Awaken to Quilt Designs and Albi, France

Bonjour mes amis,

What a nice thing to see my quilt design make it to the front page of the latest ‘Australia’s Patchwork and Quilting’ Magazine again. I’m so happy and truly honoured.

My quilt inspiration is the French term, ”joie de vivre’ which means ‘joy of life’. Its circular formation represents the circle of life which we all undergo and it’s really a celebration of the simple things of life with the bursting of blossoms and birds in flight.

Anyway, if you like this pattern, perhaps you may be inspired by my other quilts at Do have a peep…

So how are you today? Feeling over the moon myself.You know when I’m most happy I seem to migrate to France simultaneously. So, fancy being taken all the way to Albi?

Oh come on! Don’t be like that! You’ll love it when you do!

You just have to firstly release the clenched muscle grip on the vacuum cleaner, or saucepan and wasabi mayonnaise (Carolina) or vintage camera (Graham), quilting thread (yes, you CAN do it Quilary), or your quirky collections of shells and flea markets (Claudia), your touches of whimsy and pretty frippery( Hope Ava) or even your bike, (which means you Richard Tulloch) and any other restraint or temptation just for a while. OK?

Here we go then…

My french awakening to quilt designs actually began in the south west of France, so we’re going to the Tarn region directly to the very old (we’re talking Bronze Age) city of Albi.  Check out Christophe Bouthe’s amazing panoramic photo of the city at,28.40,70.0 radiating such a feeling of warmth because of its predominantly rosy pink hue.

The massive brick cathedral dominating the city is the imposing structure of the Gothic Cathedral de Sainte Cecile d’Albi. It’s actually the largest brick building in the world!

If the outside doesn’t take your breath away, draw breath at Viden Natzev’s panorama exposing the sumptuous interior at,0.00,70.0

It is so intricately detailed in colour and design with enormous frescoes (you can’t miss the Last Judgement frescoe under the organ- given it’s one of the world’s largest frescoes) and the interior is so totally unexpected given the monsterously bland exterior.

Like the outside though, everything is big here. HUGE. Saint Cecile’s bell, pipe organ, frescoes, screen of stone carvings, flying buttresses and ornate walls will quite possibly give you some neck strain but hey, this could counteract our posture at the computer, non?

So much for looking up…

Cathedrals like Saint Cecile always give me inspiration for my quilt designs. The famous French fashion designer and grand couturier John Paul Gaultier has made Albi his home. I wonder whether St Cecile, with her decoration, colour and architectural lines was ever his

muse for his sculptural costumes such as those seen on Madonna or in one of my favourite films, ‘The Fifth Element’ where the blue alien diva pours her heart out (literally). Take a look and I defy you not to notice those flying buttresses and window shapes in her head piece!

Looking across the city now, the view from the bridge over the Tarn river which dissects Albi offers beautiful views. Fancy yourself here?…

See Saint Cecile’s Cathedral in the far distance.

The Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) was constructed in stone way back in 1040 where at the time, toll charges were issued. Later on, houses were built on it and over time it’s been rendered in brick and still in use today as you can see.

Walk back over the bridge and enter the world of Albi’s rustic market place. There’s another Marche Couvert (or covered market) in the Market Hall at 14 Rue Emile Grand selling the produce of generations of fine foodies and farmers,  but I like this one too oozing organic produce as well as flowers, French rattan baskets and sometimes fabric with a backdrop of the blue water of the Tarn! It’s really nice.

There are plenty of good quality boutiques, shops, restaurants and cafes in which to nestle…

Spend your time after a coffee walking through the winding streets of the old city to discover more fabulous places. The added wing of the Palais de la Berbie, with its lovely french gardens has been transformed into the Toulouse Lautrec Museum housing his fabulously famous posters which he painted in the red light district of Montmartre. The infamous Lautrec was born in Albi and his work is epitomised in scarlet inks with inner passion.

There’s also the Laperouse Museum commemorating the sea faring Jean Francois Laperouse, a must for any history buff. Laperouse’s family originated from Albi also and his expeditions to places including Australia before being shipwrecked in the Pacific, are very well documented here.

Many of you will prosper in Albi- you’ll be inspired and invigorated with the wealth of artistic and cultural affairs ready for the taking.  Others will find solace in its fantastic food and restaurants and local gourmet produce. For me, it’s definitely a must see when you travel to France  with its beautifully simple way of life. You’ll feel so good, especially at sunset when Albi is caressed in its warm glow.

Life doesn’t get better than this.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2010Therese Waddell


7 Responses to “Awaken to Quilt Designs and Albi, France”

  1. Your photos of Albi are very nice – you must have been there in summer as the weather looked good. I have never been to Albi but I’ll put it on my list. Your quilt is stunning. I always wished to make a quilt but never thought I could be clever enough with my hands to make one. An old neighbor gave me two quilt tops and I need to make the bottom, but I am not sure how. Someday I’ll try.

  2. I did it! I put down my thread long enough to wander through Albi with you. I am enchanted and enthralled. I have to pull myself back to reality. Your photos are breathtaking. I am smitten. I feel like I am IN the town as I read your narrative. You have created a bit of magic there Therese.
    Congratulations on your cover quilt – it is absolutely gorgeous!

    • Hi there Hil,
      I’m so glad you found Albi wonderful (and very honoured that you managed to put down that sewing to read ‘My french Awakening’ thankyou!) I have a confession though, it’s not I who has created any magic…Albi does that very well on its own! Best wishes, Therese x

  3. HI Therese,
    Congrats on quilt “fame”.
    It is truly lovely.
    As usual your photos are beautiful as well.
    Marg. x
    PS Your comment re “The fifth element”, as one of your fave films is most interesting!!

  4. Thanks Marg, you’re always too kind! Yes I love ‘The Fifth Element’- it’s no doubt the costumes which intrigue me or perhaps Bruce Willis in his orange T shirt MAY have something to do with it! Xx

  5. Hello,

    You can have a look to the virtual visit of the inside of “Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile” of Albi by clicking this link. . You can listen the orgue, and watch a movie in the auditorium1.

    Congratulation for your great article.

    Best regards

    Christophe B

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