Albi, France

Feb 26th, 2007, 01:49 PM
  #1  
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Albi, France

I have an opportunity to spend a week or so in lae May at a home located outside Albi. Having made a only flying visit a long time ago, I would like to learn a bit about the area before committing to this trip. Stu Dudley or others familar with the area..??

Specifically, would you outline a couple of day trips that I might take from there and givbe general comments about Albi? Toulouse is a given, of course, and I have no desire to return to Carcasonne.

We are interested in markets. Would I have any hope of visiting the Isle sur Sorgue market on an overnight from the Albi area? (We will rent a car)

While I would probably fly to Toulouse from the US, my friend will be arriving from Epernay; are there easy train connections from the Champagne area to Toulouse?

This has sprung up at a time when I am busily planning other travel adventures so I have not addressed it with my usual obsessiveness...would love to hear general comments...many thanks!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 02:10 PM
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Albi was the religious capital of the Cathars (aka les albigeois), the home-town of Toulouse-Lautrec and an industrial city in the 19th century (coal mines in Carmaux)
Visits : cathedral Sainte Cécile, Toulouse-Lautrec museum.

In the area : Cordes, Castres, Lautrec.

L'Isle sur Sorgue would be a very long drive from Albi.
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Feb 26th, 2007, 02:13 PM
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In Albi, visit the Toulouse Lautrec musum. Albi has the only cathedral in France built to double as a fortress.
The drive through the Gorge of Tarn is wonderful.
cigalechanta is online now  
Feb 26th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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Thanks...how many hours would it be by car from the Albi area?

Any great markets around Albi? I am not looking for "sights" but rather more for a feel of what the area is like in terms of scenery, food, interesting small towns or villages, etc.

I am asking because depite having an entire shelf crammed with books on France, a brief look turned up nothing on Albi..I thought it was in the Languedoc-Roussillon region but now know better!
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Feb 26th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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Thank you, Cigale. I remember the fabulous Gorges du Tarn from a trip a long time ago when our brakes failed on the rental car going downhill! I will certainly do that drive again as it was truly fantastic! Hopefully with better brakes!

What about interesting towns to mosey around in? Great markets?
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Feb 26th, 2007, 02:25 PM
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ira
 
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Hi EK,

Albi is about 2 hr from Carcassone via Graulhet.

You Can be in Narbonne and the shores of the Med in about 3 hr.

You can get to Peche Merle in about 2 hr.

ira is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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Albi to Castres takes less than an hour.
Lautrec is somewhere in between.
Cordes is less than an hour too.
There is a market in Castres on Wed. and Sat. morning (+ a Goya museum).
in Albi : market every morning except Monday.
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Feb 26th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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Ira, thanks but if you read my post I said that I do NOT want to re-visit Carcassone. Can you tell me something about Narbonne since you mentioned it? Not sure I would want to drive 3 hours just to be on the Med..

Thank you, PV.
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Feb 26th, 2007, 02:38 PM
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ira
 
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Hi ek,

>Ira, thanks but if you read my post I said that I do NOT want to re-visit Carcassone.<

Maybe your companion will?

>Can you tell me something about Narbonne since you mentioned it? Not sure I would want to drive 3 hours just to be on the Med..<

See http://www.le-guide.com/narbonne.html

Have you visited the Med before?

We were there in Sept, and Narbonne Plage was a beautiful sandy beach on the edge of a gloriously blue ocean.





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Feb 26th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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Thanks, Ira. To answer your question, I have been to the Med more times than I can count and I believe I have been on its shores in every country bordering it with the exception of Libya. I just don't think that I would drive 3 hours in each direction to go to the beach. But if Narbonne is an interesting city I will keep it in mind. What about the area around Albi? I am trying to decide whether or not to take this trip...

Sorry to be asking such obvious questiions here. Thanks to all who respond.
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Feb 26th, 2007, 02:56 PM
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Cordes is a wonderful hill town close to Albi. The drive through the Gorge de l'Aveyron is beautiful.
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Feb 26th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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My Languedoc-Roussillon Iinerary hits that area a bit. E-mail me at [email protected] if you wanta copy.

