The Episcopal city.
The Episcopal city was built around the cathedral and the fortified palace in the XIIIth century and spreads over 19,47 hectares.
It is a unique visual ensemble exclusively built with long-lasting bricks.
The Episcopal city of Albi includes:
- Sainte Cécile cathedral (1282-1480)
- the Berbie palace (1228-1306), turned into the Toulouse-Lautrec museum since 1922
- Saint Salvy church and cloister (XIth- XIIth)
- the Old Bridge (1035-1040)
- the river Tarn banks between the Old Bridge and the railway bridge
Sainte Cécile cathedral
Sainte Cécile cathedral is the most remarkable feature of the city, a unique southern gothic monument, completed in the XVth-XVIth centuries by an exceptional interior decoration ensemble (paintings, choir and statues). It displays the largest wall surface of murals in Europe. A remarkable monumental painting chef-d’oeuvre, the only cathedral whose 2-hectare walls and vault are decorated with murals.
The Berbie palace
A symbol of the power of the Albi archbishops, it was built in the XIIIth century by Ste Cécile cathedral over the banks of the river Tarn. The name of this impressive fortress originates from the mispronounciation of the Occitan word meaning “évêché”.
It’s a great contemporary regional museum. More than 1000 works by the artist who was born in Albi are exhibited in the XIIIth Episcopal palace: paintings, drawings, lithographs, among which the famous 31 posters designed by Toulouse-Lautrec.
The museum has now achieved the ambitious rehabilitation and reorganisation program launched since 2001. Closed from 26 december 2011 to the end of march 2012, it has reopened in spring with its new chronological, theme and technical organisation.
A contemporary museography will provide educational directions for the most significant public collection of his works and for modern art collections. A history gallery will also enable the visitors to have a more comprehensive approach of the history of the Berbie palace from the archaeological artefacts found on the rehabilitation site and a better understanding of the evolution of the Unesco World Heritage Episcopal city.