|Red brick, Cathedral, Toulouse-Lautrec et Carnaval par Kiri et Tasha.
We got to Albi in the evening and found our hotel right near the train station - a refurbished old place, but quite to our liking. We were hungry, but the one place to eat near us was super-crowded and a noisy bar that made Kirianne feel uncomfortable. So we followed Kirianne's nose into centre ville and found a very nice place to eat (coq au vin for Tasha, pasta carbonnera for Kiri). Returning "home", we found out how comfortable our beds were! Although Tasha was still recovering from her fever and flu, we both slept well.
The next morning we didn't get out and about until late in the morning and so people were gathering for Sunday church at the Cathedral when we got there. So we walked along the river a bit, then returned to the Bishops' Palace gardens, where we ate our picnic lunch and wrote a couple of postcards while sitting in the sun and waiting for 2 pm for the cathedral or the museum to accept our visit.
The 'Sainte-Cecile Cathedral' is a gigantic red brick monument - "the largest brick cathedral in the world" - made of flat, rectangular bricks rather than the usual stone blocks. The incongruously interesting part is the south portal that is very much flamboyant gothic style. Inside, it has very large paintings of 'The Last Judgement' and the gory methods of torture for those put in the catagory 'GUILTY' - not too pleasant to look at too closely.
The 'Toulouse-Lautrec' museum is housed in the Bishops' Palace, and we decided to visit and learn a bit about this artist. The museum was good enough although neither of Kirianne's two favourite paintings were by 'Toulouse-Lautrec'!
On our way home to the hotel in the late afternoon, we found ourselves caught in the midst of the Carnaval parade, dodging confetti and silly string sprayers. We weren't really in the mood for these antics, and were happy to reach sanctuary in the Regency-George V hotel. Then we found a telephone booth to call Nana for her birthday.
The next day we checked out of the hotel and got on a train to Rodez where we would pick up a rental car for two days of driving to otherwise inaccessible places, like Conques and the valleys of the Lot and Tarn.