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Bizanet : Narbonne : Cathar Castles : Carcassonne : Fontfroide Abbey

Nature : Beaches

The Roman city of Narbonne
Since its foundation in 118 BC, Narbonne, first Roman colony outside of Italy, remains an obligatory way of passage between Italy and Spain, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the Massif Central and the Pyrenees. As the crossroads of southern Europe, the Via Domitia went through Narbonne during Roman times.

Still a strategic merchant town, Narbonne prides itself as a town for meetings, leisure and discoveries. Mediterranean in spirit, with all the associated charm and beauty, Narbonne invites you to share, under its mild climate, its permanent desire for " good living ".

Narbonne is an average sized town with 50,000 in habitants; an important axis for road, motorway and rail communications; 15km from the Mediterranean to which it is linked by the Robine canal; 55km from Carcassonne, 62 km from Perpignan and 90km from Montpellier.

Having inherited a rich ancient and medieval history, and been an important art centre until the 18th century, Narbonne is the proud owner of a heritage carefully maintained by the restoration and development of its old town centre. Amongst the main sites to see in Narbonne are:

Cathedral of Saint-Just and Saint PasteurThe Cathedral of Saint-Just and Saint Pasteur - one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the south of France.
The cathedral treasure - harbours exceptional examples of gold jewellery and a beautiful tapestry from the beginning of the 16th century
The Via Domitia - an important roman road discovered in 1997 and can be seen today in the middle of the town hall square
The Bishops' Palace - including the Old and New Palaces, Gilles Aycelin dungeon (from the tower there is an exceptional birds-eye view of the town), Anchor passage and many little walkways.
The underground galleries of Horreum - a network of ancient, underground warehouses used to stock merchandise traded in Narbonne since ancient times and which date from 1BC.

The Narbonne Lapidary MuseumThe Narbonne Lapidary Museum
- in the old church of Our Lady of Lamourguié which houses the most important collection of French Roman lapidary.

Other places to visit:
The Robine canal - an important part of the way of life of the people of Narbonne. The canal crosses through the centre of the town, linking the Canal du Midi with the Mediterranean and reflects the history of the old town.

Le Pont des Marchands (Merchants' Bridge), a pedestrian street lined with shops, passes over the single remaining visible Roman arch, part of the Via Domitia. Boat trips on the canal are available in summer.

The Halles - a covered market by the canal, is a pavillion built in the style of Baltard which opened its doors to the public in 1901. This superb metallic structure with stone doors and majestic roof makes the Halles one of the most beautiful covered markets in France. The market is very busy throughout the year but especially in the summer months. With 72 traditional stalls serving the best fresh produce, from fish to fruit and vegetables, from cheeses to regional wines, Narbonne's covered market is renowned in the Languedoc region for its quality, choice and atmosphere.

The House of Charles Trenet - the birthplace of one of France's legendary crooners, guided and musical tours are available.

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@ LesCorbiè January 2005