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You’ll find Narbonne in southern France and at one point in history, it was arguably the most important city in the region. It sits about 15 kilometers off of the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, but in Roman times it was a prosperous port. The earliest mentions of this community date back to the 5th century BC and was located on the first Roman road established in the region.
By the 14th century, however, the city ran into a slow decline which eventually caused it to lose its port and its river. Those declines aren’t evident today, however, and Narbonne offers visitors some incredible sights to see. What could your trip to Narbonne look like? Here are a few options for you to consider as you finalize your upcoming plans.
An Unfinished Cathedral Is Simply One of Many Wonders
Many people find themselves attracted to the Narbonne Cathedral as one of their first stops in this community. It’s dedicated to Pastor and Justus and is a clear reflection of the changing times that Narbonne saw over the years. The cathedral, which is one of the tallest in France, was never completed. Part of this was due to the changing economic times, but the city was also hit hard by the plague at the same time the cathedral was being built. Demolishing one of the city walls would have been required as well.
When you tour the building, you’ll be able to see the courtyard, side chapels and even the choir. It’s still a primary place for worship for the Roman Catholic population of Narbonne, even though there is no bishop seat in place.
A tour of Narbonne must also include a walk along the Canal de la Robine. It cuts through the heart of the city and will take you to many of the sights and restaurants that you’ll want to enjoy during your stay. The canal was a last ditch attempt to keep the city as part of the trade route coming off of the Mediterranean and it worked, providing 19th century wine trading that brought the city back into a more prominent role.
Have You Ever Seen a Cryptoporticus?
One of the unique structures that the Romans built was a cryptoporticus. It’s essentially a covered passageway, hallway, or corridor that was built underground. The vaulting of the construction would support the porticoes that were installed above the ground. Some treated these structures as a root cellar, while others actually used them as a crypt. There’s an excellent example of one in Narbonne that for many years was used to store grain.
While in Narbonne, you could wander about to find some hidden gems and that makes for a wonderful day. You could also visit the Halles and find many of those hidden gems together in one spot! This covered market is open every day, although you may wish to avoid Sundays and Thursdays because they tend to be fairly busy. Those days are the perfect times to visit La Clape and enjoy the beach, however, so plan accordingly!
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