If you are one of those who find it difficult to choose between the sea and mountain, Narbonne is your city. Just 2 hours by train from Barcelona, Renfe will take you to the centre of "The city of art and history". Hop on our AVE (high-speed) France trains, AVE (high-speed) International travelling between Spain and France, and get ready to see the best of Narbonne. Fast, comfortable, safe and sustainable.
Discover the city's strong Roman identity and the hidden treasures of Narbonne, first Roman city in Gaul and its capital at the time.
Former archiepiscopal city and residence of the Visigoth kings of Septimania, Narbonne is known for being an incredibly lively city with a formidable cultural heritage. Here are the 7 places you cannot miss when you visit Narbonne:
The Palace of the Archbishops stands out for several reasons. Its main features are its crowing towers: Gilles Aycelin Tower - built during the end of the eighth century and beginning of the fourteenth century -, Saint-Martial Tower - the entrance of which has an anchor to represent the archbishop's feudal rights over coast navigation - and Madeleine Tower, which dates back to the eighth century –, which features an old palace of Romanesque origin and a new one of Gothic style, built between the seventh and eighth centuries-. The palace houses the Town Hall, Museum of Art and Museum of Archaeology since the nineteenth century, as well as Cathédrale Saint-Just et Saint-Pasteur.
Palace of the Archbishop
Hidden in a valley of the Massif de les Corbières, this ancient abbey of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was built for monastic life and prayer, heritage of what was once one of the biggest Cistercian abbeys in France.
This architectural style blends the austerity of the walls with the beauty of its stained glass windows of the twentieth century and the elegance of the cloister. The green of its patios, the rose garden and the gardens make it a true work of art. The monastic spaces and rooms were restored and adapted in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Found next to Pont des Marchands, in the centre of an incredibly lively square are the remains of Vía Domitia, in the same condition as how it remained in the IV. Completed with a fountain in its centre, it is part of the remains of the first Roman route between Italy and Spain. Vía Domitia crosses Narbo Martius, the first Roman colony outside Italy, and the forum, which today creates a small square where the remains of some Roman columns are preserved and where a market of organic products is held every Saturday morning.
Replacing a fourth-century church in a radiant Gothic style, the Cathédrale Saint-Just et Saint-Pasteur's construction started in 1272 and was interrupted in 1355 with the invasion of the Black Prince, but was never completed. Its presbytery features a cloister with high Gothic vaults.
It can be seen from the villages around Aude, making it the third tallest cathedral in France, following Amiens and Bourges (41 metres high). A small staircase next to the sacristy leads to the Treasury room, with tapestries and various relics. The most outstanding piece is "The Creation", a Flemish tapestry of the end of the fourteenth century woven in silk and gold. The cloister communicates with the gardens of the Archbishops, from where you can access a terrace and enjoy different pieces of contemporary art.
Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it crosses the city and connects with the Canal du Midi, filling Narbonne with life. Of the several bridges connecting both banks, the Pont des Marchands is the most picturesque. This stone arch, which now has a structure built on top, is the last survivor of the seven arches that were part of the original bridge over Aude River, the ancient hub between the Roman city and the medieval city. Currently, it is the only bridge inhabited in France.
Built over the tomb of St. Paul in 1180, first bishop of Narbonne, this is the first Gothic church in Narbonne and one of the oldest in southern France, which also mixes Gothic and Romanesque architecture. It has quite an impressive Basilica: its crypt, built in the old Paleochristian cemetery, dates back to the third and fourth centuries, in addition to its choir and vaults. Its famous pillar with a frog and its capital with images of the Last Judgment are unforgettable.
Narbonne's Roman Horreum is a unique and admirable piece of the ancient Roman world, and is currently the only monument of the Roman era in the city.
Its particular underground galleries were built at the end of the first century BC and were probably used as a warehouse for a long period of time. The route is followed at a depth of 5 metres to reach Narbo Martius, capital of the province of Narbonne.
If you are an addict of Roman history, do not forget to visit the Archaeological Museum or Lapidary Museum.
In addition to the breath-taking views of Narbonne, we recommend visiting Nîmes, a French city that is also very popular for its Roman influence. Here is an article to find out more about Nîmes: Arena of Nîmes.
Renfe's AVE (high-speed) France trains, AVE (high-speed) International travelling between Spain and France make your trip to Narbonne an easy one.
You can do so from Madrid, Zaragoza, Tarragona, Barcelona, Girona or Figueres. Moreover, if you wish to discover more about our neighbouring country, you can't miss the other French cities connected with our Alta Velocidad (high-speed) International trains to Perpignan, Béziers, Montpellier, Lyon, Marseille or Aix-en-Provence, always from city centre to city centre.
Choose how you would like to travel and what you would like to visit and we will define the destinations and means of transport. Have you found out about our discounts? Benefit from our discounts and get the best price for you.