Albi, Cordes-sur-Ciel, et Castelnau de Montmiral

This Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit three different villages in the Tarn department of southern France – all for just 25 euros.

We left Toulouse, by bus, around 8h30. Our first stop: Albi.

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In spite of the rain, there were two tourist attractions on the agenda. The first being the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec.

Toulouse-Lautrec was an interesting man, with an even more interesting life. He was born into an aristocratic family of southwest France. His parents were count and countess; but to “keep it in the family” they were also cousins germains / first cousins. This might be the reason why he was never able to grow taller than 5 ft. Despite this disease and a flighty father, Toulouse-Lautrec was well-off; therefore, his passion for painting portraits, sketching drawings, designing posters – it was all done for the simple pleasure of it. I genuinely enjoyed walking through this museum and learning all this insight from our tour guide. En français nevertheless!

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The other big attraction in Albi is La Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile. As the most important religious building in Albi (and perhaps the largest brick building in the world), it still stands today after being built between the 11-13th centuries.

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I find Catholic churches to be very ornamental, but extremely beautiful.

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After, we had le temps libre / free time. Our tour guide recommended a stop by the covered market before having lunch. So, that’s what we did.

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Then, we had a lovely lunch of quiche and bœuf. ‘Twas delicious.

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Next we hopped on the bus again and headed to what would be my favourite village of the day: Cordes-sur-Ciel.

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Once called solely Cordes, it was renamed in 1993 to Cordes-sur-Ciel to touch upon its height above the clouds – “a city launching itself into the sky.” Très charmant, non?

It was literally an uphill battle – climbing the (at times) steep, cobblestone roads, in the light drizzle of rain. Someone could have easily slipped and slide all the way back to the bottom. No one did, thankfully.

By the end of this journey to the top, we were all exhausted. There was one last stop, though – with a name that is larger than the commune itself – la très petite ville de Castlenau de Montmiral. So small, we only spent 30 minutes there.

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How awesome would it be if day-trips happened every weekend?

The weather was not in our favor this time, but it was still nice to get out of Toulouse and see some of the little villages not too far away from it.

I love the charm of the French countryside.

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