Narbonne Off The Beaten Path

  • Paulien and her mulled wine.
    Paulien and her mulled wine.
    by Jerelis
  • The main lane in Cimetière de Bourg.
    The main lane in Cimetière de Bourg.
    by Jerelis
  • Reading som inscriptions.
    Reading som inscriptions.
    by Jerelis

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Narbonne

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    Massif de la Clape - Oeil Doux.

    by Jerelis Written Aug 31, 2011

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    The Oeil Doux.
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    Talking about a hidden gem. We did not hear of this amazing spot before we visited it. The Oeil Doux is a natural waterhole surrounded by cliffs with an abrupt eastern face overhanging the surface 40 metres below. The cliff is made of hard fissured limestone whose crevices are full of red clay; it was formed during the middle geological era. The north side, less steep, is made of marly limestone from an older geological age and is particularly rich in fossile deposits, notably Orbolitines (Mesorbitolna texana), Brachypodes, Lamellibranches and sea urchins (dating from the Clansayesian period).

    The presence of this hole at this site can be explained by the fragility of the wider area which displays many faults; two of them major. The water in the hole is salty: the salinity, as well as the level, varies with the rainfall and the movements of the Mediterranean just 1,500 metres away. The whole zone is part of a submerged karstic formation. The water table penetrates into the zone, part of a network that appears to plunge far below the 35 metres depth of the waterhole. Connections to the sea via this underground network, together with leaching, explain the variations in surface level and salinity.

    Directions:
    Massif de la Clape is situated on the Mediterranean coastline southeast of Narbonne. The whole area belongs to the Languedoc-Rousillion district and is directly on the route from France to Spain (Barcelona).

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    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park

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    Massif de la Clape - Some amazing vineyards!

    by Jerelis Written Aug 31, 2011

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    Vineyards and Massif de la Clape.
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    The subregional zone of Massif de la Clape forma an oase of vineyards which lie at the westernmost end of the Coteaux du Languedoc appellation. Most of the vineyards are located around a rocky promontory east of Narbonne, the Massif de la Clape, which was an island until the River Aude silted up in the Middle Ages.

    The entire terroir is a mixture of limestone, red clay and gravel. Strict regulations have helped to ensure quality of the wines of La Clape. Talking to a local expert we learned that thes particular vines must be five years old before qualifying, and the cépage is strictly controlled. Since 1998 the wines must include at least 70% Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre with a minimum 20% Grenache. The rule is 60% for rosé. And I have forgotten the exact rules for the white wines, I'm sorry about that. But anyway ... on a whole it is a rather small region. Some vinyards are located on a low plateau, of clay and galets (large, oval stones). This communal zone is of less significance than La Clape, which plays host to some of the top names of the Languedoc, starting with Chateau de la Negly. There are also good wines from Camplazens, Pech Redon and Moujan.

    Directions:
    Massif de la Clape is situated on the Mediterranean coastline southeast of Narbonne. The whole area belongs to the Languedoc-Rousillion district and is directly on the route from France to Spain (Barcelona).

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Wine Tasting

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    Massif de la Clape - It used to be an island.

    by Jerelis Updated Aug 31, 2011
    View at the massif de la Clape.
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    Just opening Wikipedia will tell that (and I quote) "the Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain. It separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 491 km (305 mi) from the Bay of Biscay (Cap Higuer) to the Mediterranean Sea (Cap de Creus)." Back to my own English :) ... we can say that for the most part, the main crest forms a massive divider between France and Spain. This devider even ends up into the Mediterranean Sea at Narbonne. This part of the Pyrenees is called Massif de la Clape.

    The Massif de la Clape - "stone" in local dialect - was, until recent geological time, an actual island. This insularity, still apparent in the landscape, has given rise to a particularly rich and original variety of plant and animal life. Today, the La Clappe Heights remain one of those unusual, spellbound places where we could still feel the imprint of his long-gone ancestors. It's a relatively unknown jewel of a crag on a relatively unvisited stretch of French coastline.

    Directions:
    Massif de la Clape is situated on the Mediterranean coastline southeast of Narbonne. The whole area belongs to the Languedoc-Rousillion district and is directly on the route from France to Spain (Barcelona).

