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The Old Quarter, Albi, Tarn

Albi Old Quarter, with the cathedral in the background

My favourite city in France, Albi is the administrative centre of the Tarn Département, and is a handsome, stylish and historic city. It's a thriving modern commercial centre too. The Tarn is a rich agricultural area, the region has always been prosperous.

The old part of the city is well preserved, visitors can take three different self-guided walking tours, marked by differently coloured arrows painted on the ground. Places not to miss are the cathedral, the Bishop's Palace, and the 11th century bridge over the Tarn, with its medieval houses. The Bishop's Palace houses a comprehensive exhibition of the works of Albi's most famous son, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Lath and plaster building in the old quarter of Albi

This building fascinates me, it gives me the feeling it's going to fall down in the next few minutes, even though it's been bulging out over this narrow street for several centuries.

The Chamber of Commerce building in Albi

At the time we visited this building was the home of the local Syndicat d'Initiative (Chamber of Commerce) and the tourist office. It was just too pretty not to photograph.

Once you've walked your feet off seeing the sights and shopping, go down to the river bank beneath the city walls by the Bishop's Palace. There's a little bar/coffee shop there and it's a great place to sit and watch the sun go down before dinner.

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