View of Albi featuring the bridge of 22nd of August 1944 on the left, Sainte-Cécile cathedral and the Pont Vieux (old bridge) on the right.
Albi is a delightful small town in the Southwest of France. There are lots of shops and nice places to eat in the area. This Episcopal City is listed as one of France's sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Situated in the Midi-Pyrénées region, along the river Tarn, the city of Albi offers the Episcopal City, home to Sainte-Cécile cathedral, the biggest brick cathedral in the world, and the fortified Berbie Palace. With the red brick architecture, the banks of the Tarn, the relaxed rhythm of life in the South West, the distant memory of the Cathars, or even that of the famous painter Toulouse-Lautrec. Albi is a magnificent city! Its Episcopal City is home to the Sainte-Cécile cathedral, the gem of the city, the Berbie Palace containing the Toulouse-Lautrec museum, the Saint-Salvi church and its cloister, the Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) and a section of the banks of the Tarn. The Episcopal City of Albi has been listed Unesco World Heritage since 2010.
A one-way fare to Albi on SNCF regional trains from Toulouse Matabiau costs 13€ on the TER service and takes about 1h10 to arrive. There are also trains to Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, and Paris.
Tarnbus is the local public bus service that can take you to other cities and villages in the Tarn department.
- From Toulouse, 1 hour, 79km by the A68 motorway. Arriving at Albi by the “RN 88” dual carriageway, take the exit for Le Sequestre, follow the signs for Albi-Université then Albi centre. Follow the signs for “cœur historique”.
- From Montpellier, 2½h, 200km. A9 motorway, take the exit for La Cavalerie then take the RN112 in the direction of St Affrique-Albi. Follow Albi-centre then follow the signs for “cœur historique”.
- From Bordeaux, 2h55, 260km. A62 motorway to Toulouse, then A68. Arriving at Albi by the “RN 88” dual carriageway, take the exit for Le Sequestre, follow the signs for Albi-Université then Albi centre. Follow the signs for “cœur historique”.
- From Paris, 8h, 690km. A10 motorway, then A20 to Toulouse and then A68. Arriving at Albi by the “RN 88” dual carriageway, take the exit for Le Sequestre, follow the signs for Albi-Université then Albi centre. Follow the signs for “cœur historique’’.
- From Barcelona, 4½h, 465km. AP7 motorway to La Jonquera. Continue on the A9 to Narbonne then A61 to Toulouse and A68. Arriving at Albi by the “RN 88” dual carriageway, take the exit for Le Sequestre, follow the signs for Albi-Université then Albi centre. Follow the signs for “cœur historique”.
You can explore the city on foot; quite small.
- Albi Cathedral This was formally the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Cecilia (French: Basilique Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile d'Albi), is the most important religious building in Albi, southern France, and the seat of the Archbishop of Albi (in full, Albi-Castres-Lavaur). First built as a fortress begun in 1287 and under construction for 200 years, it is claimed to be the largest brick building in the world. In 2010 the cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Musée Toulouse-Lautrec Great collection of masterpieces from the artist along with several exhibits dedicated to his eclectic life. Lots of beautiful imagery of the Belle Epoque and will suit the tastes of any art fan.
- The Berbie Palace This is where the bishops of Albi resided, was built during the 13th century - before the construction of the Popes' Palace in Avignon. It is one of the oldest fortified palaces in France and one of the best preserved. Now providing an exceptional home for the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, it is one of the key attractions of the episcopal City and is much appreciated for its beautiful formal gardens and its wonderful view overlooking the Tarn River.
There are lots of trails along the Tarn River to hike. Between Albi and the Tarn gorges, the river follows a 3-kilometer loop, shaping the valley into an impressive rocky peninsula. Ambialet is nestled there amidst a breathtaking panorama. As early as the Celts until the Counts of Toulouse and throughout the crusade against the Albigeois, this setting has always provided shelter and safe settlements.