The old town with the major sights is a delightful mix of narrow streets near the cathedral and south of the river Tarn. Lovers of fashion should dive into the Musée de la Mode, 17 rue de la Souque (www.musee-mode.com; tel. 05-63-43-15-90), for its annual exhibitions of clothes and accessories through history from its 1,000-strong collection. The old town is also a good area for shops.

Toulouse-Lautrec: Little Big Man

Although he spent most of his life in Paris, Toulouse-Lautrec is closely connected with Albi. He was born in Albi in the Hôtel Bosc; it's still a private home and cannot be toured, but a commemorative plaque hangs on the wall of the building at 14 rue Toulouse-Lautrec, in the historic town core.

You can visit the family's Château de Bosc, Camjac, 12800 Naucelle (tel. 05-65-69-20-83; www.chateaudubosc.com), 47km (29 miles) from Toulouse. It was built in 1180 and renovated after its partial destruction in the 1400s. The present owner, Mademoiselle de Céleran, and her team welcome visitors interested in Toulouse-Lautrec, but it's best to call ahead as you can only visit on a guided tour. It is open every day from mid-June through Sepember from 10am-7pm; from mid-November through Mid-March, by appointment; and from mid-March to mid-June and from October to mid-November, Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 6m. Admission is 8€ for adults, 5€ for children 8 to 12, and free for children 7 and under. 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.