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Cathédrale Saint-Just-Saint-Pasteur Narbonne
Summits of history

Unmissable Narbonne

Narbonne, has a history spanning more than 2,500 years! Strolling the city streets will transport you back in time... No need for a Delorean, start with the well-worn cobblestones of the Via Domitia for a first dive into history!

Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Golden Age of Wine are all eras that have left an exceptional heritage. Discover the city's rich heritage and its listed monuments and museums on a self-guided or guided tour!

Narbo Martius, our capital

Roman Narbonne

All roads lead to …. Narbonne!

Narbo Martius, founded in 118 BC, was actually the first Roman colony outside Italy and the most important city after Rome. Exceptional Roman vestiges remain from this period, which you must see or visit during your stay on the Côte du Midi!

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Via Domitia Narbonne

Via Domitia

A moving testimony of the ancient city, the Via Domitia linked Italy to Spain in the 2nd century BC. It was discovered in 1997, restored and made accessible. It constitutes the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, in the heart of the Cité district. Very popular with children, the Via Domitia is an original place where they can play on the ancient cobblestones and marvel at the ancient grooves dug by the chariots which are more than 21 centuries old!

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Pont des Marchands Canal de la Robine Narbonne

Pont des Marchands (The Merchants' Bridge)

This bridge consisted of seven arches (six we know for sure). It gave access to the ancient city from the south and hosted the passage of the Via Domitia. The Pons Vetus connects the districts of Bourg and Cité. At present, only one arch is visible, showing the width of the ancient Aude!

Please note!

Pont des Marchands street (The Merchants' Bridge) is reopened to the public!

Poulette Magique
Poulette Magique
Poulette Magique Good mood designer

In my opinion, the view from the Merchants' Bridge is the most beautiful of Narbonne, even lovelier at sunset!

Arnaud Späni-Narbo Via
Musée Narbo Via Narbonne

Narbo Via

Built on the banks of the Robine canal, the Narbo Via museum takes visitors on a journey through the wealth of the ancient city of Narbo Martius. With a collection of more than 6,000 pieces, this museum, which opened in 2021, contains an exceptional exhibition, including wall paintings and a unique lapidary wall with 760 fragments of funerary monuments.

Temporary exhibitions, themed visits and workshops are available throughout the year. Don't miss it!

Learn more about the Narbo Via museum

Roman Horreum

These underground galleries dating to the first century BC consist of corridors leading to a series of cramped rooms. Originally, they were under a complex that had disappeared, probably a market or a public warehouse (Horreum in Latin).

Rediscovered in the 1930s, this remarkable testimony to the bustling trade that happened in the ancient city was classified as a historical monument in 1961. Open to the public since 1976, the Horreum, the only ancient monument still visible in Narbonne, takes you into the heart of the Roman history and architecture of the city!

Visit the Horreum

Arnaud Späni-Narbo Via
Horreum romain Narbonne
In the time of the Archbishops

Medieval Narbonne

The Middle Ages were the most splendid and the most important period in the history of Narbonne. Visitors can even see the majestic monumental complex from the highway!

Easy and pleasant to discover on foot, stroll through the medieval streets of the Bourg and drop into the Basilica of Saint Paul, then go to the Cité district and visit the Palace-Museum of the Archbishops and the Cathedral of Saint-Just and Saint-Pasteur. You won't be disappointed!

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Palais-musée des Archevêques Narbonne

Palais-Musée des Archevêques

The Archbishop's Palace is more than 800 years old! Once the residence of the archbishops, the building has been built, enlarged and remodelled over the centuries, evidenced by the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, modern and neo-Gothic openings of its many façades.

When you visit the Palais Neuf, built between the 14th and 19th centuries, you will see the former apartments of the archbishops and some magnificent art collections. The exhibition features paintings by European schools from the 16th to the 19th century, a remarkable collection of 17th and 18th century earthenware, furniture, and an important section of Orientalist paintings. The spaces and their decorations are sumptuous and worth a visit with painted ceilings in the great Audience Hall (1634), the King's bedroom (1632) and the great gallery (1851), while the Archbishops' dining room (18th century) features magnificent plasterwork nature and hunting scenes.

Visit the Palais-musée des Archevêques

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Donjon Gilles Aycelin Narbonne

Gilles Aycelin Dungeon

42 metres high and crowned with watchtowers, this imposing square tower, built from 1295 to 1306 by Archbishop Gilles Aycelin in the south-east corner of the Palais Neuf, affords an impressive view of the city. The walls contain four rooms served by a spiral staircase: the hemispheric room, the room known as the Treasury, the king's bedroom and the defence room. You will have to climb 162 steps, but the 360° view is breathtaking!

Climb to the top of the Dungeon

Discover other extraordinary views

Cathédrale St-Just-et-St-Pasteur

With the Palais-Musée des Archevêques, it forms a unique ensemble! Its unique choir with impressive dimensions and its vertiginous vaults at more than 40 metres high make it the highest and largest building in the South of France. What makes it special? It was never finished!