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    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    Jardin des Martyrs de La Resistance - City Park.

    by Jerelis Written Aug 26, 2011

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    Walking our way around.
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    Jardin des Martyrs de La Resistance is not really a large city park and Narbonne probably has dozens of beautiful parks and open spaces to choose from as well as safe and attractive children's playgrounds. But we just happened to walk here and therefore I'm writing about it :) How did we end up here? Well, we wanted to visit the daily market at Rue de Bourget and we were able to park the car at Avenue Général Leclerc, nearby the cemetary Cimetière de Bourg. The walk from the car to the market got us in this beautfully situated little park.

    The Jardin des Martyrs de La Resistance has a nice walking path, a little lake, some beautiful fountains and a new and safe children's playground. This city's major park caters for a wide range of active and passive recreational activities including sports, jogging, walking, picnics and barbeques.

    Address:
    Rue de Bourget, 11100 Narbonne

    Directions:
    South of the old city center of Narbonne.

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    • Backpacking
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Cimetière de Bourg - A hidden gem.

    by Jerelis Written Aug 26, 2011

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    The main lane in Cimeti��re de Bourg.
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    About this location I can be very honest ... it's not really a location you want to visit ahead of time whenever you are preparing the trip to the city of Narbonne. We ended at this cemetery, because we wanted to visit the market at Rue de Bouget and were able to park the car at Avenue Général Leclerc, which is the road that is adjected to the Cimetiére de Bourg.

    Once we parked the car we were so close to the entrance of the cemetery that we had to enter it. This so called monumental cemetery has some rather large headstones and other monuments made of marble, granite or similar materials. Reading the inscriptions we saw a number of family members that were buried together (either vertically or horizontally).

    Address:
    Avenue Général Leclerc, 11100 Narbonne

    Directions:
    It's located south of the old town of Narbonne on the main road towards the main train station.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel

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    Horreum - Well preserved north wing.

    by Jerelis Updated Aug 20, 2011

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    Impressive galleries.
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    The plan and the situation of this Horreum is quite unique. I have seen a few, but they are always located at ground level and are rather daylightened. These so called Cryptoporticoes structures (like in Arles and Reims) are imposing subterranean monuments underlying porticoes of some forums.

    The galleries of Narbonne lasted throughout the centuries provided that some rehandlings of the west wing (suppression of cells and doubling of walls) and their use as private cellars. We finnaly ended up at the north wing and saw that it was the best preserved part of this amazing place. Lots of padidary elements were extracted from the former ramparts, recalling some monuments of Narbo-Martius: capitals of columns, friezes, relievs, inscriptions, steles, fragments of tombstones, depicting the world of theatre, thermes, horse carts races or games of the amphitheatre. We guess that an impressive collection of amphoras found in Narbonne can be seen here. At the end we went back to the surface and witnessed the heat above the ground level ... they already knew that difference way way back!

    Address:
    7 Rue Rouget de Lisle, 11000 Narbonne

    Directions:
    North of the old city centre. It´s definately off the beaten path, because the entrance is close to the main entrance of the Narbonne Cathedral, just enter the small ally Rue Rouget de Lisle.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Horreum - You can explore three wings.

    by Jerelis Updated Aug 20, 2011

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    The entrance ticket for the Horreum.
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    There wasn't a guide available, so we had to explore it all by ourdelf. Don't be afraid of getting lost, because there is only one way in and one way out. Still it is rather dark at these galleries which were build at the end of the 1st century BC and are 5 metres below ground level. Therefore our kids were a bit afraid in the dark, but they still were very interested in the history of this amazing spot! Today the north wing, west wing, the beginning of the south wing, a secondary corridor and a lately blocked passage are visible.

    We noticed that the wings were constituted of a central hallway flanked by tiny rooms, each one open by a narrow doorway without a closing system like a door. We continued our walk and reached the point where the wings crossed each other and where they must form some king of U plan. The existence of a fourth wing has never been proven. Quite an amazing fact to be honest. The galleries form the basement of a building, certainly a amarket located south of the form and on the edge of the cardo (north-south axis of the former Roman city, nowadays known as Rue Droite).

