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Clare
Clare

Day 12: Gaillac and Albi

We made an early start this morning, catching a 9.15 train in the direction of Albi. We had a second destination that we wanted to visit today though, so rather than staying on the train all the way to Albi we first of all got off at the small town of Gaillac, about an hour away from Toulouse. Gaillac is famous in the region for producing a type of wine which bears the same name, some of which we had drunk earlier in the week, but from pictures we had seen online it also looked like a town with an interesting historical centre.

When we got off the train in Gaillac it didn't take us long to walk to the pretty main square.

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There was a war memorial with lots of flags...

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...and a building which looked grand enough to be the town hall, but actually turned out just to be a savings bank!

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Moving away from the main square, we made our way along the first of many beautiful medieval-looking streets.

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We found another square where the buildings also gave the impression of being very old.

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Gaillac is situated on the river Tarn, and right on the banks of the river is the abbey of St Michel.

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The abbey was originally constructed in the 10th century and in some places its walls almost look like those of a castle.

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There were some more ancient-looking streets which led up from behind the abbey.

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We strolled along them for a while and eventually found ourselves in Park Foucaud.

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There were some lovely formal gardens, set out around a seventeenth century castle which now houses a museum.

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Once we had had a stroll around the park, we set off back towards the station for our train to Albi.

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Albi is only another 20 minutes or so on the train from Gaillac, so we were there by midday. As the train pulled into the station, we got our first glimpse of the town's enormous cathedral.

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We didn't have to worry about road signs or maps towards the town centre as we left the station; we just walked straight towards the cathedral!

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The closer we got to the cathedral the more enormous it appeared...

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...until we got right up beside it and could see how huge it really was.

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Next to the cathedral is another castle-like building, formerly the bishop's palace, which is now home to an art musuem.

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Some of the turrets on this building reminded us of the towers in the old walls of Tallinn.

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We walked through the beautiful old streets of Albi, towards the river.

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Like Gaillac, Albi is also situated on the river Tarn.

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We climbed down to the river for a view across to some more buildings in the old town.

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Several bridges cross the river here. The most famous is the Pont Vieux, which was originally built in stone in the eleventh century, then later clad with brick.

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We climbed back up to walk across a newer bridge, from where we knew we would have a brilliant view back towards the cathedral.

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We weren't disappointed :)

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After admiring the cathedral for a while, we set off back into the town to find a nice brasserie for a late lunch.

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Before we had to set off for our train back to Toulouse in the afternoon, there was just time for another walk through the streets of Albi...

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..and one last shot of the cathedral :)

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We had a great day in Gaillac and Albi, and a great time in Toulouse overall. Tomorrow we will be moving on to Carcassonne for the final leg of our holiday.




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