Castres (Кастр) с 14-го века стал центром текстильной промышленности. От старинного аббатства Сен-Бенуа осталась единственная, но красивая башня. Главная достопримечательность Кастра — Музей Гойи, где выставлена большая коллекция испанского искусства. За пределами города можно посмотреть сад Ленотра, гениального садовода, создателя парка Версаля.
727km (452 miles) SW of Paris; 42km (26 miles) S of Albi
Built on the bank of the Agout River, Castres is the point of origin for trips to the
Sidobre, the mountains of Lacaune, and the Black Mountains. Today the wool industry
here, whose origins go back to the 14th century, has made Castres one of France’s
two most important wool-producing areas. The town was formerly a Roman military
installation. A Benedictine monastery was founded here in the 9th century, and the
town fell under the comtes d’Albi in the 10th century. With its acquisition of a number
of 1st-century relics of St. Vincent, and its role as a stopover for pilgrimages to the
tomb of St. James in Spain, Castres also held some religious significance. During the
16th-century Wars of Religion, the Protestant town was invaded by religious fanatics,
who stole relics from the basilica and dumped them into the river.
GETTING THERE From Toulouse, there are seven or eight trains per day (trip
time: 1 hr., 15 min.); the one-way fare from Toulouse is 13€ ($16). For information,
call & 08-92-35-35-35. If you’re driving, Castres is on N126 east of Toulouse and
N112 south of Albi.
VISITOR INFORMATION The Office de Tourisme is at 3 rue Milhau Ducommun
(& 05-63-62-63-62; www.ville-castres.fr).
THE TOP ATTRACTIONS
The town’s most visible and important church is Castres’s outstanding
example of French baroque architecture. The architect Caillau began construction
of the church in 1677, on the site of a 9th-century Benedictine abbey. The baroque
structure was never completed according to its original plans. The painting at the
church’s far end, above the altar, was executed by Gabriel Briard in the 18th century.
Place du 8-Mai-1945.&05-63-59-05-19. Free admission. Mon–Sat 9am–noon and 2–6:30pm; Sun 8:30am–noon.
Closed to casual visitors Sun Oct–May, except for religious services.
Le Centre National et Musée Jean-Jaurès
This museum is dedicated to the
workers’ movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its collection contains
printed material from the various Socialist movements in France during that period,
as well as paintings, sculptures, films, and slides. See, in particular, an issue of L’Aurore
containing Zola’s famous “J’accuse” article about the Dreyfus case.
2 place Pélisson.&05-63-72-01-01. Admission 1.50€ ($1.95) adults, .75€ ($1) students and children under 14.
Apr–Sept daily 10am–noon and 2–6pm; Oct–Mar Tues–Sun 10am–noon and 2–5pm.
The museum is in the town hall, an archbishop’s palace designed
by Mansart in 1669. The paintings of Francisco Goya y Lucientes were donated to the
town in 1894 by Pierre Briguiboul, son of the Castres-born artist Marcel Briguiboul.
Les Caprices, created in 1799 after the illness that left Goya deaf, fills nearly an entire
room. A satire on Spanish society, the work is composed of symbolic images of
demons and monsters. The museum collection also includes 16th-century tapestries
and Spanish paintings from the 15th to the 20th centuries.
In the Jardin de l’Evêché.& 05-63-71-59-30. Admission 2.30€ ($3) adults, free for children under 18. Apr–Sept
daily 10am–noon and 2–6pm; Oct–Mar Tues–Sun 10am–noon and 2–5pm.
WHERE TO STAY
Hôtel de l’Europe
This hotel exudes charm, especially in the bedrooms
capped with ceiling beams, where the pinkish-gray masonry from the building’s original
construction during the 18th century still remains. Plus, each room has a view
over the oldest part of the historic town. The hotel has great style, and its accommodations
offer a certain glamour, some boasting canopy-draped beds. A number of the
bathrooms are quite luxurious and all have tub/shower combos.
5 rue Victor-Hugo, 81100 Castres.&05-63-59-00-33. Fax 05-63-59-21-38. 38 units. 60€ ($78) double. AE, DC, MC,
V. Parking 5€ ($6.50). Amenities: Restaurant; bar. In room: TV, minibar, hair dryer.
The Renaissance is the best hotel in Castres. It was built in
the 17th century as the courthouse, and then functioned as a colorful but run-down
hotel throughout most of the 20th century—until 1993, when it was opened in its present
incarnation. Today you’ll see a severely dignified building composed of colombagesstyle
half-timbering, with a mixture of chiseled stone blocks and bricks. Some rooms
have exposed timbers; all are clean and comfortable, evoking the crafts of yesteryear.
17 rue Victor-Hugo, 81100 Castres.& 05-63-59-30-42. Fax 05-63-72-11-57. www.hotel-renaissance.fr. 20 units.
60€ ($78) double; 70€ ($91) suite. AE, DC, MC, V. Amenities: Restaurant; bar; limited room service; laundry service/
dry cleaning; nonsmoking rooms; limited-mobility rooms. In room: A/C, TV, dataport, hair dryer, minibar.
WHERE TO DINE
In addition to those below, another worthy choice is Le Victoria, 24 place du 8-Mai-
1945 (& 05-63-59-14-68), where meals cost 18€ to 40€ ($23–$52). A superb
French cuisine is served, with regional products used whenever available.
Brasserie des Jacobins
FRENCH/PROVENÇAL This modern brasserie is
a good bet for solid cuisine. The decor features English-inspired furnishings with lots
of well-oiled wood paneling. The menu includes a selection of regional platters as well
as pizzas. Menu items include blanquettes of veal, cassoulets, and caramelized pork
filets with Provençal herbs, as well as regional sausages served with purée of apples and
cheese from the foothills of the Pyrenees. The decor is rustic; the service is polite, but
pressed for time. Many visitors find it especially suitable for a simple noontime meal.
1 place Jean-Jaurès.& 05-63-59-01-44. Reservations recommended. Main courses 7€–13€ ($9.10–$17); fixedprice
menu 10€–19€ ($13–$25) lunch, 19€ ($25) dinner. AE, MC, V. Mon–Sat noon–2:30pm and 7–10:30pm.
LANGUEDOCIENNE On an easily overlooked narrow
street, this restaurant which is named after a legendary plant with magic powers, occupies
a small section of one of the many wings of the medieval château-fort of Castres.
The decor is simple, with stone walls and tones of autumn colors. The regional cuisine
is among the best in town, and it’s served with a smile. Among the best dishes are
ravioli stuffed with braised snails and flavored with basil, rack of suckling veal with
exotic mushrooms, and magret of duckling with natural Canadian maple syrup.
1 rue Malpas. & 05-63-59-51-27. Reservations recommended. Main courses 15€–20€ ($20–$26); fixed-price
menu 12€–30€ ($16–$39). DC, V. Tues–Sat noon–2pm and 7–10pm. Closed 2 weeks in Sept and 2 weeks in Feb.