Explore Albi and the Languedoc on this cultural tour:
• Follow in the footsteps of acclaimed artist Toulouse-Lautrec, taking in both his dedicated museum in Albi and his beautiful rural home, the Chateau du Bosc
• Investigate the stormy narrative of the Albigensian Crusade through the Languedoc’s distinctive historical features and medieval architecture
• Experience the rich cultural and culinary flavours of the region at some of France’s most beautiful towns and villages, particularly the Saturday morning market in Cordes-sur-Ciel
Depart Heathrow 1355 on British Airways, arriving Toulouse 1645. Transfer to Hostellerie Saint Antoine, Albi, for six nights. Introductory lecture: Toulouse-Lautrec: from Albi to Paris.
Morning: walking tour of Albi and visit to the Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile (13th century red brick fortress) followed by visit to the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec (housed in Albi’s former Bishops’ Palace). Afternoon: Chateau du Bosc (former home of Toulouse-Lautrec). Evening lecture: The Cathars and the Languedoc.
Full-day excursion to Toulouse. Explore the Basilica of St Sernin (stunning Romanesque church and UNESCO World Heritage site) followed by the Capitole (including the Salles des Illustres). Continue to Les Jacobins (red brick church built in the distinctive southern Gothic style) and the Hôtel d’Assézat (16th century palace housing one of Europe’s most impressive private art collections).
Depart for visit to Cordes-sur-Ciel (fortified 13th century town built by Raymond II of Toulouse). Independent lunch in Moissac with a visit to the abbey church of St Pierre (early 12th century Romanesque cloisters and entrance).
Whole-day excursion to medieval city of Carcassonne, including guided tour of the Chateau Comtal and church of St Nazaire (Romanesque and Gothic architecture with beautiful stained glass windows).
Morning: depart for visit to St Michel at Lescure (charming Romanesque church). Continue to Sauveterre-de-Rouergue (characterful 13th century fortified town). Afternoon: Monestiés and the Chapelle Saint-Jacques (which contains extraordinary 15th century statues representing scenes from the Passion).
Depart Toulouse 1110, arriving Heathrow 1210.