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Prefecture of Tarn
Population: 51,153. 83,000 in the 17 municipalities of the agglomeration
Celebrities: Jean-François Galaup de Lapérouse (1741-1788, explorer), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), Jean Jaurès (1859-1914, deputy for Carmaux), Pierre Benoit (1886-1962, writer), Pierre Mondy (actor), Romain Mesnil (pole-vault), Grégory Lacombe (football), Stéphane Béga and Grégory Marques (judo), Alexa Lemitre (athletics, 3000m steeplechase), Renaud Clerc (200 m and 400 m Paralympic French champion) Tom Bouchardon (kayak slalom), Laurent Viala (Paralympic rowing), Célia Perron (athletics, heptathlon), Geoffrey Palis, Clément Maynadier and Arnaud Mela (rugby union), Henri Sitek, Cédric Coutouly, Stéphane Pouilhes, Lilian Calmejane ( cycling), Claudia Carceroni-Gilles (cycling)
Specialties: salted liver radish, Albi tripes, duck, repountchou (omelette, salad or custard dish), Lautrec pink garlic, traditional pastries, navettes. Gaillac AOC wines (dry, sweet and pearly white, red and rosé), Albi distilleries, Belin and Thuries chocolate makers.
Sport: 18,500 members in 155 clubs, 88 disciplines. Clubs: SCA Sporting Club Albi Rugby Union, Albi Volleyball, ECLA Athletics.
Events: Albi cycling Grand Prix, Albi marathon (41st edition), 24-hour running world championship, 2020 badminton French championship. Cycling clubs: Albi Sport bike, ASPTT cycling and CRA (Cyclo Randonneurs Albigeois)
Economy: tertiary city, the administrations are the first employers of the city. Most attractive under-100,000 city in the south of France for its economy with more than 3,000 companies. An agglomeration benefitting from the dynamics of the Toulouse metropolis. St Gobain group with VOA Verrerie ouvriere Albigeoise (bottles and recycling), SAFRA (bodywork, TGV, metros), Phodé (olfactory research), RAGT seeds
Festivals: Carnival and big funfair (March), Youth Book Fair (March), ACTHEA Student Theater Festival (April), Pastel Nights (June, lighting of buildings), "Tons Voisins" Chamber Music Festival (June), Pause Guitare Festival (July), Nocturnes gourmandes (July-August, tasting-concerts), Albi, Place aux artistes (July-August, 40 free shows), Urban Festival (September, urban cultures), Salon des antiquaires (Antiques Fair, October), Artétango Festival (October), Les Œillades (November, French Film Festival)
Labels: UNESCO World Heritage for the episcopal city listed since 2010 and the Mappa Mundi d'Albi, unique representation of the world listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in October 2015 / Active and Sporting City / City internet 3 @ / Flower city 4 flowers / 3 dragonflies
UNESCO rejuvenated tourism in Albi
Since the classification of the Episcopal City of Albi as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the city's tourist attendance has increased by about 25% and allows the city to receive more than 1.2 million visitors a year.
The Episcopal City of Albi presents a complete and representative ensemble of this type of urban development in Europe, from the Middle Ages to the modern and contemporary times. Its monumental and urban elements are complementary and well preserved, in subtle agreements of tones and pace through the widespread use of the fairground brick. It bears witness to the simultaneously defensive and spiritual program implemented by the Roman bishops, following the eradication of the heresy of the Albigenses or Cathars in the 13th century. The Sainte-Cécile cathedral is the most remarkable monumental symbol, in a unique southern Gothic architectural style, completed in the 15th-16th centuries by a systematic painted interior decoration, a choir and a late-Gothic statuary. The exceptional value of the city is finally expressed by a well-preserved and authentically medieval landscape. (UNESCO notice)
En 2013, alors qu’Albi venait d’être élue par L’Équipe « Ville la plus sportive de France » de l’année 2012, c’est Peter Sagan qui s’était imposé dans la préfecture du Tarn au terme d’une longue étape partie de Montpellier. C’était la quatrième victoire d’étape du Slovaque et elle lui permit de creuser l’écart dans sa course à la reconquête du maillot vert.
Albi est la ville natale de Lilian Calmejane, vainqueur en solitaire aux Rousses dans le Tour 2017 et l’un des plus admirables attaquants du peloton actuel. C’est également le berceau d’un amateur de la Petite Reine, Toulouse-Lautrec, qui peignit de nombreuses affiches publicitaires pour les firmes de cycles.