I have not found any markets in France as interesting for the tourist as the one in l'Isle sur la Sorgue with antiques, food, Provence fabric, soap, crafts, other tourists, etc. The ones in the Albi region are less toursity and more geared for the people who need to buy stuff at markets to use on a day-to-day basis. That includes cars, matresses, sewing machines, food, etc.

Just north of Albi there is a very colorful market in Villefranche de Rouergue. The market is in a "sunken" town square, and they set up colorful umbrellas. It's quite picturesque. Lots of photos ops. There is also a rag market associated with this market, but you can ignore that. Villefranche also has one of my wife's favorite houseware shops (details in the itinerary).

There is also a good Sunday market in St Antonin Noble Var - just northwest of Albi. I've purchased lots of Magrets & foie gras there. The town is interesting also. It's located in the Gorge de l'Aveyron, which is a very scenic area to explore (details in the itinerary). It would be a great area to visit on a Sunday. There are several other cute villages in this region.

Further northwest, Caussade has one of the most remarkable outdoor food markets I've seen in France. We were there in Cep season, and there must have been 10 different vendors selling cepes from 6 or so different regions. If you like to see the foods of France, this market is excellent. There is also a nice garden shops there selling plants, seeds, etc. The town is not that interesting.

The bastide town of Castelnau de Montmiral is one of my 3 favorite Bastide towns. Lisle sur Tarn is also a nice Bastide town.

Cordes, of course, is one of the most famous perched villages in the south of France, (and is close by) but I like Conques more.

Revel has a very picturesque covered market, but I've never actually visited there on market day, which I think is Saturday.

Here is a site where you can determine the days all the above mentioned markets are held. They are in the Aveyron, Tarn, and Tarn-et-Garonne departments.
http://www.livingfrance.com/lvfra/co...ault.asp?id=15

You will need Michelin Map # 338.

Get the Michelin Green Guide for the languedoc, and my itinerary & you're on your way.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 26th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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Cordes is a wonderful place to visit, there's an outdoor restaurant under chestnut trees at the top of the main street. I want to cross that incredible bridge in Millau again
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Feb 26th, 2007, 03:02 PM
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ira
 
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Hi EK,

Castelnau de Montmiral and Cordes sur Ciel are both worth a visit.
(We didn't actually get to Cordes because of my wife's vertigo.)

Figeac is under 2 hr away.

Peche Merle is highly recommended.

ira is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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I was writing my post when you posted that you are uncertain about visiting this area. We stayed in a Gite near there for 1 week in '02. We enjoyed the region so much that we returned the next year for 1 more week. It is a very picturesque area - lots of very pretty villages, scenic drives, gorges, markets, etc.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 26th, 2007, 03:14 PM
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It's a wonderful region. In addition to the many places already mentioned, there is the pretty lakeside un-resort town of St-Férréol, Gaillac, Castelnaudary, and Rodez.

You could easily spend weeks around there.

I would not bother driving to Ile-sur-la-Sorgue just for the market. I mean, it's a good market, but there are fabulous markets all over France.
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Feb 26th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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Who -- WHO?? -- would NOT visit Albi, given the chance?

The Toulouse Lautrec museum is larger and more scholarly than I would have expected. And the garden behind it is surely one of the finest in France. The cathedral exterior alone is worth the trip (the interior is a tad polychromatic for my taste, but the choir is a masterpiece).

Nearby, you can visit -- in the immediate vicinity of Castelnau-de -Montmiral -- the charming villages of Bruniquel and Puycelsi. Near famous Cordes is half-ruined Penne. And if you want to wander further North, visit Monpezat de Quercy.
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Feb 27th, 2007, 04:27 AM
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Ok ok..Tegdale you are right. You all have been so helpful, as usual. Stu, I will write to you for the itinerary. Thanks to all.

Ira, I made a mistake above; I have not been to Syria so have not been on the Mediterranean shores in that country. This has been bothering me all night so am making the correction..
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Feb 27th, 2007, 04:57 AM
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ira
 
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Hi ek,

How was Albania?

ira is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 05:11 AM
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Ira I have only been to the border of Albania, not inside. However, I counted Albania as being on the Adriatic. Perhaps that is a stretch; it should be exempted from my total. And yes, I have been to Lebanon, which I know you will think of next!!
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