The Episcopal City

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Cité épiscopale patrimoine UNESCO Albi
The Episcopal City of Albi has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010. The Episcopal Palace, which reflects a rare image of power, and the imposing Saint Cecilia's cathedral are the two key monuments. More than a million visitors discover the city every year. For sure you will bring back memories from this exceptional site beauty.

THE EPISCOPAL CITY, A UNIQUE URBAN BRICK BUILDING

Brick is the architectural signature of the Episcopal City. It creates a unique urban appearance. Besides, it shows its identity and its particularity, thanks to its palette of colours which vary according to the light ; shades of red, pink and ochre. This brick was used in the Middle Ages to build an urban ensemble which is now examplary but also the only heritage in Europe of its kind. Direclty built with dirt from the Tarn river bed, this material is omnipresent in both religious and civil architecture. The Cathedral and the Berbie Palace  are among the largest brick constructions in the world.

albi_vueaerienne_cite_episcopale_albi-tourismei.jpg

albi_vueaerienne_cite_episcopale_albi-tourismei.jpg, par Fabienne

AN EPISCOPAL CITY, 4 MEDIEVAL DISTRICTS

4 historic districts surround the two giants made of bricks, the cathedral and the episcopal palace.

  • Facing the cathedral’s bell tower, the Castelviel is the cradle of the city. With its small squares surrounded by medieval half-timbered houses, with open-roofed attics, it’s worthy of a postcard ;
  • the Castelnau, picturesque district with broad and straight streets, is the symbol of the city modern subdivision in the 12th century. The Maison du Vieil Alby, near the Toulouse-Lautrec street, home of the Albi Heritage Association, is one of its emblems ;
  • the ring-shaped or wheel-shaped Saint-Salvi district surrounds the Saint-Salvi collegiate church and the cloister. This is a remarkable ensemble erected  the 11th century, combining Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
  • the Coombs and banks of the Tarn offer a magnificent view on the Pont Vieux built around 1035 - 1040. It was the key to commercial prosperity in the Middle Ages and an important defensive asset, particularly during the 14th century and the Hundred Years' War. It is one of the oldest bridges in France.

  The panoramic view of the right bank of the Tarn takes in the episcopal group

Albi Grand Site Midi Pyrénées - Albi Tourisme, par Fabienne

VISIT THE EPISCOPAL CITY

On foot, follow the heritage trails though the historic centre, stroll from square to square through an urban maze, where you can feed your curiosity. A visit to the historic centre on foot is easy to do, going from one district to another, one bank to the other. You will fall under the spell of Albi, the Episcopal City.

Guided tours

Book your tickets now to discover the Episcopal City with a local guide