Ideally located between Albi, Toulouse and Carcassonne, Castres is at the heart of an area with nearly 150,000 inhabitants. With its pastel-colored houses, perched above the river Agout, it looks like a “little Venice”. This is a city with a subtle and profound charm, where quality of life meets cultural dynamism and economic prosperity. Renowned for its quality of life, Castres has been awarded a “3 flowers” label by the National Council of Cities and Villages in Bloom.
La cathédrale Saint-Benoît – Par Tylwyth Eldar — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=97446610
Castres began to flourish at the beginning of the 9th century around the Saint-Benoît abbey. The city’ s first large industrial activity was the textile industry, with many tanners, dyers and finishers working there.
From 1670 until 1760 the bishops of Castres launched the construction of bridges, cathedrals and bishoprics giving it the appeal it enjoys today. In the 19th century, the city continued its industrialization, with many new sites being developed. It has a large Royal Square (today’s “Place Jean Jaurès”) as well as a market hall in Place de l’Albinque (today’s “Place Pierre-Fabre”)
Castres – photo par Pascal Walter
The Bishop’s garden, designed by the famous 17th century architect André Le Nôtre, is a masterpiece of French classicism; an intricate embroidery of flowerbeds and boxwood hedges majestically highlights the former Bishop’s Palace, which now houses the Goya Museum (currently under renovation, scheduled to reopen in the 2nd half of 2022).
The museum houses a unique collection of works by Spanish painters, second only to the Louvre in terms of Hispanic art. Castres is the hometown of an illustrious political figure of the early 20th century, one of France’s greatest political orators ever: Jean Jaurès. The museum dedicated to Jaurès traces the historical and political career of this extraordinary man. In the center, many private mansions from the 17th century still have their cantilevered façades. Castres is also a stage on the road to Santiago de Compostela, still used by many pilgrims to this day.
Le musé Goya – photo par RIVIERE Christian
Le jardin de l’Évêché – photo par VIJOROVIC DANIEL
A LAND OF RUGBY
Playing in the Top French Rugby League, the Castres Olympique, 5 times Champion of France, is the city’s flagship team. The games are played at home at the Pierre Fabre Stadium.
THEY WERE BORN OR LIVED IN CASTRES
Pierre Fabre : 1926-2013
Jean Jaurès : 1859-1914
Pierre de Fermat : 1601-1665
DIGITAL, HEALTHCARE, AND ECONOMIC ASSETS
The city’s current economic strength is driven by one of France’s leading pharmaceutical companies, Pierre Fabre Laboratories, which has deep roots in Castres and its surroundings.
A pioneer in new technologies and high-speed networks, with a strong position in the digital and health sectors, the city has developed a comprehensive strategy to attract innovative companies. In addition, Castres has an airport with several daily flights to and from Paris.