Saint Cecilia’s Cathedral

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Saint Cecilia’s Cathedral is the most visited site in the UNESCO World Heritage classed Episcopal City. Saint Cecilia’s, the largest brick built cathedral in the world has the appearance of a fortified castle and offers those who push back its door a striking collection of paintings, sculptures and statues. More than 800,000 visitors cross the threshold each year.

THE LARGEST BRICK BUILT CATHEDRAL IN THE WORLD

Its southern gothic style distinguishes it from cathedrals such as Chartres, Reims or Amiens which are contemporaries of it. Its austere and defensive appearance is reinforced by its dimensions. Whether you arrive from the Toulouse, Rodez, Millau or Cordes-sur-Ciel direction, Saint Cecilia’s cathedral, is there, posed on top of the city, massive and proud, dominating the Albi roofs. Study it well, for it is like no other.

113m long, 35m wide and a steeple that is 78m tall - Saint Cecilia of Albi, and its exceptional dimensions

THE LARGEST PAINTED CATHEDRAL IN EUROPE

18,500m² of frescos and decorations make this the largest painted cathedral in Europe. It can be read like an illustrated Bible.
Take the time to observe the colours, the geometric patterns and the trompe d’oeils which sometimes add a pinch of humour. Follow the pillars and raise your eyes to the vaulted ceiling to appreciate the Italian Renaissance style decorations  on a dark blue, mineral based background, which took 3 years to complete (1509 - 1512). Under the great Organ the oldest representation of the Last Judgement is found, from the 15th century. It is a fabulous mural where Heaven, Earth and Hell are represented over an area of more than 200m2. On the lower part, the punishments of the 7 deadly sins should not go unnoticed; see if you can recognise them... According to visitors, the interior of this cathedral leaves you speechless!

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Ste-Cécile-d'Albi-la-plus-grande-cathédrale-peinte-en-Europe-Albi Tourisme, par Fabienne

THE CHOIR OF THE CANONS, A CHURCH WITHIN A CATHEDRAL

A white stone rood screen, real stone lacework, splits the cathedral into two parts; the open access nave and the large choir behind the white screen, which you pay to enter. Beyond the stone screen, you find the choir of the canons which has been recently renovated thanks to the World Monuments Fund. The ambulatory, the corridor surrounding the great choir, features stone statues chiselled by Burgundian Masters. Notice all the details in the clothes, the features on the faces, the folds of the skin ... a magic wand could bring them to life ... Note the 200 statues that make it the most important statuary in France from the end of the Middle Ages. Visit the choir in 360°

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decouvrir-cathedrale-grand-choeur-albi-tourisme.jpg, par Fabienne

THE GREAT MOUCHEREL ORGAN 

The Great Organ is named after Christophe Moucherel. In the 18th century, he gave the cathedral an instrument of extraordinary dimensions (16.40m wide - 15.30m high). The variety in its decorations ranks it among the most beautiful in France.. The Christophe Moucherel association stages free concerts on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons during July and August and a programme of events throughout the year. Listen to the organ and the organist Frédéric Deschamps ... Listen the organ and the organist Frédéric Deschamps

THE TREASURY ROOM: A SACRED ART MUSEUM

The former treasury room and archives, the vault, house valuable objects and effects from the 14th to the 19th century that belonged to the Chapter. Another treasure, a facsimile of the Mappa Mundi is also displayed there from June to September. Conserved for 1300 years by the residents of Albi, the Mappa Mundi is a priceless testimony to the history of humanity. To be discovered...

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Mappa-Mundi-Albi-Memoire-du-Monde-UNESCO-une-des-plus-anciennes-representations-du-monde-connu-Albi-Tourisme.jpg, par Fabienne

HISTORICAL LANDMARK

Bernard de Castanet, Bishop of Albi and Vice Inquisitor of the Languedoc for the King of France, wanted to strengthen the role of the Catholic faith against Cathar heresy. On 15th August 1282, he laid the first brick in what would become the largest brick cathedral in the world.

It took 100 years to build this brick giant.

Opening hours

  • Monday - Saturday
    9:30am - 6:00pm (last entry at 5:45pm)
  • Sunday: 9:30am - 10:15am (no audio guide)
    1:30pm - 5:30pm (last entry at 5:15pm)

Entrance fees

  • Combined choir + treasury ticket: €6
  • Ticket combined with the Albi City Pass includes fastrack
  • Entry into the choir: €5
  • Free for under 12s

 

Guided tours about the Episcopal City