Getting Acquainted with Narbonne, France

Last September during our first overseas trip in almost three years, D and I scheduled a visit to Carcassonne, France coming from Girona, Spain. We planned on traveling by train, and while reviewing the trip schedule, my curiosity was piqued when I saw that the trains pass through Narbonne, France. Doing a Google search, I was quickly sold on doing a two days and one night stay at Narbonne after seeing the tourist destination photos.

We arrived at Narbonne at around noon, so the first order of business was to have lunch. We walked from Gare de Narbonne to a French restaurant with lovely decors, Chez Lulu, at Bd Gambetta. Their food as well as their service were fantastic.

Lunch at Chez Lulu

After lunch we walked around five minutes onto Hotel les Chambres des Barques, where we would be spending the night. We chose to stay there because it was near the canal. We were lucky to be allowed to check in early, giving us more time to explore Narbonne. The hotel was in a vintage building (which I think adds to the charm), and our room had old furniture but it was clean and the bed was comfortable. There was also a small terrace adjacent to the room. If we stayed longer I imagine I would be enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea on the terrace.

Our room’s small terrace

After settling in, D and I walked on to the canal, where we saw the Petit train touristique de Narbonne. Nearby was the town square, surrounded by shops and the Palais Musee des Archeveques. In the center of the town square was the La Via Domitia, a section of the Roman Road.

Before going into the museum, D and I had afternoon coffee at Delice Cake, which offered a wide selection of yummy looking pastries.

We went to Palais des Archeveques (Archbishop’s Palace) and bought our tickets to explore the historic buildings. The reception staff gave us our brochures and we read that the palace was both a residence and a fortress.

Gilles-Aycelin Dungeon is a 42-meter high square tower that was built from 1295 to 1306 by the Archbishop Gilles Aycelin. On the ground floor is a hemispheric room. We had to climb the 162 step spiral staircase to the viewing deck, and en route we passed through the Treasure room, the King’s room, and the Defense room. Atop the tower we admired the panoramic view of the city. It was a beautiful sight, though admittedly I was a bit scared (I could never not be scared of heights after all).

Then we headed back down to visit the Palais Neuf and Archeological Collections. The palace was built between the 14th and 17th centuries, and it housed a vast collection of paintings and jars. My eyes feasted on the art collection there, and I appreciated the staff who kindly explained about the oriental paintings.

The Gothic-styled Cathedrale Saint-Just et Saint-Pasteur was our next destination. It was built between 1272 and 1330. The interior of the cathedral is impressive. I read that it’s one of the tallest cathedrals in France, though it remains unfinished.

A few blocks away from the cathedral was the L’Horreum (Roman Granary Museum) which showcased a well-preserved ancient Roman warehouse whose rooms were built underground. As we descended downstairs the air became cooler and gave me a spooky vibe (it was dark!), and I imagined how the rooms were utilised in the olden days. Our visit to the museum was short albeit educational.

When we left L’Horreum it was almost sunset, and while we waited for the restaurant where we would have dinner open, D and I watched the birds fly in flocks above the Canal de la Robine. Watching flocks of birds flying up and about at sunset will always be one of my most favorite activities to do. It’s quite impressive.

Before calling it a day we had dinner at Restaurant Chambourlettes, at Cr de la Republique. The food was superb. D enjoyed his lamb plat while I savored my fish plat.

That wraps up our visit to Narbonne, France. I am glad we stayed a night here. It was overall a relaxed and insightful trip, the kind that we plan to do more of in our next travels.

By MrsWayfarer

Living Free and Making a Difference

11 comments

  1. So glad you got to check out southwest France: it’s one of my favorite parts of the country I always go to! Funny enough, I’ve never been to Narbonne, but I’ve heard so many good things about it that I’ll have to head over on a return visit! Happy to read about your international travels (after over 3 years!), and I look forward to reading more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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