Arrondissement de Narbonne

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63 travelers at this place:

  • Day564

    Caves, Narbonnaise Natural Park

    January 11, 2018 in France ⋅

    Beginning the day high up, we descended towards the coast. The use of land for agriculture became more intense and we found ourselves surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. We continued to drop down through a huge gorge with sandstone villages in the lower reaches and crucifixes erected on the peaks.

    As we approached sea level we began to see large succulents with long pointed leaves growing wild and even passed a garden centre dedicated to palm trees. Unsettlingly we also saw a woman standing in a layby. We tried not to jump to conclusions but then saw another and another. The vegetation had reminded us of southern Italy and now we'd discovered something else the two places had in common; roadside prostitution.

    Close to our stopover we caught a glimpse of a far away Mediterranean Sea, its bright turquoise unmistakable. Pulling off the D6009 we pulled up in a lorry park in La Palme. It was pretty empty, with only one HGV and a few cars.

    Settling down with a cuppa we set about calling Saga to renew the van insurance and Will's brother for a catchup. A lot of cars had been pulling in, doing a circuit of the parking area then leaving. We didn't think anything of it until Vicky was cleaning the windowsills and a silver BMW drove slowly by the van, stopped and reversed until the guy driving was level with the window. He looked at Vicky with a lecherous grin on his face and nodded his head. It quickly dawned on Vicky that he was kerb crawling and thought she was a prostitute. Her skin began to crawl and she swished the curtain closed. He drove off but circled round and passed slowly by the van half a dozen times before finally disappearing up the road. We began to pay close attention to the cars pulling in and all contained a single male apart from one, who dropped a woman off near the entrance. With the realisation that this was a place for punters to pick up prostitutes we unsurprisingly no longer felt comfortable and took the decision to move 4.5km down the road to a different village.

    Vicky was upset by the incident but fortunately the place we stopped at in Caves had no hint of seediness about it. A dry and open patch of grassland outside a primary school, it was bordered by a few low rise self contained houses on 2 sides, a basketball court and large stoney fields of vines on the others. We could even make out the sea a few miles away on the horizon!

    The wind was strong and buffeted the van but the sun had been out nearly all day and the brightness was a welcome change. Will tried flying his kite but the very high winds proved too much and he soon retreated in to the van for a warming cuppa. As the light faded a rosy glow lit up the clouds and we were greeted in the morning with an intense amber sunrise over the mountains.
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  • Day11


    September 13, 2016 in France ⋅

    Flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam, then onto Montpellier, then a train to Narbonne. Travel by train is great, it provides an impersonal view of other people's lives through backyards always looking onto the tracks. One is treated to a constant tableau of frayed knickers on washlines, assorted appliances that should have been sent to the dump, old Citroen cars on blocks and vegetable patches. This appears to be the form of gardening the French love, the remainder of the garden can be scrubland, but the tomatoes are immaculate.
    Also passed the vast oyster farms in the lagoons around Seté, all organic, or as it is referred to here, Bio.

    Narbonne, very old and beautiful city. Dating back to 118BC it was the Roman capital of Gaul. And a Roman bridge still exists in the town, in daily use. Great engineers they were. The city has not suffered gentrification, slightly delapidated houses with lovely wrought iron balconies and wooden shutters line narrow streets. Could be a set for a movie in the Twenties starring Belmondo in a white suit.
    Late at night glanced through open shutters, young couple kissing with great intent. They outdo themselves at being French at times.
    Very hot, day and night, and the locals seem to view sleep as optional, three in the morning and groups still sitting outside cafes, happily chatting away.

    Les Halles, the market is stupendous, a wonderland for anyone who loves food. And how they do, endlessly discussing the virtues of this cheese versus that, the aroma of today's melons and on. Very proud of their culinary heritage and rightfully so. Everything fresh, produced with pleasure and affection. Vast array of olives, garlic ; large pink globes fresh from the fields or barrels filled with pickled cloves to be munched by the handful. The common cold cannot possibly be common here.
    Bought some tiny black figs (figue de Toulouse), achingly sweet, flat white peaches and melons. Cheese and butter, this with tiny flakes of salt and a large farm chicken from a rotisserie where they turn, constantly dripping fat onto the potatoes in the tray below. Heaven.
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  • Day4

    Lots of natures

    April 2, 2017 in France ⋅

    Very lovely ... did half of my 10000 steps round the lagoon. Former salt farm and nature reserve... unfortunately the flamingos are on their holidays.

