Jacques Bascou (PS)
| Fontfroide Abbey, Narbonne plage, Narbonne Cathedral|
Narbonne ( Occitan: Narbona, Latin: ) is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies 849 km (528 mi) from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, and a major city in Roman times, it is now located about 15 km (9.3 mi) from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is marginally the largest commune in Aude, although the prefecture is the slightly smaller commune of Carcassonne.
Narbonne is linked to the nearby Canal du Midi and the Aude River by the Canal de la Robine, which runs through the centre of town.
The cathedral dating from 1272
The Palais des Archeveques, the Archbishops Palace, and its donjon with views over Narbonne
Musee Archeologique, an archaeological museum in the town centre
The Roman Horreum, a former grain warehouse, built underground as a cryptoporticus
Remains of the Via Domitia in the city center
The canal, Canal de la Robine, running through the centre of the town
The Halles covered market operates every day. The busiest times are Sunday and Thursday mornings.
The nearby limestone massif known as La Clape and the beach at Narbonne plage
Narbonne was established in Gaul in 118 BC, as Colonia Narbo Martius. It was located on the 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 crossroads because it was situated where the Via Domitia connected to the Via Aquitania, which led toward the Atlantic through Toulouse and Bordeaux. In addition, it was crossed by the Aude River. Surviving members of Julius Caesars Legio X Equestris were given lands in the area that today is called Narbonne.
Politically, Narbonne gained importance as a competitor to Massalia (Marseille). Julius Caesar settled veterans from his 10th Legion there and attempted to develop its port while Marseille was revolting against Roman control. Among the amenities of Narbonne, its rosemary-flower honey was famous among Romans.
Later, the province of Transalpine Gaul was renamed Gallia Narbonensis after the city, which became its capital. Seat of a powerful administration, the city enjoyed economic and architectural expansion. At that point, the city is thought to have had 30,000–50,000 and may have had as many as 100,000.
According to Hydatius, in 462 the city was handed over to the Visigoths by a local military leader in exchange for support, as a result Roman rule ended in the city. It was subsequently the capital of the Visigothic province of Septimania, the only territory from Gaul to fend off the Frankish thrust after the Battle of Vouille (507). For 40 years, from 719, Narbonne was part of the Emirate of Cordoba with a strong Gothic presence. The Carolingian Pepin the Short conquered Narbonne from the Muslims in 759 after which it became part of the Carolingian Viscounty of Narbonne. He invited, according to Christian sources, prominent Jews from the Caliphate of Bagdad to settle in Narbonne and establish a major Jewish learning center for Western Europe. In the 12th century, the court of Ermengarde of Narbonne (reigned 1134 to 1192) presided over one of the cultural centers where the spirit of courtly love was developed.
In the 11th and 12th centuries, Narbonne was home to an important Jewish exegetical school, which played a pivotal role in the growth and development of the Zarphatic (Judaeo-French) and Shuadit (Judaeo-Provencal) languages. Jews had settled in Narbonne from about the 5th century, with a community that had risen to approximately 2000 in the 12th century. At this time, Narbonne was frequently mentioned in Talmudic works in connection with its scholars. One source, Abraham ibn Daud of Toledo, gives them an importance similar to the exilarchs of Babylon. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the community went through a series of ups and downs before settling into extended decline.