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“Very basic interpretation but overpowering structure”

Cathedrale Sainte-Cecile
Ranked #1 of 35 things to do in Albi
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Albi, France
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Very basic interpretation but overpowering structure”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

Albi sits in a geological depression and is very much a low rise environment so the Cathedral is visible from miles away. The guides rightly stress its superlatives - biggest brick cathedral in the world, biggest altar screen etc, etc. It was built after the mass slaughters of the crusade against the Cathars and certainly gets across its triumphalist Catholic message - We are big, powerful and here to stay. The scènes of the tortures of hell painted on the screen merit an X rating and reinforce the threatenng nature of the structure. All of this makes it worth seeing but, as is typical of French historic attractions, the background story is essentially ingored with what little information there is based on the usual statements of who built what bit when and how big it is.

Basically, if you haven't already read up on the Cathars and the aftermath of the crusade against them, it is all a bit of a bore. To me, the most impressive bits, after the "WOW What a Building!" reaction are the walks in the adjoining cathedral precinct with its gardens and view of old Albi and the Tarn bridges followed by a bit of shade in the St Sernin cloisters across the plaza.

The Tourism Office next door is largely a waste of space and could be used more effetively as a low key interpretation centre to put the whole complex and its hixtory into some form of intelligible context without detracting from the structures themselves. Wasted opportunity, really, but still very much worth a visit if your are in the area.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank JohnTodd187167
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
545 reviews
210 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 232 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2013

The world's largest red brick cathedral, ornately decorated on the inside with amazing detail and beauty. The setting along the Tarn makes it even more beautiful, as does the garden on the river side. Perfect visit after the Toulouse-Lautrec museum next door.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank SCalCanz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NW England
Level Contributor
70 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“The Church Militant and Polychromatic”
Reviewed June 24, 2013

To those that only know Gothic Cathedrals and carved stone, this is a contrasting structure that shouldn't be missed. From the era of the Albigensian crusades.

Visited June 2013
Thank NewRoader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
158 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“One of the best I've ever seen!”
Reviewed June 24, 2013

I loved this Cathedral. From the outside you have no idea of what it holds. The brick exterior is unusual and it claims to be the largest brick cathedral in Europe. Every inch of the interior is decorated in some way. The huge colourful vaulted ceiling has not been touch since it was painted and yet is still a beautiful vibrant blue. I'd be very surprised if someone found this place unimpressive. Go see.

Visited June 2013
Thank droenna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“The largest brick cathedral in the world”
Reviewed June 17, 2013

Certainly worth spending time in this magnificent edifice. The interior is simply stunning. It is extremely large and the art is
quite wonderful. This is a romanesque style cathedral and is quite different to the Norman style

Visited May 2013
Thank justadrienne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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