Once you arrive in Albi, around an hour's drive from Toulouse, the first thing that will impress you is the immense red-brick Saint Cecilia Cathedral: the only church built on this scale with this material in the world. Constructed in the 13th century, its 135m 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 dashingly beautiful former Episcopal Palace, 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 his various portraits of artist Yvette Guilbert.
While you are here, we suggest you try the delicious recipes of L'Épicurien, one of Albi's finest tables, which features its own organic bread, fresh seasonal ingredients, and a savvy, well-conceived menu.
Palais de la Berbie
+33 (0)5 63 49 48 70
42 place Jean-Jaurès
+33 (0)5 63 53 10 70