  • Day2

    Narbonne plage

    January 2, 2017 in France ⋅

    Sind die erste Etappe gut durch gekommen und in Narbonne gelandet.
    Wollten eine Birne auswechseln und verursachten dabei einen Kurzschluss. Bravo...
    Nach einer Stunde Sicherungsplan studieren (33 Seiten) und die durchgeschmorte Sau suchen... Es werde licht und warm. Mr.??? Hat uns ausgelacht.

  • Day54

    Van did a whoopsie

    October 20, 2018 in France ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    Belt tensioner decided it was all getting a bit too tense so decided to relieve the tension. Unfortunately it did it on on a Saturday so we had to stay in a carpark until Monday. Luckily there was a ska gig on and a beach within cycling distance along a canal surrounded by marshlands...
    Breakdowns can be fun.Read more

  • Day44

    Peyriac de Mer

    March 7, 2018 in France ⋅

    Torredembarra-Peyriac de Mer ca. 400 km
    Heute war unser erster richtiger Fahrtag. Wir habe diesmal auf Mautstraßen komplett verzichtet und damit die Gebühren gespart, jedoch war es ganz schön anstrengend und eine lange Fahrt. Dazu kam noch eine Menge gesperrte Straßen und nicht geöffnete Stellplätze und Campingplätze.
    Aber zum Schluss fanden wir einen Stellplatz in Peyriac de Mer, wunderschöne Gegend und ein güstiger Platz für 5€.
    Hierher fahren wir jetzt bestimmt immer auf unserem Weg von und nach Spanien, traumhafte Wanderwege und eine herrliche Landschaft.
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  • Day2


    January 24, 2018 in France ⋅

    Nach einer kurzen Nacht sind wir bereits um 5.30 Uhr los mit Ziel Leucate. Wow 620 km waren doch etwas viel und deshalb sind wir auf die Autobahn und durch. Der Spass hat uns jetzt ca. 90€ Maut gekostet, aber wir haben auch weniger Sprit und Zeit und vorallem Neven gebraucht. Schöner Platz an einem Binnenmeer für 0€ auch nicht schlecht. Die Schranke ist defekt, denn normalerweise kostet dieser Platz 12€, was wir zu teuer empfinden denn es ist nichts dabei.Read more

  • Day164


    April 9, 2017 in France ⋅

    Homps is on a canal through the region. The barges were for rent and all of the people on the boats seemed to be British.

  • Day34

    What a difference a day makes

    September 26, 2017 in France ⋅

    Waking up and looking out the window, we saw that it was a fine clear day, a contrast to the previous day. Things were looking up already. After breakfast we headed off for the 25 minute walk to the station, planning this time to catch the train to Narbonne, another place we'd been recommended. Would it prove to be any better than Limoux?

    The half-hour train ride was through really picturesque countryside, mainly grape-growing. The vineyards all looked so orderly and immaculate. We reached Narbonne and walked the kilometre or so to the Tourist Office. It was well signposted, an improvement already from the previous day's experience. The fellow in the Tourist Office was most helpful and gave us a rundown of the places which could be visited on foot. It was only a few hundred metres to the main square and already we could feel that this was one very pleasant and friendly town. For starters it was spotlessly clean, there were nice open squares with plenty of seating and many mature trees. We started at the Archbishop's Palace complex, which adjoins the square. The Palais des Archevêques was the Archbishop's Palace in Narbonne. It consists of an old Romanesque palace with Gothic alterations. It has three square towers dating from the 13th and 14th centuries. Today the palace hosts a city hall, the museum of art and history and the archaeological museum. Narbonne Cathedral also forms part of the complex. One good thing - maybe the only thing - which religion has given mankind are some truly magnificent cathedrals and artwork, and this is certainly no exception. Very impressive.

