An ancient river town of redbrick houses 45 mi/70 km northeast of Toulouse, Albi, France, is the birthplace of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

The Palais de la Berbie, which houses the Toulouse-Lautrec museum, boasts the most complete collection of his works in the world, although the presentation is rather uninspiring. Be sure you don't miss the museum garden: The views over the broad Tarn River, the ancient bridge and the pastel colors of the buildings are wonderful, especially on a sunny day. Another site in town associated with Toulouse-Lautrec is his birthplace, the Hotel du Bosc.

Right next to the Toulouse-Lautrec museum is the Cathedral of St. Cecile. This impressive church, said to be the largest brick building in the world, reveals a vast and beautiful interior with astonishing stonework. It is one of the best existing examples of a fortress church.

A visit to Albi can be combined with a short drive to the hilltop town of Cordes-sur-Ciel.

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