Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Beautiful Brick of Albi

Only an hours drive south west of me is the beautiful rose brick town of Albi, one of my favorite day trips.

Albi is the birth place of artist Toulouse-Lautrec. There is a wonderful museum to honor their most famous native son, which houses one of the worlds largest collections of the artist's work. Recently renovated, the museum is truly spectacular & a must see for anyone visiting this area. It is amazing not only for its collection, donated by the artist's mother after his death at age 36, but also for the beautiful twelfth century building, which exposes the collection.

Overlooking the Tarn River, the museum, the Palais de la Berbie & the adjoining Cathedral de Saint Cécile were all recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Also included in the site is one of the most beautiful walled gardens in France. This immaculately kept formal garden was designed by Versailles gardener André Le Nôtre in the 17th century.

But what really defines Albi are it's bricks. Almost the entire old part of the city, built between the eleventh & fifteenth centuries, was constructed in beautiful hand made rose colored brick. The shear number of bricks it must have taken not to mention the labor required is staggering to contemplate.

The brick are laid in many varying patterns & configurations, which are beautiful to observe. Then there is that magnificent color!

As the light changes, so does the color of the city. The color of the brick can go from a pale rosy pink to an almost true tangerine, to a deep pomegranate red within the course of a days changing light.

The final photo ( below) is not one of mine. I have borrowed it from the internet, because this lovely arial shot captures & I hope gives you a real sense of the beauty of the historic brick town of Albi.

Photo by Ludovic Blatge


  1. Albi is a wonderful place! When I lived in Toulouse I came here regularly. I sometimes had the impression of being in Italy.

  2. I haven't heard of this town but it looks beautiful. The buildings seem different from many French towns. Was there a different influence there?

  3. wow, how beautiful, I had no idea it was known for its rose bricks !

  4. Mmmm, that is some gorgeous glowing color. Thanks for sharing such great photos-I can see why its a favorite daytrip.

  5. I visited here a some years ago,this architecture and brickwork is quite stunning.