Historical Town of Albi, France
Located in Southwest France, in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées, Albi brings culture, history and charm in generous measures. Whether your passion is medieval history, modern art, or simply delightful French towns, Albi does not disappoint.
Walk, Dont Run
The best way to explore the town is on foot, as the historic areas are automobile-free. This has the added benefit of allowing you to take in the architecture and scenery of the area, while stopping to enjoy a cup of coffee at a café or a browse through a boutique.
Beautiful Architectural Found All Over
With origins dating back to the Bronze Age, Albi has a rich and varied history as the site of crusades, martyrdom, and religious and political upheaval. The city reflects this history in its buildings and structures, boasting an array of architectural styles from nearly ancient to modern.
The Cathedral of St. Cecile
The Cathedral of St. Cecile, with its brick, fortress-like structure, dates to the 13th century. It is the heart of the town and visible from nearly all points. The portion of the city surrounding the Cathedral, also referred to as the Episcopal City, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.
Palais de la Berbie
The Palais de la Berbie stands as one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in France—travelers should plan to spend a long day exploring the grounds. The Palais also houses the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, featuring the works of artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, a native of the city.
Pont Vieux Bridge
One of the oldest bridges in all of France, the Pont Vieux spans the Tarn river and stands as a representative of the town’s medieval past. Nearly one thousand years after its construction, the bridge is still in use today.
Colorful Buildings Make Beautiful Landscape
Characteristic of the city and region is the Languedoc-style red brick used as the material for the majority of the buildings throughout the area, some of them as old as 500 years old. This trait earned the city its nickname of “la vielle rouge.”
Destination And Rest Stops
Firmly situated among several wine regions, Albi is for wine lovers. Many of the wines served at the local eateries are often from Gaillac, or other nearby region, and several of the town’s restaurants, such as La Table du Sommelier, offer tasting menus with curated wine pairings, allowing diners to sample the best of the region in food and wine.
Explore The Country Side
Many of the museums, attractions and even shops and restaurants are closed on Monday, making this a perfect day for a trip out into the countryside, perhaps to visit a vineyard. Travelers should also note that Albi is mostly shut down between the hours of noon and two o’clock each day, giving you plenty of time to indulge in a long, leisurely lunch and a short nap before heading out for more exploration.
What sets Albi apart, and much of what earned it the UNESCO World Heritage Site distinction, is the almost seamless evolution of the town’s architecture from “then to now.” Far from being a relic to be observed, Albi has a lively, youthful spirit, inviting its inhabitants and visitors alike to behold the past and appreciate tradition, while enjoying and living in the present.