Narbonne is a delightful small town in southern France with a Roman past. The Canal de le Robine, which links the town to the Canal du Midi on its north side, has pretty bridges, shady trees and picturesque walkways. It has a long history and a lively present. Narboone is known for its seaside resort and the town is really close to the border of Spain. Narbonne‘s exceptional sights include its cathedral and former archbishop palace and is now a popular stop off for boaters. Read our complete list of the best things to do while visiting here:
1. Les Halle de Narbonne
Strategically located in the city, Les Halle de Narbonne is a unique covered market in a Baltard style pavilion. The market house over 70 stalls consisting of wine and bar merchants, bakers, delicatessens, pastries, poultry merchants, butchers, greengrocers, caterers and fishmongers. Tourists and visitors should not miss this fabulous indoor market. Every morning the market welcomes hungry gourmets, visitors and cooks. Local producers are at your disposal, offering advice on how to prepare food and how to choose the best products. Each morning, they will come to the market to display their skills and products.
Les Halle de Narbonne is famed for its outstanding variety of goods, lively energy and colorful atmosphere. From flowers, cheese and vegetables, to herbs, seafood and spices, you can get almost anything from this market. Besides, it is also a place to have your breakfast, brunch or lunch. Most noteworthy are the small informal restaurants, where you can enjoy fresh oysters or grilled meat (literally from the butchers nearby). Besides, check out La Forum, a nice restaurant and bar owned by a family of cheerful rugby veterans. Try the steak tartare or skewers of beef and drink while relaxing and cooling down at La Forum. This typically charming Southern France market is definitely worth a visit when you are in Narbonne.
Les Halle de Narbonne
Address: 1 Cours Mirabeau, 11000 Narbonne, France
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday (7am-2pm)
Contact: +33 468326399
Website: Les Halle de Narbonne
2. Cathedrale Saint Just
Cathedrale Saint Just is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in the town of Narbonne. It is a national monument dedicated to Saint Justin. Situated in the heart of the city, it is Narbonne’s most distinctive landmark. Only the towers are completed, as the cathedral was actually only partial constructed and was halted in the 14th-century. The high gothic style cathedral of Saint-Pasteur and Saint-Just is inspired by the great cathedral of Northern France. Its most striking feature is the unique choir.
Besides, the side chapel dedicated to our Lady of Bethlehem has a 14th-century altar in painted stone, and the Treasury, also known as the acoustic hall, displays a rich collection of liturgical objects such as tapestries, ivories and gold. This unique and spectacular building is a must visit place in Narbonne for tourists.
Cathedrale Saint Just
Address: Rue Armand Gauthier, 11100 Narbonne, France
Price: Adult around 9 EUR (9.85 USD), Children below 10 years (around 6 EUR (6.55 USD)
Opening Hours: 10am-12pm, 2pm-6pm
Contact: +33 468651560
Website: Cathedrale Saint Just
3. Fontfroide Abbey
The Abbey de Fontfroide or Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Fontfroide is one of the best preserved and largest Cistercian monasteries in Europe near the Spanish border. The monastery is about a 10-minute drive south-west of Narbonne in Le Pays Cathar. It is a patrimonial, cultural and spiritual place for visitors to attend. This 12th-century abbey is completely preserved with all its buildings. The church of ochre sandstone stands at the end of a little road with scrub and cypress trees. Apart from that, you can explore the various gardens within the vicinity.
The completely restored 16th-century preserved terraced garden is one of the largest rose gardens in Southern France. If you come to the gardens between May and September, you will get to see around 30,000 bushes. There is also a shop and caveau nearby, where you can buy souvenirs as a remembrance. If you are hungry or thirsty, there is a restaurant and bar close by. Table de Fontfroide not only serves wines of the Abbey but also a Mediterranean menu based on fresh products.
