the collegiate church, was the previous cathedral, one of the largest Romanesque churches in the region, with Gothic additions.

Juliette Rogers
About the Expert

Juliette Rogers is coauthor of the guidebooks Eating New England: A Food Lovers Guide to Eating Locally, Secret Providence and Newport, and two Thomas Cook guides on France.

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Juliette Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May for the Jazz Festival, late July and August for the Festival Musique, with classical music.