Narbonne, France

Photo : Benh Lieu Song

Situated in the department of Aude in Occitania (south-western France), the city of Narbonne has 53,000 inhabitants (125,000 for the intermunicipal community of Grand Narbonne).

Founded by the Romans in 118 BC as Colonia Narbo Martius, it was one of the most important cities in Gaul until the end of Antiquity.
From this period Narbonne preserves the horrea, unique in Europe: underground galleries dating back to the 1st century BC, located under a missing monument that could have been used as a warehouse (horreum) as well as the 4th century vestiges of the Via Domitia.

Occupied over the centuries by the Visigoths and then the Umayyads, its first basilica dates from the 8th century.
From the Middle Ages, Narbonne preserves rich and prestigious works such as the Benedictine and then Cistercian abbey of Fontfroide, 15 km away, which dates from the 11th century, the merchant’s bridge (13th century), the 13th-14th century palace of the archbishops, as well as the cathedral Saint Just-Saint Pasteur, in the Gothic style of Champagne, home to the largest organs of Western Europe.
From the Renaissance it is possible to admire the House of the Three Nurses and the Hotel of the Archdeacon.
Finally, the XXth-XXIth century preserved the Halles of styles Baltard, of 1901,
the Palace of Arts, Sports and Labor, an architectural ensemble of neoclassical influence, housing a swimming pool, a gymnasium, and a ballroom, completed in 1967.
In addition, outside sculptures by René Icher (1900-1977) can be seen in various parts of the city.

This rich region of viticulture is also an important center of tourism thanks to the Canal du Midi created in the eighteenth century and the forest massif of Fontfroide.

It is, finally, the home of Charles Trénet.