Quelque très grands noms du cyclisme l’ont emporté à Albi, à commencer par le plus grand de tous, Eddy Merckx, qui y avait enlevé un contre-la-montre en 1971. En 2007, c’est Cadel Evans qui triomphait lui aussi dans un effort solitaire. Autre vainqueur du Tour, Roger Pingeon y a enlevé une étape venue de Font-Romeu en 1968.
The episcopal city is an urban ensemble of bricks spreading over 19?47 hectares. It includes the St. Cecile cathedral, the Berbie Palace (Toulouse-Lautrec Museum), the St. Salvi collegiate church and its cloister, the old bridge and the banks of the Tarn.
The cathedral of Albi, built from 1282, is the largest cathedral made of brick in the world. It is 113 metres long and 35 metres wide. Alone of its kind, it is monumental thanks to a style typical of south-western France known as southern gothic. Set on one of the hills of the city, it bears witness to the strength of the Catholic faith after the Cathar heresy. Its originality is reinforce by the interior decoration, a true museum of Christian art. It is the only cathedral in Europe whose walls and vaults are entirely painted on a surface of about 18,500 m2. Especially remarkable are:
- the oldest painting of Judgment Day dating from the Middle-Ages and covering 200 m2.
- the rood screen decorated with more than 270 chiselled by Burgundy masters.
- the vault in Italian Renaissance style built between 1509 and 1512.
- the organ built by Christophe Moucherel and dating from the 18th century.
Berbie palace and Toulouse-Lautrec museum
The former Episcopal Palace, built in the 13th century, is the unexpected showcase of Alibi painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The imposing fortress vowed to demonstrate the temporal and spiritual power of the bishops who built it. The thick walls confirm its defensive role. In the course of time, several transformations turned it into a comfortable palace. The defensive aspect is reinforce by the fortifications and the Mage Tower, an enormous keep, 50 metres high, flanked by four corner towers. The fortifications were destroyed in the 17th century while galleries, lounges, halls, a library and terraces were built to make the place a little cosier. A garden also replaced the old Place-d’Armes.
The Toulouse-Lautrec museum displays more than 1,000 works. Early works, major portraits, brothel paintings, posters and lithographs form an exceptional collection.
Saint-Salvi collegiate and cloister
The St Salvi collegiate church, named after the first bishop of Albi between 474 and 584, was refurbished through the years and is a patchwork of several styles combining Romanesque, gothic, stone and bricks. It is one of the largest churches in the region while the houses surrounding it were the lodgings of the canons. Turned into a barn during the Revolution, it became a church again in the 19th century. The cloister, built in 1270 by Vidal Malvezi, was also crippled during the Revolution but still shelters a discreet and peaceful garden in the heart of the old town.
Maison du vieil Alby (House of the Old Albi) is a half-timbered house with an open cellar, Soleilhou, showing exhibitions. Half-timbered houses (14th and 15th centuries). More than 20 Renaissance mansions (15th to 17th century) including Hotel du Bosc, the birthplace of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the Town Hall.
Recipe by Chef Antoine Caramelli from Le Lautrec Restaurant
This cod cassoulet of Good Friday is a very old dish and typical of the region. It was served on lean days or days of funeral. Dried sea-fish (cod and herring) was often found (far from the sea shores) in the plate of peasants who could not afford the luxury of eating river fish. During Lent, the clergy recommended to abstain from eating meat. But fresh fish was expensive and peasants turned to salted cod.
Ingredients for 6 people:
500 g of ingot beans, 800 g of salted cod, 2 carrots, 2 onions, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 bouquet garni, some pork casings, 2 tomatoes, celery and carrots for the Julienne, ½ l of fish soup, 4 scallops, 3 egg yolks, 500 mussels, 2 tablespoons of fresh cream, 1 teaspoon of mustard, saffron.
Prepare the beans, soak them and bring them to a boil, add onions, garlic, carrots and bouquet garni. Cook slowly.
Steam the vegetables in a thin soup, add the scallops in dices. Bind with three egg yolks. Cool down. Prepare the sausages with this mixture by incorporating them inside the pork casings. Tie the end of the sausages with kitchen string. Prick them and poach them in boiling water for five minutes.
Wash and steam the mussels.
Assemble the cassoulet starting with a ladle of fish soup. Put the drained beans, add the mussels and the small scallop sausages. Finish by completing the "wetting" with fish soup.
Make a mixture of mustard, cream, egg yolks and saffron and add to a ladle of fish soup. Sprinkle the cassoulet with this preparation. Put in the oven and brown for 15 to 20 minutes.
Desalt the cod 36 hours in advance by changing it several times with water. Bring to high heat in olive oil for 5 minutes on each side. Add it to the cassoulet and serve hot.