Sprawling along the Canal de la Robine, Narbonne is a historic Roman settlement along France’s sun-drenched Mediterranean coast. It was originally founded as Narbo on the Via Domitia and flourished as a result of trade to and from its natural harbour. The modern city is dominated by a monumental cathedral and the elaborate Palais des Archevêques, a former residence that houses several museums.
Things to do in Narbonne
Marvel at the Cathédrale Saint-Just et Saint-Pasteur, an unfinished Gothic cathedral that was begun in 1272. It’s renowned for its vaulted choir and the Our Lady of Bethlehem Chapel, which features a 14th-century painted altarpiece. Don’t miss a visit to the Treasury where an impressive collection of religious tapestries and gold artefacts are displayed.
Once home to the archbishops, the grandiose Palais des Archevêques is now occupied by several archaeology and art museums. Browse the Roman mosaics on display at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire and get up close to antique sculpted stones at the Musée Lapidaire before exploring the underground galleries and ancient warehouses of the Horreum.
Foodies shouldn’t miss a visit to Les Halles de Narbonne, a traditional covered food market along the Canal de la Robine. You can find everything from local wines to marinated olives and freshly baked pastries at its colourful stalls, while it also houses a handful of restaurants serving authentic French cuisine.
Getting around Narbonne
Narbonne is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Montpellier and Montpellier-Méditerranée Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular trains connect to Paris, Toulouse and Marseille from the Gare de Narbonne while an extensive network of public buses travel throughout Narbonne. The city centre is compact enough to explore on foot.