Things to do in Narbonne

Things to do in Narbonne

Narbonne, is a little gem of a town still relatively undiscovered by the thousands of tourists visiting the Languedoc area of the south of France each Summer. It is a short drive from the Château de Névian – just over 10km.

Two thousand years ago Narbonne was a major Roman city, the oldest colony outside of Italy. You will see traces of its Roman Heritage throughout the city, from the preserved cobblestones of the Via Domitia in the square in front of the Town Hall to the underground chambers of the Roman Horreum (granaries). Narbonne’s Gallo-Roman past is documented in the recently opened Museum of Narbonne Via designed by Norman Foster. 

Things to do in Narbonne Canal de la Robine

Where to eat in Narbonne

The Canal de la Robine runs through the pedestrianised centre of Narbonne. Enjoy a leisurely lunch in the dappled sunshine of the restaurant terraces that line the tree lined banks of the canal.

Locals are rightly proud of Les Halles of Narbonne. This indoor market won the competition for the most beautiful market in France in 2022. To rub shoulders with the true Narbonnais, head to Les Halles on a Sunday morning. You will enjoy the buzz of the happy locals enjoying a glass of local wine or lunching on fresh seafood from nearby Leucate. There are a number of simple but good quality ‘grillade’ restaurants, tapas places or seafood bars here. Or simply while away an hour or so browsing the huge selection of local cheeses, charcuterie, olives and fresh produce on sale.  

Things to do in Narbonne Les Halles

The Cathedral and Museums

The soaring Sant-Just Cathedral is one of the tallest in France. Despite its impressive size, it was never completed. It is worth a visit to appreciate its Gothic architecture and cloisters with wonderfully preserved gargoyles. The Cathedral is in the heart of the Old Town and next door to the Archbishop’s Palace which houses the Museum of Art and History (Musée d’art et d’histoire).

From this central spot, you are just a short walk away from two small museums – the Museum of Archaeology (Musée d’archéologie), and the Horreum Romain. There is also a little museum in the former birthplace of Narbonne’s most famous son, the singer Charles Trenet which you reach by a 10 minute walk along the banks of the Canal de la Robine. If you don’t fancy walking you can take the tourist train or hop onto the free navette which runs along a circular route throughout the day.

Things to do in Narbonne Sant Just Cathedral

Narbonne Historic Quarter

There are plenty of places to see and things to do in Narbonne. However, it is possible to have an enjoyable day just wandering the little cobbled streets of the Old Town and the Gypsy Quarter. You will find lots of quirky little independent boutiques to browse in. Or simply admire the architecture of the fine stone buildings that line the narrow streets. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of a secret courtyard behind an old stone facade typical of the historic buildings here. You will also find several excellent little restaurants in some of these quieter backstreets.

There are frequent markets in Narbonne. The main market takes place along the banks of the Canal de la Robine on Thursdays and Sundays. On Saturday there is either a Farmers’ market or a broccante market.

Things to do in Narbonne Visit Historic Quarters