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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the city in Calabria, Italy, see Albi, Italy.

Coordinates: 43°55′44″N 2°08′47″E / 43.928889°N 2.146389°E / 43.928889; 2.146389

Commune of Albi

Albi is located in France
Country France
Region Midi-Pyrénées
Department Tarn
Arrondissement Albi
Intercommunality Albigeois
Mayor Philippe Bonnecarrère
Elevation 130–308 m (430–1,000 ft)
(avg. 169 m/550 ft)
Land area1 44.26 km2 (17.09 sq mi)
Population2 51,199  (2006)
 - Density 1,157 /km2 (3,000 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 81004/ 81000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Albi is a commune in southern France. It is the capital of the Tarn department. It is located on the River Tarn 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Toulouse. Its inhabitants are called Albigensians (French: Albigeois/ Albigeoise(s)). It was the seat of the Archbishop of Albi.



Albi is the seat of 6 cantons, covering 18 communes, with a total population of 67,729.


The first human settlement in Albi was in the Bronze Age.

After the Roman conquest of Gaul in 51 BC, the town became "Civitas Albigensium", the territory of the Albigeois, "Albiga". Archaeological digs have not revealed any traces of Roman buildings, which seems to indicate that Albi was a modest Roman settlement.

In 1040, Albi went through a period of expansion with the construction of the Pont Vieux (Old Bridge). New quarters were built, indicative of considerable urban growth. The city grew rich at this time, thanks to trade and commercial exchanges, and also to the tolls charged for using the Pont Vieux.

In 1208, the Pope and the French King joined forces to combat the Cathars, who had developed their own version of Christianity (a dangerous heresy to the dominant Catholic faith). Repression was severe, and many were burnt at the stake throughout the region. The area, until then virtually independent, was reduced to such a condition that it was subsequently annexed by the French Crown.

After the upheaval of the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars, the bishop Bernard de Castanet, in the late 13th century, completed work on the Palais de la Berbie, a Bishops' Palace with the look of a fortress, and ordered the building of the impressive cathedral of Sainte-Cécile starting in 1282. The town enjoyed a period of commercial prosperity largely due to the cultivation of "Isatis Tinctoria" commonly known as woad. The superb houses built during the Renaissance bear witness to the vast fortunes amassed by the pastel merchants. Albi has conserved its rich architectural heritage which encapsulates the various brilliant periods of its history. A great deal of improvement and restoration work has been done, to embellish the old quarters and to give them a new look, in which brick reigns supreme.

Main sights

Albi was built around the original cathedral and episcopal group of buildings. This historic area covers 63 hectares. Red brick and tiles are the main feature of most of the edifices.

Along with Toulouse and Montauban, Albi is one of the main cities built in Languedoc-style red brick .

Among the buildings of the town is the Sainte Cécile cathedral, a masterpiece of the Southern Gothic style, built between the 13th and 15th centuries. It is characterised by a strong contrast between its austere, defensive exterior and its sumptuous interior decoration. Built as a statement of the Christian faith after the upheavals of the Cathar heresy , this gigantic brick structure was embellished over the centuries: the Dominique de Florence Doorway, the 78 m high bell tower the Baldaquin over the entrance (1515–1540). The rood screen is a veritable filigree work in stone in the Flamboyant Gothic style. It is decorated with a magnificent group of polychrome statuary carved by artists from the Burgundian workshops of Cluny and comprising over 200 statues which have retained their original colours.

Panorama of Albi featuring the bridge of 22 August 1944 and the Pont Vieux

Older than the Palais des Papes in Avignon, the Palais de la Berbie, formerly the Bishops' Palace of Albi, now the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, is one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in France. This imposing fortress was completed at the end of the 13th century. Its name comes from the Occitan word Bisbia, meaning Bishops' Palace.

The Old Bridge (Pont Vieux) is still in use today after almost a millennium of existence. Originally built in stone (in 1035), then clad with brick, it rests on 8 arches and is 151m long. In the 14th century, it was fortified, reinforced with a drawbridge and houses were built on the piers.

Albi is a well known city for its elite Lycée Lapérouse, a high school with 500 students situated inside an old monastery boasting several literature classes. Furthermore, it is one of the few holding a full scale music section with special high tech rooms for this section.

La Goulue arriving at the Moulin Rouge., by Toulouse-Lautrec (1892).

Albi is the home of the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. More than 1000 works, including the 31 famous posters, are kept within the walls. This body of work forms the largest public collection in the world devoted to Toulouse-Lautrec.


Twin towns — sister cities

Albi is twinned with:

See also


External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also albi


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. A town and commune in southern France.


Simple English


Location of Albi in the Tarn

Albi is a city in the south of France, in Midi-Pyrénées department. About 50,000 people live in the city, about 80,000 in its agglomeration. The city is located about 80km to the northeast of Toulouse.



There already was a Roman settlement, called Civitas Albiensium. In 843, Charles the bald took possession of the city. The Cathars, which were named Ablbigens are named after the city. The Cathar movement was a branch of Christianity which was persecuted in the Middle Ages. Because of this, the city was almost completely destroyed in a crusade between 1209 and 1229. Since 1678, the city is the seat of an archbishop. Since 1790, it is the capital city of the département Tarn.


[[File:|thumb|right|The cathedral]]

File:Albi Sainte-Cecile
Close-up of the bell tower, shows the impressive walls

There is the cathedral Ste-Cécile (St. Cecile´s cathedral) worth seeing. It is built like a fortress, in a gothic style. The cathedral is built in a very special style. Inside, there are frescoes from the Renaissance, worth a visit.

The cathedral has walls which are up to 6 metres thick. This makes it the biggest brick building in the world.


There is a museum dedicated to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the city. De Touluose-Lautrec was born in the city. There are also paintings of other people in the museum of course.

Well-known citizens

  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,1864-1901, painter
  • Jean-François de La Pérouse, 1741-1788, French geographer; sailed around the world.


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