    Our entry passes then allowed us to visit the archaeological museum. A lot of ancient artefacts, some dating back to the Stone Age have been uncovered in and around Narbonne. It also has a very extensive Roman history, so there was much to see in terms of frescoes and other items from Roman times. The whole museum is really well laid out.

    We then visited the archbishop's chambers where paintings, mostly from the 16th to 18th centuries were on display. These had been accumulated by the various archbishops, so as one might imagine, they all had a strong religious theme. No problem with that, but we really felt that the works themselves were nothing special, especially when compared with the art we had seen so recently in the Musée d'Orsay and elsewhere.

    Our final port of call within the complex was the so-called dungeon. Now, we always thought that dungeons were subterranean places, but this in fact is a square tower. It was built between 1290 and 1311 by Archbishop Gilles Aycelin. This historical building rises four levels until the upper terrace. This attraction offers tourists a panoramic view of the Pyrenees and the Corbieres, the city, as well as the coast. In fact, this attraction is not a dungeon, but a fortified tower. Not knowing what we were letting ourselves in for, we decided to climb the spiral staircase to the very top. Later, we found out that there are 167 steep steps, so were very proud of our effort. It is not for the faint-hearted but it is definitely worth the climb to get a fantastic 360-degree view of the towns, city and cathedrals over the roofs of Narbonne. The view was great. In the twenty minutes or so that we were up there, only two other couples were brave/foolish enough to make the climb, so that's one way of escaping the tourist hordes.

    Displaying a certain degree of ignorance we next decided to look at the Musée Lapidaire, believing that it would house gemstones or jewellery, which could be of some interest. The entry tickets we'd bought earlier at the Archbishop's Palace complex included entry to this and other attractions within the town, so it all made sense. The so-called museum is housed in an old deconsecrated church, but all it contained were hundreds of carved blocks and other sandstone carvings which had been collected from round the district. The place was dusty, and the pieces were arranged in huge stacks in what seemed to be a haphazard fashion. At the time we visited, we were the only people there. Hardly compelling. It's a museum in search of a good curator.

    Brian was intrigued and felt that we just had to visit a building called the House of the Three Wetnurses. Our tourist brochure told us that it is one of the most outstanding examples of Renaissance private architecture in the region and unique to Narbonne. It was built in 1558 and gets its name from the buxom caryatids framing its south window. We were even more intrigued when we were able to count five such ladies in the facade, rather than the purported three. It was intriguing for its uniqueness, though it is not compelling. The facade is high up, at least one floor above street level, and can only be seen from the entrance to a modern hospital building directly across the street. The building is not open to the public.

    Narbonne is certainly tourism-orientated, and has a tourist mini-bus which runs every five minutes or so in a circuit round the major features of the town. As our final activity before catching the train back to Carcassonne we did the mini-tour. there was no commentary, but it at least gave us a chance to see more of this beautiful town. If we'd had more time - and a car - there were a lot of other tourist features there which we'd like to have seen.

    Reaching our hotel at about 5pm, Brian decided to do the 15 minute climb once more up to the Mediaeval City, hoping to get a few photos while the place wasn't too crowded and maybe picking up one or two souvenirs to bring home. It was still quite busy, though nowhere near as jam-packed as it had been on our earlier visit. He took a few more photos, but didn't find anything compelling enough to buy. Not surprisingly, prices there are high, and there is an awful lot of shoddy rubbish. The really nice stuff is ridiculously overpriced.

    Sadly, sadly, sadly this was the last day of our holiday, so we decided to commemorate it with a special dinner. There was a restaurant, Le Trivalou, a couple of hundred metres from our hotel which we'd tried a couple of times to get into. Each time, it was booked out. Not to be caught out again, we saw that the place was due to open at 7pm, and Brian was right there on the doorstep and made a booking for 8pm. Even then, it was the last available table. No wonder the place is so popular. We had a great meal there that night, and it was very reasonably priced.

    Our last day was a great success, and we ended it on a high. All that remained was the long trip home, and that was something we weren't looking forward to. On previous overseas holidays, by the time we'd reached this point we were well and truly ready to head home and to sleep once more in our own bed. Not this time. It was such a great and varied holiday that we really didn't want it to end, but we had to face reality.
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Arrondissement de Narbonne

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