It sounds like a bold claim but in Roman times, all roads really did indeed lead to Narbonne. This beautiful, compact city is a hidden gem of the Languedoc region with a proud history and fantastic transport links, something which dates back to its earliest days.
It was founded in 118BC as the first Roman colony outside Italy and known as Narbo Martius. Back then, Narbonne was a sea port, before the river Aude silted up, and an important early transport hub. To get anywhere from Rome in those days, you pretty much had to go through Narbonne as it was located on the Via Domitia, the Roman road connecting Italy to Spain, and the Via Aquitania which lead to the Atlantic via Toulouse and Bordeaux. Narbonne was at the heart of the Roman Empire in mainland Europe and you can still see remains of the Via Domitia in the city centre today.
In the 17th century, with the wine trade flourishing, an extension to the Canal du Midi called the Canal de la Robine was constructed to link the Canal du Midi to the Mediterranean at Port Nouvelle, passing right through Narbonne. Nowadays, the Canal de la Robine, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, provides a languid, waterborne way to explore Narbonne and its hinterland.
Since then, Narbonne has undergone many changes but the one thing that hasn’t changed is its accessibility. The city boasts no less than five airports in the vicinity. Beziers, Carcassonne and Perpignan are all less than an hour away and well served by budget airlines for flights throughout Europe. Montpellier airport is a little over an hour away whilst Toulouse is slightly further away but still under a two hour drive. If you hop over the border to Spain, Girona and Barcelona airports widen your options for air travel and are less than a three hour drive.
Road links, particularly to the Mediterranean coast and Spain, couldn’t be easier as Narbonne is the meeting point of the A9 and A61 motorways and thus aptly named ‘Carrefour du Sud’ or Crossroads of the South. In fact, the A61, known as the Autoroute des Deux Mers, harks back to the Via Aquitania as it connects the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean coast.
Unsurprisingly, Narbonne has superb rail links. Paris is a mere 4.5 hours by TGV from the main SNCF train station on Avenue Carnot whilst Toulouse is 1 hour 15 minutes away and Montpellier, 55 minutes away by TGV. There are multiple regional train links and Barcelona is also directly accessible by train from Narbonne (1 hour 55 minutes). In addition, Narbonne has a car-train service linking up to Paris, making traversing the length of France a much easier proposition.
Nowadays, Narbonne is the gateway to the beautiful region of Languedoc-Roussillon with its stunning countryside, beautiful beaches and unparalleled wines. With all these transport options, what are you waiting for? Come and see for yourself. For more information, visit http://www.narbonne-tourism.co.uk/
Pullen Real Estate
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