Albi: Gateway to the Tarn
The capital of the Tarn, and a UNESCO World Heritage city, Albi is a portal into the world of the Cathars. Indeed, its crowning glory, the Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile, was built to send a message from the Church to the Cathar heretics: we have the power. The fortress-like cathedral was built between 1282 and 1480, from the famous red bricks which give rise to Albi’s nickname, la ville rouge. Said to be the largest brick building in the world, it is an awe-inspiring vision, its bell tower standing 78 metres above the widest nave of any Gothic church in France. Its interior features a majestic choir with wonderful stone filigree work, a wall covered with one of the oldest frescoes of the Last Supper and a vaulted ceiling with Renaissance frescoes.