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Looking for a Mediterranean climate with mild winters? How about hot dry summers and blue skies 300 days a year? Yes, you can get that in Narbonne, France.
But it's not all rosy. Narbonne is also a windy place. Some say it drives the people crazy. I don't know, the few times I've been there personally, it wasn't windy. But I have to take their word for it, constant wind would drive me crazy!
Narbonne has a pleasant small city center with narrow streets and a lovely canal, the Canal de la Robine (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The large Cathedral, Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur towers over the city center, you can't miss it. What makes it special is that it is the 4th tallest Gothic cathedral in France, and it was never finished. The cloister is lovely and was being renovated the last time I saw it in 2018.
The Parc National Régional de la Narbonnaise en Méditerranée protects local landscape, beaches, lagoons and vineyards. This makes it an ideal place for bird-watching, hiking, biking, water sports, etc. Nature lovers will also want to see the Clape Hills from where you get great views towards the Mediterranean.
Narbonne has one of the longuest beaches in France, it is 5 km long. There are also various harbors and places where you can dock your pleasure boat. I suggest a sailboat since it's windy, right?
If you love food, you will have to stop at the restaurant called Les Grands Buffets, the place where you can sample more cheeses than anywhere else in the world! Be sure to reserve in advance, it is really popular and has limited seating. Foodies will also want to visit the Halles Mirabeau, a lovely covered food market.
Narbonne is a city at the crossroads due to its geographical location in France. But we think it's a great place to visit, especially if you are looking for a lovely beach city at a reasonable cost.
The Romans put Narbonne on the map. It's not as touristy as other places in France, but it's a lovely place to visit if you're in the area and want to explore the Languedoc and parts of the Mediterranean that are lovely and not too expensive. Narbonne is the closest beach to Toulouse, so it's a place where Toulouse families like to go. There are flamingos in the lagoon too!
Learn More: Montpellier Area
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If you enjoyed this episode, you should also listen to related episode(s):
- A Detour Into Catalonia, Episode 117
- Tips for Visiting Montpellier, Episode 105
- The Best of Sète, Episode 107
Discussed in this Episode
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Canal de la Robine
- Via Domitia
- Narbonne Horreum
- the Archbishop's Palace
- Abbey de Fontfroide
- le Pont des Marchands
- the unfortunate Cathedral of Beauvais
- Massif de la Clape
- Baltar-style covered markets