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A blend of ancient and modern

Narbonne is officially the oldest town in south-west France, despite being frequently eclipsed in the fame stakes by its younger neighbour, Carcassonne. The town is steeped in Cathar history, and has many wonderful old streets and buildings which reflect times gone by, but it is also a bustling modern city. Everything you could want is here in Narbonne, with excellent shopping, schools, banks and medical services. There are also plenty of restaurants, and these reflect the cosmopolitan nature of a modern city, offering international cuisines and lots of variety.

Cultural activities galore

Narbonne also has plenty of culture on offer, with a theatre, a five-screen cinema and numerous art galleries and museums. The museum of La Poudrerie (in an old powder house) is particularly interesting, as it is now a wine museum, charting the history of wine making in the region.

Loads to do and the sea too

With all this to see and do it is perhaps worth remembering that Narbonne is close to the sea, and was in fact an ancient Roman port. Take a trip to the seaside town of Narbonne Plage, where there are glorious long sandy beaches washed by the warm, blue Mediterranean Sea.

The best markets in France…probably!

Narbonne is famed for its wonderful markets, and they certainly are a notable feature of the town. On Tuesdays and Thursdays there is an open air market which sets up on both banks of the Canal de la Robine, and with its fabulous floral displays this is a very pretty sight. Meanwhile the covered indoor market is stocked high with the glossiest and best fruit and veg, freshly caught fish and seafood and olives of so many different types and hues that you are completely spoiled for choice. If you are feeling hungry and can't wait until you get home, the delicious aromas of spit-roasting chicken will call you to the stalls where you can buy the chicken and also potatoes cooked in the juices below the spit….irresistible! Unusually, this covered market is open every day from 6am until 1pm, so there are plenty of opportunities to visit!

How to get there

Access to Narbonne from the UK is easy and inexpensive with budget airlines Ryanair and bmibaby having flights to Carcassonne, Montpellier, Nimes and Perpignan from various airports. It is also possible to travel by Eurostar from St Pancras to Montpellier or Nimes, with a change at Paris.

Property prices in and around Narbonne

There is a vast choice of property type and price in Narbonne, and there should be something to suit most tastes and pockets. Being in the sunny south of France, however, it must be said that Narbonne is not one of France's cheapest places to seek property, and as with anywhere near the coast you will find that prices rise the closer you are to the beaches! The city itself offers apartments in some lovely old town houses, and on the outskirts there are new developments where smart modern villas look out over the vineyards of the Corbières.

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Narbonne AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Narbonne?

Narbonne is located in south France, lying north-east in the department of Aude, close to both the Mediterranean coast and Aude's border with Hérault.

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Population: 46,500

Access: By air to Carcassonne, Perpignan, Nîmes or Montpellier. By rail to Montpellier with Eurostar.

Economy: Narbonne is a large city with a varied economic life, although tourism has had a significant influence in modern times. The city is also in the wine region of the Corbières, and as ever in Languedoc-Roussillon, wine production is of prime importance.

Interesting fact: Occitan, the old language of this region, is still spoken by some in Narbonne. The Occitan name for the city is Narbona.


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