NARBONNE, AUDE, LANGUEDOC FRANCE
Cathedral St Just standing high
Above the plain, its arms straddling the sea
I love to take you on a Sunday morning
Swimming in the crowds as they shop and sell
at the market that runs both sides of the Canal de la Robine. The smell and sights of foods and fruit
Shimmering in the covered market.
How I like to ooze through, take a beer at a bar,
And sidle by Notre Dame de Lamourguier
Where inside Roman statues stand and gape,
Then walk back over the canal where once the Via Domita ran
Uncovered now in the main square
Where the manikins of the belles dames of France look down.
How the wheels must have bumped
When Centurians went on their way
To villas in vineyards in distant hills.
Now must we crawl and step deep into
The horreum, the dark subterranean storehouse
Or wander a few yards to where St Sebastien
The saint martyred by the slaughter of arrows, was born,
And to his church standing in a web of streets and alleys that make us explore
© Giles Denmark.
Places to visit near Narbonne: Fontfroide Abbey
This cistercian abbey started around the 12th Century, was the home once of a monk who was murdered by the banks of the Rhône. His name was Pierre de Castelnau, and his death, was the excuse that Pope Innocent III used to start his crusade of purge and annihilation of the Cathars. Now the Abbey has a gorgeous rose garden, a restaurant, as well as remarkable architecture, with many lovely walks around
Gruissan and Gruissan Plage
When the clouds come up and the wind is blowing, no better place to climb is the Barbarossa tower at Gruissan. Look across the étang to the hills of the Corbiéres, around to the monumental cathedral at Narbonne, or across the Mediterranean, and many miles of beaches, where in the heat of Summer thousands bathe, and elsewhere there are mountains of salt, ready to spice up meals.
Visit one of the most beautiful and stunning villages of Languedoc, straddling two valleys, and hanging above deep gorges - Minerve. It was here that 180 parfaits - followers of the Cathar religion, met their death at the hands of Simon de Montford. From below the bridge you can see why Minerve was a difficult village to attack. Of particular interest is also the large caverns through which the river winds - which are accessible to walk through.
Cathedral St Just
Les Halles - the market
Canal de la Robine