Le palais de la Berbie
[The Bishop's Palace]
Le palais de la Berbie
The French name for the Bishop’s Palace originates fro the old Provencal word «bisbia»
The construction of the Palace took place in several steps: construction propre began in 1228 and finished in 1306. From then on, right up to the start of the 20th century, the Palace underwent a number of substantial changes.
The three most important periods of construction of the Palace were dominated by three of its bishops: Durand de Beaucaire (1228-1254) Until the beginning of the 13th century, the bishops of Albi lived in a group of houses near the Romanesque Cathedral, lent to them by the cannons. The treasure recovered by the Church after the Crusade against the Albigeois (1209-1229) enabled the bishop, Durand de Beaucaire, to symbolize his power over the Trencavel family, viscounts of Albi, with the construction of his new residence. It comprised a feudal hall (aula) with an adjoining tower to the west. This was St- Michael’s Tower (Tour St. Michel) built on two levels, to house the church tribunal and prison cells.
Bernard de Combret (1254-1271)
Bishop de Combert completed the works begun by his predecessor, giving the Palace its citadel appearance by joining the old buildings together. The bishop feared for his safety, for the Crown upheld the claims against him by the Commoners of Albi, and he dreaded the idea of a people’s revolt. The fortified walls are therefore
To prevent any threat of fire, he also had every hall of the fortress covered with ribbed vaults.
Bernard de Castanet (1277-1306)
The work undertaken by Bishop de Castanet was carried out at the same time as the construction of the new Saint Cecilia Catherdral. The bishop’s ambitious, authoritarian character incurred the wrath of the Crown and the hatred of the people of Albi. Fearing for his safety, the bishop further reinforced the fortifications.
The bishop built a twin keep, the Tour Mage (Seer’s Tower), combining the old Saint Michael’s tower, with one floor added for the bishop’s private chapel and his official hall, and a new tower, Saint Catherine’s tower, as the bishop’s residence.
His old residence, the «Vielle Berbie» (old Bishop’s Palace) became the seat for the church tribunal. The curtain built by Bernard de Castanet was reinforced by two rounded buttresses (on the garden side). Finally, two curtains were built to the east and the west, running down the escarpment to the river, thereby creating new areas directly linked to the Palace, and assuring safe passage if need be towards the river Tarn.
Glossary curtain: the section of a castle wall between two neighboring towers. [Spanish
Location. 43° 55.734′ N, 2° 8.595′ E. Marker is in Albi, Midi-Pyrénées, in Tarn Département. Marker can be reached from Rue de la Temporalité. Touch for map. This marker is located just past the entrance to Le palais de la Berbie grounds. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6 Rue de la Temporalité, Albi, Midi-Pyrénées 81000, France.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. La Temporalité (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Le palais de la Berbie (within shouting distance of this marker); Les jardins de la Berbie (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); Les berges du Tarn (about 90 meters away); Hôtel de Fenasse (about 150 meters away); Le bourg Saint-Salvi (about 150 meters away); Le Castelnau (about 180 meters away); L’hôtel Séré de Rivières (about 180 meters away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Albi.
More about this marker. The Toulouse Lautrec Museum is housed in Le palais de la Berbie.
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 15, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 367 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 15, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.