    Address:
    7 Rue Rouget de Lisle, 11000 Narbonne

    Directions:
    North of the old city centre. It´s definately off the beaten path, because the entrance is close to the main entrance of the Narbonne Cathedral, just enter the small ally Rue Rouget de Lisle.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology

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    Horreum - True ancient Roman history.

    by Jerelis Updated Aug 20, 2011

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    Iris and Sam are entering the museum.
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    Narbonne was established in Gaul in 118 BC. It was located on the famous Via Domitia, the first Roman road in Gaul, built at the time of the foundation of the colony, and connecting Italy to Spain. Geographically, Narbonne was therefore located at a very important crossroad, because it was situated where the Via Domitia connected to the Via Aquitania, the main road towards the Atlantic. Surviving members of Julius Caesar's Legio X Equestris were given lands in the area that today is called Narbonne. One of the monuments that survived history is the Horreum Romain, subterranean galleries that might have been public warehouses (horreum in Latin). We were told that this Horreum didn't have equivalency in the roman world. So, it was time for us to explore the only antique monument which can be visited in Narbonne.

    The entrance fee is mild (€4,-) and we learned that the Horreum was noticed in 1838 and have been partially explored between 1935 and 1941 and more recently during punctual prospectings. The galleries are only partly cleared out, their plan and exact width are still te be specified. Good for us to know that it is open to the public since 1976. Let's go!

    Address:
    7 Rue Rouget de Lisle, 11000 Narbonne

    Directions:
    North of the old city centre. It´s definately off the beaten path, because the entrance is close to the main entrance of the Narbonne Cathedral, just enter the small ally Rue Rouget de Lisle.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Look for the unusual.................

    by leics Written Apr 12, 2006

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    Medieval house

    ........because it's easy to miss, especially if the narrow streets of the old town are crowded. This house is one example.............it would be very easy to walk past and not notice its Medieval features.

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    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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    The Picturesque Abbey of Fontfroid

    by pigletsmom Updated Aug 14, 2004

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    Stained Glass made with bombed remains

    Incredible 10th century Abby and gardens just 20 minutes from Narbonne. Tours are every 45 minutes in French only, but the tour guide was very nice and tracked down an English translation for me. The Abbey is very beautiful and interesting. The stained glass in the church is 20th century, and pretty from a far, however there are some windows created just after WWII designed with remnants from destroyed French medieval churches that are quite amazing. The Abbey of Fontfroid sided with the Roman Catholic church and not the Cathars during the middle ages. This polital decision enabled it to survive and profit, and has made it one of the most intact abbies in the Launguedoc region today.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

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    The Medieval Town of Lagrasse

    by pigletsmom Updated Jul 25, 2004

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    Looking up at the old church

    Just about 45 minutes away by car, there is the extraordinary town of Lagrasse. Very beautiful and untouched. The road signs are not well posted, make sure you have a good map. Beautiul old town that includes a 11th century Abbey. Don't miss La Grasse if you're in the area. One of the highlights of my trip.

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    • Architecture
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel

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    The Town of Minerve

    by pigletsmom Written Jul 18, 2004

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    The impressive town of Minerve

    The town of Minerve was built on a mountain between two gorges and offers spectacular scenery. It is an ancient city, which was a Cathar stronghold in the 13th century, which makes it quite interesting and filled with history. Minerve is about 35 minutes away by car on pretty country roads. . Makes for an excellent day trip. Minerve also has some nice shops and cafes. You can stop in Homps for a ride down the Canal du MIdi on your way back.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture

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    Square Th. L. Blum gardens.

    by leics Written Apr 12, 2006

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    A shady place.................

    Lots of plane (and other) trees, benches, flowers, fountains, toilets..........what more could you want? Lovely place for a rest on the way back to the station.

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    • Trains
    • Family Travel

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    Place du Forum

    by leics Written Apr 12, 2006

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    Place du forum

    Probably not on the main tourist route, this little square is built over the Roman Forum and is a pleasant place to sit for a while. There are one or two bits of columns around, to add atmosphere.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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Narbonne Off The Beaten Path

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