The small town on the Canal de la Robine has Roman origins. Colonia Narbo was the first Roman colony outside Italy. The Horreum, an underground labyrinth of warehouses that could be reached from the port, dates from this period. That Narbonne was one of the most important cities in Occitania in the Middle Ages can be seen in the St-Just Cathedral. However, the oversized Gothic building has never been completed. Only the choir room was completed and today is used as a church hall. The suburb of Narbonne Plage is known for its beautiful beaches.
Wine-growig village with heretical past
At the confluence of the Cesse and Briant rivers, on a rocky promontory, lies the ancient wine-growing village and center of the Minervois wine region. When the crusade against the Albigensians was proclaimed, the village became a refuge for the heretics. In 1210 Minerve was besieged. But even under fire and tormented by thirst, the “Perfects,” as the Catherars called themselves, refused to renounce their faith. They were sentenced to death at the stake, which is still commemorated by a stele in the village square. If you want to take a tour of the steep and narrow streets, it is best to leave your car in the parking lot by the stone bridge. In the Romanesque church of Saint-Etienne stands one of the oldest marble altars in Europe, dating from 456.
Short hike from the seafarers' cemetery
Between Narbonne and St-Pierre-sur-Mer, a ten-kilometer-long mountain range stretches like a larger cairn. Clape is an Occitan word for scree. A short tour leads to the most beautiful parts of the hill: it starts at the much-visited seafarers' cemetery with the Notre-Dame-des-Auzils chapel and goes through pine forests and a gorge.
(1:30 hrs, 3.4 km, elevation change: 80 m)