France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Narbonne, France Guide
A small city very near the Mediterranean shore with a Roman past—and remains of a Roman road to prove it.




Narbonne, 100 km (62 miles) southwest of Montpellier and only 10km (6 miles) from Narbonne Plage (beach) on the Mediterranean shore (map), was actually nearer the shore centuries ago. Then the course of the River Aude changed, and silt pushed the sea farther away.

Narbonne was an important town in Roman times. Known as Colonia Narbo Martius, it was where two great Roman roads, the Via Domitia and the Via Aquitania met. Vestiges of the Via Domitia are still extant in the city center.

Via Domitia, the Roman road through Narbonne, France
Small portion of the Via Domitia Roman road uncovered in the city's main square.

Narbonne later became the capital of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis. Numerous other sites commemorate Narbonne's Roman prominence, including the remains of Roman townhouses, baths and workshops now in the Clos de la Lombarde archeological site, and the Horreum, a cryptoportico built as a grain warehouse.

Visigoths, Arabs, Carolingians and Capets followed the Romans to power in Narbonne, which was an important city until the 1300s when the silting of the port throttled commerce and caused a decline in the city's prosperity and prominence.

The Canal de la Robine, coursing through the city center, links iit to the Aude and the Canal du Midi, was built in the 1600s to revive commerce, but was only partially successful.

Canal in Narbonne, France. The Canal de la Robine goes through the city center.

Narbonne's giant Cathédrale Saint-Juste et Saint-Pasteur, designed to a monumental plan, has never been finished. The 40-meter-high choir survives, but the gigantic nave was never built.

Nearby, the main sight to see in Narbonne is the Palais-Musée des Archevêques, the grand Archbishops' Palace. From the donjon, the tall rectangular tower, you'll enjoy fine views over the city.



Direct TGV trains connect Narbonne with Paris (4h45), and Intercités trains connect it with Montpellier and Marseille (2h37) and Toulouse (1:34). The train ride to Perpignan takes little over a half hour. Renfe trains to Barcelona take just over 2 hours.


The A9 and A61 autoroutes follow the tracks of the Roman roads to link Narbonne with Montpellier, Perpignan and Toulouse.

Local Transport

City buses are operated by Citibus. More...

Where to Stay

Find lodgings to your liking in the historic city center and you can walk to all the sights.

Hotel Search Map

Narbonne Hotels




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Gare de Narbonne, the train station.


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