Albi, France


The small city of Albi in the Tarn region of southern France is not at the top of anyone’s France itinerary, which is a mistake. There is the imposing Southern Gothic cathedral of Saint-Cecile, the largest brick structure in the world, and its painted interior. It is one of the most magnificent churches we have seen throughout our travels with its eerie painting of the Last Judgment above its nave, naked bodies descending into hell behind the priest as he stands at the altar. There is the Palais de la Berbie, a papal palace more aged and preserved than its more famous counterpart at Avignon. The palace has been converted into a museum to the city’s most famous resident, Toulouse-Lautrec, the painter of the dancing girls of Moulin Rouge. And there is the small restaurant, La Tete de L’Art, in a medieval house, serving enormous seafood platters, whose card I carried around for a year in preparation of this post only to find out that it is now under new management. Our meal there was one of the Frenchman’s favorites last year.

I would love to tell you more and to show you photos of this lovely small town, but I cannot. Tired from our previous day’s adventures in the snow we arrived too late for nice light. But, take our word for it, Albi is France at its best.


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