Cité épiscopale d’Albi
Albi, on the banks of the Tarn, close to the vineyards of the Gaillac region, the limestone plateaux to the South of Cordes-sur-ciel, and the forest of the Grésigne, is situated at the centre of the Tarn department, between the Massif Central and the Aquitaine basin.
Topologically, the department resembles an amphitheatre of plateaux and hills inclined towards the south-west. To the east of Albi the first low altitude plateaux form the base of the ’causses’ (the Occitan word the high altitude limestone plateaux characteristic of the Massif Central). A series of moderate mountain ranges, (attaining 1,300 metres or 4250 feet) form a barrier to the south east: the ’monts de Lacaune,’ the mont du Sidobre’ and the ’montagne Noire’ (the black mountain). To the north of Albi is the low altitude plateaux called the ’Ségala.’
The Ségala covers 4,226 hectares and its average altitude is 170 metres (550 feet).
Albi benefits from a mild, temperate climate in the autumn, a mild wet spring and hot dry summers.
The annual average temperature is 13.1°C, with an average of 2,150 hours of sunshine per year giving the town an particularly agreeable southern climate. Albi has, on average, 106 days of rain per year.
The coldest recorded temperature at Albi is -20.4°C (-4.7°F) the 16th January 1985 and the hottest, 41.4°C (106.5°F) on the 12th August 2003. Fog often descends along the valley of the Tarn.
Albi is well protected from the wind with only 25 windy days per year. The ’vent d’Autan’ (a wind from the south-east, or south-south-east, which affects the Roussillon, the Languedoc and the Midi-Pyrenees around Toulouse) affects the Tarn but it rarely reaches Albi, unlike Castres and in the Sidobre hills, where locals can expect 50 days of wind per year, or the ’Causse de Labruguière,’ with 90 windy days per year.