Cathedral Sainte Cécile of Albi!!!

Now this is a dandy beautiful monument of my belle France. I need to update and revise links on this older post of 2019. Albi is in a special region of family ties from nearby. We have sillonned the area by car many times and in addition to monuments visit cousins on wife’s side. The  Cathedral Sainte Cécile of Albi is a must while in the area ,even coming just to see it is worth it. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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Well here I am back at you going back south to the wonderful deepness of my belle France.  I will take you to the Tarn ,an area very well known to me as my dear late wife Martine, dear late father Pierre came from nearby Lavaur (see post). We had crisscross the department 81 on many occasion while telling me of stories of the occitan ,cathars etc and on all these wonderful cities and monuments.  Anyway, I like to tell you a bit more on the Cathedral of Sainte Cécile of Albi!

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The Cathedral of Sainte Cécile is the seat of the Archdiocese of Albi, in the Tarn Department 81 and the region of Occitanie. It is built on a rocky outcrop that dominates the Tarn river . Two centuries will have been necessary for its edification, from 1282 to 1480. The building surprises by the contrast between its austere exterior appearance of a military fortress and the pictorial and sculptural richness of its interior. Monument without equal, it asserts its power through a typical style of southwestern France, southern Gothic. Its unique style is reinforced by its interior design. In addition to her archiepiscopal Church status, it was raised as a Minor Basilica, a dignity given by Pope Pius XII in 1947. The celebrations were presided over by Mgr Roncalli, Apostolic Nuncio to Paris, future Pope John XXIII. The Cathedral of Sainte Cécile, is on the Unesco World Heritage List, and is today one of the most visited Cathedrals in France. A must to see!

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The Sainte Cécile Cathedral is built between 1282 to 1480 by the bishops of Albi who were the lords of the city after the crusade against the Albigeois (Cathars). In honor of Sainte Cécile, martyr at Rome in 232 and Patron Saint of the Musicians. It is of meridional Gothic with bricks, been the biggest in the world on bricks, and inside has the biggest concentration of Italian paintings in France!. The Cathedral is 114 meters long  (373 feet) by 35 meters wide (115.5 feet)  and 40 meters high (132 feet); the bell tower are at 78 meters. The entrance on the side of the nave and not by the gate of entrance under the clock tower for lack of space. The Cathedral was restored in the 19C and by 1948 it was raised to Basilica. The square around the Cathedral of the same name has been renovated into a pedestrian way ,and very nice with restos all around even back of the Cathedral.

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You can see its distinction on the  Côté sud,or south side with a look of a fortress showcasing the door or porte de Dominique de Florence(c. 1400) , and the porch or Baldaquin  (c. 1530), a gothic work of art.  You will see a huge wonderful Last Judgement or Jugement Dernier (c. 1475-1480) of 300 square meters or about 3 228 sq ft)!  Inside you find an organ from 1734, updated several times last in 1996. You ,also, will see  87 statues on the exterior facade, 33 persons from the old testament around the choir, 15 statues of the Church with 12 Apostles, Virgin Sainte Cécile, St John the Baptist and St Paul; 72 statues of angels, plus Charlemagne ,and the emperor Constantine dominating the two doors of entry into the cloister!  Bringing Italians painters from Modena and Bologna in 1509-1512, the ceilings are painted in rich colors and extraordinary dimensions (97 meters long  (320 ft) by 28 meters wide (92.4 ft)). And dont forget the salle de Tresors or treasury room!  A really remarkable Cathedral not to be missed while in France.


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The amount of details and beauty is beyond my humble writings, and I will let you browse the webpages below and more importantly do come here, is a must in my belle France. Indeed again, is a must to visit in traditional Tarn dept 81! 

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Albi tourist office on things to see highlighting the Cathedral:

The city of Albi on the Cathedral Sainte Cécile

The Tarn dept 81 tourist office on things to see :

The Occitanie tourist board on things to see in Albi

This is beyond words really, again, a must to see come here , the Cathedral of Sainte Cécile ,the country in my deep France gets you to know the real story and the real people, with wonderful monuments of history and architecture. One of the reason I say to Mr Hemingway, France is a moveable feast!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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