Building commenced in 1272 in the radiant Gothic style fashionable in northern France at the time, but it was never completed because the Consuls refused to destroy the ramparts in such turbulent times. Only the choir, completed in the 1330s, can be visited today. It has beautiful 18th century organs and on the first floor, the Treasure Room and its acoustic phenomenon are a real experience...

Discover the Cathedral

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Cathédrale Saint-Just-Saint-Pasteur Narbonne

Saint-Paul-Serge Basilica

The first Gothic church of Narbonne and one of the oldest in the South. Built on the tomb of the first bishop of Narbonne, St Paul, its crypt was once an ancient early Christian cemetery (3rd-4th centuries). Built in 1180, the choir was added between 1224 and 1230, and the vaults were rebuilt in around 1368. In the 15th century, two bays extended the nave to the west. In the 16th century, the pillars were consolidated and three arches, called diaphragm arches, were added. This religious building features a strange architectural fusion of Romanesque and Gothic art.

Visit the Basilica 

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Basilique Saint Paul Serge Narbonne
From the 16th to the 18th century

Modern Narbonne

King Louis 13th described Narbonne as "the key and guard of all our country of Languedoc" since until the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659) it was the main French city protecting against the power of the Catholic kings of Spain, the border being located on the Corbières. The city was constantly fortified for decades and became, along with Bayonne, the most important French stronghold in the south. It is difficult to imagine today but Narbonne was enclosed in a corset of walls, pierced with only four doors. After 1659, its strategic role became secondary and it went into decline.

This was a critical period in the City's history. It has lost its eminence: economic stagnation, loss of political influence, little urban development except for around the canal (quais, pont, promenades) and the creation of locks. During the Revolution, Narbonne had fewer than 10,000 inhabitants. It also lost the archiepiscopal see and was not even designated as the capital of the new department of Aude.

From a royal place to second fiddle in the department, Narbonne has been through some challenging, contradictory periods!

Interesting information

In the 17th century, the route of the Canal du Midi bypassed Narbonne and it was not until the eve of the Revolution that the Robine was finally connected, thanks to the Canal de Jonction.

19th & 20th centuries

Contemporary Narbonne

Narbonne experienced a "golden age of wine" in the 1820s, which was particularly amplified by the railway station built in 1856. At the same time, the city dismantled the ramparts from 1868 to 1882, leading to the almost total disappearance of its 16th and 17th century military heritage.

Instead of fortifications, new boulevards, middle-class houses with ostentatious façades, gardens and public buildings in the Haussmannian style appeared. The Promenade des Barques and its large cafés became the town centre with the construction of the "Aux Dames de France” department store. Narbonne then embarked on a slow economic and demographic recovery that accelerated during the 1960s.

"Les Halles"

The idea of building a market in Narbonne dates back to 1871. The project took almost 30 years to complete! The covered market opened its doors to the public on 1 January 1901. This Art Nouveau building is the pride of the people of Narbonne, a place full of flavours, colours and scents, where conviviality, authenticity and warmth are the order of the day.

It delights the eyes and thrills the palate, with nearly 60 shops offering fabulous fresh products!

Rendez-vous at Les Halles

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Les Halles de Narbonne
Côte du Midi
Halles de Narbonne
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Les Halles de Narbonne
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Les Halles de Narbonne

1907, the winegrowers' revolt

At the beginning of the 20th century, a crisis of poor wine sales (overproduction, fraud and abuse of artificial wines, massive importation of foreign wines, lowering workers' wages…) blighted the South, which had previously enjoyed remarkable prosperity. Numerous workers' strikes broke out. In 1907, feeling abandoned, the winegrowers revolted, led by Marcelin Albert, a coffee shop owner and winegrower in Argeliers, and numerous demonstrations filled the streets of Narbonne. The revolt led to the adoption of a law to control the harvest, regulate the circulation of wines and limit sugaring.

The city has an introductory route illustrated with rare archive photographs marking symbolic places during this period.

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Jardin de l'Archevêché Narbonne
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Palais du Travail Narbonne

"Palais des Arts, des sports et du travail"

Just before the Second World War, work began to build the "Palais des Arts, des sports et du travail" in the characteristic international style of the 1930s. This was the great work of this period in Narbonne, an unfinished dream of a new society, swept away by the turmoil of the 1940s.

Narbonne-Plage

The seaside resort of Narbonne-Plage, 15 kilometres from the town, appeared in the middle of sand and water in response to the progression of the leisure society and seaside tourism. Created under the aegis of Louis Madaule, mayor of Narbonne between 1948 and 1956, its development boomed in the 1960s, until it became the popular family and seaside resort that we know today.

Discover Narbonne-Plage

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Narbonne-Plage
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La Clape Narbonne-plage
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Massif de la Clape
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Volley Narbonne-Plage
Discovering is fun

Let's do something different in Narbonne

There are many ways to visit Narbonne!

Fun and original, treasure hunts to have fun learning about history, rides on a small train with commentary, a tour in a gabarre (river boat) or a small electric boat on the Robine canal, dramatised tours, there is something for everyone!

I book my visit (page only in french)

Eat in Narbonne

Our top restaurant suggestions

Sleep in Narbonne

Great places to sleep

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