Travel to Cathars castles and Perigord

Day 1 Foix - Cordes sur Ciel - Albi - Rodez (264 Km.)

(a 165 Km.) Cordes sur Ciel: Cordes, also called the town of the five walls and hundred warheads by the opulence of its medieval buildings, was founded in 1222 by the Count of Toulouse, during the occitan reconquest following the death of the head of the crusade launched against the Cathars of the French Midi, declared heretics. Cordes is the first and most important of the "bastides", ie, new villages, designed to accommodate the population that the war had been deprived of shelter and homelessness.

Between 1280 and 1350, rich merchants and noble families built palaces and luxurious urban residences, causing the current celebrity of Cordes. The architecture takes the gothic decoration and some facades are decorated with sculptures in high relief, which makes them as books of stone.

Cordes sur Ciel - Market square covered

Cordes sur Ciel - Market square covered

Highlights well of the covered market, for its depth of more than 113 meters and its construction. The city has many art and craft during the summer, the town resumed its history by organizing the The Grand Falconer´s Medieval Festival (mid July).

Almost as numerous as are the artisans, the doors of Cordes, in the middle ages, guarded the city (Elm gate´s, Jane´s gate, Victor, etc ...) are still mounting guard. La Maison du Grand Fauconnier (Grand Falconer´s house) is notable as the most recent Gothic residence in Cordes. The facade was restored in the nineteenth century and the capitals of the arches are decorated with animal heads.

Cordes sur Ciel

Cordes sur Ciel

(a 24 Km.) Albi: A first view of the city should be done from the opposite riverside of the cathedral, where we enjoy the superb views of all the historic town. After this stop, it is advisable to take a walk around the streets near the cathedral, where we can find half-timbered buildings and red brick characteristic of the city.

In Ste-Cécile Cathedral highlights the bigger medieval representation of the Last Judgement and Renaissance ceiling that many compare to the Sistine Chapel. It is a Gothic masterpiece, begun in the year 1282 to mark the triumph of the Roman Church over the heresy Cathar. From the outside, it seems more a fortress than a church. The bell tower (added in 1492) stands 78 meters tall. Deserve special attention the baldaquin outside the front door, his impressive nave 107 meters long and 19 meters wide and the choir.

Albi - Ste-Cécile cathedral

Albi - Ste-Cécile cathedral

Beside the cathedral is the Episcopal palace of Berbie, home of Toulouse-Lautrec museum, with 1,000 works, is now the most important public collection in the World dedicated to this French Impressionist painter. His birthplace is located in the old town of Albi. Leaving the museum you can walk through the small park and gardens of the Palace that overlooking the river Tarn.

Albi

Albi

The third point that must be visited is the remains of the church of "St-Saveur" whose historic cloister, curiosities today is the portal of a community of neighbors.

(in 75 Km.) Rodez: Rest in this population town.