Monday, July 4, 2011

Cecilia and Henri

Yesterday we took a drive into the city of Albi on the Tarn River. Everything looked so close on the map, but the reality was oh so different. It took us two and a half hours to reach our destination. But that was okay with us. We ain't got nuthin' but time on this vacation.

Our drive took us through the lovely French countryside. Beautiful browns, beiges, greens and yellows. Fields of bare earth, wheat, trees, corn and sunflowers. I never tire of looking at it.

We arrived in the Episcopal City of Albi and walked to the old centre of town. Our first order of business was to visit the 13th century Cathedral of Saint Cecilia. What a monument! As our guide book said, "The cathedral is like nothing you have ever seen before, massive and so ugly that it's eccentricity becomes almost beautiful." We spent the morning wandering around the cathedral in awe of it's carvings, statues and paintings.

Our afternoon was spent at the Berbie Palace which now houses the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum.

You know how I love factoids. Here is what I learned about Henri Toulouse-Lautrec:

He is Albi's most famous son. His parents were first cousins. He was born with the congenital condition 'bone dysplasia'. In early life he broke his left leg falling out of a chair. He broke his right femur a little while later. He was well under five feet tall and walked with cane. His genius went largely unrecognized during his lifetime. He died at the age of 35 from syphilis and alcoholism. His mother collected his works after his death and gave them to his native town. Albi became the beneficiary of a marvelous collection because no one in Paris was interested at the time.

We ended our day by taking a walk across the Pont-Vieux (old bridge). It was built in 1040. ALMOST 1,000 YEARS AGO! I wonder if people even think about that as they drive over the bridge on their daily commute?

What an enjoyable day. Art, architecture, and history. Three of my favourite things.


  1. my kind of day as well, however I will have to settle for work and maybe a walk later. At least the sun is out.

  2. That reclined woman is BEAUTIFUL. It looks like you're having an amazing trip.

  3. I like that cathedral; I don't think it's ugly at all.

  4. i love the sleeping woman sure hope hearts find you this time as well. i can not wait to see everything see you on thursday hip hip hurray

  5. Jealous that you walked over a 1000 year old bridge!! Walking over pieces of the old Roman road in Europe was one of the most memorable parts of my 2005 trip!

  6. The cathedral looks amazing! Wow and the bridge, talk about strong support beams. Sheesh!

  7. Being the history buff he is, Michael is so jealous!! What a fantastic experience.