A Collegiate Church is one that was entrusted to a college of clerics, this one given to the canons, to hold meetings outside of the Episcopal seat. The Collegiate Church of Saint Salvi and its cloister mix the artistic flair of 10th century Romanesque and 13th century Southern Gothic architectural styles in both stone and brick.
The Collegiate Church and Cloister of Saint Salvi
Rue Mariès, 81000 Albi
Tel: 05 63 43 23 43
October through May, Monday to Saturday : 10 a.m. - 12 p.m./ 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. ; Sunday : 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
June through September, Monday to Saturday : 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. ; Sunday: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Cloister : 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
The Collegiate Church of Saint Salvi is dedicated to those who occupied the first Episcopal seat of the city between 574 and 584. Transformed into a feed store during the Revolution, it was returned to its original function in the early 19th century.
Topped with an amazing bell and watch tower built around 1100, the church is, along with the Old Bridge, one of the oldest buildings in Albi. From the 11th century onward it influenced the construction and structure of its neighborhood, and was surrounded by a commercial zone whose circular path (called the Wheel) is still visible today. The houses on the "Saint Salvi Wheel" belonged to the canons.
Combination of stone and bricks
The cloister reflects different architectural and artistic styles, overlaid throughout the centuries. It is composed of a Romanesque stone base from the 11th century, topped by two levels of brick from the 13th century.
The sacristy houses a wooden statue of the Saint from the 12th century, as well as a Pietà (Virgin of Mercy) from the late 15th century. Two statues of Judith and Esther, successful copies of works from the Saint Cécile Cathedral, can be found in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin. A number of statues are found under the organ, including representations of Christ surrounded by high priests and scribes who hold the Torah (from the 15th and 16th centuries).
The Cloister of Saint Salvi (1270)
On the south side of the Collegiate Church is a beautiful cloister, the work of architect Vidal de Malvési. With its lush greenery and flowers, the cloister garden offers visitors a peaceful break from the stone and brick of the buildings. Destroyed during the French Revolution, only the southern wing of the cloister remains today. The details are of high artistic quality in a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles, its columns decorated with foliage or iconic images. Through many of the column sculptures are damaged, it is still possible to make out a demon dragging chained men and women toward the pot of hell. In recognition of his excellent work, de Malvési was permitted to build a tomb next to the church for himself and his brother. The Gothic tomb is surrounded by a metal gate.