Address: Narbonnaise en Méditerranée Natural Regional Park, Route Départementale 613, 11100 Narbonne, France
Price: Depends which tour you choose. Refer to the website
Opening Hours: Varies at different seasons. Closed on New Years Day and Christmas Day
Contact: +33 468451108
Website: Fontfroide Abbey
4. Narbonnaise Natural Park
The Regional Natural Park of Narbonnaise extends along the coastline of the Aude. It is not an ordinary park as it is made up of maritime Corbieres and an extensive lagoon complex. It is one of the most unspoilt natural sites of such diversity and magnitude, bordering the Mediterranean. In total, 300 species of birds and 2,000 species of plants are sheltered here, of which 6 species are of international interest.
While you are here, as you enter the French Department of Aude, you will reach the protected area of La Narbonnaise. You will be plunged in the cultural landscape with its sea resorts, pristine coastline, wetlands and rocky terrain. Each offers tourists a wide range of activities where nature enthusiasts, lovers of winter sports and hikers will be thrilled. This area is home to a great biodiversity of extraordinary landscapes of vineyards, flora and fauna, villages, natural areas and towns. It is indeed a land of many faces. Apart from that, visitors can also make use of its heritage accommodation and walking trails.
Narbonnaise Natural Park
Address: 1 Rue Jean Cocteau, 11130 Sigean, France
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday (8.30am-12.30pm, 2pm-6pm), Closed on Saturday and Sunday
Contact: +33 468422370
Website: Narbonnaise Natural Park
5. Donjon Gilles Aycelin
This dungeon was built between 1290 and 1311 by Archbishop Gilles Aycelin. This historical building rises 4 levels until the upper terrace. This attraction offers tourists a panoramic view of the Pyrenees and the Corbieres, the city, as well as the coast. In actual reality, this attraction is not a dungeon, but a fortified tower. You can challenge yourself to climb the 167 steps along the spiral staircase to the top. It is not for the faint hearted but it is worth a climb to get a fantastic 360-degree view of the towns, city and cathedrals over the roofs of Narbonne. There is also a small museum with some Roman remains onsite here.
Donjon Gilles Aycelin
Address: Place de l'Hôtel de ville, 11100 Narbonne, France
Price: Between 4-9 EUR (4.35-9.85 USD)
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday (10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm)
Contact: +33 468903065
Website: Donjon Gilles Aycelin
6. Archbishop's Palace
The palace of the archbishops is a must-see monument in Narbonne. The Archbishop Palace was first designed in the 12th-century and was intended to create a safe place of comfort for residents whilst under attack. It consists of military, religious, and civil buildings that were added through the centuries. It is essentially made up of 3 tall towers including the Palais Neuf and the Palais Vieux, a keep by Gilles Aycelin and a lovely example of late 13th-century building work. In recent times, the palace has become the home of three museums, namely the Holy Roman Museum, the Archaeology Museum, and the Art and History Museum. If you want to visit all of these museums it is only possible with a golden ticket.
Address: Place de l'Hotel de Ville, 11100 Narbonne, France
Contact: +33 468903030
Website: Archbishop’s Palace
7. Basilique Saint Paul
Basilique Saint Paul was the first Gothic church in Narbonne and one of the oldest in the South. Built on the tomb of the first bishop of Narbonne, Saint Paul, it resembles an early cemetery (3rd and 4th-century). This religious building has the characteristics of present Gothic art and Romanesque art, curiously mixed in architecture. Within the church itself, there is a stoup with a carving of a small frog lurking at the bottom under the water.
This is indeed one of the greatest sights in the whole of France. The cathedral has never been completed even after hundreds of years, but it is still beautiful through all parts, both inside and out. The stained glass windows are fantastic, with great impressive design and the cloister too is majestic.
Basilique Saint Paul
Address: Rue Dupleix et Rue de l'Hôtel Dieu, 11100 Narbonne, France
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday (9am-12pm, 2pm-6pm), Closed on Sunday
Contact: +33 468903065
Website: Basilique Saint Paul
Narbonne is a wonderful provincial city, rich in medieval and Roman vestiges. The many attractions such as the pristine beaches at the seaside town, the many cathedrals with gothic style design, pretty bridges, walkways and the many impressive collections of paintings and tapestries in the art museums attract many tourists to this part of the country all year round.
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