Albi is a city on the Tarn River and one of the best-preserved medieval urban complexes in southern France. Since 2010, its Old Town with the monumental Albi cathedral has been entered on the UNESCO list.
The history of the city dates back to Roman times, and after the fall of the Empire these areas were ruled by Visigots and Franks in turn. The first flourishing of the city took place in the 10th and 11th centuries. The Old Bridge over the Tarn River and the Saint-Salvy church combining early Christian and Roman features come from this period.
In the 13th century, Albi became an important center and stronghold of the Albignes, a sect fought by the Catholic church. During the crusade directed against them, a large part of the city's buildings were destroyed. The symbol of the victory over heresy was the construction of the powerful Cathedral of St. Cecylia, today considered one of the most important works of South French brick Gothic. In addition to the impressive body with an 80-meter tower, it has a wonderfully decorated interior with polychromes and sculptural decorations.
The Old Town of Albi has retained its medieval character with narrow streets and stone houses. Picturesque arcades and courtyards have survived in many of them. An important monument is the Barbie Episcopal Palace, which now houses the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. The famous post-impressionist was born in Albi, and in his museum one can trace the development of his work from early youth to death.