Albi was a wealthy and prospering time already in the 11th century, when a bridge, that still exists, was built, to cross the river Tarn. Albis´s fate changed dramatically, when in 1208 Pope Innocent III and Philip II of France decided to start the Albigensian Crusade to eliminate Catharism in the south of France.
Albi was an important center of the Cathars and got nearly completely destroyed between 1209 and 1229. Many Cathars were burnt at the stake in Albi.
When, just after the Crusade, Durand de Beaucaire was bishop here, the erection of this fortress and the donjon started. The fortress, what was meant to be the episcopal palace, was enlarged and furher fortified even by his successors. Obviously the Catholic administration did not really feel safe and comfortable in that time.
Later, the bishops transformed the structure into a stately palace with Baroque gardens, overlooking the river Tarn.
Since the 1920s the Palais de la Berbie hosts the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901) was born in Albi.
Posted by >Martin M. Miles on 2017-02-22 10:11:17